Nothing beats retreating to a nice cosy pub after a long walk with your dog. What’s better than warming your toes by a toasty log fire in the winter, or enjoying a refreshing cold drink in a beer garden on a summer afternoon?
Whatever the season, dog-friendly pubs are a must for dog lovers, so much so that DogBuddy, a website which helps dog owners find the perfect dog-sitter, launched the Dog-friendly Pub Awards.
The awards celebrate the nation’s favourite pubs, as chosen by dog owners across the UK. Voters were asked to consider every aspect of what makes a pub dog friendly and came up with 12 regional winners. Four expert judges, including Your Dog’s editor in chief Sarah Wright, then picked the overall champion.
The Hand in Hand in Wimbledon, London, took the title of DogBuddy’s Dog-friendly Pub of the Year. Located on the edge of Wimbledon Common, a regular spot for dog-walking locals, the Hand in Hand aims to offer the authentic feel of village life in the heart of London, and, according to DogBuddy’s judges, goes above and beyond in order to appeal to its four-pawed customers.
Deputy manager, Christine Blackman, was delighted to win the award. She said: “We were absolutely blown away. When we got the email, there were screams of delight and members of staff jumping around!”
It’s not hard to see why the Hand in Hand was chosen. From keeping treats, spare dog leads, and poo bags behind the bar, to offering doggy Sunday dinners and even a doggy ‘Wall of Fame’, dog friendliness is at the core of everything the pub does. Christine said: “Being dog friendly is key to us — our location is special and we are well regarded in the local canine community, so to win an award for something we are so passionate about is amazing.”
The Hand in Hand is also a strong supporter of animal charities. The pub’s charitable endeavours include its first-ever ‘Walking for Paws’ sponsored dog walk, to raise money for Blue Cross, held in April last year. Christine explained: “We raised over £2,700 for Blue Cross. It proved very popular, with everyone asking for it to become an annual event, and subsequently it will be happening again this coming April.”
Christine added: “It’s crucial to make both human and canine visitors feel valued, special, and individual, so they’ll always receive a warm welcome and be well catered for.”
Find out more about the Hand in Hand at www.thehandinhandwimbledon.co.uk or call 020 8946 5720.
EAST OF ENGLAND: The King Stag, Bushey, Hertfordshire
Having recently adopted its very own resident pup, Charlie, The King Stag supplies each and every dog with a bowl of water and a saucer of dog biscuits, hosts a monthly dog walk, and even features a ‘Muddy Mutt of the Month’ on its Facebook page. Visit www.thekingstag.com
EAST MIDLANDS: The Brown Cow, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire
The Brown Cow has treats, water, and lots of fuss readily available for any four-legged visitors, as well as a dog-free zone for those who’d prefer to be away from the dogs. Visit www.rawbrew.com/browncow
NORTH EAST: The Brandling Villa, South Gosforth, Newcastle
With a special dog menu complete with doggy beer, dog names instead of table numbers, regular dog birthday parties, and, more often than not, a friendly Beagle called Franco perched in the window, it’s no wonder The Brandling Villa came top in its region. Visit www.brandlingvilla.co.uk
NORTHERN IRELAND: The Fullerton Arms, Ballycastle, Co. Antrim
Set in a gorgeous location in the heart of the Causeway Coast, The Fullerton Arms is in the perfect area for some fantastic dog walks. The pub provides dogs with water, treats, and cuddles, has a home-made doggy menu, and even has two dog-friendly rooms for those looking to stay for a night or two. Visit www.fullerton-arms.com
NORTH WEST: The Caledonia, Liverpool
Located on the edge of Liverpool city centre, The Caledonia aims to remind people that dogs can be part of city life too. With doggy snack bags, doggy beer, toys, spare leads, water, and towels, along with a display board of doggy regulars and events held for dogs, it’s clear why this pub won for its region. Visit www.thecaledonialiverpool.com
SCOTLAND: The Earl of Marchmont, Edinburgh
The Earl of Marchmont prides itself on not assuming every dog is the same, and so follows the specifi c wishes of owners with regard to treats, petting, and water. There’s a complimentary dog menu, dog blankets, and Snuffle Dog Beer, and the pub regularly supports a local dog charity. Visit theearlofmarchmont.blogspot.co.uk
SOUTH EAST: The Fox & Hounds, Theale, Reading, Berkshire
Run by a self-confessed ‘crazy dog lady’ and situated opposite a beautiful lake, this is the ideal starting point for some picturesque dog walks. The Fox & Hounds hosts regular dog shows to raise money for charities and offers free treats and water for dogs. Visit www.foxandhoundstheale.co.uk
SOUTH WEST: The Victoria Inn, Salcombe, Devon
The Victoria Inn offers an ‘À la Bark’ menu with pigs’ ears and chews. It also has doggy beer available, soft dog blankets, towels for any mucky pups, complimentary biscuits, and clean drinking water. Visit www.victoriainn-salcombe.co.uk
WALES: The Poundffald Inn, Swansea
With free turkey or beef Sunday lunches for dogs to enjoy while their owners tuck into their own, along with dog grooming by the pub’s established dog groomer, The Poundffald Inn certainly appeals to four-legged friends. Visit www.poundffaldthreecrosses.co.uk
WEST MIDLANDS: The Royal Oak, Evesham, Worcestershire
The Royal Oak is home to pub dog Rudolph, who loves making friends with the locals. It also has a ‘Dog’s Dinner’ menu for hungry pups, as well as towels for muddy paws, and even holds dog birthday parties! Visit www.theroyaloakevesham.co.uk
YORKSHIRE: The Old Glen House, Shipley, West Yorkshire
Situated on Baildon Moor, this pub has complimentary dog treats behind the bar, dog chews available to buy, dog beds for any tired mutts, and a separate side of the pub for those who don’t want to dine with the dogs. Visit www.theoldglenhouse.co.uk