Outdoor dining restaurants in Hertfordshire: 11 al fresco places to try

PUBLISHED: 11:19 30 July 2019 | UPDATED: 14:17 06 November 2020

The garden at Bushel & Strike (image courtesy of the pub)

The garden at Bushel & Strike (image courtesy of the pub)


Brits love nothing more than getting outside as soon as the weather improves, so we have picked 11 great restaurants with pretty al fresco gardens in Hertfordshire to enjoy your food

This article has been updated for post-COVID 2020. Click here for the latest version

- Craft & Cleaver

62 Catherine Street, St Albans

Drawing inspiration from the cookhouses of Brooklyn, New York, Craft & Cleaver is a meat-lover's heaven. Meat is smoked in the onsite wood smokers before being turned into mouth-watering dishes such as the Black Angus beef brisket served with two sides of your choice - which include mac 'n' cheese, giant onion rings, barbecue pit beans and buttermilk slaw.

The garden: During summer evenings, fairy lights are strung up overhead in the courtyard garden - an atmospheric backdrop to enjoy a cocktail or craft beer before tucking into a plate of tempting meat.



- The Snug

Hitchin, St Albans, Hertford, and Ware

The Snug is a chain of restaurants serving 'feel-good homemade comfort food' and cocktails. Every day of the week sees a special boozy 'sip 'n' snack' with weekend bottomless brunches, 'Tapas Tuesdays' with two small plates and a Snug classic cocktail for £12 and 'Wings & Whiskey Wednesdays' featuring large wings and a Cherry Jack cocktail for £12.

The garden: The Hitchin and Ware locations have a few outdoor tables but St Albans and Hertford have cosy suntrap gardens to enjoy your food (and cocktails) al fresco.


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- Auberge du Lac

Brocket Hall, Marford Road, Hatfield

For a meal with a view, the restaurant at Brocket Hall, Auberge du Lac, is hard to beat. Housed in a charming red brick former hunting lodge, this restaurant is lauded by satisfied customers who praise its location and delicious gourmet food. Try the seven-course tasting menu for a diverse range of dishes.

The garden: The restaurant and terrace is nestled next to the lake on the 500-acre estate, complementing your meal with a peaceful view over the water to the grand hotel beyond.



- The Jolly Waggoner

Church Farm, Ardeley, nr Stevenage

Ingredients for the food at The Jolly Waggoner come from just over the road at Church Farm - you can't get much more locally sourced than that! Enjoy a glass of real ale alongside home-cooked comfort food.

The garden: There is bucolic charm abound in the garden at The Jolly Waggoner, with umbrella-shaded benches to park up for an afternoon with a cold beer in hand.



- The Saracens Head

Bridgefoot, Ware

The Saracens Head is a historical pub which may date back as far as the mid-14th century. The food menu, however, is anything but historical. Expect stone baked pizzas, chunky burgers, brioche bun hot dogs and sides including macaroni cheese and garlic mushrooms.

The garden: Whether picking a quiet spot at the front or heading round the back to the patio garden, you can enjoy your burgers and fries in the sun - washed down with a pint of beer or one of the many gins available.



- The Fox & Hounds

2 High Street, Hunsdon

Featuring in prestigious guides including the Michelin Guide, AA's Best Pubs and was a runner up for its Sunday lunches in The Guardian's Observer Food Monthly awards, The Fox & Hounds in the village of Hunsdon is worth a visit just to see what all the fuss is about. Roasts come piled high with sharing plates of meat and heaps of roast veg and the weekly menu is a mixture of rustic French and Italian with traditional British influence.

The garden: You can stay warm in the heated and sheltered patio garden at The Fox & Hounds even when a chill summer evening breeze arrives.



- The Tilbury

1 Watton Road, Datchworth

The Tilbury serves pub classics and modern British cuisine; from freshly made fish and chips with a pint to a seven-course tasting menu with a hand-picked flight of wines.

The garden: The village setting of the pub and surrounding fields and greenery make for an idyllic spot to enjoy your food and a few drinks too.



- Choppy's Restaurant

Pepper Hill, Great Amwell

Locally sourced ingredients comprise the food at Choppy's Restaurant at The Waggon and Horses, from fresh fish to steak with green peppercorn sauce.

The garden: The summer sees guests enjoying the sun in the gardens, whether shaded under the umbrellas on the grass or sipping a glass of something on the inviting decking area.



- George IV

Cautherly Lane, Great Amwell

As you approach the charming exterior of the George IV pub in the pretty village of Great Amwell, you might spot customers enjoying the sunshine in the outdoor seating area. Order a few small plates from the snacking menu which features tempting creations such as marinated halloumi fries with red onion hummus and buttermilk hot wings with green chilli slaw - a glass of wine is also mandatory!

The garden: The patio garden at the back of the pub is surrounded by trees and looks out over the village churchyard.



- The Three Tuns

6 High Street, Ashwell

Traditional British food is on the menu at The Three Tuns, a stylishly decorated yet homely gastro pub that has earned high praise for its "lovely" food and staff. Try the Tuns Pudding Club: On the last Thursday of each month, there will be a set main course with six desserts to sample and the most popular dish at the end will be on the menu for the following month.

The garden: With the gorgeous red brick building as a backdrop, sitting in the garden with a cold glass of ale or Pimms feels like a hidden sanctuary.



- Bushel & Strike

15 Mill Street, Ashwell, Baldock

With many rave reviews online, the Bushel & Strike in the village of Ashwell is a pub that serves fresh, exciting food hailed by one customer as being "very good pub grub in lovely surroundings".

The garden: Manicured gardens make a clean and pleasant spot to bring your food and drinks outdoors and enjoy the village atmosphere in Ashwell.




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