23 brilliant pub gardens
Summer is coming. I repeat, summer is coming! Here's where to soak up some rays with a chilled glass of rosé to hand in Bucks & Oxon. Cheers!
Is there anything more British than a beer garden in the sunshine? Whether you want your green space near a river, meadow, fields, village or city, we’ve scoured Bucks and Oxon for the best in show.
And, yep, I’m sure I’ve left off some goodies so if you think there’s been a disgraceful admission please let me know! I love to hear your suggestions and as much as I bomb around the counties trying out new places, you, dear readers, live and breathe your local areas. So drinking heads on, sunscreen too and enjoy!
Jacobs Inn, Wolvercote
Random fact of the day: I once interviewed Loose Women‘s Saira Khan here. She lives nearby and it’s her favourite spot. I can see why – the garden is wonderfully quirky, complete with battered Chesterfields, table football, deckchairs and little piggies and hens running around. And if you bore of all that, it’s on the edge of Port Meadow.
The Stag & Huntsman, Hambleden
The Hambleden Valley in Bucks has just been declared one of the best places to live in the Southeast by The Sunday Times, so what better time to visit this trad pub’s pretty terrace and beer garden with handy outdoor bar.
Maytime Inn, Asthall
This Cotswolds cracker, 10 minutes from Burford, has a glorious patio, garden, al fresco bar and even a pétanque pitch. It’s also very doggie-friendly so Rover and the kiddies can play while you work your way through the extensive gin menu. 140 options? I’m always up for a challenge.
Three Oaks, Gerrards Cross
Admittedly more restaurant than trad pub, this Michelin Bib Gourmand winner has a grown-up vibe so I’m tempted to leave the kids at home in this instance and enjoy the pretty terrace in peace. Full review to follow soon on Muddy – if you stop by in the meantime, let me know how you get on!
The Angel, Burford
The walled garden and sun terrace of this 500 year old Cotswolds inn are diddy but very sweet. And you’re just off Burford’s buzzing high street, which is perfect for a browse in the sunshine.
The Mash Inn, Bennett End, Radnage
More boutique inn than boozer and no under 16s are allowed but if you’re looking for a civilised adult escape, the garden is gorgeous, as is the exquisite food. Note: it’s not open on Mondays or Tuesdays.
The Royal Oak, Bovington Green, Bucks
Just outside Marlow, this lovely pub boasts award-winning food and a gorgeous outside area, complete with boules area and large enclosed gardens. Can’t go wrong.
Castle at Edgehill, Banbury
Ooh look, an actual castle! Perched atop a hill (as castles tend to be, ahem) this restaurant, hotel and country pub has views of the fields where the Battle of Edgehill took place in 1642. There’s a rather more peaceful vibe these days thankfully in the large, verdant beer garden, which is lined with fragrant lavender borders.
The Pink and Lily, Lacey Green, Bucks
An attractive pub in leafy mid Buckinghamshire countryside, The Pink and Lily boasts this stunning terrace with modern inset seating, a further garden complete with groovy wooden pods, and an area for the kids in which to (mis)behave in peace while you concentrate on the important stuff like dessert.
The Trout Inn, Wolvercote
With peacocks patrolling the patio and the mesmerising waterfall in the adjacent river, The Trout near Oxford has true kerb appeal. Well, not literally – let’s call it riverbank appeal. The terrace (there’s no grassed area) is a fantastic spot to while away a lazy Sunday afternoon. Inspector Morse, Lewis Carroll and King Henry II were fans so tbh it’s good enough for us!
The Old Swan, The Lee
Unpretentious locals pub in a beautiful Chilterns spot a few miles from Great Missenden, but the star of the show here is the frankly stupendous garden – it’s enormous with its own football pitch, plus a shedload of outdoor furniture. Off you go children, come and find me in a couple of hours.
Isis Farmhouse, Oxford
No car access to this bucolic spot by the river at Iffley Lock – you’ll have to walk (it’s about 30 mins from Christchurch Meadow in the city centre), row or cycle. The garden is enormous – three damn acres enormous – and you can sit in the shade of its huge trees or bask in the sun, and there are so many tables that you don’t need to make a reservation.
The Black Horse, Great Linford
I haven’t been to The Black Horse myself but I heard from a friend who dropped into this for a drink that it’s a lovely setting right on the Grand Union Canal in North Bucks with the gardens stretching over two levels. There’s also a shaded courtyard from which to nurse your G&T. I’ll feed back when I’ve eaten there but at the very least I’m sure you’ll be fine for a basic pub lunch and a pint!
The Perch, Binsey
This charming thatched pub next to Port Meadow in Oxford and its meandering river has an outdoor bar, BBQ in the summer, large garden and great food. And if it rains (boo!) check out their brand new garden room.
The Navigation Inn, Cosgrove
Overlooking the Grand Union Canal and surrounding countryside, this light and airy Victorian inn has a great outdoor terrace and balcony where you can enjoy your drinks and / or the Mediterranean inspired menu, including wood-fired pizza and meats grilled in a charcoal-fuelled Josper grill.
Victoria Arms, Old Marston
Large sweeping gardens down to The River Cherwell in this atmospheric Oxford pub. Ideal if you want to spend the day in the city but want the midgets to roam free for a while.
The Nag’s Head, Great Missenden
Bib Gourmand food and great service make this pub on the edge of Great Missenden a winner anytime of year but it’s lovely spacious garden is just the ticket on a sunny day. Plenty of room for the kids to run around too, with the Roald Dahl museum just down the road too.
Also worth checking out…
The Ivy House, Chalfont St Giles
This Chiltern Hills inn has a sprawling garden (you’ll find me crashed out on one of the deckchairs) and is very child-friendly.
Trout Inn, Tadpole Bridge
The garden at this Oxon Cotswolds pub runs down to the river, so you can moor your boat and pop in for a pint.
The Old Swan, Minster Lovell
Another Oxon Cotswolds beauty, this has a whopping 65 acres of grounds, taking in gardens, flower meadows and woodland so you definitely won’t be fighting over the last patch of lawn.
Black Horse, Fulmer
This 17th century former craftsman’s cottage in the heart of the pretty South Bucks village of Fulmer is described as having a ‘gem of the garden’ in this year’s Michelin Guide and we think it’s rather lovely too.
The Fishes, Oxford
A previous Muddy Award finalist, this pub boasts a glorious three acres not far from central Oxford. Buy a picnic from the bar and luxuriate in the sunshine.
The King William, Ipsden
This tucked-away gem is in the hamlet of Hailey near Wallingford. The garden is immense, with views of rolling hills and lush fields, gambolling lambs and red kites swooping overhead.