12 top terraces for outdoor dining
They’re going fast! Snag at table at one of these Hampshire & Isle of Wight pub and restaurant outdoor dining terraces and gardens.
It’s alfresco all the way this Spring as we make a welcome return to dining out. At all corners of Hampshire and the Island, our local pubs and restaurants have been primping-up their gardens and outdoor dining terraces and boy, are we ready for them. Countryside beauty spots, tables by the river, lunch dates, sea breezes and tasty tucker. It’s been a long time – and we can’t wait to get back out there.
The PIG Brockenhurst, New Forest
Spring into outdoor dining with a table at The PIG Brockenhurst’s all-weather garden terrace. From 12 April, there’ll be bumper crop of seasonal dishes made from produce grown in the massive kitchen garden. Any super-fresh ingredients not grown there are sourced within 25 miles. Pig-out on baked Isle of Wight tomatoes with wild garlic pesto, fresh fish from local ports and meat from local farmers for juicy steaks and sugar pit pork ribs. For pud, there’s a rhubarb crumble, PIGGY cheeseboard and loads more to tempt.
The Bishop on the Bridge, Winchester
Lashings of local gin, proper pints, seriously good Sunday roasts and all the usual pub favourites are back at The Bishop on the Bridge, a long-standing Winchester favourite. Tables on the gorgeous riverside outdoor dining terrace overlooking the River Itchen are always in hot demand. Book-in quick, especially if you’re hoping to snag one of its new shed-style huts.
The Shoe Inn, Exton
A small pub with a large riverside garden on the beautiful South Downs Way, the Shoe Inn at Exton is a Meon Valley gem. Take a seat looking out onto Old Winchester Hill and tuck into traditional mains like steaks and fish and chips, or more contemporary fare like prawn tacos or crispy Korean pork belly salad. After a hearty walk, lunchtime sandwiches made from fresh bread home-baked in the pub will also hit the mark.
The Watership Down Inn, Freefolk
The gorgeous, rabbity-fronted North Wessex Downs Inn returns from 15 April. Fresh-changing daily specials and other dishes are packed to the hilt with local produce. And of course, the superb Sunday roasts are always a treat. Don’t fret about the weather: a sizeable new marquee means dodging April showers as won’t be too much of a problem. Limited tables and a large local fan-club mean opening weekend is a near sell-out, so grab the diary and book now for later in the month.
The Crown Inn, Upton
The Crown Inn is a favourite Muddy-rated country pub with major foodie creds. Chef-patron Dave Watts has been pretty busy over the last few months. As well as his superb lockdown takeaways, he recently took over the nearby small holding, Parsonage Farm. So, if you order a platter of cured meats, you can guarantee it’ll be super fresh. That’s not the only big news around Andover way: the pub retained its coveted Bib Gourmand status in the 2021 Michelin Guide. And, just in time for an alfresco reopening on 23 April, there are the two new timber-framed domes in the Crown Inn’s terrace garden.
The White Hart, South Harting, near Petersfield
Sitting on the Hampshire/West Sussex border, the beautiful hamlet of South Harting is a perfect jumping-off point on the South Downs way. Close to the charming Church with copper spire is the pretty village Inn with rooms, The White Hart. A sister pub to one of our favourite East Hants inns, The Thomas Lord, on a sunny day, the White Hart’s large, peaceful garden is hard to beat, especially when cheerful ex-regular-turned-convivial-host, Bob, is fronting the garden bar. Order a chilled tipple and chose from a Spring menu of snacks and local specials like baked camembert or gin-cured Chalk Stream trout, followed by gourmet burgers, hearty steaks, or the pubs trademark fish pie. Superb Sunday roasts are also back. Hurrah.
The Briny, Southsea
A top spot in Hampshire for a seafood feast, The Briny opened just over a year ago and already has a devoted following. Fabulous beachfront views over the Solent and a menu that spans breakfast right through to dinner with cocktails keep regulars coming back. If you don’t manage to bag a spot on the outdoor dining terrace, bring a blanket and picnic on the beach. The Briny’s takeout window has seafood lunches, fish and chips, fabulous fishcakes, burgers and more. Just mind the seagulls.
The Grosvenor, Stockbridge
Lavender-topped tables at the Grosvenor await from April 12th. A pretty oasis off the indie boutique shopping nirvana that is Stockbridge High Street, the gorgeous walled garden has views of 15th C St Peter’s Church. Expect top-notch dishes from chef Neil Cooper like trout poke bowl, sea bass ceviche and locally-reared fresh lamb, plus a fabulous wine list to pair them with.
The Cliff House, Barton-on-Sea
Hard to beat for a sunny lunch or sundowner cocktail, the Cliff House Barton restaurant/bar in the pretty Barton-on-Sea has sensational sea views over the Solent. On a clear day, you can see all the way over to the Isle of Wight. Morning person? Fuel up with a breakfast bap before heading out on a clifftop walk (pooches are permitted). For lunch, there’s BBQ faves on sunny days as well as a summery new marquee and terrace menu featuring buttermilk-fried chicken burgers, South Coast crab and a strawberry salad with goats cheese or vegan feta. Yum.
The Wellington Arms, Stratford Turgis, near Hook
A great pitstop close to the Berks border, the Wellington Arms at Stratford Turgis has bags of outdoor dining space. Set in the grounds of the whopping 7,000-acre estate, the garden has plenty of tables and views across the fields (don’t expect total tranquility, there’s a busy road nearby). Portion-sizes will satisfy even the hungriest dukes, with hearty steaks, burgers, roasts, salads, sandwiches and more. If time allows, make a day of it with a play in the Wellington Country Park. Also reopening on April 12, it’s a mudlet must-visit with its miniature railway, animal farm, adventure playground and splash park.
ISLE OF WIGHT
The Hut, Colwell Bay
A celeb favourite and all-round gorgeous outdoor dining hotspot, The Hut at Colwell Bay reopens on 12 April. The waterfront restaurant with oh-so-stylish beach vibe has brilliant brunches, colourful cocktails and seafood platters to feed an army (and that look amazing on Insta too). Not to mention superb sea views from the terrace.
Fisherman’s Cottage, Shanklin
They’re counting off the days until April 12 at The Fisherman’s Cottage. The picture-perfect pub at the bottom of Shanklin Chine is right on the shoreline, meaning tables are weather-dependent (sunshine dances all round). Expect hearty sandwiches and pub favourites like fisherman’s pie (natch), along with stunning views of the Island’s unique coastline.