Milsoms, Dedham

Exterior of Milsoms, Dedham

What’s Milsoms like?

This ivy-clad country house hotel is located in the heart of the Dedham Vale, on the Essex/Suffolk border. Luxurious yet laid back, Milsoms is renowned for the fresh, locally-sourced food served in its restaurant. It is part of the family-run Milsom Hotels group.

How dog-friendly is Milsoms?

Very good. We had a doggy welcome pack waiting for us in our room, consisting of a towel, bowl, treats and biodegradable poo bags. The boys loved exploring the terraced gardens and while dogs are not allowed in the main brasserie restaurant, we could dine with them in both the lounge and terrace, which is covered by an architectural sail and heated all year round. Up to two pets can stay for an additional charge of £10 per dog.

Bedroom at Milsoms, Dedham

Tell me more about Milsoms

The 15 stylish rooms at Milsoms have all been individually designed by owner, Geraldine Milsom. The keys come attached to quirky giant whisks too, so they’re pretty hard to lose! Rooms come in three different categories based on size, and range from Standard to Superior and Deluxe. Our Deluxe room – No1 – was absolutely enormous and had double aspect windows overlooking both the hotel entrance and the terrace and lawn.

The comfy king-size bed had a feature zebra print headboard that matched the blinds, and there was a mini lounge area with leather sofa and coffee table, plus a desk. Cool, contemporary light fittings contrasted nicely with the retro telephone, and there were huge mirrors and funky artwork, as well as a Bluetooth speaker, Sky TV and Dyson Airblade fan. Tea and coffee-making facilities were hidden away in a cupboard, along with a minibar with complimentary soft drinks. The en-suite shower room, with feature wood-effect walls, was also tucked away off the main room and felt a bit like a Scandi cabin, which I loved. The Elemis toiletries were a real treat, too.

Despite the floor in our room being mainly carpeted, with wood framing the edges, the boards were very creaky. I didn’t feel too bad about this though because we were above one of the two rooms that can be hired for private events – and the people downstairs were making a bit of a racket! It’s also worth noting that Milsoms is very close to the A12 too, although you can only really hear road noise when you’re outside or have windows open.

Beetroot and goats' cheese arancini at Milsoms, Dedham

What’s the food like at Milsoms?

Excellent. The bar and brasserie is open all day every day and hotel guests are the only people who can reserve tables. We were expecting it to be quiet on a Monday night, but it was the complete opposite – and apparently that’s quite normal so the team must be doing something right! We managed to find a quiet spot to dine with the dogs on the outdoor terrace, which was fully covered and nice and cosy, with blankets on the chairs and lots of patio heaters.

As well as the main menu, which has everything from steak and mussels to burgers, Milsoms has separate vegan and vegetarian menus, which are great. And unlike most restaurants, where waiting staff come to you, guests are asked to write down what they want on a notepad and to order at the bar, which makes things nicely informal. My beetroot and goats’ cheese arancini, pictured above, was delicious and came with a hefty side of mac ‘n’ cheese. I recommend you save plenty of space for dessert, though – there’s an extensive list of ice creams and sorbets, alongside specials and old favourites like sticky toffee pudding.

Are there resident dogs at Milsoms?

No, but if you’re lucky, you might bump into some other dogs who have stopped by for a bite to eat or are staying over.

River Stour at Flatford/Dedham

Where are the best dog walks near Milsoms?

A footpath directly opposite the hotel will take you to Dedham High Street in approximately 25 minutes. It’s part of the 82-mile Essex Way, which runs from Epping to Harwich. From Dedham, you can also follow in the footsteps of 19th Century artist John Constable and walk the two miles to Flatford. You are in Constable Country, after all! The walk alongside the River Stour to Flatford Mill – owned by the National Trust – is a lovely one, and it also has a great cafe with a special dog-friendly area where you can stop off and refuel.

The Dedham Vale surrounding the hotel is a designated Area of Outstanding Beauty and the River Stour itself is a great source of entertainment. The team at Milsoms can help guests hire bikes, canoes and paddleboards and many of the local companies are happy for dogs to join their owners on the water. For more suggestions when it comes to dog-friendly things to see and do in the area, check out our Essex Life column about Dedham.

Ernie makes himself at home on the bed at Milsoms, Dedham

What Ernie and Stan loved about Milsoms

The doggy welcome pack, the landscaped gardens, the sausages for breakfast

What I loved about Milsoms

The stylish rooms, the delicious food, the laid-back vibe

How to book Milsoms

Overnight stays start from £160, including breakfast. To book or to see the latest special offers, call 01206 322795 or visit the Milsoms website.

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