15 local pubs with beer gardens
Gasping for something chilled you haven't had to pour yourself? We hear ya! Check out Muddy's pick of our favourite Devon pubs and inns with loads of airy outdoor space for quaffing and scoffing.
All of these delightful Devon pubs and inns with airy open spaces are open for business from Saturday 4 July or soon after. To be Covid-safe, they need you to book in advance and go prepared for the new normal, which is likely to include one-way systems, hand sanitisers and limits to numbers on shared tables. Got your mask and flagon at the ready? Let’s go!
The Cott Inn, Dartington
Not content with wowing the locals with their takeaways (and amazing Yorkshire puds) in lockdown, Mark and Mel at The Cott have been busy creating a Covid-safe garden, including new steps and a one-way system. They’re welcoming folk back to their fabulous garden kitchen (sensibly heated and 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. Opening on the 4 July.
The Rugglestone Inn, Widecombe
This iconic Dartmoor pub (opening on Weds 8 July) has a gorgeous beer garden with awesome views of the moors you get to via a little bridge over a stream. Expect home-cooked food, real ales and organic and local wine, and some new covered areas, as well as the usual a friendly atmos (kids and dogs on leads welcome) and roaming chickens. 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. Bliss.
The Rose and Crown, Yealmpton
The 4 July can’t come soon enough for Muddy to 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, you can check out all the steps they’ve taken to make it Covid-safe, which includes ordering and paying 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. Part of Greene King’s Pub Safe scheme, you can book in from 6 July and order and pay with your phone. 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 just down the slipway.
The Duck at Yeoford, Crediton
Owners of the only pub in the village, Sarah and James have been looking after the locals with takeaway and their Pub-Up-shop, during lockdown while also prepping the garden and installing 6 new tables outdoors. Open from Thurs 9 July with a limited menu (they’ll email it to you when you book) for a max of 4 per table, they’re doing lunches Fri-Sun and evenings Thurs-Sun. Everything will be table service and each table will have its own member of staff. I was bowled over by the James’ flavourful food when I reviewed it last year, and there’s easy access from the car park to the garden too, if you’re bringing older rellies who are unsteady on their pins.
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, but for now they’re opening gradually from Weds 8 July for drinks and pizza from their wood-fired pizza oven. Open Weds-Sunday only, book here.
Bearslake Inn, Sourton
A Muddy fave on the northern edge of Dartmoor, with chocolate-box charm and oodles of socially-distanced picnic tables, with seating for over 100, a babbling stream running by and views over open farmland, moors and granite tors. When they’ve not been serving up delicious fish and chips, new owners Lisa and Julian have spent lockdown zhuzhing, painting and deep-cleaning so go, go, go!
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.
Fisherman’s Cot, Bickleigh
If you’re looking for lots of outdoor space to distance in, cosy pub classics and the River Exe to daydream by, Fisherman’s Cot is your place. Take your pick from a deckchair facing Bickleigh Bridge (rumoured to be the inspiration for Paul Simon’s Bridge over Troubled Water after he stayed there in the 60s) or one of the undercover tables by the inn. Just add gin and sunshine.
The Turf Locks, Exe Estuary
All The Turf is saying is they’re hoping to open on 4 July and to stay tuned, but I can’t think of a better place for a socially-distant bevy. 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 as you have no choice but to walk, cycle or kayak it off, as it’s not accessible by car.
The Boathouse, Instow
Fancy a snifter overlooking the water? From Monday 20 July, you can sit yourself down 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
Winner of Muddy Devon’s Award for Best Boutique Stay, the Three Crowns are opening (outside and in) on Saturday 4 July, coming back from lockdown with a new slimmed-down menu and a stripped-back look. Fancy yourself sitting at one of those tables? Call to book on 01647 433444.
The Farmers Arms, Woolsery, Bideford
This newly refurbed pub and restaurant in North Devon has expanded its pub menu for lunch and dinner, and serving from the 4th in their bijou walled garden behind the restaurant. It’s a fab destination eatery, with handmade drinks and bar snacks and amazing attention to detail – check out Muddy’s review last year for the lowdown.
The Turtley Corn Mill, Avonwick, South Brent
This family-owned inn, with its peacocks and six acres of grounds, was made for social distancing (when the sun’s out at least!). The place to go if you’re with a larger party as they’re accepting tables of up to 8 for their quality pub fayre from Saturday, with card payment only. Book by phone or email – 01364 646100 or email@example.com.