20 local pubs with beer gardens
Heat wave alert! Grab those sunnies and head out to one of these gorgeous pub gardens for a fabulous meal alfresco in Devon.
The temperature’s rising and something chilled is definitely in order. Whether you want your green space near a river, meadow, fields, village or city, we’ve scoured Devon for the best in show.
The Cary Arms, Babbacombe
Missing the Med? Get thee to The Cary Arms where on a sunny day, with a glass in hand, sunnies on and the big blue of Lyme Bay below, it’s practically Kefalonia (only with jumpers, obvs). And sometimes you see a seal. It’s gorgeous here on a sunny day! Book your gastropub lunch – Devon beef, Lyme Bay lobster and line caught seafood – on their outdoor sun terrace.
The Ferry Inn, Salcombe
Roll up, roll up for the best beer garden views in Salcombe, and possibly the whole of the South Hams. They’re not taking bookings, those estuary views are a first come, first served basis.
The Puffing Billy, Exton
Enjoy freshly prepped food from The PB’s seasonally changed menu, washed down with a lager in their suntrap beer garden. It’s 15 minutes by car from Exeter and 5 minutes from Exmouth or work up an appetite and go by bike along the Exe cycle trail which runs both sides of the estuary. If you don’t fancy cooking this Father’s Day, there’s a BBQ and music from 3.30pm.
The Cott Inn, Dartington
The Cott have a fabulous covered garden (and look, a cool new pod) complete with outdoor kitchen (sensibly weatherproof) where you can grab a ruby red burger, sourdough pizza, or seafood linguine, washed down with a crisp Picpoul or Marlborough Sauvignon (and a choice of vegan wines). No wonder they snaffled Winner of the Great British Pub Awards last year. Book your table on 01803 863777 or via the website.
The Maltster’s Arms, Tuckenhay
A totally charming 18th century riverside pub with rooms (once owned by wine-quaffing chef Keith Floyd) where you can sit out by the creek, or even arrive by boat if the tide is high. Menu highlights include Dartmoor lamb, River Exe mussels and yummy local cheeses. Name-checked in The Times’ Best 50 Places to Eat Al Fresco. Totnes and Sharpham Vineyard are just down the road for a mooch among the vines, and kids and dogs are welcome too.
The Rugglestone Inn, Widecombe in the Moor
Ah, breathe that fresh Dartmoor air! Iconic (if teeny) old pub with gorgeous beer garden you get to via a little bridge over a shallow little stream, where kids love to play. Expect home-cooked food, real ales and organic and local wine, a friendly atmos (kids and dogs on leads welcome) and cute roaming chickens. The menu changes regularly If you want to make a stay of it, there’s their two-bedroom Rugglestone Cottage nearby where you can be really lazy and have dinners delivered to your door. Great for walkers. Bliss.
The Rose and Crown, Yealmpton
Hoof it here for a sundowner in The Rose and Crown’s sun trap of a beer garden. As one of West Country St Austell Brewery group, and so easy, as you can order and pay for your gastropub nosh via their Easy Order app.
The Anchor, Beer
Perched on the cliff top at the end of Beer’s high street, The Anchor’s pet-friendly beer garden hits the spot if you’re after a 180-degree sea view. Nearby, there are 95 miles of windswept Jurassic Coast to explore or if you have littlies with you there’s the small play park just opposite – and, of course, that much-instagrammed pebbly beach and its still-working fishing boats just down the slipway.
The Duck at Yeoford, Crediton
Owners of the only pub in the village, Sarah and James haven’t slacked on doing up the garden, with a new covered, heated area, aptly called The Duck Shed. I was bowled over by the James’ flavourful food when I reviewed it last year, and now there’s a new all-day tapas menu (12-9pm) from Weds – Sundays. It’s kid-friendly, with a play area and easy access from the car park to the garden too, if you’re bringing older rellies who are unsteady on their pins.
The Ship Inn, Teignnouth
Possibly the sandiest beer garden in this collection as it’s right on Teignmouth’s back beach, overlooking the bobbing boats of the Teign Estuary. If you get itchy feet, you can take the five-minute ferry over to Shaldon for a bevy at The Ferry Boat Inn (also right on the beach and frequently with live music sessions) but the best sunsets definitely belong to The Ship.
The Molesworth Arms, Pyworthy
This recently renovated pub with rooms, run by Kit and Monique, just two miles from the Cornish border should definitely be on your radar if it isn’t already. They’re normally known for high-quality pub classics, and the chef’s smokery behind the pub. Open Weds-Sunday only, book here.
Bearslake Inn, Sourton
A Muddy fave on the northern edge of Dartmoor, with chocolate-box charm and picnic tables with seating for over 100, a babbling stream running by and views over open farmland, moors and granite tors.
The White Horse, Exford
Owners Peter and Linda have shut up the pop-up shop they’ve been running during lockdown to return to 7-day a week opening hours, so a return to something like normality for this wonderfully tranquil spot on Exmoor, where you can sit with something chilled or eat from either the pub or a la carte menu and watch the river running by. If you fancy a stay, be sure to pack your walking boots – there are loads of walks in the fresh air on your doorstep.
The Ring of Bells, Cheriton Fitzpaine
Extremely good food, a cute little beer garden and my Muddy spies tell me there’s a BBQ and live music from 4pm this Saturday 18 June. Just don’t nab the last portion of whitebait and aoili dip puh-leese. It’s mine, all mine!
Fisherman’s Cot, Bickleigh
This garden overlooks Bickleigh Bridge (rumoured to be the inspiration for Paul Simon’s Bridge over Troubled Water after he stayed there in the 60s). No troubled water here though, just good food, and 30% off meals Monday to Friday from 13 June.
The Turf Locks, Exe Estuary
Located on a breezy promontory between the River Exe and Exeter canal, the fabulous Turf Hotel has a large garden, picnic tables a-plenty and their popular outdoor barbecue. And you may as well tuck in to your heart’s content as you have no choice but to either walk, cycle or kayak it off, as it’s not easily accessible by car.
The Boathouse, Instow
Fancy a snifter overlooking the water? Take a seat on the upstairs deck of this beach bar and restaurant right on the Taw and Torridge Estuary. It’s half outdoors, half undercover so plenty of fresh air to go round while you enjoy sustainably caught seafood and locally-raised meat, while mulling a luscious list of over 50 wines. Cheers!
Three Crowns, Chagford
You wouldn’t think it from the old-worlde look of the frontage but Chagford’s Muddy Award-winning Boutique Stay has a secret inner courtyard, perfect for chic and sheltered outdoor dining (and a cheeky cocktail).
The Farmers Arms, Woolsery, Bideford
If you haven’t tried out this refurbed foodie destination and its bijou courtyard garden yet, get cracking! Both the pub menu and restaurant food is outstanding; even the bar snacks are handmade with amazing attention to detail all round. Check out Muddy’s review for the full lowdown.
The Turtley Corn Mill, Avonwick, South Brent
With six acres of grounds for kids to explore and cooing peacocks (do peackcocks coo?) here’s the place for big, multi-generational meet-ups for Sunday lunch in the sun. Plus, they have lovely new lodges with idyllic lakeside views if you fancy a pucker stay. Dogs welcome but must be kept on leads.