From its food to its countryside strolls, its restaurants to its coastline, Essex is not only a great place to visit with friends and family, but with canine companions as well. As stats show more than 50 per cent of us choose to travel with our four-legged family members, the Good Hotel Guide shares some of their top dog-friendly hotels in Essex.

Great British Life: The Sun InnThe Sun Inn (Image: The Sun Inn, Dedham)

The Sun Inn, Dedham

A sunshine yellow pub-with-rooms, The Sun Inn is a mediaeval coaching inn set amid the pastoral landscape of Dedham Vale.

Just a five-minute stroll from the Stour river and overlooking St. Mary’s Church tower, enter a world of low beams and characterful features as you relax by the fire after a day of local exploration. Rooms are cosy and characterfully named, each with its own individual features, such as ‘Boudicca’, with its own fireplace, and ‘Constable’ with its pretty bay window.

Food is a central feature of your stay. Chef Jack Levine uses day-boat fish from Wivenhoe, humanely reared meat and locally grown organic and biodynamic produce in a delectable menu. Favourites include Dingley Dell sausages at breakfast, as well as skate, devilled mussel butter sauce for dinner.

Dogs are welcome to stay at the pub with their human companions, but are asked to bring their own bedding. Additional charges are applied if extra cleaning is required.


Great British Life: The Pier The Pier (Image: The Pier at Harwich)

The Pier at Harwich, Harwich

An impressive Victorian quayside hotel, The Pier at Harwich makes an impression from its position on the water's edge, greeting you with its iron-lace balcony overlooking the Stour and Orwell estuaries. Part of the Milsom family of hotels, it has its own individual style but carries the hallmarks of the collection’s dependably high standards.

Design at The Pier at Harwich celebrates the maritime surroundings from the restaurant to the rooms. There are 14 bedrooms spanning the second floor of the property (with views of the water) as well as a second building formerly known as the Angel public house.

Food and drink are a key feature as well, with the industrial-chic, ground-floor NAVYÄRD bar serving Scandi-inspired small plates along with cask ales, craft beers, cocktails and more than 150 gins from their Gin Library. The brasserie is on the first floor, featuring exposed brick walls, bare bulbs, leather banquettes and an eye-catching painting by Essex artist James Dodds. Here you can tuck into classics with a twist, including Harwich crab and fish and chips as part of their all-day menu.

The Pier at Harwich welcomes dogs free of charge in the bedrooms, bar and lounge areas. They happily provide drinking bowls and charge a small supplement for an extra deep clean.


Great British Life: Dedham HallDedham Hall (Image: Dedham Hall)

Dedham Hall, Dedham

A 15th-century manor house in the heart of Constable Country, Dedham Hall has been hosting guests under the care of its current owners for nearly 30 years. A characterful timber-frame property, it's like stepping into a painting by the artist himself, and fittingly, the inn frequently hosts residential art courses.

Comforting and welcoming, the rustic style of Dedham Hall makes it the sort of place you want to return to time and again. Its architecture is all exposed beams and wonky floors, and guests are greeted with tea and home-made cakes in lieu of regular hotel formalities.

There are four bedrooms in the main property, as well as annexe rooms around the art studio, all of which have their own quirks that endear them. There's lots of comfy sofas to lounge on, making yourself right at home as you sit by the fire and read the paper or decide what's for supper.

Food at this charming hotel is always fresh and delicious, offering an ever-changing feast of things like roast scallops or mushroom and cream cheese pancakes.

In these blissful surroundings, dogs are welcome in select bedrooms at no extra charge, although they're not permitted in the public rooms.


Great British Life: Talbooth House & SpaTalbooth House & Spa (Image: Talbooth House & Spa)

Talbooth House & Spa, Dedham

An elegant Victorian country house hotel in Dedham Vale, Talbooth House and Spa is a four-star, 12-bedroom hotel that takes in rural views and offers rest and relaxation for those who come and stay.

Rooms are named after poets such as Shakespeare and Keats, Newbolt and Betjeman, and all are bedecked in flamboyant style. They're complete with all the trimmings for a contemporary getaway, from fluffy robes to Elemis toiletries, magazines and books. Beyond your room however, there's much to explore. The Pool House is home to a day spa, where you can enjoy a range of treatments. There's also an outdoor swimming pool, a hot tub, log burning fire, showers and changing areas. Play a game of tennis, roam the grounds, or retire to the Garden Room to relax with a view.

The hotel is complete with two restaurants. The Talbooth Restaurant has three AA Rosettes and serves a fine dining experience. For more relaxed meals, there's also Milsoms - a friendly brasserie beyond the hotel grounds, and they will happily offer a car to take you there.

Dogs are allowed in the bedrooms (for a fee of £15 per night including towels and a bowl). They're also welcome in the lounge, on the terrace and in select areas of the brasserie, but not the restaurant.


Great British Life: The White Hart InnThe White Hart Inn (Image: The White Hart Inn)

The White Hart Inn, Colchester

In West Mersea, The White Hart Inn is a gastropub-with-rooms that today is celebrated for its superb seafood, but until 2013 had been left derelict. Chef Piers Baker spotted it and realised it was a diamond in the rough, revamping it in 2021, opening it in 2022 and it's been the talk of the town ever since.

With views stretching towards the sea, it remains a popular local for some as well as a culinary destination for others. There are six contemporary bedrooms to stay in, sporting jaunty colours and modern facilities including vast walk-in showers.

The real star of the show, as mentioned, is the food. Seasonal fare, and a healthy selection of options means that while Mersea oysters, mussels and fish are top of the agenda, vegetarian and meat specialities are no less special. Tuck into an asparagus fritter with pea aioli or a tempura courgette flower with basil and tofu mousse, for example, and wash it all down with a favourite from their detailed wine list.

Dogs are welcome in three of the bedrooms, part of the main bar and restaurant, all free of charge unless there's any damage. There's also a large beautiful garden to spend time in.