Sitting outside enjoying a drink is one of the great pleasures of the summer and in hot weather pubs with beer gardens are great places to socialise or watch the world go by.
The Wye Valley and Forest of Dean has more than its fair share of pubs, but its beer gardens are extra special because of the nature of the area. The Top 10 Beer Gardens are a showcase of every style from historic and traditional with oak beams to modern and unfussy.
Saracens Head Inn, Symonds Yat – historic hand ferry and river views
A 16th Century riverside inn sits on the east bank of the River Wye at Symonds Yat, where customers can watch life on the water while enjoying wine, real ale or food from a quality menu. The Inn has two riverside terraces, both of these overlook the glorious River Wye, and also overlook the unique hand ferry as it ferries people from Symonds Yat East to Symonds Yat West. The pub is listed in the Guardian’s Top 10 Waterside Pubs
The Butchers Arms, Clearwell – courtyard garden and historic setting
One of the oldest pubs in the Forest of Dean, it has welcomed locals and visitors since the 13th Century. Their menu combines signature dishes with traditional British favourites sourced from local suppliers. The sunken courtyard garden has a delightful water feature surrounded by lots of pot plants and planters, and wooden benches with umbrellas for those wanting to sit out of the sun. There is additional terraced seating where you can sun yourself and admire the old stones of the pub; and don’t miss the large carved wooden wolf by the door.
The Moody Cow, near Ross-on-Wye – charming churns and private seating
The Moody Cow is the perfect place to relax and enjoy superb food, drinks and hospitality in a delightful village setting. The beer garden is in part an area with umbrella covered wooden tables, surrounded by old milk churns and candle lanterns, and to one side is The Grain Store, a delightful covered wooden seating area that can be booked, with its own log burner for that slightly more private summer evening. Children, dogs and muddy boots are all welcome at the pub.
The Red Hart Inn, Longhope – piglets and paddling pool
An award-winning traditional village pub serving CAMRA accredited real ales, and good home cooked food. In the Summer visitors can enjoy the large fabulous garden for kids and dogs to swing, roam or slide, with a recently refurbished playground, while parents can take advantage of the more secluded patio area. There’s even a paddling pool with towels supplied on a mini washing line. The BBQ on the patio is used throughout summer and is available for private functions. Visit soon to meet a couple of piglets in the field behind the beer garden.
The Ostrich Inn, Newland – walled garden and Cathedral views
Described as a “Proper 13th century country pub” complete with wonky floors and ceilings it sits in the heart of the village, opposite the Cathedral of the Forest with eight real ales on tap. In the summer months visitors can relax on the front terrace or in the beautiful walled garden that can seat up to seventy at the back of the inn, designed to be very relaxing, with scented plant borders, lawn and a patio. What better place to chill out with great food?
The Kilcot Inn, Newent – African seating pods and Malvern views
The Kilcot Inn sits where Gloucestershire meets Herefordshire, and is a traditional pub, offering locally sourced, seasonal food made on site, a wide range of ales and ciders, and a well thought out wine list focusing on quality and value, which you can sit outside and enjoy. The patio area has African pods to sit in or visitors can walk through the rose garden and pass flower borders to the large field play area for the kids. From the beer garden you can gaze out at the Malvern Hills and the surrounding countryside.
The Alma Inn, Ross-on-Wye – music festivals and kids’ playground
A real ale pub, set within spacious grounds, The Alma Inn is cosy and relaxed, where visitors and locals alike can enjoy a good pint or tuck into a tasty bar snack or pub meal. At the rear an acre of land and stage is used for both an annual music festival and the Linton Summer Sessions. There’s lots of space for kids to run around and let off steam. Their cosy beer garden was created in 2016 featuring wooden tables and chairs, hanging baskets and flowers, lavender flower borders all contained by a hedgerow.
The Farmers Boy Inn, Longhope – bouncy castle and award-winning pies
The Farmers Boy Inn an award winning 17th century coaching Inn, retaining many original features such as oak beams. It is most famous for its multiple British Pie Awards, but its garden features five different varieties of roses in separate beds, with easy access to the restaurant. So sit outside in the sun at one of the well-spaced out tables, with an award winning pie and local pint next to the scented roses, and let your kids play on the bouncy castle which is there for the summer.
The Anchor Inn, Tintern – winding Wye and floodlit Abbey views
A 12th century pub situated at the edge of the village of Tintern, right next to Tintern Abbey. A huge garden allows visitors fantastic views of the famous abbey ruins, that have inspired painters and poets over the centuries. As well as having a children’s play area, the garden is a beautiful spot, especially in the evening when the Abbey is floodlit providing a stunning backdrop to the garden occupants. The Anchor serves local real ales and ciders and home cooked, locally-sourced food.
The Fountain Inn, Parkend – steam trains and forest village setting
A beautiful, award winning, inn, well known locally for its excellent meals and real ales.
With its distinctive bay window, the Inn has been a familiar Forest of Dean landmark in this Forest village for over two Centuries, offering warm hospitality to travellers arriving by road or via the Dean Forest Railway just across the road. Sit outside and listen out for the whistles announcing another arrival at the station of a heritage steam train.
Maureen McAllister, executive director of Wye Valley & Forest of Dean Tourism, commented: “Our many pubs are perfect to sit outside on a hot sunny day or a warm summer evening, enjoying a local pint and regional sourced food. It’s the perfect way to relax in the summer, with friends and family”.
For more information on visiting the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean and to download a copy of the Days Out Guide, along with other maps and trails see www.wyedeantourism.co.uk