Dorset, United Kingdom

The Bull Hotel

Rates from (ex tax)$88.34

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP80.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

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Style

Fresh prints, belle air

Setting

Busy little Bridport

Housed in an 1850s royal-blue coaching inn in the Dorset town of Bridport, The Bull Hotel has been done up in full vintage-chic, pairing stripped wood floors and tasteful antiques paired with bold fabrics and patterns. A relaxed restaurant offers a menu of fantastic local fare – with superlative seafood – while, in the converted barn, a second, more casual restaurant serves stone-baked pizzas and an impressive selection of ciders. A great value, The Bull Hotel is family-friendly and perfectly situated for exploring the Jurassic Coast.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A glass of champagne each with dinner

Facilities

Photos The Bull Hotel facilities

Need to know

Rooms

19, including one suite and four junior suites.

Check–Out

11am, earliest check‑in, 3pm but occasionally flexible by prior arrangement.

Rates

Double rooms from $88.34 (£67), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP80.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates include breakfast.

Also

The Bull Hotel has a bright and beautiful Victorian ballroom with a minstrels’ gallery that can be used for wedding parties of up to 110 people.

At the hotel

Courtyard, games room with a DVD player and DVD library. Space for bicycles to be parked. In rooms, deluxe bed, flatscreen TV, black‑out blinds, free WiFi, robes, Bramley toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

The Red Four‑Poster Room (104) will kindle romance with its vividly hued walls, gorgeous bed and vintage roll‑top bath. The Palm Double (201) is a Master Room with bold palm-printed wallpaper and lamps with palm-tree stems. The three Family Rooms (301, 108, 106) have unique details and vivid wallpapers, and couples can get very cosy in the Snug Rooms' cabin-style beds.

Packing tips

Kites, jelly shoes and frisbees for the beach.

Also

Two-night minimum stay at weekends.

Children

More than welcome: Family Rooms have bunk-beds and space for a cot, the restaurant has a dedicated kids menu with tried and trusted favourites (fish and chips, pasta with pesto, ice cream…), and there's table football in the Ostler Room.

Overview

More than welcome: there are three Family Rooms with bunk beds; cots can be added for free, on request.

Best for

Babies and up – children of all ages welcomed.

Recommended rooms

With bunk-beds and space for a cot, if needed, the Family Rooms are the best option for broods.

Activities

You can walk to the nearest beaches at Lyme Bay, or go on a fishing trip from nearby West Bay. Lulu, the hotel's dog, is well behaved with children and loves to be taken for a walk.

Meals

Children are welcome in the restaurant at all times. The chef has devised a tempting children's menu with simple yet tasty dishes (fish and chips, grilled chicken and veggies, sausages and mash), and the kitchen is happy to heat up bottles and baby food, store children's food in the fridge, and provide packed lunches.

No need to pack

There are high chairs in the restaurant. Bramley toiletries provided in the bathrooms are gentle enough for children to use.

Also

Be aware that the hotel's car park is quite small and gets full fairly quickly. There is a public car park only 50 metres away.

Food and Drink

Photos The Bull Hotel food and drink

Top Table

On fine days, outside in the former stableyard; on cold ones, by the fire.

Dress Code

Vintage English weekend wear.

Hotel restaurant

The neutral‑toned restaurant is informal enough to make you feel as though you’re dining at a friend’s house – a friend who’s extremely handy in the kitchen, mind. Chef George Marsh's seafood‑focused menu has netted press plaudits aplenty, and is on offer till 9.30pm. 

Hotel bar

Venner Bar (open from Wednesday to Saturday, and occasional summer and bank-holiday Sundays) is named after a 17th‑century perpetrator of the Monmouth Rebellion who was involved in a shoot out in the Bull; but today the only shots you’ll hear are the ones being poured at the bar. On Friday evenings there are free canapés to kick off the weekend with at 6.30pm; arrive on time, these can go fast. Last orders run till late.

Last orders

Lunch is on offer between noon and 3pm, dinner from 6.30pm to 9.30pm in the restaurant. Check with the hotel before you head out for an appetite-building ramble, as times can vary. The Venner Bar serves from 5pm till late.

Room service

The full restaurant menu – plus anything bespoke that the chef can rustle up – is on offer during normal kitchen hours.

Location

Photos The Bull Hotel location
Address
The Bull Hotel
34 East Street, Bridport
Dorset
DT6 3LF
Dorset
United Kingdom

Planes

From London Heathrow, the drive will take two and a half hours. Bournemouth airport is the closest, around an hour's drive, or fly into Southampton, an 80-minute drive from the Bull.

Trains

The nearest main station is Dorchester, a 25-minute drive from the hotel. From London Waterloo, the journey will take two and a half hours. Axminster and Crewkerne stations are both under 30 minutes away.

Automobiles

Driving from London will take around three hours. The A35 will assist your journey west. Limited parking is available. If you don't get a space, there's an alternative car park down the road.

Worth getting out of bed for

There are seaside and countryside walks aplenty from Bridport: go for a sea‑breezy walk on the beach; inland, follow the Brit Valley Way, which starts at West Bay. Otherwise, enjoy gently ambling through town and wobbling from gastropub to antiquarian bookshop to tearoom. You're at the official gateway to the Jurassic Coast, so fossil hunters are occasionally rewarded with rock-bound treasures uncovered along the strand. To see the spectacular coastal and countryside views with ease, try a electric bike tour with an experienced local guide from Jurassic Electric.

Local restaurants

The Stable, a restaurant in the coaching inn behind the hotel, is a casual affair, with stone‑baked pizzas, pies and 57 varieties of cider on offer. In West Bay, the Riverside Restaurant serves up the very best fresh fish in a charming seasidey setting; you’ll need a reservation. On Saturdays and during school holidays, Bridport’s Electric Palace provides family‑friendly meals, although it’s no longer the proper brasserie it once was.

Local cafés

Have lunch or cream tea at the Hive Beach Café in Burton Bradstock, an alfresco favourite with award‑winning ice creams and smashing seafood. Bella’s at 7 South Street in Bucky Doo Square serves delicious home-made cakes, soup and sandwiches. Stop at Rachel's in the centre of West Bay, a kiosk serving fine sea fare such as chowder, crab salads, prawn platters.

Local bars

Beach & Barnicott is a grade II‑listed gastropub in Bridport and a fine place for a cosy drink – with good food, too.

Reviews

Photos The Bull Hotel reviews
Lucy Mangan

Anonymous review

‘When I am president of the world,’ said Mr Smith, gazing about him as we stood before the open fire waiting to check into the Bull Hotel in Dorset, ‘all hotels will look like this.’ The Bull Hotel was bought by Richard and Nikki Cooper in 2006 (‘It was all a bit Fawlty Towers before then,’ confides one local shopkeeper) and they’ve worked swiftly and successfully to restore a beloved (and grade II-listed) building to its former Georgian glory. Downstairs, the lobby, bar and gastropub restaurant are replete with stripped floorboards, wood-burning stoves, and wood panelling adorned with the duck egg/sage hues so typical of Farrow & Ball. Modern furniture, with a hint of the 1970s, provides the requisite contemporary injection.

As soon as we get to inspect the bedrooms, we see that, in here, Nikki and Richard have given themselves a freer, more extravagant hand. Cole & Son and Manuel Canovas papers feature on accent walls, setting off the shiny Philip Hunt furniture, Frette bedlinen and silk-canopied four-poster beds. And there are vintage mir rors, chests and wardrobes from Parisian fleamarkets and the antiques shops with which Bridport and its outskirts are liberally sprinkled. Beautiful roll-top baths – in our case set on a wooden platform in the bedroom – hit just the right note of louche decadence for a romantic weekend away. The bathroom itself had a huge shower, and was stocked with Neal’s Yard toiletries. Other bedroom goodies include a flatscreen TV and Tivoli radio. (Mr Smith and I can’t quite decide whether staying in a hotel with better shampoo and electronics than you have at home makes you feel impossibly decadent or impossibly inadequate, but we conclude it’s a good conundrum to mull over while we test them all out.)

In the morning, it’s shaping up to be a beautiful day in Bridport. The Bull’s windows are pushed up and the French doors opened, leading those who fancy breakfasting alfresco onto the suntrap of a courtyard. We linger for so long over delicious bacon, eggs and all the trimmings that we decide just to pop round the corner to the excellently named Bucky Doo Square before lunch. There, after a cup of tea in the Beach & Barnicott, with its eclectic mix of clients – from cheerful Aussie hikers to a grumpy old man who may have grown out of the Georgian panelling itself – we find Bridport Old Books. This wonderful second-hand book shop comes complete with an owner whom we witnessed gamely trying to explain Shakespearian sonnets to a teenager. Hearts warmed, we sauntered back to the Bull for lunch.

We’re aware that Bridport is rapidly becoming the foodie’s destination of choice: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s nearby River Cottage has helped to spotlight the region’s plentiful farm-and-sea-fresh produce. What we didn’t realise was that the Bull employs chef Matt Cook, formerly of Marco Pierre White’s Talkhouse in Oxford. I have never been so pleased to arrive anywhere this hungry. Dinner is divine: little throaty moans of pleasure emanate from Mr Smith as he polishes off mash, gravy and sausages with more actual-factual meat in them than in most supermarkets’ entire meat and poultry aisles. He assures me that similar noises could be heard from my side of the table as I tucked into beef medallions that barely needed chewing and delectably crispy potato rösti that, after a lifetime of oven-parched offerings in lesser gastropubs, were a breath of oxygen-rich fresh air. Ditto the next day’s home-cured gravadlax lunch, and dinner of locally dived scallops and iced strawberry soufflé.

We justify our gargantuan appetites with a slow-paced afternoon utilising one of the Bull’s more personal touches, which is that they will drop you off and pick you up at a number of the local walks in return for taking their pet spaniel, Lulu, with you. Mr Smith not only loves dogs but also windswept seaside walks. So, we spend some happy hours striding across spectacular parts of the Jurassic coast.

For our follow-up hike, after surrendering Lulu to a better Bull couple (one with energetic, stick-and-frisbee-throwing children), we hit West Bay’s pebble beach, which is bracketed by sandstone cliffs on one side and old-fashioned pubs and fish ’n’ chips kiosks on the other. Walking back, we pass an elderly lady in her garden, who overhears me comment to Mr Smith on the gorgeous hot-pink flowers by the wall. ‘They’re wild gladioli, dear!’ she trumpets gaily. ‘You can’t buy them in the garden centres.’ She trowels up a cluster of corms and thrusts them into my hands. ‘They’ll spread!’ she reassures. ‘And that,’ says Mr Smith after we’ve thanked her and resumed our walk, ‘is why we have to move to the countryside. Londoners rarely bother giving people in the street a smile. Here, they give you flowers.’

On our final day, Lyme Regis is on our agenda. It’s altogether lovely and, although I don’t accrue any additions to my garden, it deserves a special mention for having been a favoured summer haunt of Jane Austen back in the day – and yet not sporting even a single ‘Jamsfield Park’ tearoom or gift shop devoted to selling Elizabeth Bennet tea towels and Colin Firth swimming trunks.

There’s a slight chill in the air when we get back to the hotel, and the Bull has drawn itself close round its flickering fires. We curl up on the sofa in the bar, listening to the murmurs of contented diners from across the passageway, and I suddenly realise that although Bridport is in essence a seaside town, the Bull will be just as good as a cosy winter retreat. The thought that I won’t have to wait until next summer to return draws the sting out of our departure. The Bull Hotel is so charming, friendly, thoughtful and relaxed – it’s not just the food that makes you sigh with pleasure – we very much hate to leave. But we must. As Mr Smith reminds me, I do, after all, have gladioli to plant.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in The Bull Hotel’s Guestbook below.

We loved

The central location, free car parking at the rear and a good breakfast. Very friendly staff. The rooms are quite quirkily decorated.

Don’t expect

Views or quiet. It's a typical high street hotel converted from an old coaching inn with some rooms overlooking the courtyard.

Rating

Stayed on 26 Sep 2017

We loved

The courtyard and the generous room size.

Don’t expect

Londonesque pubs, restauarants or shopping.

Rating

Stayed on 26 Aug 2017

We loved

Great location with a very professional team. First class facilities. Cannot recommend it highly enough. Mr Wafed Alsmarat was most attentive and ensured our visit flowed. The concierge desk was also very good. 

Rating

Stayed on 6 Aug 2017

We loved

Friendly hotel team and amazing meal. Lovely garden to enjoy on a summers evening.

Don’t expect

To find the car park easily...

Rating

Stayed on 13 Jun 2017

We loved

The friendly, helpful staff. The beautifully planted courtyard, perfect for a relaxing drink. Most of all, the amazing bedroom. The Thai restaurant opposite The Bull Hotel served great food and had a delightful lady owner.

Rating

Stayed on 23 May 2017

We loved

Our room. The ambience of casual happiness. The amazingly friendly staff's helpfulness. Birthday dinner complete with cake knife for our home made cake which they had stored in their fridge. The beaches are superb. West Bay for busy family activity one and Charmouth long sandy one for a stroll along fossil central!

Don’t expect

Posh people-watching posers.

Rating

Stayed on 19 Apr 2017

We loved

Family room. Great having our toddler next door. The courtyard is lovely. Perfect for a relaxing afternoon vino!

Don’t expect

The food to be amazing!

Rating

Stayed on 26 Mar 2017

We loved

Loved our room upgrade to a four-poster bed! Go to the Olive Tree restaurant (great for seafood lovers) and go fossil hunting on Charmouth Beach.

Rating

Stayed on 5 Feb 2017

We loved

The Bull is a atmospheric coaching Inn in Bridport. The conversion to a boutique hotel has been done with great flair and attention to detail. The staff are welcoming and the service excellent and friendly. The building is really interesting and there is a sprung dance floor in the old Ballroom. The rooms are individual, carefully planned and with high quality sheets, towels and toiletries. All was scrupulously clean. We were given a free upgrade to a room with a four-poster bed - the staff said that they gave special attention to guests booking through Mr & Mrs Smith and try to give upgrades if available. The breakfast was beautifully cooked to order. Really enjoyed our visit and will go again. Bridport is an interesting town with lots of quirky small independent shops, vintage clothing and antique arcades and is near to some great Dorset attractions including West Bay ( where the series Broadchurch was filmed), the Jurassic coast, Lyme Bay, Dorchester (home of Thomas Hardy), great coastal walks, and Weymouth (base of Olympic sailing). The Olive Tree restaurant is just across the road and is one of the best fish restaurants in Dorset and is reasonably priced.

Rating

Stayed on 11 Jan 2017

We loved

The food! And the atmosphere was very friendly. Go to the vintage market, the local pubs, the scenery, West Bay beach, the Tunnel shooting gallery - so much to see and do.

Don’t expect

...Late nights. Although the Venner bar is quite lively, it's not open past 11.

Rating

Stayed on 21 Oct 2016

We loved

The relaxed atmosphere, comfortable rooms and secret cocktail bar. The walk down to West Bay across the fields was lovely

Don’t expect

Nightclubs, glitz and glamour.

Rating

Stayed on 16 Sep 2016

We loved

The area; the accommodation; the food. Hotel restaurant and Olive Tree restaurant in Bridport were good. Church in North Chideok worth a visit; Charmouth a quieter place to be on the coast than Lyme or West bay. 

Don’t expect

Air conditioning!

Rating

Stayed on 12 Aug 2016

We loved

Boutique hotel in lovely location. Staff friendly and helpful. Food very good.

Don’t expect

No peace and quiet if you have a courtyard room. Very noisy even after 10:00 and the room was hot at night, so needed to have windows open. Very noisy mattress/ bed.

Rating

Stayed on 7 Aug 2016

We loved

The décor and the lovely market town, plenty of places to eat

Don’t expect

Uncomfortable bed

Rating

Stayed on 6 Jul 2016

We loved

We loved our room, spacious and clean. The staff were very friendly but unobtrusive. Very good breakfast spread and food great. The tourist information was very informative and friendly. We went to two typical pubs - The Woodman Inn and Nelson. Both pubs are very typically what I expect of English pubs.

Rating

Stayed on 14 Jun 2016

We loved

The upgrade to a larger room with a roll top bath; friendly and efficient service; breakfast choice. We had a good meal in the Olive Tree restaurant which is close to the hotel. But the main attraction is coastal walking which is excellent.

Don’t expect

Indoor lounge space is limited which could be an issue if bad weather forces you inside.

Rating

Stayed on 22 May 2016

We loved

Everything about the hotel. The welcoming staff, the romantic room (hello four poster bed and roll-top bath!), the food in the restaurant (home-baked bread with truffles!!). Could not love this place more. Without a doubt, go to The Half Moon in Melplash. I had fish caught that morning washed down with a cracking cider.

Don’t expect

Everything was as expected, although we stayed on a Sunday night and there seemed to be a few vagrants hanging out on the high street near the hotel.

Rating

Stayed on 24 Apr 2016

We loved

The family room with bunk beds. The Stables (on the hotel site) makes one of the best pizzas we have ever had - and we are an italian family!

Don’t expect

A garden.

Rating

Stayed on 11 Apr 2016

We loved

Our room was gorgeous, very clean, attentive staff, great food, lovely and quiet! Location was good for a quick trip to Broadchurch (aka West Bay)

Don’t expect

This hotel suited our needs so we have no negative comments to make

Rating

Stayed on 10 Apr 2016

We loved

Room 104 and dinner. 10/10 

Visit West Bay (home of Broadchurch)

Don’t expect

Air conditioning

Rating

Stayed on 21 Mar 2016

We loved

What a great little hotel! We loved this place so much, from its unique character rooms (we had the red room with the four poster bed) to the excellent Venner Bar, and the great Wednesday night Moules and Frites served in the restaurant downstairs. The Bull Hotel is the quintessential English Pub stay.

Don’t expect

Bridport is not right on the coast so you can't see the sea! But it is a great base for exploring the area.

Rating

Stayed on 9 Dec 2015

We loved

Outstandingly friendly and helpful staff, and a perfect position for wandering around Bridport and local area, particularly when the weekend market is on.

Don’t expect

Easy parking.

Rating

Stayed on 13 Nov 2015

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