Freedom! 21 garden dining hotspots
Praise be, pubs and restaurants are opening on 12 April - and just in time for spring weather! So book you table now at Berkshire's finest outdoor dining spots.
Is there anything more British than a beer garden? 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. You know the drill – one-way systems, contactless everything, you’ll be drenched in hand santiser and mask up, laydee. Just 26 days to freeeeeeedom!
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. It will open its doors on 12 April with a new large outdoor dining space – undercover dining, heaters and an outdoor bar with draft beer. Bookings are now open via our website or call reservations on 01628 822877.
The Greene Oak, Windsor
Looking for a place to perch and enjoy outdoor dining where the food is the star of the show? Head to the Greene Oak on the outskirts of Windsor. This modern inn is gastropub heaven with a lovely garden and funky horsebox tables on the terrace offer something a bit different. The atmosphere is relaxed, the food it unpretentious with pizazz – and we would expect nothing less from owners James Lyon Shaw and Jamie Dobbin, who met while working at The Ivy in London. Menus use the best of the British larder and offer a mouth-watering mix of dishes. The three-course set menu is a steal at £19. Tuck in.
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. This former rundown pub has a stylish Scandi vibe restaurant, serving seasonal dishes using homegrown ingredients. Good news, it reopens on 12 April with QR code menus and the outside terrace will be a crowd pleaser.
The Royal Oak, Yattendon
The Royal Oak in Yattendon is a stonking country pub with one of the loveliest gardens in the county. We’re thrilled the doors will be swinging open and Rob and his team will be welcoming us in with open arms. They’ve been busy during lockdown bringing the inside out, adding a super-duper marquee on the lawn, fully kitted out with proper flooring, lighting lighting and dressed to look like The Orangery. So take pew, and soak it up, babycakes. Tel: 01635 201325
The Crown at Bray, Maidenhead
The Crown at Bray has always had a fabulous pub garden, but during the delicate times it’s been covered by a giant marquee and showered in sparkle. Up to six people can dine under a festoon of lights, surrounded by trees in an al fresco space that has restaurant vibes. Booking is essential, QR code menu will be used and it’s table service all the way. Tables in the beer garden will be available each day each day on a first come basis for drinks.
Head into Bake Off country (a place familiar with a big tent) and you’ll find the Five Bells in Wickham. It’s a stunning, thatched 17th century inn with a large garden and countryside views to die for. The good news is that it’s all covered, heated and you can enjoy the delicious food with your party of six. Chef-owner Duncan Jones has also lunched a Substantial Menu of small plates including a 4oz burger, sausage and mash and bubble, egg and bacon. Thermals would be advised and perhaps fingerless gloves.
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. It has a pretty garden, that wraps around the front and side of the building and a heated outdoor dining area has been added to welcome you all back on 12 April. A nice spot for a cold rosé and al fresco lunch or dinner. Tel: 01344 882242
This is no ordinary al fresco dining space, this is a five star aprés ski-inspired outdoor restaurant at The Vineyard Hotel in Stockcross. As you would expect from a hotel of this calibre, OutSide is a luxe experience with a giant fire pit, sheepskin rug draped chairs and a BBQ menu to die for. Graze on a selection of small plates washed down with fine wines. It’s very good value too: 3 dishes and a drink for £30 and 5 dishes for £40. Additional dishes £7.
A nod to landlord Andre’s South African roots, The Old Boot‘s ‘Boma’ tipi is a whopper. ‘Boma’ loosely translates as livestock or community enclosure and this is very much a space that welcomes you with open arms to graze. Perfect for tier two dining. The menu is packed full of comforting pub classics, generously portioned and done very well. If the chateaubriand is on the menu, order it. It’s one of the best we’ve ever had. Open for bookings from 12 April.
Coppa Clubs infamous igloos are back! Cosy up for dates and parties of six in Coppa Club’s pop-up pods in Sonning. The menu focuses on unfussy, European food from small plates and snacks to grilled mains, sourdough pizzas, and healthy salads. Igloos can be booked for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 12 April-20 June. Maximum of six people.
The Last Crumb, Caversham
The Last Crumb in Caversham has not one but four outdoor areas to hangout. A large tent occupies the car park, plus there are shipping containers with canteen style tables, each with an overhead heater and light. What’s on the menu? Dirty burgers, wings, pizzas and the truffle parmesan chips are heaven. A super-cool pub that wouldn’t look out of place in London’s Shoreditch. Bookings are opening this week.
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 tented beer garden with dreamy countryside views. Book you table (max six). Tel: 01635 767090.
Coppa Club, Streatley on Thames
A riverside location to relax and reconnect. The newest Coppa Club in Berkshire boasts a large riverside terrace enclosed by a glass structure provide stunning views across the Thames, and al fresco dining all year round. Bookings are being taken 12 April.
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. Reopening 17 May.
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 or a picnic table and the outside bar will keep the drinks coming until closing. Lots of safety measures have been put in place, the food is a selection of crowd-pleasing dishes made from local produce. Book a table from 12 April.
The Dog and Duck. Emmbrook
The Dog & Duck in Emmbrook is on the outskirts of Wokingham. The stylish pub will reopen on the 12 April for pizza and drink in the garden. A more substantial menu will be available from Thursday to Sunday. Plenty of tables, twinkly lights and a great selection of 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. 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 outside – so if you’re jittery about going out, this could be a good option. Local food, cosy vibe and a grand ol’ duke next door. They have reduced capacity and added lots of signs to ensure social distancing isn’t an issue and it’s table service anyway. Although there is a relatively busy road, the garden is lovely with lots of tables and view across the fields. First person to spot the Duke galloping towards the bar wins, well, nothing. But wouldn’t it be fabulous. Taking bookings from 12 April.
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. They are reopening the doors and on 16 Apr with a new garden menu. No specifics on the drill, but assume reduced capacity, contactless payment and parties of six. Grab a table outside, the view is breathtaking..
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. Doors will swing open again on 12 Apr. Snag your spot.
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. Reserve your spot in the garden or on the terrace, they offer a QR code menu and 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 17 May, book up.