Dogs in Essex are spoilt for choice when their humans fancy a pint. The county has lovely seaside towns, dog-friendly beaches, and idyllic woodland walking trails—it’s basically a dog’s dream day out. Read on to discover the best dog-friendly pubs in Essex.
Some establishments can get quite busy in the evening so your wee chum might prefer to be tucked up in bed if the surroundings get a bit too loud. And if you fancy going for a drink but your dog prefers to stay at home, don’t worry, you can find great local pet sitters who provide dog boarding in Colchester, Chelmsford and throughout Essex on Rover.com so look forward to meeting your dog’s perfect match.
1. Forest Gate Inn
Address & Map: 111 Bell Common, Epping, CM16 4DZ
There are often more dogs than people in Forest Gate Inn. It might have something to do with the fact that it’s ideally placed on the edge of Epping Forest, which boasts lots and lots of interesting paths and trails. Once you and the dog are tuckered out from exploring the woodland, hit this fantastic free house which has been run by the Stokes family for over 50 years. There are always plenty of bowls of fresh water about, both inside and out, for furry patrons, and their owners can kick back with an excellent real ale or a nice glass of wine.
In the summer months, you and the little guy will want to appreciate the stunning 17th century pub from its huge beer garden. Head inside to warm your cockles by the fireplace under the with low ceilings when the cold weather sets in. While you’re at it why not tuck into some bar snacks, sandwiches, or something from the weekly specials menu.
2. The Golden Lion
Address & Map: 25-27 North Street, Rochford, SS4 1AB
The Golden Lion is one of the oldest pubs in Essex and it’s definitely also one of the most dog-friendly. Owner John and the team treat all the dogs that come into the pub as valued customers; each one is given a bowl of water and doggy treats. There’s even a corner where photos of their regular doggy customers are prominently displayed on a shelf!
The Grade II Listed building boasts white and black wooden cladding and is a fine example of a weatherboarded timber cottage that was typical in Essex in the 18th century. The Golden Lion was recently awarded CAMRA’s (Campaign for Real Ale) South East Essex Pub of the Year, and the pub always has four resident and three guest real ales available, as well as real ciders. There’s a great beer garden that’s open all year round and hosts live music and beer festivals when the sun’s got his hat on.
3. Sun Inn
Address & Map: 5 Feering Hill, Colchester, CO5 9NH
It’s hard to find a pub packed with more character than the Sun Inn, a cosy 16th century village gastropub. The Grade II listed watering hole boasts detailed ﬂoral paintwork, heavily carved beams, slate floors, and two enticing inglenook ﬁreplaces. The team pride themselves on their fine real ales—they offer six real ales, mainly from Shepherd Neame, and monthly guest ales—but they also serve 13 wines by the glass, ten malt whiskies and 21 gins. Every year they hold two beer festivals which feature real ale, real ciders, key kegs and beers from around the world on draught. They also create internationally inspired fare made with ingredients grown or reared in Essex, and they use vegetables grown in the pub’s garden.
Your furry drinking buddy can look forward to meeting pub dogs Monty and Zara, being fed delicious treats, and quenching her thirst at one of the many water bowls dotted around the pub. Dogs are allowed in all areas of the bar including the charming, mature garden and lush courtyard, both of which are quiet and secluded, and filled with fairy lights after dark. The landlord just asks that they remain on the floor and on their leads.
4. The Norton
Address & Map: 54 Latchingdon Road, Chelmsford, CM3 6JB
All well-behaved dogs are welcome at The Norton, a family-friendly village free house with a large bar area. If you’re lucky you and the your little mate will get to meet the owner’s dog who enjoys making new friends. Water and biscuits are offered to all four-legged customers and they even throw birthday parties for dogs if you’d like to surprise your wee mate.
If you like real ales you can look forward to a nice local selection here, as well as usually one draught cider and an extensive range of whiskies and gins. Dogs are allowed in all areas except the separate restaurant which serves classic pub grub as well as great Thai food. There’s a large beer garden with play equipment for the kids and a selection of pub games for punters of all ages. The Norton hosts a range of entertainment from beer festivals to open mic nights, so check out their event listings
5. The New Bell Inn
Address & Map: Outpart Eastward, Harwich, CO12 3EN
Walk a mere 20 metres from The New Bell Inn’s front door and you’ll find yourself on the only beach in the area that is dog-friendly all year round. Harwich also has plenty of green spaces and nice walks so the pub is the perfect place to head to before or after walkies. The owners adore dogs so you’ll always be welcomed with open arms, biscuits and fresh water. The humans will be glad to hear that they stock a varied range of quality ales, predominantly from small breweries across East Anglia. The pub has won the title of Tendring CAMRA’s (Campaign for Real Ale) Pub of the Year twice in the past ten years.
There’s a cute little garden to the back of the pub and inside you’ll find a lovely log burner that dogs love to curl up in front of in the winter. Part of the building was reputed to have been a blacksmith’s shop in the 17th century before it was modified to become a public house around the middle of the 18th century so it retains a lot of its original features.
6. The Fox & Hounds
Address & Map: 12 The Square, Southminster, CM0 7SU
The Fox & Hounds is a majestic red brick Victorian pub situated on Tillingham’s picturesque village green, and it’s popular with ramblers, dog owners, and families with kids. Landlord Peter Fenn has a family of three labradoodles himself—a mum, son and daughter—who you might see roaming around the pub. The team ensure that all dogs who come to visit get biscuits and a stroke, along with a steady supply of fresh water.
As well as regular guest ales, there’s a selection of lagers, ciders, and wines, plus some tasty pub grub available. Take your beverage of choice and your furry best friend outside to their beer garden when the sun’s shining, or settle down next to their real log fire when the mercury drops. You’ll find sports on TV and live music, as well as lots of games on offer—the pub even enters teams in the local pool, darts, and domino leagues, so get practicing!
7. The Queen’s Head
Address & Map: 26 Providence, Burnham-on-Crouch, CM0 8JU
This traditional local tucked away in a narrow side serves a selection of cracking real ales from microbreweries, as well as real cider. It is featured in both the CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) Good Beer Guide and the Real Ale Pub Guide, and won the CAMRA Joe Goodwin Award—named after the late CAMRA chair Joe Goodwin, the award is reserved for outstanding refurbished street-corner locals.
Visiting dogs will enjoy their wood-fired stove, bare floorboards, and sheltered courtyard with tables. They’ll probably also enjoy getting lots of attention from staff and locals, plus a bowl of water and a few biccies. If they’re lucky the landlady’s dog might pop by but if not they’re bound to meet other good boys and girls looking to mingle politely. Owners will also enjoy the laid-back, sociable atmosphere, and may want to join in in a game of darts or pool or attend the beer festival that’s held there on the August bank holiday weekend.
8. The Swan
Address & Map: School Road, Maldon, CM9 8LB
The Swan, a delightful Grade II listed pub in Little Totham, was CAMRA’s (Campaign for Real Ale) National Pub of the Year in both 2002 and 2005. Baxter the pub dog welcomes a nice mix of punters who include quite a few dog walkers, ramblers, and families with kids.
This little gem of a pub has everything you’d expect from a 17th century village watering hole; log fires, prominent wooden beams, friendly bar staff and most importantly around eight well kept ales tapped from the cask and farm ciders. They’ve also expanded their food service to provide delicious home-cooked evening meals as well as lunches. Dogs are welcome in both public and saloon bars, as well as in the sprawling lawned garden and small terrace; they’re just not allowed in the dining room. The Swan also hosts the occasional live music session, quiz night and beer festival.