The Anchor, Tintern, Chepstow
If you want to sit in a garden that is part of British history, this is the place to go. It’s right next to the ruins of Tintern Abbey.
The Anchor has been a licensed premises since 1806, but some of the buildings are much older. The bar is the Abbey’s original cider mill and the restaurant used to be the ferryman’s cottage.
The Abbey itself was founded in 1131, but fell into disuse – and eventully ruin – after Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monastries in the 16th century.
The garden of this town-centre bar and restaurant is right next to the River Ouse in the shadow of the attractive Skeldergate Bridge. The Dyls itself used to be the Motor House, where a toll keeper opened and closed the bridge to allow tall-masted ships in and out of the quays. The Grade II listed Gothic Revival bridge was designed by George Gordon Page and built between 1878 and 1881. The bar gets its name from its owner, former semi-professional tennis player, Jan Dyl.
Fenn Bell Inn, St Mary Hoo, Kent
Two years ago, the Fenn Bell was the first pub in the UK to be awarded a zoo licence. A great place to take the grandkids – they can see squirrel monkeys, lemurs, macaws, meerkats, kunekune pigs and a South American coati named Basil. All are captive bred and many are rescue animals.
A safari truck takes visitors around the zoo during daylight hours – though not if they’ve had too much to drink.
Goodness Gracious, Liverpool
This roof-garden bar on the eighth floor of West Africa House is part of the Oh Me Oh My restaurant, bar and tea rooms on the floor below. It’s filled with soft cushions and beautiful flowers. Sometimes, if the weather’s good, there’ll be a BBQ.
The view across the city’s rooftops includes the Royal Liver building, just across the street, where the fabled Liver birds sit, plus the Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building – collectively, the Three Graces.
The Blue Boar, Aldbourne, Wiltshire
The front garden of this pub is small. But not only do you get a lovely view of the village green and the medieval church, but you also get to sample the atmosphere of one of Doctor Who’s most memorable adventures. The Daemons, starring Jon Pertwee, was filmed here, with many scenes taking place on the green. Think Quatermass and the Pit meets The Wicker Man and The Devil Rides Out, with local history, pagan ritual and, of course, monsters. The pub appears as the Cloven Hoof – hence the sign on the cleverly disguised bin outside.
The Saracen’s Head, Symonds Yat East, Herefordshire
This pub on the Herefordshire/Gloucestershire border looks out over the River Wye at a point where it runs into a gorge on the edge of the Forest of Dean. The village was named after 17th-century sheriff of Herefordshire, Robert Symonds, and an old word for a gate or pass. If you’re lucky you might see one of the peregrine falcons that nest nearby. And if you want to explore the far bank of the river, you can get in the hand-pulled ferry that takes you from one side to the other.
The Barley Mow, Tilford, Surrey
A beautiful summer’s day. A quiet drink outside a pub overlooking an attractive green. A nice relaxing game of cricket to watch.
Tilford Cricket Club has played on the green since 1886, but it’s likely that games took place well before 1821, when retired batsman Billy Beldham took over as the pub’s landlord. ‘Silver Billy’ lived at the cottage nextdoor until he died at the age of 96 in 1862. His portrait hangs in the bar and in the Long Room at Lord’s.
Perfect for a night-time drink or meal. Canopies of fairy lights and a heated patio mean you can still enjoy the garden on chillier evenings. There’s also a 50-seater outdoor restaurant. And if that’s not enough, this garden has tiered seating on a grassy slope and a fire pit. The garden can be hired for private events.
The Trout, Wolvercote, Oxfordshire
Inspector Morse was known to enjoy a lunchtime pint or three at this 17th-century inn just outside Oxford, on the banks of the Thames. It also featured in Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. One of the stone arches on nearby Godstow Bridge, which you can see from the garden, dates back to medieval times.
Faltering Fullback, north London
The Faltering Fullback in Finsbury Park doesn’t have much space out the back, but instead of going for the typical courtyard postage-stamp look, the patrons have built upwards. Four floors of decking, surrounded by plants, bushes, flowers and trees. Ewok village meets the Lost Boys’ treehouse from Peter Pan. There’s even a stage where local artists perform from time to time. falteringfullback.com
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