Known for its picture-perfect villages, Salisbury Cathedral and iconic prehistoric monuments (it’s got more than any other county in England), Wiltshire makes an excellent holiday destination.
The high chalk downs and peaceful valleys characterise the county, which is home to captivating market towns such as Bradford-on-Avon and Royal Wootton Bassett, and chocolate box pretty villages like Lacock and Tisbury.
Off the beaten track, the Wiltshire countryside has something for every outdoor adventurer. There are charming canals, windswept hills, rolling fields, ancient forests, meandering chalk streams and wildlife-packed nature reserves to explore.
And when it comes time to refuel, there are traditional pubs aplenty to choose from. The food and drink on offer in this county vary, but you’ll notice some recurring themes throughout. Pork is a popular dish around here, with North Wiltshire in particular being renowned for pig farming since Saxon times. Let’s take a look at some of the best pubs Wiltshire has to offer…
Bonus: All of the pubs in this list welcome dogs!
The St, Crudwell, Malmesbury SN16 9EW
A sympathetically restored county pub offering real ale, creative seasonal food and a laidback convivial atmosphere, The Potting Shed Pub is perfect for a pitstop pint or a leisurely Sunday lunch (which earned it its place on our list of the best eateries in the Cotswolds). Inside, the low beamed rooms sprawl outward from the central bar area, which features handsome stone walls, a roaring log fire and pale flagstone floors. Along with plenty of tables and chairs you’ll find squishy armchairs and sofas in one corner, along with the daily papers.
There are plenty of separate dining areas, ideal if you’ve got a bigger party or special occasion in mind. The food here is rooted in the seasons, and local ingredients are front and centre. Think seasonal produce with a twist, like black pudding scotch egg or twice baked double Gloucester soufflé to start followed by a 10oz Kelmscott pork chop, braised fennel, new potatoes, nduja and salsa verde.
A couple of miles from the Cotswolds, it’s a wonderful spot to fuel up before a ramble through the rolling hills.
The Hill, Little Somerford, Chippenham SN15 5JP
If you're looking for a family run Wiltshire pub, look no further than Somerford Arms which is expertly run by Scott and Rachel. Scott has spent 30 years as a chef and together they have created a laidback, unpretentious pub simply focused on good food and drink.
The thriving village pub, tucked away in Little Somerford, is not just dog friendly but a great place for families and for those dining with allergies too. The menu is both comforting and original; think Maldon Sea salt & black pepper crispy squid or local Brillscote Farm honey & sesame halloumi, pomegranate molasses, sriracha & coriander to start, followed by crispy panko monkfish scampi, pickled summer vegetable salad, sweet potato fries & nduja mayonnaise. And who could resist pud? Somerford seasonal berry mess, crushed meringue, raspberry sorbet for us please!
There are plenty of fun packed events on here too, from music nights to Christmas Eve feasts and a New Year’s Eve party. The historic town of Malmesbury is nearby and would make a great visit after lunch.
Compton Bassett, Calne SN11 8RG
An 18th century pub, the restaurant here has recently been awarded 2 AA rosettes. All the food is sourced locally, and the menu changes daily, from recognisable pub classics to innovative chef specials. Everything - and we mean everything - is handmade on site here, even down to the dog treats! A sample menu might include cod cheeks in Thai broth to start, pork loin with bacon, black pudding and apple mash for main and lemon parfait with lavender ice-cream to finish.
You can swing by the bar for a choice of real ales, local cider or something stronger. Take a seat in one of the cushioned window or wall seats and watch the rural world go by while you sip. Or take a seat at one of the assorted tables on the parquet flooring, pick one near the wood burning stove for the ultimate cosy winter pub vibe. Afterwards, make the most of the rural setting with a post-pub ramble.
Bath Road, Chippenham SN14 0AE
Roast dinner fan? Can't wait for Sunday? The Pheasant has got you covered - its quality carvery is served seven days a week.
In the winter, snap up a table by the roaring log fire and tuck into a range of meats all sourced from nearby award-winning butchers. If a roast dinner isn't your cup of tea, there is a separate menu packed with pub classics. Plus, a bar stocked with Wadworth ale and plenty more tempting treats.
In addition to the excellent food, you'll also find live sport and regular events throughout the year including quiz nights, live music and karaoke.
When you've had your fill of roast, head outside to explore the pretty Georgian town of Chippenham. For further adventures, the pub is just a 5-minute drive from picturesque Lacock village and 15 minutes from the 15th century village of Castle Combe.
2 High St, Corsham SN13 0HB
Nestled in the heart of Corsham, a picturesque village, The Methuen Arms is a gorgeous Georgian pub offering award-winning food and Butcombe beer on tap.
Inside the pub delivers plenty of character, with its woodburning stoves, bare-boards front bar and dining room kitted out with plush chairs and botanical inspired prints. The large restaurant is bright and airy, and outside you'll find a beer garden complete with a covered and heated pergola.
When it comes to food, the name of the game here is local. You might tuck into cured Chalk Stream Farm trout to start, Butcombe Gold beer-battered fish and finish up with Cotswold Gin summer pudding. Whatever you select, local produce is sure to be at the heart of this menu.
Full up and ready to explore? The pub sits next to the stately home and manicured grounds of Corsham Court. Nearby wonderful things to do include visiting Lacock Abbey and Castle Combe. It's also just ten miles out of the City of Bath.
6 Church St, Lacock, Chippenham SN15 2LB
If you're looking for a pretty setting, you'd be hard pressed to beat Sign of The Angel, which is located in the National Trust village of Lacock on the edge of the Cotswolds.
The 15th century Coaching inn comes with all the trimmings you'd expect, including flagstone floors and giant inglenook fireplaces. There is a pretty garden to the rear, with al fresco dining tables nestled between apple trees that lead down to a stream and paddock.
When it comes to food, you're in for a treat. Start with a duo of pork (pork belly, pork and maple lollipop, apricot and calvados jam) with a main of herb crusted lamb cutlets with carrot puree and Bombay potato gratin, and finish up with a treacle tart with orange curd cream.
Afterwards head outside to explore the medieval village of Lacock, which looks the same as it did a few hundred years ago. Check out the medieval cloister Lacock Abbey or head to the Cotswolds for a more outdoorsy adventure.
48 Poulshot Rd, Poulshot, Devizes SN10 1RW
The Raven Inn is run by the family at Poulshot Lodge Farm, who have been farming here since 1963. They decided to expand their horizons in 2021 and took over The Raven, the much-loved local pub.
As you can imagine, their background influences the menu here so you can expect genuine field-to-fork cooking. The menu includes their own grass-fed Hereford & Aberdeen Angus beef, while the pork and lamb come from local farmers in Seend and surrounding areas, and everything is butchered in the farm shop by them.
So, what can you expect? How does pig’s head and pistachio terrine sound to start? For main you can tuck into stuffed roasted lamb breast and for pudding a white wine poached pear with white chocolate and walnut mousse. Count us in! There is also a pub classics menu, with staples such as steak and Guinness pie.
The Wiltshire Museum is around three miles away and a great place to find out more about this fascinating county. Check out gold and items from Stonehenge at this museum specialising in local treasures.
Long Street, Enford, Pewsey SN9 6DD
Wiltshire is packed full of country pubs and one of our favourite village pubs here is The Swan, previous winner of the Countryside Alliance British Pub Champion. Sitting on the River Avon, The Swan has played a central role in the village of Enford for some 350 years.
The pub is run by Peter and Emma, who have lived in Enford for almost two decades. It's dog friendly and the resident Jack Russell, Pickle, is usually around to request a treat from the tin behind the bar!
Food here is homemade and wherever possible, locally sourced. From hearty sandwiches and soups for lunch, to pub classics like lasagne, fishcakes or the legendary Swan's burger for dinner. Puddings are homemade too, and nod to traditional and cockle-warming favourites such as crumble, sticky toffee pudding and lemon meringue tart.
Just 7 miles north is Stonehenge, so it’d be rude not to swing by! Alternatively, rent a bike and go for an adventure: the National Cycle Network runs directly through the village.
Fonthill Gifford, Salisbury SP3 6PX
First opening its doors in 1740, The Beckford Arms is a traditional country inn with all the modern conveniences. It’s located on the edge of the rolling parkland of the Fonthill Estate, just twenty minutes out of Salisbury and Stonehenge.
While the pub suffered damage in a fire a decade ago, but they have done a fabulous job recreating the original Georgian coaching inn. Inside, you can expect local ales and wine, with the food menu showcasing some of their own grown produce. The main bar features parquet flooring, a sprawling fireplace and a friendly bar. Go for the Bloody Mary which comes with home-grown horseradish.
The public areas of the pub are dog friendly, and exploring the nearby Fonthill Estate is a must with your four-legged friend, though there are grazing animals so take special care and keep your dog on a lead.
47 Westbury Rd, Edington, Westbury BA13 4PG
A self-declared 'chef led' business, foodies are in for a treat here. They aim to serve up flavoursome dishes inspired by their surroundings. There is a nose-to-tail philosophy here, that starts with good relationships with their farmers and growers, and ends with delighting customers. The menu changes regularly, so you could be tucking into the likes of smoked ham hock caesar salad to start, chargrilled pork chop with roast celeriac for your main and finish up with a vanilla panna cotta.
Enjoy your food with a traditional English beer from their Three Daggers microbrewery. Or, in sunny months, grab a table outside and get your dinner from their Woodshed, serving sourdough pizzas and draught beers.
Afterwards, swing by the onsite farm shop to stock up on goodies to take back to your holiday cottage. Choose from artisan British cheeses, local, organic meat and market garden vegetables. There's also honey from Salisbury plain and local bread made from ancient grain varieties.
Has Wiltshire won you over? We’ve got a selection of charming cottages in Wiltshire to discover, from renovated barns to cottages tucked in areas of outstanding natural beauty.