Sun’s out! 20 fab pub gardens
Feeling hot hot hot? No need to sizzle, head to a pub with a gorgeous garden Here’s where to soak up some rays with a chilled glass of rosé to hand. Cheers!
Is there anything more British than a beer garden in the sunshine? Whether you want your green space near a river, meadow, fields, village or city, we’ve scoured Berkshire for the best in show. And, yep, I’m sure I’ve left off some goodies so if you think there’s been a disgraceful admission please let me know! So drinking heads on and enjoy!
The Royal Oak, Yattendon
If you’re looking for a picture postcard setting, head to The Royal Oak in Yattendon. It is one of those pubs that really shines in the summer. It has recently opened The Orangery – a whopping extension that has created a contemporary eating space, making the most of those garden views. Plus there’s a terrace with outdoor sofas for loooong afternoons on Negronis and the walled garden has been beautifully re-landscaped. Kids and dogs are very welcome. So take pew, and soak it up, babycakes.
The Winning Post, Winkfield
The Winning Post Winkfield is a pub with rooms, think Four Weddings cosy and a lovely spot to eat, drink and is popular with celebs and polo people. A few drinks by the open fire and a boutique room to rest your weary head, but if the sun shines then the bijou pretty garden comes into its own. A nice spot for a cold rosé and al fresco lunch or dinner.
Swan at Streatley, Streatley
I’ve been to a gazillions of pubs and restaurants in Berkshire on Muddy duty and have drawn together this scratch list, admittedly half cut late in the evening, but hopefully with a degree of knowledge and insight. Yeah yeah, I’ve probably left some goodies off, and if you think there has been a libellous omission, genuinely please let me know. I hope these suggestions help you have a wonderful waterside weekend. Slap on the sunscreen and enjoy the view
Roux at Skindles, Maidenhead
It’s got Roux over the door and on the floor, but more importantly it’s got a stonking view of the River Thames and a couple of sunny terraces. Roux at Skindles is the place to be when the big yellow ball is in the sky. Enjoy drink and snack in upstairs on the cocktail bar balcony or grab one of the few table outside in the brasserie. If you’re not there early, you’ll have to wrestle table hoggers out of their prime location seats
The Little Angel, Henley on Thames
OK, so I’m slightly bending the H2O rules because The Little Angel is not next to water, but it is very near. It’s a favourite with rowers and regatta goers because of its proximity to the rowing club (alumni include Pinsent and Redgrave, no less). Dating back to the 1600s, The Little Angel is child and dog friendly, serving gastropub food so you get a cracking trial cooked chip and side order of Lyra-clad six pack. Take a stroll along the towpath, enjoy a boat trip down the Thames or watch the world float by. Add to your must try-list.
The Waterside Inn, Bray
The foodie enclave of Bray is not all about Heston Blumenthal. Long before he introduced the world to snail porridge, a French fancy was drawing a foodie crowd. Alain Roux’s The Waterside Inn has held three Michelin stars since 1985 and is blessed with a stonking riverside location. Loved by chefs, expect fine wines and French classics with a price tag to match. Go for the Menu Gatronomique (£63.50pp) unless someone else is picking up the bill.
Thames Lido, Reading
Yes, we have many beautiful riverside spots, but you cannot resist Reading’s hidden gem – the Thames Lido, with its restaurant nestled between the outdoor pool and the Thames. Fancy a bite to eat? There’s a Mediterranean vibe to the menu and when the sun shines, you could be anywhere in the world. Watch the swimmers pootle up and down or take a dip yourself. It’s what sunny days were made for. Absolute bliss.
Coppa Club, Swan at Streatley, Streatley
If Cher did hotels, it would be the Swan at Streatley. Now fully open after a £12m, four-year renovation with a brand new Coppa Club in Berkshire. Located right on the riverbank, the 380-cover restaurant and bar is the pretty perfect spot to relax and unwind. The interiors are pretty foxy in their own right, but what make this place special is the large riverside terrace enclosed by a glass structure provide stunning views across the Thames, and alfresco dining all year round. Keep your eyes peeled for tennis totty Tim Henman, he’s a regular.
The Swan, Pangbourne
Literary lovers get thee to The Swan in Pangbourne and drink in the view that inspired Kenneth Grahame’s Wind In The Willows and the pub itself also features in Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men In A Boat. A 17th century inn tucked up against the Thames, make a beeline for the small terrace and sit directly on the waterfront the view is to die for. Think tree-lined meadow, large and small boats (some even moor at the pub for lunch). The food is unpretentious but stylishly presented and a nice spot for a family lunch.
The Rowbarge, Woolhampton
As riverside pubs go, The Rowbarge in Woolhampton has one of the biggest gardens, perfect for energetic kids. It’s a bit of a hidden gem, a little of the beaten track and the food is good and reasonably priced. Kids are welcomed with opened arms, it has a superb section of wines and beers, plus 93 different gins. Slow down the pace, watch the canal boats make their way through the lock and drift down Kennet.
Coppa Club, Sonning
Since George Clooney moved to Sonning, you can’t keep me away from the place. No need for a restraining order, George, there’s a new love in my life – the Coppa Club. Cool interiors with pops of colour, cabanas in the summer, the Insta famous igloos in the winter and a garden that runs down to the river. There’s a lovely towpath walk, The Mill theatre is just over the bridge and you’re within stalking, I mean waving, distance of George. Or simply slump into a deckchair and don’t move all day. You’ll never get out of it gracefully anyway.
The Dolphin, Newbury
For more grown up garden action, head to The Dolphin in Newbury. The outside space is not huge but book a beach hut for you and your gang and the outside bar will keep the drinks coming until closing. If the weather doesn’t play ball, the interiors are pretty foxy here too, so you’ll find a cool and cosy spot to scoff and quaff all weekend long.
Roux at Skindles, Maidenhead
I’m cheating on pub gardens (just this once) with a restaurant – but one with a stonking view of the River Thames and a couple of sunny terraces to enjoy a few cheeky drinks. Roux at Skindles is the place to be when the big yellow ball is in the sky. Enjoy drink and snack in upstairs on the cocktail bar balcony or grab one of the few table outside in the brasserie. If you’re not there early, you’ll have to wrestle table hoggers out of their prime location seats
Dog and Duck. Emmbrook
The Dog & Duck in Emmbrook is on the outskirts of Wokingham. The pub was given a top to toe makeover last year and the garden, although, not massive, is nice spot to sink a few jars on a balmy Berkshire weekend. Plenty of table, twinkly lights and if you fancy a bite, it offer fuss free, good pub grub.
The Crown, Bray
Sink your bottom into the plump cushions, flirt outrageously with Heston and eat, drink and have fun in the relaxed splendour of The Crown. Oh, alright, so Heston won’t be there but the lush garden awaits and it comes with its own special menu – think posh burgers, open steak sarnies and the barbecued pineapple is better than sex. FACT! Kid and dog friendly, everyone will be happy here.
Dundas Arms, Kintbury
In the pretty village of Kintbury, West Berkshire, you’ll find the rather lovely Dundas Arms. It’s nestled on the River Kennet and boasts a rather lovely with a views of the water and enough grassy space for the your little people to let off steam without being annoying. Leaving your to to watch the long boats pootle along while you work your way through a bottle of Chablis.
The Old Boot, Stanford Dingley
I see you, knackered parents, totally frazzled by your energetic kids. This one is just for you. Make haste to The Old Boot at Stanford Dingley, grab a table in the enormous garden and relaaaaaax. Yes it can be done. The garden has an outside bar, a wooden play set and tons of space for the little blighters to play. Enjoy a few minutes of adult chat, eat a hot meal and regroup. That’s an order.
The Rowbarge, Woolhampton
A bit of a hidden gem, The Rowbarge Woolhampton, has a garden so big it’s practically a paddock. Perfect for energetic kids who have energy to burn. If the river is freaking you out, there have been no reports of anyone falling in… yet. Take a seat, watch the narrow boats drift by and tuck into the 100 bottles of gin. It also serves good, reasonably priced pub food.
Bel & The Dragon, Cookham
Great pub, great food and a gorgeous garden. The Bel & The Dragon caters for the whole famalam. Kids menu, light bites from the garden menu or bring out the big guns and go al la carte. Plus there’s an enclosed garden with a play house for little ones giving frazzled parents five minutes peace. Tom Hiddleston has been known to pop in, so plenty to distract you from your rampaging kids.
The Blackbird, Bagnor
If you’re looking for somewhere completely unique and perfect for foodies (*whisper it* even those with kids). Then I’ve found it. The Blackbird is in one of the prettiest villages in Berkshire, has a large garden with a kids play set and the food is exceptional. Chef Dom Robinson (Tom Aiken’s former head chef) offers a quality kids dishes alongside the lush a la carte and set menus. If you haven’t been yet, it’s a foodie destination that has got London critics all hot and bothered. theblackbird.co.uk
The Boatman, Windsor
Windsor’s only riverside pub, The Boatman is practically the Queen’s local and is a prime spot for people and boat watching. In the shadow of the castle and facing onto the Eton side of the Thames, it is idyllic when the sun shines. Grab a table on the terrace and join Her Maj for an 11am G&T. The conservatory has a retractable roof, making the most of the waterside location without getting wet when it rains.
Golden Ball, Pinkneys Green Maidenhead
Quirky, cool interiors with a menu that will keep everyone happy – large and small. There is also a lovely sunny terrace and garden so space for kids to play and pretty nearby walks. Or simply find your spot, watch the cricket on the green opposite and relax. thegoldenballpub.com