Written by Amanda French
Summer is but fleeting in this nation, so we’ve got to enjoy it while we can. We’ve rounded up the best places to enjoy a fantastic meal in the sunshine, so you don’t have to waste any time finding them!
Acle Bridge Inn
Acle Bridge Inn in the heart of the Norfolk Broads has some views to die for. With a view of the Broads from their garden area, and with children, dogs and muddy boots welcome, it’s a great place to stop on a day trip. This family run pub set in the gorgeous riverside location and has ample moorings for pulling up alongside in a boat too.
Rocky Bottoms in West Runton, Norfolk, specialises in crabs and lobsters, which is apt as it looks out to the sea. Created from an old brick kiln, the restaurant was opened by husband and wife team Richard and Alison, who cook up delicious ingredients from the local area.
The Hallmark Hotel
The Hallmark Hotel in Flitwick, Bedfordshire, offers its traditional cream tea on the terrace or with the possibility of pulling out a blanket and enjoying a picnic afternoon tea. Taking the British tradition into the great outdoors, guests booked for the ‘Flit-nic Royal-Tea’ can expect freshly baked scones, clotted cream and jam, a selection of cakes and delicate finger sandwiches, all prepared to order and presented with wicker hamper, picnic rugs, glass of champagne and pot of a tea or coffee. Served daily, and available to enjoy between 1pm-5pm, the tea will be served up to guests, surrounded by nature in the stunning hotel grounds, nestled under the trees. There’s a special menu for little ones, and dogs can get in on the action too as well-behaved pooches are welcome to enjoy the grounds with their owners – dog biscuits and water bowls included. Prices start from £22 per person for the picnic afternoon tea.
Looking for a beautiful beer garden? Head on over to the Red Lion Milton Bryan near Woburn in Bedfordshire which won the Greene King Best Garden Award this year. As well as offering a beautiful experience, their menu is packed with plenty of delicious options. Head down to their Burger Thursday event to enjoy a burger in the sunshine for only £10.
The Crown at Woodbridge in Suffolk has just opened a new terrace for dining Al Fresco, giving visitors the chance to enjoy their award-winning food in a sunny setting. The chefs use locally sourced ingredients that showcase the very best of Suffolk ingredients. They also have a strong relationship with their local suppliers which include Blythburgh free range pork, Woodbridge Tide Mill and Suffolk Salami.
The Vine in Great Bardfield, Braintree, Essex has a lovely outdoor seating area and on cold nights they’ll provide blankets to keep you toasty…and with the British weather, it’s a good job! The philosophy at the Vine is ‘less is more’ with a focus on the very best quality ingredients, cooking them in a manner that reflects their delicate textures and flavours. They also serve a range of organic wines to accompany your meal.
St Villa in St Albans has a huge outdoors area, perfect for watching the world go by on a hot and sunny day. Food served is English-Mediterranean which translates into fresh ingredients such as Burrata or crab tartare along with ragu, risotto, pan fried cod and much more.
Little Hallingbury Mill
Little Hallingbury Mill has an outside area just next to the river. Pop along and enjoy a lovely meal in a gorgeous setting. You can also enjoy an afternoon tea or lunch here, as well as a romantic evening meal.
Head to the Galleria Restaurant in Cambridge to enjoy al fresco dining by the river. Located at the foot of Magdalene Bridge in the city and overlooking St John’s and Magdalene colleges, the Galleria serves up modern fusion cuisine and is a great spot for a summer evening.