During the pandemic, many restaurants in England began thinking more about what they could do with their outdoor dining spaces to make it easier and safer for diners to continue enjoying the restaurants. Outdoor dining has always been a strictly seasonal activity in England, due to bad winters and unpredictable summers, but the pandemic changed all that. Dining pods sprang up in restaurant gardens, marquees were erected, and tables and chairs were nestled into every available outdoor space.
Diners can now enjoy outdoor dining in England in a way they never have before. With so many beautiful views across the UK, including sea views, lakes, mountains, meadows, and rivers, it’s a great place for sitting outdoors and enjoying a meal. Here are eight fantastic restaurants in England with beautiful outdoor dining.
1. Mandira’s Kitchen
In case you didn’t know, curry is a national dish in the UK, and there’s no better way to enjoy some incredible Indian cuisine than in traditionally English surroundings. At Mandira’s Kitchen, you can dine out on tasty Indian food in their delightful barn premises in the Surrey Hills. This is an area of outstanding natural beauty just beside the mystical Silent Pool, which is a still and peaceful lake. The patio space at Mandira’s provides an outdoor dining area for authentic Indian street food and is popular with walkers who stop off here while walking the Surrey Hills. The space is also available to rent for private parties.
Pro Tip: Mandira’s At Home
If you can’t make it to Surrey, you can still enjoy Mandira’s amazing Indian food at home, as they deliver nationwide. They have an impressive vegetarian and vegan range. I love the palak dahl, and the spiced crackers are really moreish.
The Lake District
The Samling sits cradled in a bowl of Lakeland fellside, looking out over panoramic lake views, south along Windermere and west toward the Coniston Old Man mountain range. Housed in an impressive new glass-fronted space, The Samling’s restaurant is led by Chef Robby Jenks. For alfresco dining the terraces overlooking the lakes are perfect.
The grounds of The Samling hold a beautifully varied mix of old deciduous woodland, fellside, traditional hay meadows, vegetable gardens and beehives, and a highly unique ornamental garden featuring ingenious water features and interlocking cascading ponds carved from the hillside’s bedrock. These channel the local springs under and around the hotel and down to the lake. The woodland is a haven for wildlife and plant species, including swathes of English bluebells, birds, and surprisingly exotic looking moths. The variety of the wildlife has a concentrated interest in the rest of the garden, particularly the vegetable gardens, and sometimes they win, enjoying the best efforts of the gardeners demonstrating an adventurous taste for more delicate microgreens than they find in the woods.
The ornamental gardens and water features are particularly intriguing. They have a listed Georgian stone Summer House that looks along the length of Lake Windermere. I don’t know the exact age of the intricately devised water systems, but as they run under the buildings, I’m guessing they were built as part of the original plan. The old-fashioned hay meadows provide happy grazing for the hotel bees, housed in hives on the edge of the old orchards, where the deer leave their young to shelter in the long grass in summer.
At Frasers, outside dining is offered in The Garden, a beautiful, informal spot that is surrounded by flowers and overlooks a kitchen garden, fruit frames, and the beautiful Kentish countryside. It serves a casual dining menu, afternoon tea, and drinks. All the materials used here are reclaimed and repurposed, with each table seating up to 10. The sun-drenched Oak Barn Terrace located next to the restaurant offers the choice of any menu on offer at Frasers, from early morning brunch, light lunches, and afternoon tea through to formal dining, feasting menus, and chef’s table tasting menus. It sits behind the traditional oak-framed barn restaurant and overlooks the rose garden and wider farm area, offering lovely country views.
Pro Tip: Sustainability At Frasers
Pre-order your food and help save the planet. Frasers serves seasonal, local food, and everything served comes either fresh from the farm and large kitchen garden or from local artisan Kent and Sussex producers located within 30 miles of the farm to keep food miles to a minimum.
There are many measures in place to ensure sustainability at Frasers, including asking guests to pre-order their meals, an initiative that has resulted in an 80 percent reduction in food waste. Frasers ethos is that you can enjoy the very best quality produced by sourcing locally and acting ethically in terms of sustainability and protecting the environment.
At Carbis Bay, you’ll find casual, beachside dining with as many locally sourced ingredients as possible, especially seafood and fish landed at nearby St Ives or Newlyn Fish Market. During the summer months when the sun is shining, the Cloudy Bay hut serves a light tapas menu accompanied by the extensive Cloudy Bay wine list to be enjoyed on the terrace, as well as picnics for guests to enjoy on the golden sands below.
The Beach Club sits above one of the most beautiful beaches in the UK, awarded Blue Flag status, confirming the care and attention the hotel ensures goes into making sure it is a safe, clean, and beautiful place to visit.
Pro Tip: What To Order
Choose any of the seafood from the menu and you’ll enjoy the tastiest, freshest seafood right by the sea, but the hand-picked crab is especially good.
5. The Ferry House
The Isle Of Sheppey, Kent
The Ferry House is on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, and is a 16th-century restaurant with waterside rooms right on the Swale Estuary. Tables are set up outside overlooking the rose gardens, which lead down to the water where you can watch small boats, and sometimes seals, bob by. The Ferry House has a large kitchen garden, fruit orchard, and its own beef herd on the island. There are also thousands of cycling tracks and Blue Flag beaches. It’s a place full of wild natural beauty, with ponies and buzzards for company.
6. St Enodoc
The St Enodoc is a family-owned, 17-room boutique hotel nestled in the hillside overlooking the Camel Estuary in Rock, Cornwall. Originally built in 1924 as a private house, St Enodoc was transformed in 1999 into one of Cornwall’s first seaside boutique hotels. Rock is an area well known for the local produce and excellent food, and the St Enodoc offers guests two wonderful dining experiences under one roof.
Head Chef, Guy Owens, oversees the Brasserie, where guests can enjoy laid-back all-day dining with views across the estuary, using the very finest local ingredients. Or for a very special meal, Karrek offers an exquisite tasting menu in an intimate, welcoming setting. Much of the produce used is grown at the hotel’s farm and is “Well Made,” with vegetables, rare breeds, and fruits all used across both restaurants. From field to fork, the distance is often just a short walk, with fish from the day boats at Padstow, oysters from Porthilly, and wonderful greens foraged from the sealine.
7. The Ivy Roof Garden
Guests can enjoy food and cocktails amongst an abundance of florals, foliage, and colorful fabrics at The Ivy Roof Garden in Spinningfields, one of Manchester’s most up-and-coming destinations. Open all year round whatever the weather, with its retractable glass roof, heating, and air conditioning, visitors can dine in total comfort come rain or shine.
The restaurant’s new seasonal menus embrace the flavors of spring with a focus on artisanal British suppliers and ingredients. The retractable roof means you always feel outdoors and indoors at the same time. It’s a truly unique experience that the floral decorations bring even more keenly to your senses.
Pro Tip: Vegetarian And Vegan Eats
There’s a really impressive vegetarian and vegan menu at The Ivy. I’d recommend the Keralan sweet potato curry followed by almond panna cotta.
8. The Alvertons
Nestled on the outskirts of the city center, The Alverton has stood on its peaceful hillside setting since 1830. The Grade II-listed building was once a convent and has a rich and fascinating history. Today, the hotel offers laid-back luxury and tranquility. With original features interwoven within the 51 bedrooms, The Alverton offers tradition, romance, and home comforts.
The two AA Rosette award-winning restaurant at The Alverton is a relaxing haven for guests and visitors to savor British favorites and Celtic-inspired cuisine, served by head chef Simon George. Simon’s passion for the rich Cornish ingredients is evident in every mouthful of his dishes, which incorporate the very best farmed, foraged, and fished in the local area.
Overlooking the garden and terrace, the restaurant is bathed with light during the day, and enhanced by soft lamplight in the evening for a more intimate dining experience. You can’t get a more English outdoor dining experience than relaxing on the terrace of a 19th-century historic old building.