Naturists who left pubgoers shocked when they went for a nude meal say they are "deeply saddened" by an online backlash.

Neil Cox, 34, and Danielle Quiggin, 35, had a pint and a burger at the Railway in Burnham-on-Sea on Friday.

They say they faced no problems on the day at the Somerset boozer - and staff were very friendly.

But after discovering some negative comments online, the duo - who are not a couple - have spoken out.

One Tripadvisor post claimed staff should have refused to serve the naturists, while another said they were "outraged" by the nudity.

Neil, a finance worker from Cheshire, said: "I've made over 500 visits to shops, bars and other businesses whilst naked.

"And as far as I'm aware not one of those visits has ever resulted in a single negative review.

"Danielle and I find it deeply saddening that in 2023 an individual has attacked a small business that is trying to demonstrate acceptance and tolerance.

"The reaction in the pub when we arrived was initially one of surprise but quickly moved to quiet acceptance.

"After all, two naked people sitting in a corner of a pub having a beer and burger quickly becoming boring.

"Several people came over to us whilst we were there to have a chat and ask questions or request a photo.

"We weren't aware of anyone leaving the pub and there were no angry or upset comments directed at us.

"We felt welcome and comfortable in the Railway and would like to say thank you to the its owners, staff and customers for accepting us."

Neil and Danielle have been naturists for more than 10 and five years respectively, with Neil saying he "rarely" gets dressed as he's able to work from home.

The Railway, Burnham-on-Sea
The Railway, Burnham-on-Sea (Google Maps)

The pair are both in relationships but say their partners are "happy" for them to spend time together - with Neil adding that their friendship is completely non-sexual and the nudity "isn't really a factor."

Public nudity is not illegal in England if there is no sexual context and there is no intention to cause alarm or distress, according to the CPS.

Danielle, a healthcare worker, originally from Australia but currently living in London, said this is the first time she's faced problems.

"That was the first time we've gone into that pub - but that was also the first time we gathered that sort of backlash and seeing the Facebook reactions blow up," she said.

"More than 90% of the time, in person and online, it's curiosity. It's more shock I think that anything, but you talk to people and most seem to get it."

However, the duo say being naked is what makes them comfortable - describing it as liberating - and that they are "proud" to be exploring naturism.

Neil said: "I live this way all the time and most people are used to me.

"'I'm very comfortable and used to this and yes, you still get attention and you can feel on show, but it's usually curiosity rather than bad attention.

"I work in a finance job that you could describe as a high-pressure career and being able to run in the countryside naked is freeing and the opposite of sitting in a suit."

Danielle added: "I'm proud to be continually exploring this and proud of myself for persevering.

"I think I would see a change in my mental health If I stopped.

"More and more as I reflect on it, I find it's really beneficial for my mental health.

"It's increased my body positivity and the confidence I feel in my body.

"It's really helped to develop a positive connection with my body.

"I'm less worried how I appear when I'm naked that when I'm wearing clothes.

"You don't think about you look, and the less time you spent thinking about that, the less time you spent worrying overall."

Neil agreed with Danielle's comments, citing a House of Commons report from 2020 that revealed over fifty percent of people feel negatively about their body.

He said: "Body comfort is such a big issue in the UK.

"Sixty-one percent of people feel negatively about their body.

"In the same study they asked people to describe words they thought about their bodies.

"Two-thirds of people said they'd been anxious about their bodies and nine percent of people said they'd had suicidal thoughts about their body in that year.

"There's lot of studies to show that people who have been introduced to naturism and nudity come away positively about their bodies and their mental health."