21 of the best places to eat al fresco in Hampshire
- Credit: Heckfield Place
From pub gardens to seats by the harbour, these places in Hampshire are the very best for amazing atmosphere, wonderful views and delicious food and drink
When is it open? From April 14, it will offer lunch and afternoon tea options Wednesday to Sunday, and Friday and Saturdays it will offer a five course evening menu.
What's on the menu? Crab with sea kale and lemon mayonnaise, wild turbot with asparagus, vanilla pot with gariguette strawberries, and more elegant dishes using their fresh produce.
Priding themselves on sustainability and quality, Heckfield Place knows how to provide a luxurious dining experience with a unique touch.
The onsite farm recently gained biodynamic status, and many of its dishes will celebrate produce grown on their grounds and on the farm – their director Skye Gyngell champions a root-to-plate ethos, creating seasonal dishes that do just that. The re-opening will see the launch of their Marle on the Italian terrace restaurant, which will give restaurant-goers a gorgeous view of the grounds, woodlands, and lakes.
The restaurant itself is set up for all weathers, so even if you arrive on a cooler evening, there will be sheepskin throws and canopies to nestle under, as well as fire pits to keep you warm. Take a seat at one of the candlelit tables, order a glass of wine, and enjoy.
Kimbridge Barn, Romsey
When is it open? From April 12, it will be open 9am to 4pm Monday to Sunday, as well as occasionally having events on in the evening.
What's on the menu? Casual yet tasty treats. Breakfast and brunch options include Belgian waffles and smashed avocados, lunch options include seared beef fillet sandwiches and ratatouille wraps. If you only fancy a coffee and cake, it offers all the classic flavours, expertly made by their in house pastry chef.
With fairy lights adorning the fencing and the River Test surrounding the barn, Kimbridge Barn is a picturesque spot for meeting up with friends and family.
It has a wealth of seating, with bright cushions, table settings and shrubbery making for a relaxed setting with plenty of style.
Children are well catered to as well, with options to suit even the fussiest eater, including hidden veg pasta and cheesie toasties. As well as this it offers afternoon tea with scones and sandwiches, perfect for when the occasion calls for something extra special. It also hosts drive-in cinema nights and wood-fired pizza evenings – make sure to book in quick as they sell out fast.
Greyhound on the Test
When is it open? From April 12, every day from 12pm to 8pm.
What’s on the menu? Elevated versions of your favourite dishes – think chorizo and Cheddar Scotch eggs, glazed beef featherblade and truffle potatoes, and clementine and cranberry tartlets.
This hotel has history dating back to the 1800s, but while it retains its remarkable character, it’s very much a modern and forward-thinking gastropub.
The food, curated by head chef Phillip Bishop, has won various awards in the past – but of course you’ll have to go and taste for yourself to find out why they’re well deserved. The main menu changes seasonally as it prides itself on using local produce, so be sure to check ahead before booking. It does put on a traditional fare on Sundays though – take the family and indulge on their sharing roast dinner platters, complete with all the trimmings.
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There’s also an extensive wine menu, with red, white, rosé, and sparkling bottles from all around the world. Sip on your favourite tipple, take a seat at an umbrella-shaded table right by the River Test, and prepared to be absolutely treated.
The Hiltonbury Farmhouse, Chandler’s Ford
When is it open? From April 12, 11am-11pm every day except Fridays when it closes at 12am and Sundays when it closes at 10.30pm.
What’s on the menu? Light and main dishes made with local produce. From farmhouse salad with poached pear and stilton, and pizzas made with cured meats, to steaks and truffle macaroni and cheese, there’s something for all palates.
For an outdoor dining experience that truly stands out, The Hiltonbury Farmhouse more than provides. Book one of the cosy heated pods for that feeling of secluded luxury while enjoying the joys of the outdoors. They’re decorated seasonally, and will be wonderful in the background of those reunion photos.
It also has uncovered tables available in case you do wish to catch some rays. Drinks wise they have a range of wines and beers, but their gin menu is especially exciting. It has locally produced ones such as their Hampshire Summer Garden, which is made with summer berries and fresh herbs foraged from the South Downs. For a gin that packs a punch, try the Arbikie which has notes of honey, black pepper and cardamom. Ask for an extra large glass with plenty of ice, and you’re in al fresco heaven.
The Hen & Chicken Inn
When is it open? From April 12, 12pm until 10pm.
What’s on the menu? Tasty pub classics such as beer battered fish and chips, succulent beef and vegan burgers, stone baked pizzas and desserts such as toffee cheesecake and summer crumble.
With luscious green lawns and a fleet of tables, The Hen & Chicken Inn is a beautiful, easy spot for relaxing on a warm sunny day.
In the 1700s it was a rest spot for stage coaches to change horses and to refresh passengers. Today it still retains its character and serves as a convenient place to have a break. Located on the A31 between Alton and Farnham, it’s a great place to stop off at after a weekend walk, or even to head to directly for a meal that hits all the comfort spots. You won’t feel like you’re just off a road though, as the pub garden is encased in trees, shrubbery and a charming wall.
It is particularly popular for its daily roast dinners, which come with a choice of three meats and nut roast. There’s plenty of variety both food and drink wise, so its sure to please everyone.
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The Pheasant, Highclere
When is it open? From April 14, Wednesday to Saturday 8.30am-11pm and Sunday - 8:30am - 9:00pm.
What’s on the menu? Family-friendly dishes with delicious flavours, like roasted squash risotto with pickled shallots, dry aged 8oz rib eye steak, and lemon sole with herb mash and samphire
Come rain or shine the garden at The Pheasant is fully prepared to wine and dine you.
The garden is fully covered, which is ideal for respite from the sun or shelter from a spot of rain – we all know how unpredictable the English weather can be. There is also heating for those chillier days. It is also set up with a garden bar, which is wonderfully convenient as you won’t have to argue among friends whose turn it is to head inside to get the next round.
It serves a variety of cocktails such as salted caramel espresso martinis, the elderflower garden and blackberry gin sours, so you can really celebrate with your loved ones in style. As well as this there will be a special garden menu to go alongside the garden kitchen, which will have plenty of nibbles to go alongside your favourite tipples.
The Lodge Kitchen and Bar at The Balmer Lawn Hotel
When is it open? From April 12, all days serving breakfast 8am to 11.30am, then serving lunch and dinner from 12pm until 9pm.
What’s on the menu? Dishes made for grazing, such as decadent sharing boards that be expanded depending on your guest count, pizzas such as the Isle of Wight blue cheese and tomato, and seasonal flatbreads.
The contemporary style of this outdoor seating area makes it a classy location for meet ups. The fact it is fully covered means you can arrive without your fingers crossed, and the warm lighting, bar that stretches across the width of the area and alpine decorations will immediately welcome you to unwind.
For an early get together, it has an expansive breakfast menu, with egg dishes, pancakes, smoothies and even buck's fizz. For a later meal affair, the pizzas are to die for, with toppings curated by the executive head chef and then baked in their state of the art Gozney Pizza oven. Drinks wise, it is proud to serve the very locally made Henry’s Pale Ale, produced at Brockenhurst Brewery. Or if you simply want a cup of tea or coffee, it offers unlimited refills.
The Horse and Jockey, Curbridge
When is it open? From April 12, Monday to Saturday 11am to 11pm and Sundays 11am to 8pm.
What’s on the menu? A wealth of choices, from small plates such as calamari and tapenade bruschetta to hearty dishes such as pie of the day and escalopes of pork.
No matter what crowd you’re bringing, there is an abundance on the menu for all appetites and food preferences.
The pub especially prides itself on its Mediterranean tapas, pastas and pizzas, which will be delicious eaten while lounging in their outdoor pub garden. Tables are well spaced out and there are buzzers on the table, so you won’t have to get up to get a drink – all you need to do is choose what you want. As well as this, you can indulge in a beautiful riverside view.
Outdoor heating and blankets are available. And if you’ve missed live music, it is also a great option for indulging in that, as it often has tribute acts performing in the garden. Past tributes have included George Michael and Elton John.
The Ship Inn, Owlesbury
When is it open? From April 15, Wednesday 12pm to 8.30pm, Thursday to Saturday 12pm to 8.30pm, and Sunday 12pm to 6.30pm.
What’s on the menu? Fresh, seasonal, organic food. Try the speciality The Ship Inn Burger, topped with bacon and smoky Cheddar, or chicken ballotine with sweet potato gnocchi.
Elegant plating, rich flavours, and gorgeous food – this gastropub has everything you want for a cosy meal in a traditional setting, but also delivers a taste of fine dining to your pub dinner.
The name comes from the fact the building used timbers in its 1800s construction. Dishes often use ingredients from their kitchen garden, which you can see when eating outside. As well as serving an array of timeless plates, there's a special chef menu which changes with the season. It has plenty of eating tables stretched out across the garden, all spaced out so you can feel at ease while relaxing outdoors. It’s beautifully landscaped, with a plethora of flowers, a fish pond, and even a horse pen.
HarBAR on the 6th, Southampton
When is it open? From April 14, 6.30am to 11pm Wednesday to Sunday.
What’s on the menu? Small plates such as truffle arancini and crispy monkfish scampi, fresh salads and club sandwiches, as well as stone baked pizzas with topping options like spicy sausage and with veal meatballs.
For luxury dining right on the harbour, this venue is a stunning choice. Situated at the fur-star Southampton’s Harbour Hotel, it is elegance at its most refined. Lounge on the rooftop terrace in one of the cushioned seats and indulge in the best views in the city, with a skyline of Southampton and yachts floating on the port.
Breakfast, light bites and full meals are on offer, so no matter what time of day you arrive, you’ll be satisfied. You could even book onto the set menu for three delightful courses. A full cocktail menu is available so you can feel like you’re on holiday gazing at the sea with a drink in hand. Luxury flavours include the Cruiser’s Champagne or the Amalfi Elixir. If you’re keeping an eye on the waistline, they have healthy cocktails such as HarBAR Refresher.
The Cosy Club, Portsmouth
When is it open? From April 12, every day from 9am to 11pm, and serving food until 10pm.
What’s on the menu? Relaxed dining with a touch of sophistication. Brunch options include eggs done in every way and buttermilk pancakes, while the main menu has a range of British and international dishes such as fish and chips, decadent burgers and curries.
For that long overdue catch up, The Cosy Club located at Gunwharf Quays provides a stylish setting at a very reasonable price.
The terrace stretches across the rooftop balcony, with plenty of pretty, chic seating and a gorgeous view of Portsmouth. If you’re looking to take amazing photographs to commemorate your trip – whether with loved ones or of the delicious food – arrive at evening time for a sunset shot like no other. If cocktails are one of the main reasons you’re heading there, try and book Sunday to Thursday between 4pm to 8pm – their teatime tipple offers two cocktails for £9.95. All your favourites are on the menu like Mimosas and Daiquiris, while specialities include their Cosy Colada with a spicy pineapple oomph, or their Cherry Bakewell for a nostalgic sip of sweetness.
The Boathouse Hythe, Southampton
When is it open? From April 12, 10am-10pm Monday to Saturday, 11am-9pm Sunday.
What’s on the menu? All the pleasures of the sea without the hustle and bustle. Nestled in the Hythe Marina, the Boathouse provides a relaxing atmosphere surrounded by boats bobbing on the water. Seats line the stretch of the marina, which allows you to see across the water and beyond.
The menu is comforting and hearty, with a range of pies like chicken and ham, steak and kidney or goats cheese for satisfying substance. If you arrive early enough, you could even try a breakfast muffin which comes with a hot drink for just £5. For a light bite or afternoon treat, for £4.50 you can get a cake and a coffee. Fancy just the joy of chips by the water? You can just get a portion of these too. Whatever you decide to eat, you can be sure of having a peaceful time.
The Bishop on the Bridge, Winchester
When is it open? From April 12, from 12pm until 11pm all days except Sundays, when it closes at 10pm.
What’s on the menu? No fuss favourites with pub flavour touches – think Fuller’s frontier battered haddock, Cornish Orchards cider steamed mussels, and molasses dates and hops sticky toffee pudding.
The scenic city of Winchester is a lovely place for a wander before stopping off at The Bishop on the Bridge. Their pub garden terrace is just as quaint – it lies right next to the River Itchen, so you can watch the waters flow and bask in the beauty of nature while enjoying that fresh first cool drink.
When pre-booking, be sure to see if you can bag a seat right next to the fence for the best riverside view. Hence the name, there’s also the lovely sight of the bridge, which is great for people-watching. While the dishes at The Bishop are well-known and loved, the plating makes them especially exceptional. Gorgeous swirls, intricate dots and thoughtfully placed foods make each dish look so wonderful you won’t want to take a bite.
Watership Down Inn, Whitchurch
When is it open? From April 15, Monday to Thursday 12pm to 3pm then 6pm to 10pm, Friday and Saturday open all day, and Sunday 12pm to 5.30pm.
What’s on the menu? A range of crowd pleasers – the bistro menu includes sirloin steak, brisket burger, halloumi salad, and lemon and lime posset.
The large garden at the Watership Down Inn has a host of beautiful flower beds, as well as mature beech trees to keep you cool on those sunny summer days.
Have a wander through it for post-meal respite and see what seasonal shrubbery you can spot. There is also a painted rabbit mural on the front as a nod to the inn’s book name origins, which is a true piece of art. As well as umbrella tables nestled in the garden, it has a marquee on the large lawn in case you need shade or shelter. Their food is also award-winning, so you can be assured you will be treated to top quality gastropub food. If you’re heading for a roast, it produces a new style each week, so make sure to enquire beforehand to find out what’s on offer.
The Cabinet Rooms, Winchester
When is it open? From April 15, 6pm-10pm Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
What’s on the menu? For now, it is opening exclusively for evening drinks.
If the thought of cocktails on the terrace is tantalising for you, head over to Disco Rooms at the Winchester Discovery Centre for a fun atmosphere and delicious drinks. The owners of the rooms are the founders of Winchester Cocktail Week and the Southampton Cocktail Week, and know how to pour the perfect shaken or stirred drink. It has classics such as Manhattans, Cosmopolitans, and Martinis, as well as the signatures.
These include the twisted vesper with Twisted Nose gin and Grey Goose vodka and the Hello Sailor with Hampshire Gunpowder gin. For a caffeine boost after a tiring day, it also has coffee cocktails such as the Café Martini, made with tequila and Cointreau Noir. Or for those staying off alcohol, it has options such as the Seedlip Mule and soft drinks such as Green Lady sparking tea. Hot drinks wise, it has coffees like chai lattes and teas like the London fog, as well as all the usuals.
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The Garlic Farm Restaurant, Isle of Wight
When is it open? From April 12, they’re open every day 9am-5pm.
What's on the menu? If you couldn’t tell by the name, garlic! Garlic bread is available all day, as well breakfast, lunch, and coffee and cake.
For a memorable outing, The Garlic Farm provides character and atmosphere in abundance. The restaurant was built with pine wood previously planted on the farm, which creates a wonderfully cosy atmosphere. It also has gorgeous views across the valley when sat on the patio. Wildlife and animals are also easily spotted while grazing outdoors – red squirrels, peacocks and even the resident dog Ruthie all could make an appearance.
It also serves the very definition of farm to table, with their Garlic Farm reared beef on the menu made from cows you’ll be able to see meandering in the open pastures around the farm. Don’t panic – it doesn’t put garlic in every dish, but for those that do love a punchy garlicy hit, you’re certainly in for a treat. If you arrive once shops are open, you can even take home Garlic Farm beer and more as a memento of your trip.
Bluebells Café at Briddlesford Farm, Isle of Wight
When is it open? From April 12, they will be open 9am-4pm every day.
What's on the menu? Quality seasonal produce from the island and from their farm, including their own rose veal and dairy products.
This sweet farm café is named after a herd of cows located there, and the farm-rooted approach continues with the converted barn being the home of the café. The menu is centred around fresh food, and it has a range of light and hearty dishes.
For breakfast, you could have a full fry up fit with fresh eggs, sausage, black pudding and Briddlesford butter. Homemade pies, halloumi burgers could all be your afternoon bites, or if you’re out in the heat and fancy a lighter option, there’s a range of salads and sandwiches. Whatever you choose for mains, be sure to have it followed by a generous helping of their signature Briddlesford mess dessert. The family who run the café and farm and have done since the farm’s first opening are always on hand to look after you too, which gives the dining experience a special warm and friendly feel.
The Hawk Inn, Amport
When it is open? From April 12, Thursday 5pm-10pm, Fridays and Saturdays 12pm-10pm, and Sundays 12pm-8pm.
What’s on the menu? Starters such as camembert and crusty bread, pub staple mains like burgers, pies, and flat iron and rib eye steaks.
With their all new covered and heated patio as well as their sandstone terrace, The Hawk Inn is a super place to take flight to for an outdoors pub meal. It is surrounded by countryside and luscious greenery, so you can enjoy all the wonders of the outdoors fully. Its modern British menu mixes classic and original dishes as well as new takes on typical bar food, which changes frequently to complement the time of year.
On a warmer day we recommend ordering the rhubarb crème brulee with a ginger crunch sable biscuit, or for a cooler day trying the sticky banoffee pudding with salted caramel sauce . No matter what you order, they will have a drink that will be perfect paired with it, as they have an extensive fine wine and beer menu.
Cams Mill, Faresham
When is it open? From April 12, meal times are 12pm-9pm every day except Sunday, which finishes at 8pm.
What’s on the menu? Big sharer starters like Cobble Stone charcuterie, fresh mains like pan fried Norfolk chicken breast and grilled aubergine with piquillo peppers, and crackling profiteroles.
Big comfy wicker chairs adorn the patio at Cams Mill, and with seating for 60 people, you have a reasonable chance of getting a great spot. The pub itself is a wonderful recreation of the tidal mill that stood there over 100 years ago, and it still sits near the massive lake. A huge family of swans live there, which are beautifully graceful to watch as you sip on your drink or eat one of their delicious meals.
It has a superb range of sharing plates and boards as well as all your usual picks like burgers and battered chips, so whether you’re out for a drink and nibbles with friends or a family meal, you’re guaranteed to be pleased. When it’s sunny out, get a drink then graze on their red pepper hummus with grilled flatbread and marinated olives while deciding what else to eat.
The Temple Inn, Liss
When is it open? From April 14, Wednesday to Saturday 12pm-11pm, and Sundays 12pm-10pm.
What’s on the menu? Cheeseboards made with local produce, summer sharing boards, as well as fish dishes and meaty mains.
Whether you like an umbrella-shaded table with a patio view or a bench on green grass, there is a healthy choice of seating at The Temple Inn. There’s also plenty of choice food wise, with a whole host of small plates, starters and full courses. The pie of the day rotates, the steaks have a variety of sauces, and there’s veggie options like roasted squash and quinoa salad.
For a small summery spread for all to dive into on the table, you could order crispy whitebait, halloumi fries with nduja mayonnaise and a bread board with balsamic and butter. Or if you want an even bigger spread (and why not – you have to make the most of eating out again) order the summer board. This is complete with chicken, herb and truffle terrine, salmon, roasted chorizo, chimichurri and focaccia.
The Fur and Feathers
When is it open? From April 14, Wednesday and Thursday 12.30pm-3pm then 6pm-9pm, Friday and Saturday the same except closing at 11pm, and Sunday 12pm-4pm.
What’s on the menu? Posh pub food – think beef wellington with a potato stack and madeira sauce, a trio of venison, and passion fruit posset.
This family-run free house will give you that homely feeling, while at the same time providing you with outstanding service and food. The executive chef is mum Frances Whitehead, Front of House manager is Sophie Whitehead, while dad Peter Whitehead is the director. It has a host of awards under its belt, including winning our Pub of the Year in 2016.
For sunnier days, there are benches by big tables and round tables in the garden. When it’s a bit colder, you can head into the brand new heated marquee for warmth and shelter. If you are gluten-free, it will more than cater to you as well – 80% of their dishes are gluten free and it has a coeliac family member so it knows how to not cross-contaminate effectively.
Other great Hampshire venues with outdoor seating, open from April 12
The Anchor Inn, Lower Froyle
Applegarth Farm, Grayshott
Bourne Valley Inn, St Mary Bourne
Cobbs at Winchester, Winchester
The Exchequer, Crookham Village
The Four Horseshoes, Nursling
Honesty Coffee Shop, Inkpen
Lainston House, Winchester
THE PIG Hotel, Brockenhurst
Wellington Farm Shop, Riseley