On the waterfront
Take advantage of the warm weather by scoffing and quaffing by the water's edge at one of these chill places in Somerset and Dorset
Eight places to eat, drink and relax by the river, canal-side and other watery locations around our two beautiful counties.
The Locksbrook Inn, Bath
This gastro pub sits by the side of the canal in Lower Weston in Bath, with an outside terrace and a cosy inside complete with pictures of ye olde Bath and a woodburner. As you’d expect from The Bath Pub Company (The Hare and Hounds, The Marlborough Tavern and The Moorfields), the food – breakfast, brunch, evening meals and in between seven days a week – is cut above, with pub classics and eclectic dishes. On the Sustrans cycle network route 4 and just a half hour walk into the centre of the city.
Rise Cafe, West Bay
Located on its own little island in the heart of West Bay, where the River Brit meets the harbour, Rise Cafe is the place to come for good mood food. Breakfasts involve smashed avo, eggs, smoked salmon and more with sourdough toast and rolls made in their bakery and from noon until latem you can feast on eclectic dishes like sticky Korean wings with Gochujang sauce, burgers, fish, crab sarnies, salads with lots of vegans and veggies.
The Sheppey Inn, Lower Godney, near Wells and Glastonbury
Out on the otherworldly Somerset Levels – vast skies, reed beds, Autumn and winter starling murmurations – with quirky interiors, modern European food on the menu, a big selection of beers, ales and ciders and lots and lots of live music. Now under new management, you can sit inside – we love the barn-like main area – in a booth (also fab) or outside on decking alongside the river Sheppey. Closed Mon & Tues.
The Old Granary, The Quay, Wareham
It’s on the banks of the river Frome but its nowhere near Frome. Take a seat on the roof terrace at The Old Granary for river views and out over towards the Purbeck Hiils in the old Saxon town of Wareham in Dorset. Part of the Hall & Woodhouse group, the former grain house offers pub classics and Sunday lunches in an all-day café, bar and dining room.
The Mill at Rode, Rode
This former Victorian wool mill turned pub on the Somerset/Wilts border with a decked terrace overlooks the river Frome and has pretty gardens and spacious interiors. The pub – which still has its historic waterwheel which powered looms making woollen cloth – serves up home-cooked pub classics and Sunday lunches plus Butcombe Brewery ales.
The Lock Keeper, Keynsham
Centuries ago, the owner of this private house used the water from the river Avon and a well to brew his own. By the 17th century it was an alehouse. Today you can knock back Young’s beers, eat and drink seasonal British nosh – the steak and ale pie, roasts, fish and cheeses are all said to be good– and play a game of petanque in a big beer garden, while the Avon slowly wends its way.
The Boathouse, Christchurch
Situated on the banks of the river Stour, the ever popular and child-friendly Boathouse serves up breakfasts, pizza and seafood that comes with panoramic views of the quayside, a crazy golf course and a nearby ferry over to Hengistbury Head and Mudeford Sandspit for walks and sandcastles.
The George Inn, Bathampton
This friendly, unpretentious pub popular with walkers and cyclists (and people in barges), by the side Avon and Kennet canal, used to be a monastery. But the only habit you might get into is coming back here, if you like hearty canal-side walks and pub grub to match.