THE HAMPSHIRE HOG, CLANFIELD, HAMPSHIRE
WHAT’S THE SCOOP? If you’re after some good, old-fashioned hospitality, head to the Hampshire Hog, just a few miles outside Portsmouth. From the front of this traditional pub, you’d never guess there’s a hotel tucked around the back but there is, and it’s a very good one at that – so if you’re visiting the area, I can thoroughly recommend “going the whole hog” and checking in to this Fuller’s-run pub.
ARE MUDDY PAWS WELCOME? They sure are. Pets can stay for £10 per night and for this, they will receive two bowls in the room for food and water, plus lots of dog treats. They’re also guaranteed lots of fuss from the staff and, if they behave themselves, a sausage at breakfast.
Dogs are welcome in approximately half of the cosy bar/restaurant area, where there are plenty of tables to choose from, as well as a sofa to snuggle up on. You’ll also find a big jar of treats next to the front door and a lovely pub garden, which has great views of the surrounding hills and 0% “dog beer” on draught.
AND WHEN I’M DOG TIRED? Chill out in one of the hotel’s 20 rooms, which are connected to the pub but feel completely separate. You would never know you were close to the A3, either – during our visit, we couldn’t hear any traffic noise from our spacious first-floor room, which had everything we needed for a short stay.
The bed was nigh-on perfect and there was a nice selection of complimentary drinks and snacks, as well as Cole & Lewis toiletries, a flatscreen TV and free WiFi (albeit with patchy coverage). There were also lots of thoughtful little touches, such as local magazines, a cafetiere and takeaway coffee cups, should you want a hot drink for the road. Parking wasn’t an issue either, thanks to separate areas for pub and hotel guests.
HOW ARE THE SCOOBY SNACKS? Think high-end pub grub. I loved the the halloumi and red pepper burger, served with triple-cooked chips, but recommend saving a bit of room for Paul’s Brownie. Around a third of this decadent dessert – created by Fuller’s Director of Food, Paul Dickenson – is Belgian dark chocolate so it’s guaranteed to satisfy even the sweetest tooth.
Breakfast is also a fine affair. The Hampshire Hog team put on a lovely continental spread with everything from local honey to beautifully-presented fresh fruit but hot food can also be cooked to order.The Full English is fab and when we stayed, the buttermilk pancakes seemed particularly popular, too.
ANY FOUR-LEGGED FRIENDS TO PLAY WITH? You’re sure to bump in to other visiting doggos, whether they’ve popped in for a bite to eat with their owners or are staying over.
WHERE’S GOOD FOR WALKIES? Head straight to Queen Elizabeth Country Park. From the Hampshire Hog, it’s a 10-minute walk but the path runs alongside a busy road so if your dog is sensitive to noise, it’s best to drive. The 2,000-hectare park has a range of great circular walks, as well as a dog agility area so you can put your pooch through their paces. You’ll have to pay to park – at the time of writing, it was £2.20 for one hour.
Butser Hill National Nature Reserve – home to the highest point in Hampshire – is also nearby and, of course, there’s the South Downs National Park to explore, which covers a huge area from Winchester to Eastbourne. Whether you want to take in the rolling hills or stroll through one of the many market towns, there’ll be a walk for you. Click here to see some suggested routes.
WHAT ERNIE LOVED: The treats in the room (and the lovely note from the head housekeeper), meeting other dogs in the bar, the sausage at breakfast
WHAT I LOVED: The delicious food, the quiet location, the cosy vibe in the bar area, which is filled with fairy lights
GET ON THE DOG AND BONE: Rooms at The Hampshire Hog start from £79, including breakfast. For more information or to book, call 023 9259 1083 or visit The Hampshire Hog website.