Get away from it all and explore Thomas Hardy country at this character-packed dog friendly hotel in in the picturesque village of Evershot. Caroline Cullern recently took her two dogs Kipper and Rudi for a country break to the Acorn Inn, and discovered a fabulous dog-friendly gem and foody delight!
Set in the picturesque Dorset’s village of Evershot village, the Acorn Inn is a beautiful and cosy dog-friendly country pub and hotel – where dogs are given a super warm welcome (as well as owners).
Built in the 16th century, the hotel is packed full of character and charm – think large fireplaces and plenty of wooden beams. In fact, this quintessential country inn was even mentioned in Thomas Hardy’s novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles (when it was referred to as The Sow & Acorn).
Nowadays, the hotel seems to attract those looking for a taste of rural Dorset – and of course, if like us they have dogs in tow, plenty of stunning walks – including the nearby 400-acre Deer Park. Upon arrival our two dogs were warmly welcomed with some tasty homemade biscuits and a pat or two, as were we (well, without the pat!).
There are 10 en-suite rooms each with their own quirky style – and each named according to a Thomas Hardy theme – whether it’s a location featured in his novels; his favourite heroine; or even after the author himself. We stayed in the ‘Tess’ room – a gorgeous room at the front of the property with a sumptuous wooden four-poster bed and a lovely bay window at the front with views out over the village street below – which Kipper and Rudi took great delight in peering out of as horses and walkers passed by!
The room was super cosy, especially at night once the curtains were drawn and we were tucked up in the huge bed. Our room was well-equipped with tea and coffee making facilities, flat screen TV, telephone, Free Wi-Fi, complimentary luxury REN toiletries, hairdryer and ironing facilities.
Kipper and Rudi were treated to some tasty homemade dog biscuits upon arrival and a huge fuss was made of them. The main perk of staying at the Acorn Inn is how dog-friendly they are. Dogs are welcomed in all areas of the Inn, including joining you for dinner and breakfast and if you dine in the bar area there are water bowls and even more dog biscuits to keep your pooch entertained.
The beer garden was a lovely spot to sit with the dogs on a sunny evening, and for those wanting to stretch their paws a little further afield there is a 400-acre deer park at the bottom of the village (though dogs need to be kept on lead). The hotel will also happily provide dog towels for cleaning mucky pups as well as suggesting some great walks for you and your canine companion.
FOOD & DRINK
The Acorn Inn has two bars and an award-winning restaurant serving a range of exceptional seasonal dishes – and better still they let our two pooches tag along for both dinner and breakfast in the main restaurant. When we arrived to check in, I had anticipated that the restaurant would be virtually empty (being a week night in a small village), however, by the time we went down for dinner the Inn was actually abuzz with diners – perhaps testament to the quality of food being served.
We decided to dine in the main restaurant with its elegantly laid tables, terracotta tiles, soft lighting and a lovely large stone fireplace that the dogs curled up next too during our meal. Once we started our meal we could see why it was so busy – the food was absolutely delicious. Starters included the soup of the day with fresh bread from the village bakery and lay layered smoked salmon and mackerel terrine with orange and fennel chutney and home made walnut bread. For our main we both opted for one of the daily specials of Kippers with a thai-inspired salad. To finish off, a decent helping of apple and berry crumble served with homemade custard was order of the day as well as a selection of local cheeses served with seed crackers, biscuits, homemade chutney and grapes. No plate was left with a morsel on it!
We ordered from the restaurant menu, however, diners can also order from the pub menu (as well as the daily specials menu) – giving diners plenty of choice and price options. For a more informal setting you can also dine in the Hardy Bar, with its hand crafted oak panelling and deep leather upholstered seats. There is also a lovely cosy lounge area with board games – which was perfect for relaxing an after dinner and created a real “home away from home” feel.
WHAT TO BRING
The hotel will happily provide dog towels, but bring your own bedding, bowl and the usual essentials (food, poo bags, lead etc). There isn’t a fridge in the room for storing food, however, the hotel would happily store it on your behalf.
WHEN TO GO
It was glorious sunshine during our stay, which made exploring the local countryside (and of course the beer garden) all the more enjoyable. However, the Acorn Inn has such a cosy feel to it that if it had rained sitting in front of one of the fireplaces with the dogs and a drink in hand would have been equally as enjoyable!
KIPPER’S AND RUDI’S VERDICT
“Every dog should have their own four-pawster bed – I felt like royalty lounging around eating my homemade cheesy biscuits! The Acorn Inn gets a paws up from me.”
PRICES & BOOKING
Double rooms at the Acorn Inn start at £115 for a weekday stay in the snug double room, dogs are charged at a supplement of £12 per dog, per night. To book visit www.acorn-inn.co.uk or call 01935 83 228.