The Helyar Arms, East Coker

Exterior of the Helyar Arms, East Coker

What’s The Helyar Arms like?

This warm and welcoming 15th Century inn is located in the picturesque village of East Coker, near Yeovil. Fairy lights adorn the bar and open fires crackle in the lovely Grade II listed building, which retains much of its period charm.

How dog-friendly is The Helyar Arms?

Very. You’ll need to bring your own beds, bowls and food but pets will be made to feel very welcome here. There are treats behind the bar which are available for a small donation in the charity box. When we visited, there were also seven other dogs out enjoying the beer garden.

Owners Patrick and Claire have two dogs who often visit the pub to say hello to the punters. As a result, there is a 10pm dog curfew in the bar so the resident pooches can pop down before bedtime. There is an additional charge of £10 per night per pet to stay.

Beryl Knapp room at the Helyar Arms, East Coker

Tell me more about The Helyar Arms

There are six guest rooms above the pub, which is named after Archdeacon Helyar. He was once chaplain to Queen Elizabeth I and owned nearby Coker Court. We stayed in the spacious Beryl Knapp room, which was both comfortable and homely. It had a king-size bed, pine furniture and a cute little tea and coffee station with a spotty teapot and mugs.

There was also a flatscreen TV, but we were more taken with the view from the window, which looked out over the village’s chocolate box cottages. The bathroom – complete with personalised pub tiles in the shower – was a little dated but clean and had complimentary Ebony London toiletries. I also liked the sign that highlighted the ancient plumbing by asking us not to flush certain things, including our hopes and dreams, down the loo.

We visited The Helyar Arms soon after the first coronavirus lockdown had lifted and several safety measures had been put in place. There was a one-way system in the bar and people were being encouraged to keep their distance and use the hand sanitisers provided.

Burger at the Helyar Arms, East Coker

What’s the food like at The Helyar Arms?

Excellent. Expect a great range of pub grub served alongside Somerset cider. Diners can enjoy everything from locally-sourced Goose Slade Farm burgers to pies and the menu is always evolving. When we visited, there was also a good selection of pizzas and everything was reasonably priced.

Fresh flowers adorn the tables in the fairy-lit bar and meals can also be enjoyed in the cosy snug or garden. Breakfast is well worth getting up for, too. Guests are invited to help themselves to cereal, yoghurt and fruit before a platter of sausages, bacon and other goodies is delivered to your table. Vegetarians and vegans can also be catered for.

Are there resident dogs at The Helyar Arms?

Yes, two working Cocker Spaniels – Molly and her daughter Grace. We didn’t get to meet them on our visit but they can often be found in the bar.

Ernie waits patiently for treats in the beer garden at the Helyar Arms, East Coker

Where are the best dog walks near The Helyar Arms?

They start right from the front door. A sign opposite the pub directs you to Coker Moor, half a mile up the road. However, literary lovers may want to head in the opposite direction, to St Michael & All Angels’ Church. Here, you will find the resting place of poet T.S. Eliot, whose ancestors originally came from East Coker.

If you’re keen to explore the area around Yeovil, there are some good circular walks, ranging from three to five miles in length. South Somerset District Council has produced a leaflet detailing six of the best. Click here to find out more.

The Monarch’s Way – the 615-mile route taken by King Charles II as he fled to France – also passes through the area. And Ham Hill Country Park is a great place to visit for some off-lead action. The 390-acre park is centred around a huge Iron Age fort and hosts an annual dog show.

Cosy snug area with fairy lights at the Helyar Arms, East Coker

What Ernie loved about The Helyar Arms

Hanging out with the local dogs in the beer garden, the tasty treats behind the bar, the sausage for breakfast

What I loved about The Helyar Arms

The lovely staff, the delicious food, the cosy pub decor

How to book The Helyar Arms

All rooms are priced at £70 per night. Breakfast is an extra £10 per person. For more information or to book, call 01935 862332 or visit The Helyar Arms website.

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