The UK’s best pubs with beer gardens for post-lockdown drinking

The time-honoured pursuit of relaxing in a sunny beer garden with a refreshing glass of ale, lager or wine is something we used to take for granted, an essential part of any British weekend. Not so in 2021. Our pubs and restaurants have truly been through the wars over the past year, opening and closing as lockdowns determine our ability to socialise. 

Finally, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The vaccine roll-out is well underway, and a date has been set for the reopening of pub beer gardens and restaurant outdoor spaces (April 12, if it’s not already etched in your calendar). 

You’ll want to support your local pub, of course, but if you’re considering venturing further afield in the coming weeks, the British Beer and Pub Association estimates there are 27,000 pubs with beer gardens in the UK, and it is the establishments with large outdoor spaces that are likely to provide the most enjoyable (and normal) pub experience.

With that in mind, we select 19 of the best pubs in England with large and attractive beer gardens, all of which are eager to refresh responsible drinkers when the time comes. 


Lower Lode Inn 

Lower Lode Inn

Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

Forthampton, Gloucestershire

Ale was first served here at the end of the 16th century, but obviously things have changed a bit since, apart from the slow, stately progress of the River Severn, which borders the Inn’s large and sloping beer garden. There are also lovely views across to Tewkesbury and its glorious Abbey. Either travel here along country lanes or there is often a ferry that crosses from the other side (though check if it is currently running).

Lower Lode Inn, Bishops Walk, Forthampton, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire GL19 4RE; 01684 293224;

The Salutation 

The Salutation

Credit:  Ben Birchall

Ham, Gloucestershire

Ham is a small village a couple of miles out of Berkeley, home of the castle where Edward II met his inglorious death. The “Sally”, as it is known locally, sits on the corner of the road that curves out of Berkeley, with its large picket-fenced garden at the front. From here, enjoy expansive views towards the Forest of Dean in the distance, while local ciders and beers brewed at the back of this multi-award-winning pub can be studied with great attention.

Ham, Berkeley, Gloucestershire GL13 9QH; 01453 810284;

The Turf 

Exminster, Devon

Sitting on a spit of land where the Exeter Ship Canal vanishes into the tidal depths of the Exe Estuary, the Turf was built in the early 19th century for the canal’s lock-keepers. Now it’s a popular pub, whose large garden has a fantastic prospect of both the estuary and verdant Devon countryside. Do note: the nearest car park is more than half a mile away, but a walk through desolate wetlands will sharpen the thirst and appetite even more.

Exminster, Devon EX6 8EE; 01392 833128;

Read more: Best restaurants for al fresco dining

Square & Compass 

The square and compass

Credit: Square & Compass

Worth Matravers, Dorset

This is a classic old village pub that has been owned by the same family for more than 100 years and is well known for its selection of beers and ciders (the latter made by the landlord from local apples), as well as live music. Out in front, a lawn with benches extends out to a quiet lane and there are views of the English Channel in the distance. The South West Coast Path also passes close by, so why not combine imbibing with exercise?

Worth Matravers, Swanage, Dorset BH19 3LF; 01929 439229;


The Castle at Edgehill

The Castle at Edgehill

Credit: The Castle at Edgehill

Banbury, Oxfordshire

Here’s a large pub garden with views to die for, which would have been literally true in 1642 when the battle of Edgehill took place in the fields below. The Castle is a historical show-stopper too, an 18th-century folly built where Charles I apparently unfurled his standard before fighting took place. Now, the scenes of sylvan views are more tranquil, and a pint of Old Hooky from pub owners Hook Norton Brewery will be an excellent idea.

Edge Hill, Banbury, Oxfordshire OX15 6DJ; 01295 670255;

Ypres Castle Inn

Rye, East Sussex

Standing in the shadow of the medieval Ypres Castle, this venerable clapperboard-faced establishment is said to have the only beer garden in Rye. It is also a good-sized green space with plenty of room for social distance drinking, which will include locally brewed cask beer and Rothaus Pils, the pub’s regular Black Forest-brewed lager. Glorious views over Romney Marshes are an added bonus.

Gungarden, Rye, East Sussex TN31 7HH; 01797 223248;

Botley Hill Farmhouse 

Botley Hill Farmhouse

Credit: Botley Hill Farmhouse

Warlingham, Surrey

Part paved and part grassed, the expansive beer garden at this listed 16th-century farmhouse has views over the lush Surrey Hills, where sheep safely graze. Returning to more earthly pleasures, the farmhouse is also home to Titsey Brewing, which is based in a former military bunker built in its grounds. Try a pint of the 3.7% Gresham Hopper pale ale, an ideal thirst-quencher after a rural ramble.

Limpsfield Road, Warlingham, Surrey CR6 9QH; 01959 577154;

The Flower Pots Inn

The Flower Pots Inn

Credit: The Flower Pots Inn

Cheriton, Hampshire

Close to the source of the Itchen as well as the site of an important Civil War battle, Cheriton is many people’s idea of an idyllic English village. This red-brick pub, that dates from the 1800s, is also a comforting sight, especially as it is home to Flower Pots Brewery, which means lots of award-winning fresh beer. There is a spacious lawn at the front, as well as more green space at the back, both ideal spaces to devote time to several glasses of Perridge Pale.

Brandy Mount, Cheriton, Alresford, Hampshire SO24 0QQ; 01962 771318;

The Red Lion

The Red Lion, Barnes

Credit: The Red Lion, Barnes

Barnes, London

Two slumbering red lions guard the entrance to this Fuller’s pub not far from the Thames, possibly as a hint that it might be better to go around the back for the massive beer garden, where favourites such as London Pride and ESB will be available. Here there is decking, grass-roofed beach-hut lookalikes and plenty of space. Incidentally, no ball games are allowed in the garden, though the story is told of a man chucking a rugby ball around with his two children. Cue licensee who pointed out the rule to… Lawrence Dallaglio.

2 Castelnau, Barnes, London SW13 9RU; 0208 748 2984;

The Express Tavern 

The Express Tavern

Credit: The Express Tavern

Kew, London

Given its proximity to Kew Bridge station, there’s no surprise about the origins of the name of this likeable Victorian-era pub which, from the outside, shows off the solid and geometrically perfect architectural flourishes of that period. Inside, it’s similarly atmospheric but, for now, the leafy and roomy beer garden at the back is an ideal place to enjoy excellent beers from the likes of Big Smoke as well as robust pub grub, both of which the Express has been selling to take away during the coronavirus lockdown.

Kew Bridge Road, Brentford, London; 020 8560 8484;


The Anchor

The Anchor

Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

Walberswick, Suffolk

This is an imposing “Tudorbethan” pub built in the 1930s, when breweries wanted to add a bit of a “Merrie England” look to their establishments. There is an acre of land at the back where excellent beers (some brewed over the river by Adnams in neighbouring Southwold) and wines, as well as al fresco dining courtesy of a pizza oven and barbecue, can be enjoyed. The views over the gunmetal blue of the North Sea will undoubtedly inspire thoughts of travel before you order another pint.

Main Street, Walberswick, Suffolk IP18 6UA; 01502 722112;

The King’s Head (The Low House)

Laxfield, Suffolk

Long nicknamed The Low House (owing to its low-lying position in the village), the inside of this ancient, community-owned village inn is a glorious warren of rooms with high wooden settles and parchment-coloured walls dotted with old prints. The comfortably commodious garden at the back is a sun-dappled delight, where you can sit happily with a pint of Adnams’ pristine Ghost Ship and listen to the village church clock sound the hour.

Gorams Mill Lane, Laxfield, Suffolk IP13 8DW; 01986 798395;

The Fleece Inn 

The Fleece 

Credit: The Fleece 

Bretforton, Worcestershire

The Fleece was built towards the end of the 14th century and has been an unchanging part of the Cotswolds pub scene. Now owned by the National Trust, and managed by Nigel Smith it has a big open garden as well as an apple orchard, all of which will make for convivial outdoor drinking. During lockdown, The Fleece continued its role as a community hub by offering dishes and local beers to be taken away, but now you’ll be able to experience these within its gardens.

Bretforton, Worcestershire WR11 7JE; 01386 831173;

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks 



St Albans, Hertfordshire

Is this the oldest pub in the land? Possibly, though others also claim the crown. Dating back to the 11th century (it is said), Ye Olde Fighting Cocks has seen all manner of crises come and go down the centuries and still prevails. Enjoy socially distanced drinking and eating in its large beer garden, which once appeared in an Inspector Morse episode with John Thaw enjoying a pint in the fresh air.

16 Abbey Mill Lane, St Albans Hertfordshire AL3 4HE; 01727 869152;


The Greyhound 

The Greyhound

Credit: The Greyhound

Derby, Derbyshire

Here is a little bit of beer-garden tranquillity in the middle of Derby’s hustle and bustle. Owned and run by Derby Brewing Company, the great outdoors is represented by both a roof terrace and a paved and walled beer garden. Food includes burgers, burritos and nachos, while beers come from DBC as well as cans and bottles from more than 100 craft breweries across the world.

75-76 Friar Gate, Derby DE1 1FN; 01332 344155;

Kirkstall Bridge Inn

Kirkstall, Leeds

Yes, it’s next to a picturesque bridge (Grade II listed actually), which crosses the River Aire, plus this popular community pub has an expansive beer garden that stretches down to the river (and has been known to get flooded in the past). The inn is owned by the highly regarded Kirkstall Brewery, whose Dissolution IPA is an ideal drop with which to celebrate your return to the pub beer garden.

12 Bridge Road, Kirkstall, Leeds, LS5 3BW; 0113 2784044;


Tweedies Bar & Lodge

Credit: Tweedies Bar & Lodge

Grasmere, Cumbria

The garden at Tweedies is an ideal spot to drink beer on a sunny day, with the sight of surrounding Fells accompanied by the gentle rustle of leaves from the mature trees that dot its boundaries. What to drink? There are more than a dozen beers, ciders and perries to choose from, so you may be some time.

Red Bank Road, Dale Lodge Hotel, Grasmere, Cumbria LA22 9SW; 01539 435300;

The Old Horse

Leicester, Leicestershire

Described as one of Leicester’s best-kept pub secrets, The Old Horse’s beer garden leans out at the rear, a long well-kept length of lawn, dotted with shrubberies and overhung by mature trees. Oh, and there is, what looks like, a rugby post at the end as well, which given that the city is home to Tigers, doesn’t surprise. As well as Everards’ beers, the juice of the apple is celebrated here with up to nine ciders available.

198 London Road, Leicester LE2 1NE; 0116 2548384;

The Plungington Hotel 

Fulwood, Preston, Lancashire

Here is the largest beer garden in Preston, mixing in fixed seating and a substantial grassy area that was once a bowling green in the 19th century (the hotel was a farmhouse in the same period). The space is not wasted, with plenty of events taking place, including an annual gin festival, which sadly was due to be held during what became the lockdown. Still, there is plenty of choice for lovers of John Barleycorn, with six cask beers usually available.

67 Lytham Road, Fulwood Preston PR2 3AR; 01772 712000;

More Stories
Cuomo aide denies staff are abandoning their posts as pressure mounts for governor to resign