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Breweries and pubs have become synonymous with country living and countryside breaks. So much so that whole tourist attractions and sights have been borne out of the industry.

What better way is there to discover the area local to Dorset countryside holiday cottages than by visiting the nearby watering hole, getting to know the locals and sampling some of that fine Dorset beer?

Here we have provided the five best ways to discover Dorset through this popular tipple, with a whole host of hints and tips that can make you English country cottage break something extra special and memorable.

1. Breweries

One thing Dorset has become famous for above all else is that of its breweries and sheer brewing talent. Today, some of the best and most famous beers now come out of this popular southern holiday location – here are just a few of our favourites.

  • Sixpenny BreweryThis small independent brewery located in the Sixpenny Handley keeps tradition at its heart when creating the finest beers and ales. Only established in 2007 from a love of real ale and home brewing, The Sixpenny Brewery has now made its name among Dorset pubs and across the UK, with many of its beers winning prestigious The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) awards.
  • Piddle BreweryAnother award-winner is the established Piddle Brewery. With this brewery you also get a sense of the spirited Dorset humour, shown clearly with their light-hearted choice of brand name. Choose from a range of craft beers, including the affectionately named Jimmy, Slasher and, of course, Piddle.

  • Hall & WoodhouseThe little badger has become famous, now seen in supermarkets as well as down the local pub, but you may be surprised to learn that the brewery behind the famed Badger beers Tangle Foot, Fursty Ferret and Golden Champion is based in Blandford St. Mary, Dorset. Established back in 1777 when Charles Hall started brewing beer for troops stationed in Weymouth for the Napoleonic wars, they have since gone on to become one of the most recognised breweries in the country.

To get a more in-depth experience of the brewery and its Dorset history, visitors can enjoy brewery tours with Hall & Woodhouse.

“Join the Tour and explore the brewery to discover more about the fascinating art of brewing beer.

The guided tour takes you on a journey through the story of Hall & Woodhouse and the art of brewing with the opportunity to taste the malt, smell the hops and drink the beer! You'll be guided around the brewery, with the chance to see brewery artefacts and advertising materials, before concluding your visit in the brewery shop, which sells a wide range of the renowned Badger beers and an exclusive collection of Badger merchandise.” – Hall & Woodhouse

2. Pubs

Once you know a bit more about the local breweries, there is nothing better than using this knowledge to sample them at nearby public houses. Hall & Woodhouse actually have a number of pubs themselves that Dorset visitors can go and enjoy their fine ale within, with locations right across the county.

For more great examples of quality pubs in Dorset, be sure to check out CAMRA’s latest Good Beer Guide.

We have a number of lovely cottages in Dorset that are within walking distance of a great pub; click here to find out more.

3. Trails

Nothing quite beats a walk to discover the local area whilst on holiday – nothing that is except a pub walk. Hall & Woodhouse have a great interactive map full of pub walks for you to enjoy, or, alternatively, see the Pub Trail website for a fantastic list of walks and a Dorset Pub Guide.

4. Festivals

Festivals act as a great way to immerse yourself in the local spirit, and beer festivals are no exception. Luckily, Dorset boasts a great list on their calendar.

  • Child Okeford Beer & Cider Festival at The Saxon Inn: September

5. Shows

If it is the countryside and the local way of life that has drawn you to Dorset then few events will show this at its best than the Dorset County Show. Showing off the best of local produce, including a fine selection of local beers and ales, it makes for a great day out as well as one of the best ways to discover Dorset through beer.

Image Credit: jchaplewsky (, Sixpenny Brewery, Hall & Woodhouse