25 brilliant pub gardens for post-lockdown drinks
Praise be, the pubs are opening - and just in time for summer weather! Here are the best pub gardens to enjoy a socially-distanced sip in across Bucks and 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.
Bear in mind that many of these pubs will have booking systems in place to limit their capacity, so don’t just rock up expecting to nab a seat – make sure you check the websites or phone first!
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. Jacobs Inn is opening on 4 July with a booking system.
The Black Boy, Oving
Fancy amazing views with your G&T? The Black Boy has had a makeover during lockdown to update its back garden ready for punters – plus, they’ve handily upgraded the wifi so that signal reaches across the entire lawn (ideal for a change of scene for those WFH). The Black Boy is reopening on 4 July and is offering table service only – pre-booking is advised. Spend five minutes enjoying the pretty-as-a-picture village of Oving while you’re there, they filmed the original Hovis ads there!
The Boxing Hare, Swerford
One of my favourite pubs, this gastro gem in North Oxfordshire nestling Chipping Norton and Great Tew boasts some of the best pub food in the county and – bonus! – has a lovely large garden to the rear with views out to open countryside. It re-opens on 4 July and you can either book online or call 01608 683212 where you can request a preference to be seated in the garden.
The Stag & Huntsman, Hambleden
The Hambleden Valley in Bucks has 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? The Stag & Huntsman is due to reopen on 4 July.
The 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 super dog-friendly so your furball and the kids can play while you work your way through the extensive gin menu. 140 options? I’m always up for a challenge. Maytime Inn is reopening on 4 July.
The Three Oaks, Gerrards Cross
Admittedly more restaurant than 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. Make a reservation for your next date night, stat. Opening date TBC.
The Angel at Burford , Burford
The walled garden and sun terrace of this 500 year old Cotswolds inn are diddy but very sweet. You’re just off Burford’s buzzing high street too, which is perfect for a browse in the sunshine. The Angel is reopening on 4 July.
The Royal Oak, Bovington Green
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. The Royal Oak has had a horrific year with a fire in Sept 2019 and now Covid to contend with, so we will be there to support when it reopens on 8 July, with food being served from 9 July – booking advised.
The Castle at Edgehill, Banbury
Perched atop a hill 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 Castle at Edgehill is re-opening from 12pm on 4 July.
The Pink and Lily, Lacey Green
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 Pink and Lily is reopening on 4 July – pre-booking for food and drinks advised.
The Trout Inn, Wolvercote
With peacocks patrolling the patio and the mesmerising waterfall in the adjacent river, The Trout near Oxford is an institution (just ask Inspector Mose, he spent half his time in here). The patioed terrace is a fantastic spot to while away a lazy Sunday afternoon. The Trout Inn is taking bookings from 4 July onward, with groups limited to max 6 people, but you won’t be able to book an outdoor table due to capacity limitations.
The Old Swan, The Lee
I love this unpretentious locals pub in a beautiful Chilterns spot a few miles from Great Missenden. 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. Opening date TBC.
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 – like, three acres enormous – and you can sit in the shade of its huge trees or bask in the sun. Opening date TBC.
The Black Horse, Great Linford
This North Bucks pub is right on the Grand Union Canal, with gardens stretching over two levels and a shaded courtyard from which to nurse your glass of rosé. The Black Horse is due to reopen on 4 July, with table sizes limited to six people and bookings recommended.
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!), you can take cover in the garden room. The Perch reopens on midday, 6 July.
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 the Mediterranean-inspired menu, including wood-fired pizza and meats grilled in a charcoal-fuelled Josper grill. The Navigation is taking bookings from 4 July onward.
Victoria Arms, Old Marston
The large sweeping gardens stretch down to The River Cherwell at 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. Victoria Arms has confirmed they won’t reopen on 4 July – follow them on Facebook for the latest updates.
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 its lovely spacious garden is just the ticket on a sunny day. Plenty of room for the kids to run around, and the Roald Dahl museum is just down the road too. The Nag’s Head is reopening on 4 July, from Wednesdays to Sundays.
Sir Charles Napier, Chinnor
More a restaurant than a pub, this Chinnor mainstay gets top marks for its vine-covered terrace and incredible garden, which is home to several beautiful statues by Wycombe artist Michael Cooper. Hey, if it’s good enough for Raymond Blanc… Opening date TBC.
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. Reopening 4 July.
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. Reopening 4 July.
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. Reopening 4 July.
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. Opening date TBC.
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. Reopening 4 July.
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. Opening date TBC.