Freedom! 22 pubs with fab gardens
Praise be, the pubs are opening - and just in time for summer weather! Here are the best pub gardens to enjoy a socially-distanced sip in across Berkshire. 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 town, we’ve scoured Berkshire for the best in show.
Bear in mind that many of these pubs will have booking systems in place to limit their capacity, so don’t just rock up expecting to nab a seat – make sure you check the websites or phone first and go prepared for the new normal – one-way systems, contactless everything, you’ll be drench in hand santiser and mask up, laydee. Needs must.
The Beehive, White Waltham
We’re a sucker for a pretty village pub and The Beehive, run by Chef Dominic Chapman has the sort of spot that inspires writers. Think Midsomer Murders – period red brick gastropub with views across the cricket pitch and a relaxed atmosphere for much-deserved foodie blow out. Help the team out, and book a table in advance and payments will be cashless. We’d advise snagging a hot spot in the beer garden and make the most of the countryside views. That said, socially distant ables are available inside too.
The Woodspeen, Newbury
In the mood for something a little more refined? The Woodspeen is a Michelin star restaurant that quietly twinkles without much fuss. Letting the food do the talking, Chef John Campbell took a run-down pub and transformed into a stylish Scandi vibe restaurant, serving seasonal dishes using homegrown ingredients. Good news, it reopens on 4 Jul with QR code menus, all cutlery will be on the table to use and the outside terrace will be a crowd pleaser.
The Royal Oak, Yattendon
The Royal Oak in Yattendon is an awesome country pub with one of the loveliest gardens in the county. It is one of those pubs that really shines in the summer – so we’re thrilled the doors will be swinging open and Rob and his team will be welcoming us in with open arms. The menu is slightly shorter, and you can book tables of up to 10 from two households or tables of six from mixed. Better still, they’re offering an at home menu, so you can order on Oak classic and eat in if you prefer. There’s a lovely new 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. Tel: 01635 201325
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, that wraps around the front and side of the building comes into its own. A nice spot for a cold rosé and al fresco lunch or dinner. In these delicate, it’s perhaps better suited to older kids than rampaging littlies. Tel: 01344 882242
West Berkshire Brewery Taproom & Kitchen, Yattendon
If you’re after family friendly head to the Old Dairy in Yattendon and you’ll discover West Berkshire Brewery’s Taproom & Kitchen. The only livestock to be found here these days are my kids, the family dog and a few cows. It’s a super casual affair with an industrial vibe thanks to the large glass wall offering a birds eye view into beer utopia. The Taproom is a cool hangout with sizeable beer garden with dreamy countryside views. Plus a outside bar created from Dave the vintage van. Pre-booking is advised, it’s table service, you must as you go and after two hours, you’ll have to stagger home. Tel: 01635 767090.
Coppa Club, Streatley on Thames
If Cher did hotels, it would be the Swan at Streatley. Now fully open after a £12m, four-year renovation with a 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. Bookings are being taken from 6pm on 4 Jul and the popular takeaway menu will still be available. Tel: 01491 529 315.
The Pheasant, Hungerford
In the heart of National Hunt country there are plenty of walks across the North Wessex Downs to enjoy before you tuck into a nosebag at The Pheasant. This is characterful country pub, with quirky touches and a fantastic rep for unfussy, fabulous British food using local, seasonal ingredients. The garden is bijou, but what is lacks in size it makes up for in style. We love the benches and wide tables, perfect for socially distant gatherings with friends and family. You can also build your own picnic and order takeaway meals too. Call 01488 648284 to book your spot.
The Swan, Pangbourne
From Mon 6 Jul 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, reserve your spot on the small terrace and sit directly on the waterfront with a 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. You must pre-book, table service only and no drinkers at the bar. Tel: 0118 984 4494.
Coppa Club, Sonning
Since George Clooney moved to Sonning , you can’t keep me away from the place – only socially distant because of the restraining order. Spoil sport. The second love of our life is the Coppa Club. Cool interiors with pops of colour, the Insta famous igloos in the winter and a garden that runs down to the river. There’s plenty of outside space, deckchairs stand to attention on the lawn, an outside bar, and all weather terrace. Booking are now open for tables from 6pm on 4 Jul. See you there Georgie. Mwah.
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. Lots of safety measures have been put in place – a one-way system, you must wear a mask when popping to the loo, there will be single use menus, table service (an app is coming soon), meals will have a street food vibe served recyclable boxes with disposable cutlery and you must book a table online. Other than that, no change. Wink wink.
The 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 offers fuss free, good pub grub. Like all pubs, is best to book and if you scan the menu online before your get to the pub, pre-ordering your meal is recommended too. Tel 0118 978 0544.
The Wellington Arms, Stratfield Turgis
This classic British pub is a whopper. The Wellington Arms at Stratfield Turgis straddles the Berkshire/ Hants border. It has oodles of space inside and outside – so if you’re jittery about going out, this could be a good option. Local food, cosy interiors and a grand ol’ duke next door, They have reduced capacity and added lots of signs to ensure social distancing isn’t an issue, it’s table service anyway, but an app will launch soon to make it even safer. Although there is a relatively busy road, the garden is lovely with lots of table and view across the fields. First person to spot the Duke galloping towards the bar wins, well, nothing. But wouldn’t it be fabulous.
The Crown, Bray
Pray for good weather, because The Crown in Bray is reopening its garden only. But what a garden it is! Sink your bottom into the plump cushions, order posh burgers from the outdoor kitchen and sink a few mojitos from the garden bar. It’s like being on staycation but you’ll be made to leave. All dining reservations will be within an open-sided marquee and the Crown @ Home Takeaway menu will also be available. It’s also kid and dog friendly, everyone will be happy here. Book a place to park your tush.
The Pot Kiln, Frilsham
Wowzers! That is quite the view. The Pot Kiln in Frilsham (yes it is one of my locals) is a favourite of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge when visiting Ma and Pa Middleton. It has recently undergone a big refurbishment, adding rooms and extending the kitchen and dining room. Then lockdown was enforced and that was that. Well they are reopening the doors and on Sat 4 Jul. No word on what measure will be in place but assume reduced capacity, contactless payment and parties of no more six (mixed) and 10 (two households). Grab a table outside, the view is breathtaking..
The Last Crumb, Caversham
The Last Crumb in Caversham hadn’t been open long before lockdown. But it’s back with bells ono. This one of the coolest pubs you’ll visit in the Berkshire ‘hood – think craft beers, pizzas and dirty burgers with a side order of urban edge thanks to the awesome graffiti artwork, funky interiors and outside space on three different levels. The pub open on Saturday. NO table bookings and there’s fewer table to comply with social distancing. Follow the signage, house rules and enjoy..
The White Oak, Cookham
Great gastropub food in a setting that’s not too stiff. The White Oak in Cookham, owned by Henry Cripps, balances the art of being a welcoming local and foodie destination. To the rear of the main dining area, is a stylish courtyard garden. It’s a lovely sun trap and after enough rosé you could think you’re in the south of France. Don’t bang on their doors on the 4 Jul, reopening has been delayed until the 9th. Bookings can be made on OpenTable.
The Old Boot, Stanford Dingley
I see you, knackered parents, totally frazzled by your homeschooled 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 safely. Enjoy a few minutes of adult chat, eat a hot meal and regroup. That’s an order. Sat 4 Jul is fully booked but go go go, and grab a pew for Sunday. Tel 0118 974 5191.
The Redan, Wokingham
You’ve got to be quick to snag a table at Wokingham’s hip hangout The Redan. The outside space a bijou decked area with all the style of a Shoreditch boozer. You get a two-hour window here and your party must be six max, so choose your five besties and hit the cocktails like a woman released from purgatory. Booking is essential. Sat 4 Jul is full and reservations are being taken for 11th. Open Wed-Sun.
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. In the post-lockdown world things are a bit different – reservations only, a QR code menu, cutlery in provided in pouches, a one-way system, you’ll be bathing in hand sanitiser. Be a safety girl.
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 noisy offspring. The Bel and the Dragon will reopen on 22 Jul, book up.
Crown & Garter, Inkpen
If you have been dreaming of cold drinkies in a country beer garden – it probably looks like this. Well it does in my head. Well the wait is over. The Crown and Garter in Inkpen is opening on 4 Jul to eat in, takeaway, drinks and a cheeky sleepover. In the mood for pub grub? You need to book. Drinkers can head into the garden, grab a table and someone will take your order Plus the entire menu is also available to takeaway (pre order only). Basically it’s all systems go. If the weather could play ball too, that would be magic.
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 family friendly garden. Chef Dom Robinson won’t be opening his Michelin star kitchen until the end of the year, but an outside bar and Pizza Paloma will be available from Sat 4 Jul for al fresco social fun. Book a table in advance and bear in mind, if it rains, they’ll be offering takeaway only.