17 local pubs with gardens and other outdoor spaces
Our pick of the pubs in Somerset and Dorset with cool outdoor spaces to enjoy a socially-distanced sip. Cheers!
Is there anything more British than a beer garden in the sunshine? Whether you like a garden on a hillside, by the sea or in the middle of the countryside, we’ve scoured Dorset and Somerset 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. Check the websites or phone first and go prepared for the new normal – one-way systems, contactless everything and you’ll be drenched in hand sanitiser. Needs must.
The Anchor Inn, Seatown, Dorset
Enjoy exceptional food from the terrace overlooking the beach (they’ve put up little tenty things so you can sit outside even in the rain) or in the garden and ponder on whether to walk up Golden Cap (the views are spectacular but it’s steep) – or just have another glass of wine.
The Candlelight Inn, Bishopswood, nr Chard, Somerset
17th century foodie pub in the village of Bishopswood, in the Blackwood Hills, just off the A30 near Chard. Lovely beer garden at the back and a marquee to the side of the pub. Did we mention the 50 gins? Read our review.
The New Inn, Cerne Abbas, Dorset
Former 16th century coaching house with rooms, a large walled garden with fruit trees and views of the village rooftops and an enticing summer menu. Don’t forget to take a peep at the ancient naked man sculpted into the chalk hillside above the village while you’re there. Read our review.
The Lord Poulet Arms, Hinton St George, nr Crewkerne, Somerset
Opening Thurs 6 August, the Lord Poulett surely has one of Somerset’s prettiest pub gardens. French wire furniture, pebbles, lawns, lavender, vines, boules – ooh la la! – and for summer 2020, a custom-built marquee. And of course there’s the award-winning food. Read our review.
The Scott Arms, Kingston, nr Corfe Castle, Dorset
Admire the fab views of Corfe Castle (there’s a telescope for close ups like this) while you scoff the pub menu seven days a week, and Jamaican cuisine with music to match (co-owner Nicky is from Jamaica), from the Jerk Shak, at weekends.
The Devonshire Arms, Long Sutton, nr Langport, Somerset
Former hunting lodge turned cut-above-gastropub perched on the edge of a picturesque village green. Eat and drink very well in the courtyard, large terraced walled garden or out front.
Square & Compass, Worth Matravers, Dorset
Through the hatch and down the hatch. Award winning beers and ciders including home pressed traditional cider made by the owner, served through the window.
The Litton, Litton, nr Wells, Somerset
Three different outside spaces to enjoy the modern British/Med menu and local beers and ciders. Take a seat in the sunken courtyard, on the riverside terrace backing onto the river Chew (there’s a fire pit at night) or let the kids run around in the grassy landscape gardens overlooking the pub. Read our review.
Hare & Hounds, Bath, Somerset
Just a mile or so north of the city centre with a Modern British gastropub menu, a massive garden with a brand new outside bar and pizza oven, a new marquee – and spectacular views and walks across the Bath countryside. Read our review.
The Talbot Inn, Mells, Somerset
Re-opening Thurs 30 July. The 15th century coaching inn with cobbled courtyard and lovely gardens meets chic but cosy hotel – the owners come from Soho House, ’nuff said – in the pretty village of Mells. Enjoy local ales, ciders and gastro pub nosh.
The Castle Inn, West Lulworth, Dorset
Located in the tranquil village of West Lulworth on the Isle of Purbeck, with views over the village from the gardens and Dorset’s spectacular Jurassic coast a few minutes away. Read our review.
The Cotley Inn, Warmsbrook, nr Chard, Somerset
On Cotley Estate, in the village of Wambrook, on the side of an idyllic valley on the edge of the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Loads of outdoor seating on the south facing terrace and in their large gardens, with a little wooded area and pond. Seasonal and super, super local food. See our review.
The Brace of Pheasants, Plush, nr Dorchester, Dorset
Originally a blacksmith’s workshop, this pretty thatched pub in the village of Plush has award-winning, seasonal food and lots of space outside, including a big marquee.
The Swan, Wedmore, Somerset
Picnic tables on the terrace and spacious lawns, with a wood-fired pizza oven and BBQ just out of shot. Wedmore’s stylish gastro pub has Tom Blake from River Cottage overseeing what happens in the kitchen. Nice. Read our review.
Tarr Farm Inn, Tarr Steps nr Dulverton, Exmoor, Somerset
When we say gardens, we mean grounds – 40 acres of them – and the stunning medieval clapper bridge over the river Barle to boot. Food’s great too (former UK Top 50 Gastropub).
The Langton Arms, Tarrant Monkton, nr Blandford Forum, Dorset
Pubs don’t get more chocolate box than this family-run thatched beauty, with meat on the menu from the family farm and a large garden out back.
The Ring O’ Bells, Compton Martin, the Chew Valley, Somerset
Beautiful gardens, shady seating, an outside bar, sizzling BBQ and music courtesy of the pub’s own newly launched radio show, the Isolation Station (this is the pub where Kylie, Coldplay and co have rocked up in the past). Close to the Mendips, Chew Valley and Blagdon lakes, if you need a dose of nature.