The Daily Telegraph - Saturday
50 great pubs with outdoor space reopening in April
Beer gardens, terraces and all-weather marquees beckon from April 12, and we're starting with these – 50 of the prettiest places around the country with outdoor space
At long last, the tunnel of our confinement is very faintly aglow. After a truly brutal 12 months, the hospitality industry, or part of it, is on the point of being allowed to open again. If the Government’s various targets continue to be met, pubs with outdoor space may serve drinks and food from a week on Monday; socially distanced indoor hospitality for groups of up to six people will be permitted on or after May 17. Different rules will apply in Scotland; Wales will have just made an announcement as you read this.
The prospect of pubs reopening is a consummation devoutly to be wished, even if you’ve never set foot on licensed premises in your life. It will signal the possibility of the Covid emergency being brought under control: not just the end of the beginning, but – just maybe – a small, faltering foretaste of the beginning of the end. It will give us a chance to put our money, quite literally, where our mouths are, supporting an industry that wasn’t in the best of health even before the pandemic and will be on its knees for some time after it.
Most significantly, it will allow us to see our friends again, bursting forth from the cages of our laptop screens, live and in the flesh. There may not be hugging just yet (you may not do that sort of thing with your friends at the best of times), but there will be laughter, banter about facial hair, pictures of children who look taller than you remember them, shared stories and silences – and just a profound feeling of relief.
With our favourite selections from Sawday’s Great British Pub Guide, along with the top-10 local recommendations of the Telegraph's food and drink writers, there are options for all. The English pubs featured on these pages are due to open from the April 12; the Scottish and Welsh ones intend to do so later this month. But do call or check online first: most places will need to be booked. All can be found at sawdays.co.uk/outdoorpubs unless otherwise stated.
THE BLACK BULL Sedbergh, Cumbria
There’s an easy-going atmosphere here, ideal for your first post-lockdown pint, and the garden is a suntrap. Socially-distanced pergolas have been set up in the outside meadow, making it the perfect spot to enjoy some tasty treats from the outdoor kitchen. Choose from wood-fired pizzas or BBQ classics, including good veggie options. Open daily.
[ THE ROEBUCK INN Knutsford, Cheshire
This pub offers a lovely slice of the Mediterranean in deepest Cheshire. From the cobbled pavement planted with trees to the split-level terrace that catches the sun, you’ll believe you’re in a French valley rather than an English village. The "Pub Hub" shop, started during lockdown, still operates today and features local produce, a wine shop and homecooked meals to go. Open daily.
THE CHOLMONDELEY ARMS Cholmondeley, Cheshire
This converted old schoolhouse is famously dog-friendly, with extensive grounds and plenty of garden benches. Choose from the malted charms of Cholmondeley Best Bitter and other local ales as well as a staggering 366 varieties of ruinously good gin (the charming staff will help you choose). There’s a reduced garden menu if you feel peckish. Open daily.
[ THE HORSESHOES AT LONG LANE VILLAGE Derbyshire
A sparkling gem in the Derbyshire countryside, this is a stylish and friendly village pub with super food. Over 100 gins are on offer here, including local craft producers, so ask the friendly team for a recommendation. The spacious garden will be open for table service. Book one of the outdoor "garden rooms" in advance for your bubble of six. Open daily.
THE INN AT LOCH TUMMEL Perth & Kinross
Arrive at this 200-year-old inn to find views of field, hill, loch and sky. It’s a magical spot, with a garden to the front that drinks it all in. Owners Alice and Jade have refreshed the lovely terrace and beer garden during lockdown, even creating a new kitchen garden to grow their own produce. Open daily from May 19.
[ THE ALLANTON INN Allanton, Scottish Borders
This inn is a treat – it sits on the only street in town with a garden that backs onto open country. Have lunch in the sun while watching the farmer plough his fields. There’s a large outdoor marquee, in case the weather turns. Tuck into the likes of an Eyemouth fish platter, rump of local lamb, lavender and raspberry brûlée. Open daily from April 26.