Double doors look out over the Bath countryside. To the side is a terrace with tables and chairs

Best outdoor restaurants in the UK

From pub gardens with sweeping valley views to seaside terraces and rooftop dining, there's an al fresco restaurant for everyone this summer

Looking for outdoor restaurants in London? Want some al fresco dining ideas across the UK? Here’s our guide for the best outdoor dining restaurants, and check out the best restaurants with a view in London here…

Advertisement

Best outdoor restaurants in London

Blueprint Café, Tower Bridge

Blueprint Café opened in 1992 as part of the now relocated Design Museum. It’s something of a veteran of London’s modern British restaurant scene. Overlooking the Thames in a former banana warehouse, this bright and airy riverside restaurant has its own terrace with unbeatable views of Tower Bridge to the west and Canary Wharf to the east. blueprintcafe.co.uk

Floor-to-ceiling glass windows look out over London with a view of Tower Bridge
Overlooking the Thames, Blueprint Cafe has its own terrace with unbeatable views of Tower Bridge

Petersham Nurseries, Richmond-upon-Thames

Petersham Nurseries Café, made green with fragrant jasmine, provides a charming setting for a meal. Set within a glasshouse a stone’s throw from Richmond Park, Petersham Meadow and the River Thames, it’s the place to go for seasonal Italian food eaten in a room draped with Indian blinds and decorated with antique furniture, mirrors and paintings. petershamnurseries.com

A glasshouse filled with tables, chairs and lush greenery
Set within a glasshouse, Petersham Nurseries is the place to go for seasonal Italian food

Best outdoor restaurants across the UK

Hare & Hounds, Bath

This stone-built, dog-friendly inn is only a mile from Bath city centre, but nevertheless the Hare & Hounds is surrounded by beautiful countryside and extensive gardens. From the terrace there are sweeping 10-mile views across the city towards Solsbury Hill, an Iron Age hill fort immortalised in song by Peter Gabriel. The garden comes into its own in the summer, with its large lawn, picnic benches and children’s play area. It all makes for a lovely spot to enjoy a pint of Somerset-brewed Butcombe ale and simple dishes such as beer-battered fish and chips, or mash and beef braised in red wine. hareandhoundsbath.com

Check out more places to eat and drink in Bath here

Double doors look out over the Bath countryside. To the side is a terrace with tables and chairs
Hare & Hounds is surrounded by beautiful countryside and extensive gardens

20 Stories, Manchester

In the heart of Spinningfields, the restaurant at 20 Stories lays claim to the highest rooftop terrace in Manchester and provides magnificent 360° views of the city’s vast skyline. It’s a dramatic setting to enjoy modern British dishes in, including sweet-cured bacon chop, sauerkraut and lentils, and rhubarb panna cotta and crème fraîche sorbet. 20stories.co.uk

20 STORIES, Manchester
20 Stories lays claim to the highest rooftop terrace in Manchester

Riddle & Finns, Brighton

Riddle & Finns, tucked under a Victorian arch beneath the promenade at Brighton beach, is both a seafood restaurant and champagne and oyster bar. It has one of the town’s most sought-after views – the window area overlooks the skeletal remains of the iconic West Pier. Sit on the alfresco terrace in the summer or dine upstairs and glance over the pebble beach, gazing out to sea as you feast on grilled langoustines with chilli and salsa verde, followed by fish pie or pan-roast fillet of turbot with confit potato, burnt apple, Asian pear and shiso leaf butter. riddleandfinns.co.uk

Here are more places to eat in Brighton

A window table and chair looking out over the beach
Riddle & Finns has one of the town’s most sought-after views

The Griffin Inn, East Sussex

As Britain begins to warm-up, the two-acre garden at this rural dining-pub shines. Nicknamed ‘the Serengeti’, it enjoys sweeping views of the South Downs and, on summer weekends, includes its own BBQ kitchen and an outdoor bar where, as the sun sets, you can sip at a ‘Sussex Serengeti’ cocktail of homemade elderflower cordial, prosecco, mint and raspberries.

You can also eat on the neat outdoor terrace. Expect dishes such as South Brockwell Farm asparagus, buffalo mozzarella and baby basil as well as Portland crab linguine with chilli, garlic and white wine. thegriffininn.co.uk

Nicknamed ‘the Serengeti’, The Griffin Inn enjoys sweeping views of the South Downs

Nancarrow Farm, Cornwall

Each month this organic farm throws open its swanky barn for feast nights, cooked in the outdoor kitchen. Open fires and elemental hardwood cooking are a focus, and super-seasonal dishes – all served communally – might include oak-grilled lamb with wild garlic pesto, braised lentils, sweetheart cabbage and asparagus or a novel beef carpaccio (‘cooked dirty, on the embers’) with rosemary salt, horseradish and radishes.

All the meats are reared at Nancarrow, which also has a fecund kitchen garden. nancarrowfarm.co.uk

Each month Nancarrow Farm throws open its swanky barn for feast nights

Ruin Beach Café, Isles of Scilly

This happily situated café, overlooking Raven’s Porth beach, is on the privately-owned island of Tresco in the Isles of Scilly, less than 30 miles from the Cornish coast. It uses the best island produce available for its Mediterranean-inspired dishes, and the view towards St Martin’s from the sun terrace of this former smuggler’s cottage offers an equally Mediterranean-style view. A wood-fired oven produces excellent pizzas and is also used to roast top-quality Tresco beef and island-caught fish. tresco.co.uk

A wooden table and chair on decking looking out to sea
This happily situated café, overlooking Raven’s Porth beach, is on the privately-owned island of Tresco

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. 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. innatwhitewell.com

A pretty garden with tables and chairs looking out over green fields
Lancashire gem The Inn at Whitewell has spectacular views down the valley to the grouse moors beyond

The Godolphin Arms, Cornwall

A short walk along the beach from Penzance, The Godolphin Arms restaurant-with-rooms overlooks the iconic St Michael’s Mount with farreaching views of the Lizard Peninsula. In the summer, the suntrap terrace is the place to sip a Cornish gin and eat excellent local fish and chips. godolphinarms.co.uk


The Ethicurean, Somerset

The Ethicurean in Wrington, near Bristol, is part of a working Victorian walled garden, and occupies an old glass house overlooking the beautiful Mendip Hills. It’s been refurbished recently, but the kitchen still serves ethical, sustainable and locally sourced produce, with most of the vegetables and herbs coming straight from the walled garden in front of you. theethicurean.com

Kitchen garden with crops growing
The Ethicurean occupies an old glass house overlooking the beautiful Mendip Hills

The Old Coastguard, Cornwall

The Old Coastguard, sister hotel to nearby Gurnard’s Head, is set in the idyllic Cornish fishing village of Mousehole (pronounced ‘Mouzzal’), close to Newlyn fish market. The views from the hotel’s tropical garden, positioned as it is on rocks looking across to St Michael’s Mount, are breathtaking and, if you watch closely, you’re sure to see dolphins and seals gliding through the water as you enjoy a meal in the restaurant or on the terrace. oldcoastguardhotel.co.uk

A green garden with palm trees and the sea in the background
The views from the hotel’s tropical garden looking across to St Michael’s Mount, are breathtaking

Riley’s Fish Shack, Tyne and Wear

This no-bookings seafood restaurant is well worth queuing for. It’s a rusty shipping container on the rocks above the beach at Tynemouth, with a tarpaulin-covered terrace. Watch the waves over a daily-changing menu of the day’s catch cooked in the wood-fired pizza oven, and served in brown cardboard boxes with wooden cutlery. Seafood at its simplest and with one of the best views in the North East. rileysfishshack.com

A little shack with yellow awning with people sat eating food
Watch the waves over a daily-changing menu of the day’s catch at Riley’s Fish Shack

Angelica, Leeds

On the sixth floor of the Trinity Leeds shopping centre, Angelica has a wraparound planted terrace and panoramic city views. Seats on the terrace are highly prized when the weather allows – it’s the ideal place to relax with a cocktail and a sharing board or plate of fruits de mer. angelica-restaurant.com

Tables and chairs are set on a lawn with strings of lightbulbs hanging overhead
Angelica has a wraparound planted terrace and panoramic city views

The Hidden Hut, Cornwall

The Hidden Hut, sat on a coastal path above beautiful Porthcurnick Beach on the Roseland Peninsula of west Cornwall, is owned by the National Trust but run by chef Simon Stallard and Jemma Glass. The outdoor kitchen resembles an army field kitchen and the menu changes daily, with freshly baked pasties and good coffee and cake available before the lunch menu is chalked on the board. On a typical midsummer day, up to 2,000 customers are fed, many of them taking their food to the beach for those sea views. hiddenhut.co.uk

People are sat on picnic benches looking out over green fields and the sea
The Hidden Hut is sat on a coastal path above beautiful Porthcurnick Beach

Coast, Pembrokeshire

Coast is perched on the shoreline at Saundersfoot, just metres away from the sands of Coppet Hall beach. The sea views are matched by head chef Tom Hine’s innovative seafood dishes, including the likes of cod, caramelised cauliflower and shellfish bisque. coastsaundersfoot.co.uk

A light and airy dining room with long glass windows that look out to sea
Coast is perched on the shoreline at Saundersfoot, just metres away from the sands of Coppet Hall beach

River Exe Café, Devon

A custom-built floating restaurant surrounded by water, and only accessible by water taxi, the River Exe Café sits in the middle of the Exe Estuary in east Devon. Watch the colourful Devon sunset over food prepared by head chef Chris Dayer, and eat fresh fish from the estuary itself as you hear the water lapping around you. riverexecafe.com

A decked area with tables and chairs perched over the sea with colourful bunting hanging overhead
The River Exe Cafe is a custom-built floating restaurant surrounded by water

Crab House Café, Dorset

On the water’s edge where Weymouth meets Portland Bill, the Crab House Café is essentially a weather-beaten shack attached to an oyster farm. The oysters and local crabs take star billing on the menu, which can change twice a day depending on what’s landed by day boats working out of Poole, Weymouth or Brixham. The view from the restaurant and tables on the shingle outside looks across Chesil Beach to some of the fishing boats supplying the kitchen. crabhousecafe.co.uk

A beach with restaurant perched on the edge. There are tables and chairs on the beach
The view from Crab House Cafe and tables on the shingle outside looks across Chesil Beach

The Cherwell Boathouse, Oxford

There can’t be many restaurants with their own punt station… but the clue here is in the name: The Cherwell Boathouse occupies half of a working Victorian boathouse, right on the River Cherwell. There are 80 punts available during the season, weather permitting, but if you just want to relax, then grab a table on the terrace and watch the punts and wildlife while making the most of an award-winning wine list. cherwellboathouse.co.uk

A building is perched at the edge of the river, looking out over the calm river
The Cherwell Boathouse occupies half of a working Victorian boathouse, right on the River Cherwell

Beach House, Gower Peninsula

Whether your table is inside or on the terrace, the coastal views at this beachside gaff, towards the famous Welsh landmark Three Cliffs Bay, are breathtaking. Native Welshman head chef Hywel Griffith is passionate about local produce from the Gower coast, and that’s reflected in his menu, which often includes lobster caught from the sea directly in front of the restaurant. beachhouseoxwich.co.uk

A single story building perched on the edge of a sandy beach
The coastal views at this beachside gaff are breathtaking

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. Close to Hadrian’s Wall, parts of the building can be traced back to the 12th century and in summer you can 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

A grand stone building with a green lawn in front of it
The Lord Crewe Arms occupies an idyllic and timeless spot next to an ancient church

Träkol, Gateshead

Träkol is basically a series of interconnecting shipping containers on the quayside under the iconic Tyne Bridge, and as such has one of the most unique views of Newcastle across the river. An open kitchen with an open fire makes dinner here all the more special, with nose-totail dishes including grilled pork jowl and XO slaw, followed by a sharing dish of ash crust salt-baked sea bass, grilled Jersey Royals and asparagus. bytheriverbrew.co/trakol

A shipping container set against an orange sunset
Träkol has one of the most unique views of Newcastle across the river

Words by Mark Taylor and Tony Naylor

Advertisement

Photographs by Matt Austin, Mike Searle, Paul Massey, Nigel John, Ed Schofield, Owen Howells, Girl Behind The Lens, Luke Hayes