The King’s Arms, Dorchester

Former guests at this Georgian coaching inn turned Dorset foodie pub with rooms, include Queen Victoria, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Now it’s your turn.

14 February 2024Add to My FavouritesSave

The 300-year-old former coaching inn, reincarnated in September 2020 as a super laid-back foodie pub, has links with Thomas Hardy and previous guests include Queen Victoria, King George IV, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. But we don’t think any of them would recognise the place after its swanky £5 million (yep!) refurb.

The King’s Arms, which is an addition to Stay Original’s portfolio of boutique West Country inns, which includes The Swan in Wedmore and The Grosvenor Arms in Shaftesbury, is looking very good indeed.

The Stay Original ethos is authenticity, so the inn’s historic architecture is complemented – not swamped – by contemporary interiors, up-cycled lighting and antique finds. The menu’s along the same lines, with award-winning Executive Chef Tom Blake and Head Chef Steve Yates overseeing the locally sourced, inventive but not poncy menus; you can try something new or go for a more classic dish.

Eat in the spacious restaurant, bar and Old Smoking Room on the ground floor. Kids are welcome, with their own dedicated menu or smaller dishes from the main menu. Dogs are welcome in the bar, Old Smoking Room and out on the terrace.

The elegant new Casterbridge Room, named in Hardy’s honour (he’s said to have written much of the Mayor of Casterbridge here), is a flexible space for meetings, presentations and get-togethers of up to 70 people.

Come for breakfast (the harrisa’s a nice touch on the smashed avocado, roasted tomatoes and toast; homemade granola; full English with veggie version). Lots to tempt on the main menu. Starters like pork scrumpet or devon crab on toast. Mains include interesting dishes like squash, red pepper and goats cheese lasagne, as well as daily fish dishes, chargrilled burgers and steak. Desserts are particularly yummy: white chocolate parfait and lemoncello granite, brownies, and homemade ice-creams. But then so are the West Country cheeses!

Come for fresh bread and pastries from At the Chapel’s pop-up bakery every Thursday morning from 8am.

Sleep over in 28 fab bedrooms, kitted out with lovely Ubiety bath and skin products. Dogs are welcome in some of the rooms, too.



At a glance

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30 High Street, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1HF



01305 238238

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