10 Brilliant Beer Gardens in Herts & Beds
Fancy an al fresco lunch? Here's where to head in our counties to quaff rosé and wolf down some great grub that you haven't cooked yourself
Dylans – The Plough, Sleapshyde
Foodies and craft beer connoisseurs step this way! Take a seat in the gorgeous garden of the brilliantly re-imagined 17th century pub, Dylans – The Plough. They’re open every day except Mondays (and closed on 31st Aug and 1 Sept) and are running some super cool foodie pop-ups including Punjabi Shack, Lankan Kitchen and Mozzarella Fellas. Sounds deeeelish! They’re offering tables (still 6 max) in their garden on a first come, first served basis so if you want in, you’ll have to be quick!
The Prae Wood Arms, St Albans
Like your pub gardens on the grand side? On the edge of the glorious Gorhambury Estate, just outside St Albans, the Prae Wood Arms (complete with spectacular sweeping driveway) ticks the boxes: spacious garden, elegant terrace flanked by lavender beds, gorgeous view (over the River Ver and surrounding fields). It even has it’s own gardener! Garden tables are allocated on a first come, first served basis.
The Alford Arms, Frithsden
This is a proper village pub with seriously good food to boot (trust me, I’m salivating as I type!) Whether you rock up in your wellies or your Sunday Best you’ll get a warm welcome at The Alford Arms. And the buzzy beer garden is the perfect spot for soaking up the rays (when they decide to stick around for longer than five minutes!) over a bite and a pint. There’s a reason it’s been named Hertfordshire Dining Pub of the Year by THE GOOD PUB GUIDE 12 times and won Best Destination Pub in the 2019 Muddy Awards (you are a discerning lot!). Tables on the front terrace are now bookable for up to six if you’re eating, or you can just grab a drink in the garden or on the green. Lovely!
The Fox at Willian
What better spot to enjoy a glass of chilled Chablis than at this idyllically located, AA Rosette award winning pub, just by the church and overlooking the village green and pond. You could even make a break of it and book into one of the gorgeously decorated garden rooms (yes, you can actually stay. the. night!) Plus there are some great local walks nearby… if you’re not totally over walking by now. Yeah, I agree – back to the wine! Outdoor tables are bookable and walk-ins are accommodated where possible.
The Fox & Duck, Therfield
Another foxy contender, this friendly local pub describes itself as a ‘well disguised gastro pub’. Soak up the local vibes while sinking a pint or two on the green, and why not make a day of it, by heading to the nearby Royston Heath Nature Reserve for a pre-pint ramble. Call to book a table on the green or make a reservation online from Tuesdays to Sundays.
The Bricklayers Arms Flaunden
Nestled in the rolling hills of the Chess Valley this multi-award winning dining pub has been the worst-kept secret of the rambling community for years. No surprise then that the garden is the perfect spot for some liquid refreshment (you haven’t walked off all those calories for nothing!). Open every day.
The Plough Inn, Wingfield
This trad country pub (we’re talking 16th century, thatched roof kinda stuff – it even has it’s own ‘friendly’ ghost, apparently – yikes!) is well worth venturing off the beaten track for. It’s open Wednesday to Sundays and outdoor tables can be booked online, or for something a bit fancy, you could plump for one of their outdoor dining domes, which cost from £20 for a two-hour slot.
The Red Lion, Milton Bryan
Named as one of the Top Pubs with Gardens by the Sunday Times last summer, this former coaching inn is a great bet for an open-air Bedfordshire bevy. The Red Lion’s historic facade is adorned by flowers tumbling out of hanging baskets, while you can choose to sip your vino on the lawn or terrace, with its chic sun shades for day and festoon lighting by night. There are also covered outdoor areas with heaters and tables are allocated on a first come, first served basis.
The George Inn, Maulden
The all-weather courtyard at The George Inn in Maulden is precisely what we need right now with this bonkers weather! The restored 16th century pub is just gorgeously styled indoors and garden is a total beaut – it’s even got an outdoor kitchen and gin bar which serves no fewer than 45 varieties (errr, hello!). Check the website for updates on hours as they’re currently running extended summer hours through August and book online for outdoor dining.
The Grove Lock, Leighton Buzzard
Location, location, location! This fab Fuller’s pub sits right on the edge of a lock (as you might’ve guessed from the name). Grab a glass of wine, take a seat and watch the canal boats navigate the levers and lock gates right in front of you – sounds like excellent sport, to me! Get online to book your table.