We love a trip to the pub with the dogs, particularly after a long walk or a run about, so could you imagine our delight when we realised that there was a stunning dog-friendly pub less than five minutes away from our favourite freedom field? It would be rude not to pop in for a pint with four tired dogs in tow, right?
The Swettenham Arms is just up the road from Country Hounds, where Phoebe, Frank, Winston and Belle love a good hour of running, playing and exploring. It’s a gorgeous 16th-century inn nestled in the heart of the Cheshire countryside between Congleton and Holmes Chapel, concealed behind the 13th Century Parish Church, St. Peters.
The quintessential English pub, although recently refurbished, is full of character with plenty of nooks to sit in, wooden beams and open fires – and has its own Instagrammable lavender meadow, prime for relaxing with a glass of wine with tired paws under tables.
Knowing the gastro pub gets quite busy on weekends, we booked our table for six humans and four dogs in advance. We would have been able to sit in the bar, ‘top room’ or out on the paved terrace, but we opted to overlook the show stopping floral display and garden pavilion instead.
You do have to order inside, so the ladies of the group left the dogs with the lads as we paid for our food at the bar. The country inn serves a selection of microbrewery ales and IPAs, as well as a good selection of gin and wines, too.
The Swettenham Arms was recently taken over by Robinson’s Brewery, but has been recognised with a string of major food accolades over the last twenty years, including a feature in the 2020 Good Pub Guide along with the AA’s Pub Guide – as a result, I was pretty excited about the food.
Jake ordered the prime beef burger, which came in at £14. The Swettenham Arms’ menu is pricier than your average pub grub, but it’s far superior to your average pub grub, too – complete with stunning surroundings. His burger, which was huge, came served with smoked bacon, onion rings, tomato, lettuce, cheese, gherkin, mustard mayo and chunky chips.
Meanwhile, I couldn’t resist the Sunday roast (£16.50) with topside beef served with new potatoes, beef dripping roast potatoes, carrots and cabbage, cauliflower cheese, a massive Yourksire pudding and lashings of gravy. You can add extras too, like extra gravy, pork loin, bacon mash and garlic broccoli – frankly it all sounded incredible, but I just picked up some extra gravy, just in case (it certainly wasn’t needed).
The beef dripping roasties were gorgeous, and all of the veg was well cooked and seasoned. The star of the show – the Yorkshire pudding – was to die for, and there was so much beef on my plate I couldn’t finish it. It felt neverending. But fear not, it didn’t go to waste – don’t forget that there were four tired, but not-too-tired-for-food bull breeds beneath the table drooling at my feet for some tidbits, which they were very much appreciative of.
Of course, I couldn’t leave without taking some photos of the Scamps in the fragrant floral field.
The meadow was created in 2005, and is very popular with families, walkers and even wedding parties, with many choosing The Swettenham Arms as their venue. The show of lavender flowers in June and lasts throughout August, with around now (August 21) being the best time to propagate lavender from your plants – or so I heard on TikTok.
The two-acre plot offers an incredible photo opportunity for children, dogs, families and Instagrammers surrounded by lilac blooms.
As well as fantastic food, a tranquil setting and cosy country vibes, the former nunnery also hosts offers like £8.50 gin copas and cheap fish and chips on Wednesdays. On Tuesdays, their car park is filled with classic cars, with motorbike meets on Thursdays, making it a real community hub, too.
So if you’re planning a walk in the Cheshire countryside with your canine companion, or just fancy popping out for a pint with your pooch, The Swettenham Arms is a gorgeous spot with a country pub atmosphere and modern British cuisine.
Find out more, or book in to secure a table here.