Best beer gardens in the UK
There's nothing better than a good beer garden when the sun comes out, here are a few spots to head to for a pint with your pals
Looking for the best beer gardens in the UK? As of 12 April we (in the UK) are allowed to head to our favourite pubs again. Check out our round-up of the best beer gardens across London and the UK. Check with specific venues for the most up-to-date opening information.
Want to find the best beers? Check out our favourite British beers, lagers, IPAs beers and our guide to craft beers here. For cocktail lovers, we also have our best beer cocktails. You can also bring the cosiness of a great pub to your home with recipes from olive's favourite pub chefs.
Best beer gardens in London…
The Albion, London N1 (Islington)
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.
CRATE brewery, London E9 (Hackney)
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 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.
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The Great North Wood, London SE27 (West Norwood)
This lofty gastro pub really brightened up the local area, offering an all-day menu of pub classics, ales and craft spirits in an airy space with exposed brick walls.
The pub boasts a large beer garden out the back with its own dedicated bar housed in a wooden shack and a dedicate barbecue area. There are six burgers to choose from, so pick between crispy Cajun chicken, lamb, mint and coriander, or Korean fried vegan patties to tuck into beneath the pergolas climbing with plants.
The Ferry Boat Inn, London N17 (Walthamstow)
Tucked between a nature park and a reservoir, in Walthamstow’s beautiful wetlands, The Ferry Boat Inn is the sort of London pub that will make you forget that you’re still very much within the M25. With a Pimms bar, and twinkly lights for when the sun sets, there’s always a fight for seats outside. On colder days, keep warm via the pub’s whisky passport – try four, get one free!
The Edinboro Castle, London NW1 (Camden)
Young folk gather in this lively beer garden after picnics in Regent's Park and shopping in Camden. Surrounded by trees and bushes, this sheltered courtyard is packed with long tables to drink craft ales round (go for the local Camden Hells lager), with plenty of sheltered huts in case the rain comes. There's a menu of pub classics, as well as regular barbecues in the garden, plus the occasional hog roast.
The Ship, London SW18 (Wandsworth)
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.
Best beer gardens in the UK
Fordwich Arms, Fordwich
Kent Chefs Dan and Natasha Smith have turned this handsome 1930s pub into a Michelin-starred destination for clever, approachable cooking which, in dishes such as pig’s cheek with lardo, prune and cracked wheat, or roast lamb with confit breast, nettles and broccoli, makes stellar use of the UK-Kentish larder. The pub’s pergola-shaded River Stour terrace has been extended and, with a glass of English sparkling wine in hand (Kent vineyards such as Gusbourne and Simpsons are prominent on the menu), it makes for a truly idyllic location.
The Old Neptune, Whitstable
Perched at the start of Whitstable’s pebbly beach, The Old Neptune offers an undisturbed sea view as you sip your pint. Known to the locals as ‘The Neppy’, this popular pub has been standing strong since the early 20th century. Take a seat on a picnic bench and tuck into fish and chips, or, in the summer, enjoy burgers and hotdogs straight from the beach BBQ.
The Potting Shed, Cotswolds
Snuggled in to the heart of the Cotswolds village of Crudwell, The Potting Shed is the epitome of a country local. There’s an outdoor patio and garden from which you can peek into the neighbouring allotments or challenge your friends to a game of boules on the pitch out back. Try a Cotswolds dry gin (here are our favourite English gins), or taste local ales such as Elmers pale bitter from Flying Monk Brewery in neighbouring Malmesbury. The pie of the day (ham with a poached egg on top, or chicken, sweetcorn and black pudding) is a must, served, as it should be, with creamy mash and rich gravy.
The Inn at Whitewell, Lancashire
Lancashire gem The Inn at Whitewell is a 16th-century pub perched high on the banks of the River Hodder, with spectacular views down the valley to the grouse moors beyond. Book one of the outdoor tables for a pint of Moorhouse's Broomstick Bitter from nearby Burnley, or settle in for a leisurely lunch in the sunshine. The kitchen sources game from the surrounding woods and moors (the inn sits within the Forest of Bowland, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and neighbouring Burholme Farm produces delicious Lonk rare-breed lamb.
The Ostrich, Bristol
Locals have long flocked to this historic harbourside inn when the sun comes out, thanks to what is surely the city's largest pub garden. A recent refurb transformed its sprawling outdoor space – now colourful with deckchairs, turf, planters and even an alfresco bar – and cemented its status as one of the most popular alfresco drinking spots in Bristol. Expect plenty of great ales at the pumps (the pub is run by Butcombe) and top views out over the river.
The Packhorse, Bath
The Packhorse Inn makes a great destination to aim for on a walk from the centre of Bath up to the city’s southern slopes. The pub has arguably the best beer garden in Bath, with a backdrop of South Stoke’s pretty rooftops and wide-angle views out across the leafy Midford Valley below.
Food is overseen by Rob Clayton (of Clayton’s Kitchen, in Bath) and ticks all the right boxes. In season there are plates of buttered Wye Valley asparagus, herb gnocchi with roast beetroot, pickled carrot and ewe’s curd or grilled Cornish mackerel but the menu mostly sticks to reassuring pub classics: beer-battered fish and chips, steak with triple-cooked chips, roast local beef or pork belly. There’s also a small but well thought-through kids’ menu.
Lord Crewe Arms, Northumberland
Set in the picture-postcard village of Blanchland, on the Northumberland and Durham borders, the 18th-century Lord Crewe Arms occupies an idyllic and timeless spot next to an ancient church and opposite the village square. Enjoy lunch on the lawn of the walled garden that produces 95% of the menu’s produce. Dishes include local duck breast with summer vegetable salad and ‘rough cut’ pasta with a ‘low and slow’ ragu of Durham rare-breed pork. lordcrewearmsblanchland.co.uk
Queen’s Head, Blyford
This 15th-century pub is close to the Adnams brewery in Southwold, so you’re guaranteed to get a good pint. There’s lots 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, Babbacombe
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).
The Star Inn, Harome
At this 14th-century thatched inn it’s a tough choice of tables between huge oak benches overlooking the kitchen garden (growing broad beans, baby leeks and lavender to use in the restaurant's seasonal dishes) and a snug little nook in the low-ceilinged bar. Enjoy a pint of Yorkshire ale or a gin and tonic made from Whittaker’s Gin, distilled in Nidderdale using local bilberries, hawthorn and thyme.
The Bridges, Shropshire
This particular pocket of south Shropshire is home to more than its fair share of small, independent breweries. The Bridges in Ratlinghope is the Three Tuns’ bucolic country tap house. Set by a brook at the foot of the sweeping Long Mynd mountain, there are plenty of wooden benches to slouch around and enjoy a sunny afternoon. Five seasonal beers are on tap, including Clerics Cure IPA, which also features in the pub’s beer-battered fish and chips.
Hare & Hounds, Bath
Head to the Hare & Hounds great 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.
The Dundas Arms, Berkshire
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. Their menu offers a good range of classic and modern dishes, and during the summer they open a dedicated outdoor bar.
The Perch, Oxford
One of the oldest pubs in Oxford, it's 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.