Worth Matravers Swanage BH10 3LF 01929 439 229
The Square and Compass is a Dorset institution. Built as a pair of cottages in the 18th century, the bar itself is simply a hatch in one wall and the interior a couple of rooms, warmed in winter by log fires and a mass of people and dogs. Nevertheless, the pub puts on frequent live music, crams in its own museum of local fossils and marine life and hosts a number of annual festivals, including a stone carving festival (July–Aug), a September Jazz Festival and an autumn competition for the biggest local pumpkin. The garden, too, is a fascinating hotchpotch of stone stools and carved chairs overlooking superb countryside, while the pub’s ales, ciders and famous pies really hit the spot.
Go to this tiny, quirky pub on a hot summers day and enjoy a delicious hot pasty and a pint of good cold beer at one of the long wooden tables. Watch out for the chickens who will rapidly and delightedly hoover up your crumbs or possibly your entire lunch if you weren't fast enough, as they will jump up onto the tables to say hello. This is not the place to go if you want an extensive wine list and menu, it offers only the basics but does them brilliantly, and it's a unique little place nestled in the countryside far away from the clutches of the big breweries.
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