Summer is nearly here, and whether you’re sipping or slurping, scoffing or savouring, enjoy some al fresco drinking and dining, by visiting one of these Good Pub Guide pubs.
Grosvenor Arms, Aldford (The Good Pub Guide p. 121)
Chester Road, Aldford, Chester, Cheshire, CH3 6HJ
Enjoy a tipple in the sun at this beautiful redbrick and half-timbered Victorian pub, which forms part of the Grosvenor estate and has pleasant views overlooking the village green. The interior is extremely inviting with plenty of character due to a combination of tasteful arches, a variety of floor finishes, rugs, pictures, and a book-lined wall, but while the weather charms, enjoy the terracotta-floored conservatory decorated with blooming flower baskets, or seek out a picnic table on the sunny terrace or on the lush back lawn. There’s a delicious modern British menu on offer, coupled with an astounding array of drinks for you to sip in the sun, including Phoenix Brunning & Price Original, Weetwood Eastgate and guests such as New Plassey Midnight Mild, as well as 20 wines by the glass, over 80 whiskies, 30 gins, and an attractive assortment of soft drinks too, such as peach and elderflower cordial and Willington Fruit Farm pressed apple juice.
Princess of Wales, Camden (The Good Pub Guide p. 959)
22 Chalcot Road, London, NW1 8LL
Located near Primrose Hill, which provides one of the most iconic views of London, this pub is just as good for a post-work sun soak as a weekend wind-down. Choose from an array of refreshments including Pride & Passion Martini, San Abello Sauvignon Blanc or a Pilsner Urquell, and head out to the ‘Banksy beer garden’, so named after a lion design mysteriously appeared on its walls in 2011. Painted walls surround the outdoor area, where multiple mirrors are installed on the wall, combined with bare bulb string lights overhead and simple but stylish furnishing. There’s a mouth-watering food menu if you can be tempted, and once you’ve had your fill and the evening draws in, amble across Primrose Hill and admire the view of the twinkling city lights.
Shibden Mill, Halifax (The Good Pub Guide p. 898)
Shibden Mill Fold, Shibden, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX3 7UL
Set in the beautiful surrounds of the wooded Shibden Valley, this 17th Century inn is the perfect place to enjoy a little outdoor drinking and dining. Opposite the pub runs Red Beck, the mill stream that once powered the inn, but which now contributes to the tranquility of the lovely outside terraced area. Enjoy their delicious menu with locally sourced ingredients (some even from their own kitchen garden) and enjoy the heated terrace as the sun begins to set. The building becomes attractively floodlit at night, and by this point, you may have considered staying in one of their eleven individually styled bedrooms, as there is plenty more to enjoy in the area such as in nearby Calderdale, where there are heritage walks, the Victoria Theatre, exhibitions and more.
The Bridge Inn, Ratho (The Good Pub Guide, p. 1002)
27 Baird Road, Ratho, Midlothian, EH28 8RA
Inside The Bridge Inn you will find a cosy bar with leather armchairs and a lovely dining room, but step through to the furnished outdoor terrace, and enjoy the stunning view of the sun gleaming across the canal, as you enjoy a good pub meal with many Scottish sourced ingredients. Bobbing on top of the water, you may also observe the pub’s own refurbished summer restaurant barge which can be hired out exclusively for special occasions, with its own kitchen and bar ... that’s if it isn’t gliding down the river already of course! They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a gluten free menu, and with events regularly taking place including quiz nights and live music, it seems that there’s never a bad time to make a stop here.
The Nevill Crest & Gun, Eridge Green (The Good Pub Guide, p. 780)
Eridge Road, Eridge Green, Tunbridge Wells, East Sussex, TN3 9JR
This 500 year old building was constructed on land that formerly belonged to the Nevill family, the Earls of Abergavenny, whose ‘Crest’ adorns the building, while the ‘Gun’ refers to a forge on the estate that used to produced cannons and cannon balls for the Nevills. Inside this historic pub, you’ll find large beams, wooden floors and multiple open fires, and a bar with numerous drinks on tap including Phoenix Brunning & Price Original and Westerham Grasshopper, 15 wines by the glass, and 70 malt whiskies. However, to enjoy some al fresco drinking and dining, head back out the front to the lush green, open lawn, where you can choose from picnic tables positioned widely apart, either in prime sun-soaking spots, or sheltered under the shade of a variety of beautiful large trees. Alternatively, there is a terraced area around the back of the building, where the country air can be enjoyed just as well. If you feel like working up an appetite first, or in fact feel like working your meal off, the pub have a link to a walk on their homepage (http://www.ifootpath.com/display-ifootpath-walk?walkID=2495) which takes you on a 4 mile circular route back to the pub, through mixed woodland, open heath and past sandstone formations, where you can view a variety of wildlife and maybe the odd climber, testing their skill on the sandstone.
Meikleour Arms, Meikleour (The Good Pub Guide p. 1000)
Meikleour, Perthshire, PH2 6EB
This 19th century country pub on the Meikleour Estate is a beautiful spot for some outdoor pub dining. They have their very own real ale, ‘The lure of Meikleour’, as well as several guest ales, a range of spirits, and numerous wines. They also have a delicious year round menu including Meikleour Scallop and shrimp salad, or char-grilled steak as well as scrumptious seasonal and vegetarian dishes. Take your pick from seats in the garden, on a colonnaded verandah, or on the sloping lawn, and take in the distant views of the Scottish Highlands. There is plenty to do in the area, which is particularly renowned for fantastic Spring salmon fishing. Before you leave, be sure to take a look at the beech hedge, planted a few hundred metres from the pub – it is 250 years old and the tallest in the world!
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