19 great places to eat outdoors in Cheshire after lockdown
- Credit: Dave Mort Photography
By Jenny Schippers and Helen Warwick
From terraces to tipis, we have rounded up some of the finest outdoor covered dining venues in Cheshire, ensuring you are kept warm and dry while enjoying a meal out with your loved ones this spring. Some are offering tables on a first-come-first-served basis. If you have a reservation please ensure you show up. If you are unable to make your booking, cancel your reservation with at least 24 hours' notice.
The Bull’s Head, Mobberley
The immaculate lawn at this Mobberley institution is usually something of a weekend pilgrimage spot for those keen to order an open-air pint with stand-out roasts and superb pub grub. Tables are scattered across the foliage-lined garden and the team erected a new outdoor bar last summer, where you can order local beers and balloon glasses of gin distilled just down the road. And one for your Cheshire (foodie list) is the pub’s legendary steak pie. https://thebullsheadpub.co.uk
The Boat House, Parkgate
Formerly a seaside town, the village of Parkgate is fringed with a saltmarsh that’s stalked by walkers searching the skies and the undergrowth for geese, waders and birds of prey. And this flat, sedate expanse of the Dee Estuary is overlooked by The Boat House – a civilised joint with a terrace revealing killer views and dishing up a crowd-pleasing menu. And if you manage to nab a table on a cloudless evening you might even be treated to a sunset, turning the reserve as orange as a peach. https://www.theboathouseparkgate.co.uk
The Bells of Peover, Lower Peover
Work up an appetite with a stroll through patchwork fields that could easily pass for Provence and paddle in the chilly shallows of the Peover Eye before stretching out in the garden at this crooked pub sitting pretty beside St Oswald’s Church. Its gnarled fingers of wisteria clambering its timeworn façade give it that fairytale-hideout-vibe, but it’s the sprawling outdoor area that keeps the locals coming back for long, languid lunches. There’s the ornamental grasses and lavender shimmying between tables, and beyond, the pub’s green lawn plays host to scampering toddlers, gazed over by parents sipping their crisp roses and craft beers. https://www.thebellsofpeover.com/
The White Horse, Chester Racecourse
The White Horse is another fantastic outdoor covered dining venue located at Chester Racecourse, this time at ground-level overlooking the Roodee. This family-friendly gastropub has a vast outdoor beer garden, a maritime-themed children’s playground and individually styled huts offering visitors plenty of choice of seating come rain or shine. The White Horse caters for all the family with a varied children’s menu alongside lunch, dinner and Sunday roast menus. Bookings advised particularly for the covered huts.
The Black Swan, Lower Withington
The newly opened pub in Lower Withington from the duo behind Wilmslow’s Old Garages is set to cause a stir this spring. Inside it’s cosy and contemporary, but the twinkly beer garden, The Cowshed, is sure to be packed when the team fires up the pizza oven and the outdoor heaters. Also on the menu is a thoughtful collection of dishes that change with the seasons. And if you know how good the Old Garages is, this place is sure to be worthy of the hype. https://www.theblackswancheshire.com
The Swettenham Arms, Swettenham
In the tucked-away village of Swettenham lies this snug, historic pub, that’s found itself in the0AA Pub Guide 2020, listed as one of the top 11 pubs in the county. And while it doesn’t have an official beer garden, it does have a handful of tables at its entrance that’s an idyllic place to roll up your sleeves and hunker down for a few serene hours; just be sure to mooch around its enchanting arboretum or the adjoining field ablaze with lavender before you leave. http://www.swettenhamarms.co.uk
The Ram’s Head, Disley
The revamped Ram’s Head in Disley reopened in the winter of 2019 before social distancing was even a thing – a gargantuan pub with vaulted arches, flagstone floors and moody-romantic corners next to stoked fires. But out the back, its huge beer garden will undoubtedly be a fun and laidback space to dine on its elevated pub dishes as the world fizzes back to life. https://www.theramsheaddisley.co.uk
The Con Club, Altrincham
One of Altrincham’s coolest kids on the block, The Con Club is a feel-good space that’s hip and lively with a strong, globe-trotting menu to boot. Out the front, its terrace has a handful of tables where diners can stare at passers-by, pootling to and from Altrincham Markets, but crowning the former Working Men’s Conservative Club on Greenwood Street is its rooftop tipi that’s a veritable sun trap to while away a few afternoons. http://conclubuk.com
1539 Restaurant & Bar, Chester Racecourse
Offering incredible views of the oldest racecourse in the UK, the 1539 Restaurant & Bar serves contemporary British cuisine from its set lunch, à la carte and afternoon tea menus. With a sophisticated vibe throughout, this AA Rosette restaurant has reopened its popular rooftop terrace. The restaurant’s privileged position overlooking the final furlong at Chester Racecourse makes it arguably one of the more unique outdoor covered dining venues in Cheshire with bookings strongly advised.
The Terrace at San Lorenzo, Warrington
Situated within the historic Treasury Building on Palmyra Square in Warrington’s Cultural Quarter, The Terrace is a real show-stopper of a bar not to be missed. With a relaxed Cuban vibe, this botanical-inspired establishment features a signature mojito cocktail menu alongside plush velvet armchairs and snug seating. Serving a selection of light bites underneath a fully retractable roof, The Terrace promises its guests sunny days and starry nights.
Oddfellows Hotel, Chester
The Secret Garden at Oddfellows Hotel in Chester is just that, a real hidden gem, an oasis of scented florals quietly nestled away a few steps from the bustling high street. This quirky city-centre retreat instantly allows guests to relax into their peaceful surroundings, whether that be a heated booth or fountain-side table, from where they can enjoy a bite to eat from the garden menu and drinks from the and drinks from the Potting Shed bar. The Secret Garden at Oddfellows Hotel is back open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays with reservations essential.
Bench Bistro Bar, Nantwich
Home to the much-talked-about afternoon tea Bench, Bench Bistro Bar in the centre of Nantwich describes its approach as pick & mix, with extensive small bites, afternoon tea, cocktail, and children’s menu to suit all tastes and requirements. With a large tipi allowing a sizeable, covered dining and bar area, visitors of all ages are made to feel welcome at Bench Bistro Bar, one of the finest all-round outdoor covered dining venues in Cheshire.
Hart of Hartford
This quaint café come restaurant in the village of Hartford has adapted brilliantly to offer visitors a heated al fresco area with which to enjoy their hearty breakfast, lunch and evening menus while watching the world go by. With a friendly welcome guaranteed, the team at the Hart of Hartford pride themselves on servicing their local community and have continued a takeaway service throughout lockdown.
Church Green, Lymm
One of the most exciting outdoor covered dining venues in Cheshire, the team at the Church Green in Lymm has worked tirelessly to provide a permanent all-year-round covered dining area for their guests. The Pavilion features glass sides and heaters making this weatherproof seating area the ideal spot with which to enjoy a meal cooked by award-winning chef Aiden Byrne. With the clever addition of an onsite deli and proximity to some wonderful walks at Lymm Dam, The Church Green is a great choice when visiting the area.
Piccolino, Alderley Edge, Didsbury, Stockton Heath, Knutsford
The Piccolino chain of restaurants and their much-loved alfresco seating areas are considered some of the more sought-after outdoor covered dining venues in Cheshire, with Piccolino Alderley Edge top of that list. With its huge terrace complete with a retractable roof and vast garden area, this exclusive Italian restaurant is fashionable year-round and will no doubt prove even more so over the coming months. Piccolino Didsbury, Stockton Heath and Knutsford, all have a degree of outdoor covered seating.
Opera Grill, Chester
Back to Chester city centre once more and to the Opera Bar and Grill housed in the imposing Italianate Grade II listed building on Pepper Street. The impressive neo-classical façade gives way to a chic interior and contemporary heated rooftop terrace. With a retractable roof, this stunning glass-sided dining space allows guests to enjoy the restaurant’s lunch, weekend brunch, children’s, Sunday roast and evening menus in style. Seating will also be available at the front of the restaurant on their new terrace and both dining spaces.
The Coast, Prestbury
Situated in the pretty village of Prestbury, The Coast is a family-run restaurant and bar serving authentic Italian dishes taking inspiration from the Amalfi Coast region from a chic outdoor terrace and upstairs rooftop seating area. Specialising in exquisite seafood, this intimate restaurant has a fabulous atmosphere day into night, which proves popular with both locals and visitors alike.
The Bridge, Prestbury
The Bridge is a boutique hotel, restaurant and bar with garden seating overlooking the River Bollin. The perfect place to enjoy a family meal or drinks with friends, the newly covered garden terrace is offering a spring menu daily and bottomless lunches every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday accompanied by live lounge sessions.
The Churchill Tree, Alderley Park
One of the more recent additions to the Cheshire hospitality scene, The Churchill Tree is located within the grounds of Alderley Park, a vibrant, growing community incorporating science, innovation, and stylish living. Housed within the Grade II listed former Tenant’s Hall, The Churchill Tree, has become an elegant social space welcoming both workers and families with their breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus. The newly erected tipi provide outdoor covered seating for guests.
Jenny Schippers is a travel writer and blogger providing ideas for days out, places to eat and where to stay in her home county of Cheshire. Follow her on Instagram at Girl About Cheshire for a daily dose of inspiration.
Helen Warwick is Cheshire Life's food and drink writer