THE THOMAS LORD, WEST MEON, HAMPSHIRE
WHAT’S THE SCOOP? This beautifully restored village pub is located in the quaint Hampshire village of West Meon. It is named after the founder of Lord’s Cricket Ground, a former resident buried in the local churchyard. As a result, the pub is packed full of cricketing memorabilia and has plenty of quiet corners in which to enjoy a pint or two.
In 2017, the pub created five luxurious yet eco-friendly cabins in its grounds, all of which are dog-friendly and have en-suite facilities. The Thomas Lord is part of the Upham Group, which also owns Upham Brewery and brews its own ales year-round.
ARE MUDDY PAWS WELCOME? Oh yes. Dogs can stay for £20, based on a single night’s stay. Longer breaks are charged at an additional £10 per night. Although the pub’s main restaurant is off-limits to pets, they are allowed in the large garden and bar, where there’s a roaring log fire to relax in front of.
Thirsty pups can refuel at the “dog bar” – where water bowls are constantly being topped up – and there is a big jar of treats to hand, too. You will need to bring your own dog food and beds for the rooms, however. For more information about Upham Pubs’ pet policy, click here.
AND WHEN I’M DOG TIRED? The small but perfectly formed cabins have everything you need for a short break and the clever design is key. Floor-to-ceiling double doors ensure the stylish cabins stay light and airy but thick curtains and excellent insulation mean they also stay snug at night, whatever time of year you visit.
They’re a lot bigger than they look from the outside, too. A gorgeous super-king bed with feature headboard is at the heart of the main room, but there’s also enough space for two cosy armchairs, an antique-style desk, as well as an area to hang to clothes and store your luggage.
The en-suite shower room contains luxurious Anne Semonin toiletries and fluffy robes to complement the soft white towels. And outside, there’s even a small patio area with a table and chairs for two. Plus, there is complimentary water, tea, coffee, milk and biscuits and a great selection of local magazines to flick through.
HOW ARE THE SCOOBY SNACKS? Delicious. The chefs at the Thomas Lord try to use as many fresh, locally-sourced ingredients as possible and many of them come from the pub’s own kitchen garden. You can’t get more local than that!
The menu is seasonal but contains traditional English dishes with a twist – we enjoyed dry-aged beef burgers with truffle and parmesan fries (£14) and a creamy celeriac risotto (£13.50). We were quite taken with the inventive bar snack menu (from £3.50), which contained dishes such as Scotch eggs and Korean-fried cauliflower.
It’s well worth dragging yourself out of bed for the pub breakfast, too. The sausages and bacon got a big thumbs up from both Nick and Ernie.
If you’re in the mood for something a little lighter, check out Cuppacheeno in The Village Shop, opposite the pub. This cute coffee shop welcomes dogs and has a great range of handmade cakes. It’s usually open seven days a week from 9am to 3pm.
ANY FOUR-LEGGED FRIENDS TO PLAY WITH? No, but you’re sure to encounter plenty of other thirsty pups in the pub.
WHERE’S GOOD FOR WALKIES? The Meon Valley Trail. This well-maintained pathway tracks a disused railway line and runs for approximately nine miles from West Meon to Wickham. The starting point of the trail is a short walk from the Thomas Lord and offers fantastic views of the beautiful Meon Valley. You can obviously walk as much or as little of the trail as you like – for route suggestions, click here.
West Meon itself is also located in the South Downs National Park. Created in 2011, it is Britain’s newest national park and stretches from Winchester in the west to Eastbourne in the east. There are countless walks you can do within the park and plenty of things to see and do. For more inspiration, click here.
WHAT ERNIE LOVED: Keeping a watchful eye on the neighbours from the double doors, getting lots of fuss (and treats) in the bar, the lovely walks on the doorstep
WHAT I LOVED: The clever design of the cabin, the great pub just steps away, the village charm of West Meon
GET ON THE DOG AND BONE: A night’s B&B at The Thomas Lord starts from £79. For more information, call 01730 829244 or visit thethomaslord.co.uk.