12 great places to eat al fresco in Suffolk

Sit with a cocktail around the firepit at The Weeping Willow

Sit with a cocktail around the firepit at The Weeping Willow's garden dining experience. - Credit: Emma Cabielles

Restaurants, pubs and cafes throughout Suffolk are ready to welcome you with new menus and smart, Covid safe, al fresco dining facilities. So, why not venture out? Wrap up warm and enjoy some great food in the fresh spring air. 

Lunch with a view from The Brudenell in Aldeburgh

Lunch with a sea view and fresh air at The Brudenell in Aldeburgh. - Credit: Nick Smith Photography

The Brudenell, Aldeburgh

The stunning, sea-facing terrace is now open with no booking required, so choose a table, sit back, fill your lungs with fresh sea air and enjoy amazing views of Aldeburgh’s shingle beach. Head chef Darran Hazelton and his team prepare delicious dishes using the freshest local fish, seafood and free-range meats including crispy pork fingers with celeriac and apple remoulade, devilled whitebait, Adnams Dry Hopped battered haddock, catch of the day, Pinney's smoked house platter, or a Salter and King hamburger. 

Brand new 'Bru Buckets' (choose from Chinese, Indian, Spanish or Italian) are also available to be enjoyed on the terrace or to takeaway. Food served from 9am to 5pm daily. Bru Buckets available to takeaway until 7pm. brudenellhotel.co.uk

The Tipi on the Stream at Tuddenham Mill looks magical as the sun goes down. A great location and a

The Tipi on the Stream at Tuddenham Mill looks magical as the sun goes down. - Credit: Simon Weir/Archant

Tuddenham Mill, Tuddenham St Mary 

The mill's Tipi on the Stream is a wonderfully romantic place to for a group of six or two households to share cocktails, and tuck in to plates of Orford oysters, Loch Fyne scallops cooked in their shells, a Jersey Beef Patty, Cornish Crab Pappardelle with Bungay mascarpone, Orford lobster, Halloumi Bun with field mushroom, a Wolfreton Barnsley Lamb Chop with rosemary fries, or kiln salmon with Mrs Kirkham’s cheese.

For booking arrangements and times tuddenhammill.co.uk

The Anchor, Nayland 

A lovely setting by the River Stour where you can book tables on the riverside lawn or terrace area. The al fresco menu includes Suffolk ham hock and Gruyere fritters, cauliflower wings served with kohlrabi slaw, crispy chilli duck, pea and Parmesan croquettes, of how about a traditional half pint of prawns? Mains include beer battered fish and chips, pork belly or tofu ramen noodles, and, from the Anchor smokehouse and grill, The Anchor burger and The Anchor smokehouse burger, buttermilk fried chicken, white bean and roasted pepper burger. anchornayland.co.uk

The Unruly Pig, in Bromeswell near Woodbridge, has been named among the UK's top 10 gastropubs Pictu

The Unruly Pig, in Bromeswell near Woodbridge. - Credit: Tim Bowden

The Unruly Pig, Bromeswell, Woodbridge

The award-winning Unruly Pig's decking area and marquee is open for reservations each Friday, Saturday and Sunday until May 2, then every day from May 3. Start with chicken liver parfait, lovage veloute or BBQ octopus, and from the grill there's the Unruly burger, 40-day aged ribeye steak, dry-aged chateaubriand (for two to share), while other mains include rabbit leg with pea, prosciutto and potato cannelloni, halibut guazzetto and lamb saddle. Make your reservation at theunrulypig.co.uk

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The Duke of Marlborough, Somersham

The community pub at the heart of Somersham village is open Thursday to Sunday serving dinner and Sunday lunch in marquees. Chef Aaron Douglas and his team serve great value, locally sourced meals, all freshly cooked to order. There are pub classics - beer battered fish and chips, sausage and mash, 8oz rump steak, burgers and vegetable curry - as well as specials. Booking is advisable but not essential.  thedukeofmarlborough.com

The Marquis

The Marquis at Layham, Hadleigh, has a sizeable terrace. - Credit: The Marquis

The Marquis, Upper Layham

With a large terrace and lawn sloping down to the river, this is a lovely place to be on a warm, sunny day. If the weather doesn't oblige there are patio heaters and a small covered area. Choose from Cornish crab or Asian duck tacos, seared Scottish scallops or some Josper roasted Dorset snails, deep fried catch of the day, a gourmet burger, chalk stream trout teriyaki, Blythburgh Pork belly, fillet of beef Wellington or Sichuan aubergine. Book at themarquissuffolk.co.uk

The Eel’s Foot, Eastbridge 

Make a day of it - follow a good walk on the coast with eating out in the Eel's Foot beer garden with its pizza oven and newly launched burger grill. Food is cooked using locally sourced ingredients and as well as a wide choice of burgers and pizzas there are classic pub dishes such as special rarebit, Adnams battered cod, scampi and chips, baguettes, homemade soups, and Sunday roasts. theeelsfootinn.co.uk

The Harbour Inn, Southwold

Dine on the terrace with views over the town marshes or the patio at the front of the pub overlooking Blackshore Harbour and the River Blyth. The spring menu offers truffle-scented cheddar and Baron Bigod mac ‘n’ cheese, fish pie (locally smoked haddock, cod, salmon, prawns, grated egg), cod and prawn Goan curry, chargrilled Suffolk steak burger, Adnams beer-battered cod and chips, 'Veggie fish and chips' with tempura battered halloumi cheese, plus smaller dishes and sandwiches. harbourinnsouthwold.co.uk

The Dolphin, Thorpeness

Lovely enclosed lawn for dining, with benches, a terrace, and some undercover spaces. The pub is open for breakfast (9am to 12pm), lunch and dinner, with a varied offering, including interesting vegan/vegetarian food. The new menu includes spicy slow braised rabbit with peppers, onions, carrot, radish, spring onions and soy sauce, tempura calamari with sriracha aioli and tonic pickled cucumber, and (in the mornings) American pancakes. thorpenessdolphin.com

The Butt & Oyster at Pin Mill will reopen from April 12.

The Butt & Oyster at Pin Mill has views over the River Orwell. - Credit: Archant

The Butt and Oyster, Pin Mill

The Butt and Oyster’s outside dining area looks right out over the Orwell making it perfect for boat and bird watching. The menu has something for everyone, fromcatch of the day, to an 8oz beef burger, panfried hake, red Thai prawn curry, Proctor’s sausages and mash, cold seafood platter, fritto misto, poke bowl, lamb tagine, and wild mushroom linguine. Tables are available on a first-come first-serve basis. debeninns.co.uk/buttandoyster

The Henny Swan, Great Henny near Sudbury

Lovely riverside pub with a terrace dining area overlooking meadows, and lawns reaching to the edge of the River Stour. The varied dinner menu includes spiced crusted lamb fillet and root vegetable rosti, Inka seared Thai style mackerel and brown crab cake, filo wrapped figs and peppered goats' cheese,  tenderloin of pork with quince puree,  pan roasted sea bream, and red wine braised celeriac 'steak', plus daily specials. thehennyswan.co.uk

The Weeping Willow, Barrow

The Weeping Willow's spring garden tipi and outdoor terrace are open every day serving lunch and dinner (lunch only on Sundays). The menu is extensive and tempting offering starters of Suffolk charcuterie with prosciutto, salami, chorizo, and Pakenham Mill sourdough, avocado, pea & edamame bean Scotch egg, smoked haddock and cod fishcake, duck breast, 'Fabulous Fungi’ king, oyster & chestnut gnocchi. Mains include ‘Dingley Dell’ pork belly, chargrilled chicken, avocado and Suffolk prosciutto, ‘Dirty burger’, field mushroom and avocado burger, Paella Mixta, Adnams beer battered haddock and triple cooked chips, rump of lamb, and 10oz sirloin steak, chargrilled in the Fogarty oven. Book at theweepingwillow.co.uk

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