The King's Arms

Dorchester, Dorset
+44 (0)1747 850580

A beautifully restored old coaching inn with a vibrant, bustling atmosphere, great food, friendly staff and super-swish bedrooms


20 rooms


Rooms sleep 2

Children welcome
Pets welcome
Babies welcome

The Experience

You’re well looked after here. This has been a place of succour to the weary traveller for 300 years and and it’s thought that much of Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge was written here. There’s a bright and jolly buzz downstairs: a smoking room with comfortable chairs in pretty fabrics, a gorgeous bar with a green marble top and a restaurant with a partly open kitchen so you can enjoy the performances.

An excellent breakfast menu includes really good veggie choices plus Old Spot pork and sausages from Wedmore, and home-baked bread. A ciabatta menu at lunchtime is popular but you can also get classic pub grub or posh modern British with a twist. Three hand-pumped ales, Jurassic Coast cider, colourful cocktails and a decent wine list mean you’d better stay the night.

Bedrooms come in different sizes but even the smallest have beautiful windows and high ceilings. All have mini fridges, Nespresso machines and Roberts radios. And very good beds.

The King's Arms - Gallery

We think you'll love

  • People-watching downstairs and sampling the cocktails before dinner
  • Having an enormous breakfast then setting off on glorious walks, perhaps with a picnic
  • Visiting all the museums in Dorchester and finding out more about its fascinating history
The King's Arms - Gallery

You should know

  • Only the smoking room (where you can have meals too) and bedrooms on the first floor are dog friendly
  • One parking space per room for residents


  • Swimming pool
  • Hot tub
  • Garden
  • Open fire / woodburner
  • Breakfast included
  • Breakfast available
  • Meals available
  • Vegetarian meals
  • Parking on premises
  • Free parking nearby
  • Accessible by public transport
  • WiFi
  • Television
  • Spa
  • Central heating
  • Limited mobility
  • Wheelchair access
  • Mobile reception
  • Hob
  • Bar
  • Barbecue
  • Licensed premises
  • Paid parking nearby
  • Air conditioning
  • Relaxation areas
  • Washing machine
  • Tennis court
  • No smoking
  • Credit cards
  • Working farm
  • Owner has pets
  • Pets welcome

Family friendly

  • Baby monitor
  • Books and toys
  • Children welcome
  • Babies welcome
  • Stair gates
  • High chair
  • Cot available


  • Pub/bar within 3 miles
  • Restaurant within 3 miles
  • Shop within 3 miles


  • Bikes available
  • Food courses
  • Kayaking
  • Other courses
  • Sailing
  • Surfing
  • Wild swimming

& pricing

Booking information

Check in
Check out
No smoking
Smoking not permitted anywhere in the property.
Lunch £15. Dinner £25.


Nightly price
from £95
1 Twin/double
From £195
1 Twin/double
From £190
2 Doubles
From £95
5 Twin/doubles
From £160
8 Doubles
From £105
3 Twin/doubles
From £145



Sympathetically renovated, combining the best of the old with the new. Delicious modern menu served from an open kitchen. Helpful and friendly staff. Conveniently situated in the centre of town.

Diane, Bedfordshire

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The neighbourhood

This is Hardy country and you can't walk through the town without many reminders that this is also Casterbridge – The King’s Arms featured in Hardy’s writing and his life. It's still a busy market town with shops, restaurants and museums. Prince Charles's Poundbury is just up the road and has a superb spa. Weymouth is the nearest beach (25 minutes) but there's also Bridport and the fabulous West Bay.

Local points of interest from Rob & Camille Greacen

  • The King's Arms was Thomas Hardy's local. It features extensively in his novel, The Mayor of Casterbridge, as well as in Far from The Madding Crowd. He wrote here, dined here and recommended it to visiting friends such as Robert Louis Stephenson.
  • The King's Arms has medieval roots with the current building dating from 1720. Built on the main route from London to the South West, it underwent a large-scale rebuilding in the early 19th century when it was owned by the Earl of Shaftesbury.
  • Dorchester, was once a fortified walled Roman Town, Durnovaria. You're at the heart of the town here and its rich history. Explore the Roman ruins and Dorset County Museum, home to more than two million artifacts.
  • Strike out further afield further to the ancient hillfort of Maiden Castle, or Max Gate, the home Thomas Hardy designed for himself and now a national trust property.
  • The Jurassic coast is nearby. Bridport is 16 miles east for a fun twice-weekly market and a buzzing art scene, while Weymouth’s old-fashioned seaside charm is 10 miles south.
  • The brick archways of the restaurant pass are the former entrance to the stables and the stunning headboard in Room 103 is ‘upcycled’ from an Edwardian room divider!