We strive to find the best English pubs in our county and it is fair to say that The Greyhound Inn is one pub that makes the shortlist.

With cosy nooks and hearty fare, this traditional tavern is a haven for families and a welcoming sanctuary on a winter’s night.

Situated in the shadow of Corfe Castle, on the Isle of Purbeck, The Greyhound Inn is a charming 16th century coaching inn that has welcomed many locals, ramblers and day trippers over the years.

The exact time of construction of The Greyhound is uncertain, however, the earliest stonework in the building suggests it came from the castle, which was built by William The Conqueror in about 1090.

According to Ralph Treswell’s map of 1586, two separate detached properties can be seen on the Greyhound site, which is consistent with the middle section having been built later using masonry from the ruined castle.

The Greyhound Inn’s main porch, thought to be the most recent of part of the building, features a date stone – 1773. This is one of two original porches, a typical feature of a coaching inn at that time.

Today, as I step through the porch I am greeted with warmth and a delicious aroma coming from the kitchen.

Over the last 13 years owner Jacci Pestana has brought this Dorset pub right up to date, whilst maintaining its traditional charm and appeal for residents and visitors alike.

Alongside Jacci is general manager Micheal Dixon, head chef Craig Watkins and sous chef Kieron Roberts.

Craig, 41, joined the team in September this year and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge, having worked at two Rosette-awarded restaurants and Michelin-starred eateries.

Craig said: “We have developed the menu – nothing here is frozen, it’s all fresh. There are four of us in the kitchen and we create dishes that offer a twist on the traditional. My favourite is pork belly.”

The Greyhound Inn is a fabulous award winning family pub and I was keen to put their pub grub to the test.

Sitting by the fireside, to start, we enjoyed a scrumptious tasting platter consisting of strips of sweet and sour sticky beef with sesame seed on steamed rice, ham hock and pea, seared scallops on parmesan, leek and a roasted butternut risotto, and a tempura prawn with sweet chilli dipping sauce on a lamb kofta.

Each element was beautiful, both in presentation and flavour and it was clear that every element had been carefully made with such attention to detail. We also tried the garden pea and truffle soup – a thick homemade soup which was the perfect consistency and bursting with fresh flavour.

For our main, I enjoyed chef’s fish pie filled with langoustines, salmon and cod, baked with double cream, wine and herbs topped with a buttered mash lid, served with Cornish green vegetables in garlic, £12.50 off the specials menu. It was presented in a classic pie pot atop a rustic wooden board, with vegetables on the side – a perfect winter warmer.

My dining companion devoured the slow roast rump of Dorset lamb – it came with rosemary chipped potatoes, roasted winter vegetables and a delectable rich sauce, £16.50.

We chose a wine from Spain, Solar Viejo Rioja Cosecha – this fruit-driven, lightly oaked styled wine was lovely, boasting liquorice and cherry notes, £17.50.

To finish, we were spoilt with a trio of desserts; warm apple tartiflette with custard, Corfe Mess with chunks of fresh strawberries, clotted cream ice cream, sticky meringue and whipped cream, and homemade sticky toffee pudding with toffee ice cream. All traditional favourites with a modern twist, but not pretentious in the slightest – chef delivered dish upon dish of fresh, exciting dishes from start to finish.

It is evident that a great emphasis is placed on the food served – it’s homemade and freshly sourced.

They support local farms and use local beef, lamb and venison. Fresh fish is sourced from fisherman in Swanage Bay, crab meat is freshly picked from Kimmeridge Bay, Craig’s Dairy in Weymouth supply their dairy produce and Dragons Bakery next door are responsible for their bread, plus there’s a selection of real ales and traditional ciders.

The Greyhound Inn is the perfect setting for a winter’s meal and a festive feast.

On December 14 they will be holding their Christmas Party Night – enjoy a four course dinner for £26.95 with entertainment by an Elton John tribute band. There will also be a free taxi service to selected drop off points.

You can also book your Christmas Day lunch, £45.50, under 12s £26.50. Or make a reservation for the Christmas Party Menu, three courses for £26.95. Boxing Day brunch will be served from 12.30pm. There’s also a New Year’s Eve dinner including a jazz, blues and swing band with a four course meal for £34.50.

The perfect venue for delicious festive dining.

  • The Greyhound Inn, The Square, Corfe Castle, 01929 480205, eat@greyhoundcorfe.co.uk, greyhoundcorfe.co.uk