Are you looking to get out of the city’s chaos, breathe some fresh countryside air, while staying within a 30-minute reach from London (and not having to move your car either, if you have one)? Then, a dog day out in the Chilterns is the perfect answer. In this post, we tell you all about our recent dog-friendly day trip from London to Beaconsfield. With walks and a visit to what is said to be the oldest (obviously dog-friendly) pub of the UK.
A dog day out in the Chilterns
Last month, some friends decided to take my husband and I on a surprise day out. The caveat was that the dog should be allowed, so they planned a full dog-friendly experience (we were very impressed, considering that they are not dog people!) and picked the Chilterns as a destination, just few miles West from London. A very rare experience where I did not have to take care of the planning and dog-friendliness checking, but could sit back and relax instead.
Our day included lunch at The Royal Standard of England pub and a walk in the countryside.
London Marylebone to the Chilterns
Getting to the Chilterns is much more convenient and quick than you could expect. You will be surprised – as we were – that it is just a 30 minutes train ride from Marylebone train station (an old cozy little station in the heart of London) to Beaconsfield, where your exploration of the Chilterns can start. We got the train departing at 11.14am from Marylebone: a train with just few carriages that took us to destination on the dot.
From Beaconsfield’s station, we headed towards the The Royal Standard of England pub (where our friends had previously booked a table) on foot. From the station you have to cross the bridge over the railway (on the right hand-side) and then turn left: a bit hidden there is a public footpath passing between villas and trees. It is a pleasant 30-minute walk on public footpaths and just a short stretch on the road to reach the pub.
Lunch at dog-friendly The Royal Standard of England
The Royal Standard of England is a historic alehouse that is said to be the oldest freehouse in England and “a hidden gem off the beaten track”.
From outside you can get the feeling that it is an old pub – and the horse rail “parking” may give it away too – but it is only when you enter its doors that you realise how much history rests in its walls. If you are curious about it, you can find its full history here, otherwise, you can leave it for your visit, since it is printed on the back of the menu.
The main room could be mistaken for the set of a Game of Thrones’ episode, with all the ancient furnishings, animal heads, decorated windows and many little details that you can spot in every part. In fact, the pub is not unknown to the cinema: for instance, a scene of The Theory of Everything (with the truly amazing Eddie Redmayne) was filmed in the premises, along with many other films and TV series scenes.
As it is highly recommended to do, our friends had booked a table with much advance. We arrived a bit earlier than the agreed time, but despite the pub didn’t seem full, we had to wait the time of our reservation to be given a table inside, so we had drinks in the garden in the wait. We asked for a dog bowl and we were directed to a small sink on the ground near the entrance door, which one can fill to water their dogs.
At the pub there is also a big long-haired black cat, who Argo luckily didn’t see it when we entered the pub.
We were later given a lovely table near a decorated window, with much light! There was a wide range of dishes and the plates we had were great; our friends were enthusiastic about the pub’s popular whitebait starter and of some nice homemade ice cream for dessert.
A dog walk in the country
There are some nice walks starting/arriving at The Royal Standard of England. At the pub you can find some leaflets with a map of some recommended trails (which you can also find online here).
After lunch, we took a footpath next to the pub (we started on the recommended pub walk trail and then went off for a longer walk). Its first part wasn’t too well maintained (given the quantity of nettle, some of us wished they were wearing long trousers), but after a first gate, opening on an enclosed field, it became much better. This first field we encountered was sheep-free, so we took the chance to play fetch with Argo for a bit, to tire him out before the rest of the walk.
It is essential that you check whether there are sheep around, since herds populate the area, so you will need to keep your dog on a leash and under control in presence of them. Continuing on the path, we exited the field passing another gate to enter into the woods.
We encountered a friendly retired man with his two impeccably behaved working Labradors and started chatting. He showed us around and invited us to join him on his walk, which we very much enjoyed. It’s always great to gain the view and tips of a local and he took us along other trails and through the woods, before ending at the pub for a departing drink.
We were around for maybe a couple of hours, but if you want to plan some longer hikes, I woud recommend purchasing an map of the area to make the best out of it (see the bottom of the post for some further tips).
We walked back to the station around 7pm and soon we got on a train to the city. In time for another long walk (this time in the warm colours of the evening) and dinner, but this is another story.
Tips for planning your trip
- Getting there: Trains from Marylebone train station to Beaconsfield (on Chiltern Railway’s website). Prices vary, on average they seem to be quite cheap, between £5 and £18.
- Pub: The Royal Standard of England. Remember to book your table with good advance. If you can, try and ask for a table near a window or in the main hall for the best views.
- Walks/trekking: Get the Ordnance Survey’s Explorer Chilterns East Hills map of the area to make the most out of it (affiliate link). Alternatively, you take one of the pub walks suggested here.
- Prepare for the trip: wear some suitable sneakers/boots/walking shoes and long trousers, bring a collapsible dog bowl and water bottle.
E N J O Y !
Looking for more dog days out or dog-friendly short breaks days out of the city? Check out our Edinburgh dog-friendly short trip guide
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