We’re on a bit of a quest to find the coolest pubs in Somerset at the moment and if they’re cool and dog friendly, even better! We’d heard great things about The Queens Arms in Corton Denham, so we thought we’d take Petal and Flower (our two woofers) and try it out for ourselves.
The pub’s tucked away down lots of twisty, turny Somerset lanes, nestled in the breathtaking countryside on the Somerest/Dorset border and as we were nearing the village (which is idyllic by the way), we spied a fair few walkers with muddy boots. There are lots of great walks nearby and I’d read that muddy boots are very welcome at The Queens Arms, so we knew we were on the right track!
The 18th century pub is beautiful from the outside, with its honey-coloured stone and lovely suntrap terrace at the back…
…and the dogs loved it right from the off, with this welcome outside the front door…
That's a 0% ABV on the Dog Liquor by the way ;)
Inside is just as cool. The bar is a comfy, cosy space to relax in, with rustic flagstone and wood floors, mismatched tables, chairs and stools, snuggly rugs and crackling open fires... just the job in the Winter months.
Say hello to Bertie the Bull too! He watches over everyone … and no-one’s getting up to any mischief on his watch! We’ve heard he’s actually a prop from Carry on Cowboy (yak yak yak! That was our impression of Sid James, in case you didn’t recognise it)!
Anyway, the interiors here have a relaxed country style without trying too hard – and that’s the thing about The Queens Arms. What’s special about it is the laid back, personal feel. As soon as we walked in it just felt right – the right place to spend a chilled-out Sunday afternoon with our dogs, in a friendly little haven that welcomes them with open arms! For us, that feel is definitely something a bit special. Ahh – if only you could bottle it!
Well, what you can bottle is the brilliant selection of wines, beers, ciders and spirits they have! (see what I did there? ;)) We particularly love ‘Legless Liz’ - the craft beer that The Queens Arms has developed in partnership with GYLE 59, to celebrate the pub's 170th birthday no less! It's definitely worth a try and as a Cask Marque accredited Free House, the pub always has a choice of four real ales on tap too. It’s a selection that’s never dictated by any brewery – so there’s another plus for us!
If you walk through to the back of the bar, there’s a lovely light, bright restaurant, with bench seating, exposed stone feature walls and french doors opening out to the front of the pub and the beautiful village beyond. If you don’t have dogs and fancy sitting inside to eat that's somewhere other than the bar, this is definitely the spot for you…
…and the food is flipping gorgeous - beautifully presented, full of flavour and locally sourced. Take our starters of Rosary Ash Goats Cheese, Roast Peach, Thyme, Focaccia…
... and Globe Artichoke, Winsade, Red Pepper, Aioli...
...and our Saffron Gnocchi, Heritage Tomato, Asparagus and Dorset White main course…
Whilst we plumped for summery veggie starters and mains, there’s a great selection of roasts on a Sunday, as you’d expect (including Sirloin of West Country Beef, Roasties and Yorkshires, as well as Roast Queens Arms Pork, Haggis, Smashed Apple and Cider Jus) and obviously, dessert was definitely happening!
The choices of Garden Fruit Mess, Peach and Almond Tart and The Queens Arms take on a big old knickerbocker glory all sounded awesome… but we both went for the Pecan Nut Brownie with Mint Choc Chip ice cream – summer heaven on a plate! :)
It was no surprise really, as the pub is the only one in the Sherborne area to be awarded two AA rosettes (as well as a whole host of other accolades including a Taste of the West Gold for 2016). You know that whatever you choose to eat at whatever time of year, you’re in for a bit of a treat - and a treat it definitely was! We set up camp on a sunny table outside, got stuck in to the fab food and wine and although it was Flower’s first visit to a pub (she’s a rescue greyhound we’ve just adopted), she got in to the swing of things pretty quickly too ;)
Plus, she got a tummy rub from the lovely owner Gordon (who runs The Queens Arms with his wife Jeanette) and lots of strokes for her and Petal from the awesome team working in the pub that Sunday, so both girls were pretty pleased with that!
All in all, if you’re looking for a genuinely dog friendly pub with a great atmosphere, award winning food and a lovely terrace so you can soak up the sunshine (or snuggle up in front of open fires in Winter), The Queens Arms is the perfect pub for you. If you’re just visiting, there are eight stylishly comfy rooms to choose from too – all individually designed and all would make a fab base for exploring the surrounding countryside.
One of the rooms is dog friendly, so your hounds can snuggle up in Somerset too! And if that wasn’t enough, the refurbished piggery barns sleep up to 8… you know, if you fancy inviting all the family! ;)
Our review in 3 words: Perfect Country Pub!
(and if we did a review in 6 words we might say… “puts the ‘COR’ in Corton Denham!!” ;))