Go al fresco this Bank Holiday and explore the best outdoor eateries in Somerset…
It’s Bank Holiday, Pimms O’ Clock, time for a break! When the sun has got his hat on, there is nothing better than soaking up some Vitamin D with a pint of good ale or a great wine and some exceptional food. Of course you’re going to want to make the most of the weather, so head outside and soak up your surroundings in these perfect al fresco dining establishments.
The history and beauty of Ston Easton Park makes it a popular retreat, just outside Bath. 36 acres of parkland come to life in the summer and you will feel transported to your own secret garden. Head chef Daniel Moon is renowned for his exquisite cuisine and this is a chef who not only offers the opportunity to dine in the stunning gardens of Ston Easton Park, but to dine on its produce. Moon works closely with the garden team and sources at least 60 per cent of his raw ingredients from the park’s Victorian kitchen garden. When dining al fresco, wine is an important factor. Ston Easton boasts a cellar full of exquisite vintages to match your mood, the day and the weather!
The Royal Crescent might be located right in the centre of Bath, within walking distance to the city’s theatres and attractions, but it harbours a rather beautiful secret. Step into the restaurant and look out of the window and you’ll catch a glimpse of the five-star hotel’s secluded gardens. Step out on to the terrace and wonderfully manicured lawns for a spot of al fresco afternoon tea: finger sandwiches and fine pastries, hand-made by the hotel’s pastry chef, alongside Bath Buns, freshly baked scones and a world selection of teas – delightful! Privacy, relaxation and indulgence await you at this establishment.
Michelin-starred food in surroundings fit for royalty, Lucknam Park really is something quite special. Lucknam Park is located in the heart of the British countryside, and stepping inside this grand building is like entering you very own Jane Austen novel. 500 acres of grounds spread out around the main building and The Brasserie is a secluded spot to sit out and enjoy the tranquil surroundings with some of the most delectable food you will ever try.
Picture this: a Saturday lunch comprising Wiltshire pork fillet, cheek and belly with earthy celeriac and pickled apple, and a leisurely afternoon unfolding in front of you. The Chequers has been serving hungry Bathonians since 1776 so, once you’ve stopped gawping over your food (and believe me you will; it’s that good) sit back at a table out front and let the afternoon wash over you. If you’re feeling like you’d like a bit more privacy, there is plenty of outdoor seating at the back too, and it is friendly place so you’ll be enveloped in the laid-back, chilled out atmosphere you associate with a summer’s afternoon.
This friendly Bath restaurant is situated in a great spot for watching the world go by. Woods has the advantage of being tucked away in a little nook just off the main Bath square, so it’s peaceful enough to get comfortable in, yet close enough to the hustle and bustle to keep you entertained. Family-run since 1979, the food offering here is French influenced but it’s also a place to pop by for wine and olives and a good old chin wag with an old friend.
What says ‘summer’ better than fish and chips al fresco? Let’s face it, the seaside can be a bit on the breezy side, but Seafoods in Bath offers quality fish and chips and a quaint little outside dining area where you can watch the world go back and get stuck in to salt-and-vinegar treats. Pull up a pew with a real local ale and feel the full effects of a lazy Bank Holiday weekend. The fish is sustainably sourced and the fare here as earned Seafoods an entry into The Good Food Guide as one of the best fish and chip restaurants in Bath.
Riverside location; check. Friendly staff and great food; check. Bustling atmosphere; check. Hall & Woodhouse in Portishead ticks all the boxes if you’re after a sociable weekend full of new people, fine food and a great view. Hall and Woodhouse’s dessert selection is something I really have to mention here. From classics like sticky toffee pudding to sweet ice creams to make you feel like you’re on holiday, these guys are top of their game. Can’t choose one? Never fear, their famous mini puds will see you through a selection of the best, nicely. This is a top choice for sipping wine and indulging your sweet-tooth.
Just a stone’s throw from Bath’s Royal Crescent, The Marlborough Tavern has all the charms of a pub with restaurant quality food. If you’re after a Sunday roast, this should be top of your list as their Sunday lunches are legendary. Enjoy it in a walled courtyard that is a real sun trap in the summer with a quality ale (or an awesome cocktail if it’s Saturday evening with the girls). This pretty pub should be on your bucket list of West Country pub lunches in the sun.
The Hare and Hounds is just the ticket for a hearty lunch. Alternatively it’s a lovely place to start the day. Imagine sitting in their pretty terrace and enjoying a freshly brewed coffee and a plate of eggs Benedict with the sun warming up and readying you for the day ahead. This darling pub is only a mile away from the city but it feels a world away and is definitely somewhere you can leave your cares at the door.
Al fresco dining goes hand in hand with long country walks. Ramble over the Somerset countryside and then head to a traditional 17th Century pub like The Holcombe for a hearty home-cooked meal. You’ll find that The Holcombe attracts foodies as well as ramblers due to quality of the fare on offer. The pub garden is beautifully kept with flowers in bloom and well-kept lawn. It’s truly a pub you can feel at home in.
Green fingered diners take heed, The Cross Keys boasts a well-earned Bath in Bloom Award for its well-kept beer garden and is a real delight to see. Diners get inkling of what is to come on the outside of the beautiful Bath stone exterior covered in gently flowering creepers. The fabulous flora in the beer garden will have you mesmerised and is a real talking point. Gather your family and head over for an afternoon of leisurely traditional food, fine ales and wine and surroundings which come to life under a balmy summer sun.