Dreaming of the best beer gardens in the UK? You’re not alone – it’s so nearly time. All across the UK, we’re inching closer and closer to the first signs of lockdown ending, with hospitality venues opening up their gardens for eating and drinking. We’ve already counted off the most exciting bar openings of 2021, now we want to look at beer gardens!
It’s been a long road back to beer gardens, and we wanted to celebrate. That’s why we’ve compiled our guide to the absolute best beer gardens across the UK. These are our favourite spots across the country for an al fresco pint. Just imagine taking that first refreshing sip as the sun goes down – we bet you can taste it already.
Be aware that reopening rules are slightly different depending on where you are in the UK, and some venues may be choosing to open their doors later than the official start date, so always check before making any plans.
So without further ado, let’s count them off. These are our picks for the ten best beer gardens in the UK…
The best beer gardens in the UK
1. Dukes 92, Manchester
Dukes 92 is a venerable Mancunian institution, having first thrown open its doors in 1991! It’s one of the city’s most famous beer gardens, and in the before-times was known for attracting thronging crowds at the first hint of warm weather and sunlight.
On the banks of the famous canal, Dukes 92 hosts a fabulous courtyard with plentiful drinks and outdoor dining, making it the kind of place you can linger at for hours. There are two outdoor cooking stations serving up delicious dishes for the drinking masses. As afternoon bleeds into evening, a delicious smell of BBQ’d meat pervades the whole place.
Dukes 92 is located in the heart of Manchester’s vibrant Castlefield, so if you can’t get a table there’s more around to explore. But we’d definitely recommend booking in advance to experience the area’s original bar and grill.
18-25 Castle Street, Manchester M3 4LZ | dukes92.com
2. The Blackbird, Edinburgh
A hidden gem a little way off of Edinburgh’s beaten track, The Blackbird plays host to an extremely stylish beer garden. We love its bleeding-edge design and angular urban style, and the extensive cocktail menu doesn’t hurt either! The Bombay Sapphire gin creations are a particular highlight.
With plenty of food options for the meat eaters and vegans alike, The Blackbird is a fantastic choice of stopping point for a gentle sunlit drink a little way away from the bustle of central Edinburgh. It’s a good first port of call if you’re planning a night out in town – though we wouldn’t be surprised if you just end up staying there!
37-39 Leven Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9LH | theblackbirdedinburgh.co.uk
3. Botley Hill Farmhouse, Surrey
As far as breathtaking views go, it’s hard to beat Surrey’s Botley Hill Farmhouse. Situated at the top of the North Downs, it’s the perfect spot to relax with beautiful countryside at your feet. The food and drink is all locally sourced. So whether you’re tucking into a dish or lamb or ordering a pint from the local micro-brewery, you can be sure that it’s barely travelled any distance at all before being brought to your table.
While Titsey Brewing Co. beers are the stars of the show, Botley Hill Farmhouse also offers plenty of local gins and wines. There should be something for every drinker! And that even goes for those who don’t drink at all – the nearby Sheep Shed tea shop is a wonderful place for a civilised afternoon’s break or a meal.
Limpsfield Road, Surrey CR6 9QH | botleyhill-farmhouse.co.uk
4. The Faltering Fullback, North London
You could walk past the Faltering Fullback in North London’s Finsbury Park without ever twigging that it hosts one of the city’s most exciting beer gardens. The multi-level garden in this Finsbury Park gem is the stuff of legend among locals, and one of the best places to enjoy a sunlit afternoon of pints and good food.
As the name implies, it’s one of London’s most devoted sports pubs, with regular fixtures in the big downstairs screening room. There’s piping hot food courtesy of the Thai kitchen, and once things open up, the regular music nights should resume. Happy days!
19 Perth Road, London N4 3HB | falteringfullback.com
5. The Merchant, Liverpool
One of Liverpool’s most beloved pubs, The Merchant is well known for its gorgeous outdoor space. With plenty of gin and pizza to go around, this is the place to enjoy a good few hours in Liverpool as the sun goes down.
We recommend trying to nab one of the heated booths, especially if the weather hasn’t quite warmed up yet. Once you get one, guard it with your life! You won’t want to be anywhere else for the rest of the evening. Though if you prefer a daytime sesh, The Merchant is deservedly famous for its long brunches. Keep the Buck’s Fizz coming!
40 Slater Street, Liverpool L1 4JN | themerchantliverpool.co.uk
6. Brel Bar, Glasgow
Glasgow’s most magical beer garden? It’s got to be up there! Brel is famous among Glasweigians for its sparkling atmosphere. There’s the heated patio strewn with fairy lights, the rustic fire pits, the cosy conservatory and more.
The team keeps the place well stocked with a huge selection of craft beers, as well as plenty of Scottish gins and Pimms on tap. If you fancy a bite to eat, we’d recommend trying one Brel’s famous mussel pots. Though there are plenty of vegan and vegetarian options too, so everyone’s welcome at Brel!
Ashton Lane, Glasgow G12 8SJ | brelbar.com
7. The Ship, South London
This nautical delight is situated by the side of the Thames, and the views are spectacular. The decked garden is enormous, and there are plenty of heated booths to set up camp and enjoy a leisurely afternoon or evening’s eating and drinking.
The Ship has been overlooking the river since 1786! Today, its menus offer a sumptuous range of pub classics, as well as plentiful vegan options. A particular highlight comes in the form of the burger shack, which pairs the best British beef with expertly sourced cheese and bacon. There’s a great Sunday menu too, so it’s well worth booking for a weekend jaunt. All aboard!
41 Jews Road, London SW18 1TB | theship.co.uk
8. The Cricketers, Cardiff
Hit a good six from the country cricket ground, and you might stand a chance of it landing in the garden of The Cricketers, one of Cardiff’s best pubs. In the summer it gets absolutely bathed in sun. There’s a huge range of beers to choose from, including cask ales from the pub’s sister company, Even-Evans Brewery in Llandeilo.
Food-wise there are plentiful pub classics, but also regularly rotating specials, so there’s always something new to try. Everything is locally supplied from nearby butchers and greengrocers. Sunday lunch is a big event at The Cricketers – booking is highly recommended.
66 Cathedral Road, Cardiff CF11 9LL | cricketerscardiff.co.uk
9. The Perch, Oxford
Another pub by the Thames, but this time on Oxford’s stretch! The Perch is a beloved tranquil spot, with a garden that blooms into glorious life in the summer. There’s been a pub on this site for at least 800 years (!), and it was said to be an inspiration for Lewis Carroll when he created Alice in Wonderland.
A gorgeous selection of English wines and a regularly changing menu of delicious food makes The Perch into one of Oxford’s jewels. Book in early for your first al fresco escape.
Binsey Lane, Oxford OX2 0NG | the-perch.co.uk
10. Cutters Wharf, Belfast
On the banks of the River Lagan, Cutters sports multiple gorgeous terraces to while away the hours as the sun goes down. Indeed, if that’s your pleasure, may we recommend the aptly named Sunset Terrace?
If you’re walking the popular River Lagan towpath, Cutters Wharf makes for a perfect pitstop. Though if you have too many cold pints and too much delicious food from the River Grill, your pitstop may become just, well, a stop. And really, would that be such a bad thing?
Lockview Road, Belfast BT9 5FJ | cutterswharf.co.uk
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