Britain is great in many ways, but the weather isn’t one of them. In fact it’s so famously bad that talking about it is a national sport!
So, when we’re blessed with a few days sunshine over the summer, you need to know exactly where to go to make the most of it and not waste time faffing about trying to find somewhere. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the best beer gardens in the UK. No need to thank us…
This 15th century pub is close to the Adnams brewery in Southwold, so you’re guaranteed to get a good pint. There’s lot of green space surrounding the pub, as well as a dedicated beer garden where you’ll find ducks, chickens and pigs sharing the sunshine.
The Cary Arms must be the most tranquil place for a pint in Devon. Happily sat inside the curve of Babbacombe bay, right next to Oddicombe beach, the view from the inn stretches to Portland Bill in Dorset and takes in the pink-soil cliffs of the English Riviera and an old pier where both seals and locals like to fish. Outside is a series of tiered terraces separated by pristine rock gardens, all with beautiful views of the bay (there’s no such thing as a bad table).
As soon as the sun puts its hat on the beer garden at The Ship gets rammed. Right on the river with beautiful sunsets and summer BBQs, it’s easy to see why. They’re dedicated to serving the freshest beers here with a focus on local London breweries, but you’ll also find big names on the American craft brew scene. Don’t miss the scotch egg – it’s legendary.
In the rolling greenery of the Cothi Valley, this pub dates back to the 16th century. There’s a big beer garden with views over the valley and the rivers Cothi and Twrch to which the pub has fishing rights. There are friendly hens to become aquainted with, a pub cat, Lily, and even beehives. There are great walking trails across the National Trust Dolaucothi Estate for you to explore, too.
The vast beer garden here, stretching between the Kennet River and the Kennet and Avon Canal and home to flowering shurbs, knobbly apple trees and dramatic willows, is the perfect place to unwind in the sunshine. During the summer, they open a dedicated outdoor bar and serve a wealth of bar snacks/picnic hampers, including must-try homemade sausage rolls.
Sandwiched between Caledonian road and Upper Street, the garden at The Albion under the wisteria-draped pergolas is an oasis of calm in this busy area. Food is the focus and, alongside the classics, during the summer they have a BBQ. Grab a pint or glass of rosé, find a sunny spot and forget you’re in the middle of the city.
Head to the Hare & Hounds for the best views of Bath. Perched above the city, sit on the sunny terrace and you’ll be able to see down into the town and out across the Bath countryside. The food is great, too, with dishes such as honey-baked figs, slow-cooked pork belly and pub classics.
There are few more lovely places to spend a sunny afternoon than on the canal outside CRATE’s tap room in Hackney. The full CRATE range will be on offer (if they have it, try their sour which we tip to be big this summer) as well as some fantastic hand-picked guest brews. They do great pizza, too, such as sage and truffle, middle eastern lamb and spicy salami.
Beer ‘garden’ might be a strong term for this pub, but sit outside and you can enjoy great views of the river Tyne and many of Newcastle’s most iconic sights as you enjoy your beverage. Their beer range changes so frequently that it’s hard to keep up, but they regularly feature breweries such as Brooklyn. There’s even a resident cat called Craig David. What more could you want?
One of the oldest pubs in Oxford, its just a short walk to the Thames and Port Meadow, so makes a perfect pit-stop. The large garden here is the best in the city, so grab a pint from its ever-changing ale selections, a glass of English wine, or a pitcher ginger mojito and set up camp.
This cosy Cumbrian pub makes the perfect stopping-off point on the Pennine Way (if you want to stay overnight there’s a great little youth hostel just across the village green). Not only does it serve fireside pints of Black Sheep ales (and many others from small breweries across the north) it also plays host to its own beer festival every August, with music from local bands as rousing as the booze. Food-wise, it punches well above your average pub grub. On a recent visit we ate some of the best homemade fishcakes in memory, plus an exemplary burger and a rich chickpea curry (you won’t want to miss the pies if you’re a pastry-lover). But on a sunny day the beer garden is the real draw here. Don’t expect fancy umbrellas or garden furniture. Among its rugged setting the garden is suitably wild-edged with a jumble of plain picnic benches, a beautifully gnarled old tree that begs to be climbed if you’re under 10 and wide open views of Dufton Pike off in the distance beyond sculptural stone walls.
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