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19 of the best pub gardens in Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 19:30 15 July 2020

The Anchor at Walberswick. Picture: The Anchor

The Anchor at Walberswick. Picture: The Anchor

Emma Kindred @eightyone

With social distancing measures relaxing many of us are turning our thoughts to a trip to the pub. If you’re not quite comfortable yet with being inside, take a look at some of these favourite Suffolk locals with capacious outdoor spaces for you to enjoy with a pint this summer.

The Anchor, Walberswick

Moments from the allure of the sea, sitting on one of the terraces of this pub feels like being on holiday – especially when you have a chilled glass of rose and plate of fish in front of you. Many steps have been taken to safely open the pub, such as reducing the menu, which includes wood-fired pizzas from 12noon to 7pm Thursday to Sunday topped with anything from chorizo and chilli, to Med vegetables and Baron Bigod. Beer lovers will be in heaven here, sampling the local draught brews, and wide selection of carefully chosen bottled beers from around the world, from tart Belgian lambics to an Alaskan smoked porter. Booking is highly recommended.

The Unruly Pig, Bromeswell

The Unruly Pig has a sunny decked terrace and large lawn  Picture: Tim BowdenThe Unruly Pig has a sunny decked terrace and large lawn Picture: Tim Bowden

A one-way system, new booth seating and tray delivery system are all part of new safety measures at this multiple award-winning gastro pub close to Woodbridge. There’s a two-level decked patio with umbrella shaded tables to enjoy on sunnier days, leading to a large lawn, usually a destination for younger diners to pass a football, but currently set up with a marquee to enable more guests to dine outside. The pub serves restaurant quality Britalian food, reflecting the prime ingredients of the season throughout its menus (currently reduced) and giving them an Italian twist. Current plates include burratina with lovage and parsley pesto, duck with sweetcorn, wild mushroom and pancetta, and strawberry and clotted cream pavlova.The drinks menu here is exceptional, filled with driver’s drinks (homemade cordials and spritzes, kombucha and shrubs), and carefully chosen wines, which the award-winning front-of-house team is expert at recommending.

Booking is advised and there are QR codes to order from menus if you’d like.

The Grundisburgh Dog, Grundisburgh

The Grundisburgh dog is set just two miles outside of Woodbridge. Picture: THE GRUNDISBURGH DOGThe Grundisburgh dog is set just two miles outside of Woodbridge. Picture: THE GRUNDISBURGH DOG

Not only was this pretty in pink pub named Eat Suffolk Pub of the Year in 2019, but it is frequently cited as one of the most dog-friendly establishments in the country, with plenty of little ‘finishing touches’ to make your pooch feel right at home. The Dog has a lawn to the front overlooking the village, as well as a patio back garden that catches the sun all afternoon and into summer evenings.

It’s now open for outside eating from Fridays to Sundays offering pizza, burger and deli board menus – all made with fresh local ingredients, and its shop and deli (opened in lockdown) remain open too.

The Lindsey Rose, Lindsey

The Lindsey Rose. Picture: Tash WrightThe Lindsey Rose. Picture: Tash Wright

Tucked neatly into the countryside along a quiet rural road in this hamlet close to Hadleigh, the Rose boasts one of the biggest pub gardens in Suffolk. There’s nothing but field and woodland views beyond the huge lawn, scattered with tables and with a play area and resident farm animals at the bottom. The smart, but unpretentious, country inn focusses on high quality pub food using local ingredients with previous menus including curried chicken kiev, Red Poll beef burger, and garlic and black pepper hake. Look out for barbecues and hog roasts in summer. The pub is dog-friendly.

The Dolphin, Thorpeness

A family-run pub that has rallied round to support villagers during lockdown with food boxes and more. The south-west facing garden is postcard perfect. Behind its white picket fence is a lush green lawn dotted with tables, including several tucked away into the shade. Look up over the garden room where there’s a wildlife-friendly ‘living roof’. And all around you you’ll spot fruit and vegetables, bound for the kitchen. If you’ve got a boules set, take it along to use on the dedicated space too. The dog-friendly pub is operating a one-way system and currently only accepts bookings of up to two households per table. Executive chef Chris incorporates fresh seasonal produce into every part of his menu, working with local growers and butchers to create a broad range of dishes – with plenty for vegetarians and vegans. This summer the menu includes a garden platter of mushroom and hazelnut sausage roll with beetroot hummous, avocado and pumpkin seed slaw, pitta and Thorpeness gooseberry chutney, and grilled seabass with green beans, broad beans, John’s tomatoes, new potatoes and basil pesto.

The Dolphin in Thorpeness has a brand new garden room with a living roof. Pictures: The Dolphin InnThe Dolphin in Thorpeness has a brand new garden room with a living roof. Pictures: The Dolphin Inn

The Anchor, Nayland

Arrive by kayak or canoe (or car of course) to this quirky riverside pub set against the backdrop of landscapes which inspired local painters Constable and Gainsborough. In addition to a terrace behind the pub, there are benches alongside the river where you can catch your breath with a drop of local ale. Newly added are three outdoor dining ‘pods’, each lit and heated and comfortably seating eight people. They are pre-bookable for a 2.5 hour period. A highlight of eating here is sampling food from the on-site smokehouse, be that a Reuben sandwich of slow-roasted brisket with sauerkraut, Emmental and mustard with rosemary fries and house pickles, or a platter of two or three meats (from smoked pulled pork to buttermilk chicken) with your choice of sides.

Three dining pods will be open from July 4 at the Anchor Inn in Nayland, offering people who are shielding a safe space to dine in the summer evenings. Picture: ANCHOR INNThree dining pods will be open from July 4 at the Anchor Inn in Nayland, offering people who are shielding a safe space to dine in the summer evenings. Picture: ANCHOR INN

The Sibton White Horse, Sibton

Neil and Gill Mason are rightly proud of their multi award-winning inn which, as well as pouring a really good drop of ale, serves restaurant quality food using the best local ingredients the chefs can get their hands on – as well as produce grown in the ever-expanding kitchen garden. In addition to a huge lawn, the area immediately behind the pub opens to a delightful, Mediterranean-style courtyard with covered, heated terraces and a historic cart lodge. Typical fare has included seared scallop with ham hock, kimchi cabbage, carrot and ginger, crispy noodles and Asian dressing, and Maple braised beef with caramelised chicory, red cabbage, pickled baby turnip, Jerusalem artichoke puree and Bordelaise sauce.

The Queen’s Head, Blyford

Sibton White Horse Picture: Neil MasonSibton White Horse Picture: Neil Mason

A quintessential Suffolk thatched pub with a strong ethos of taking simple, seasonal ingredients and making them shine. Many homegrown ingredients feature on the menu, complemented by local fish and meat. Every dish is made from scratch by the kitchen – be that flatbreads with spiced tahini cauliflower, smoked red pepper hummous, beetroot labneh and turmeric and palm sugar kefir, to rhubarb and custard pavlova. The beer garden is extensive – go and see where elements of your lunch have been grown.

The Ramsholt Arms, Ramsholt nr Woodbridge

Sporty folk may already be well acquainted with this pub beside the river Deben. It’s in a prime location for canoeing and kayaking, boating, paddle boarding, walking, cycling and crabbing (in fact there’s a jetty for this close by). The garden terrace looks straight out over the water and is in position for some incredible sunsets – the perfect way to end a day on the water. Booking is recommended (as is avoiding peak times), with social distancing measures in place throughout. Menus showcase pub classics done well – be that a chicken or crayfish Caesar salad, the Ramsholt double burger, sweet and smoky chilli con carne, dressed Cromer crab or a fish platter of sweet pickled herrings, smoked salmon, hot smoked salmon and horseradish pate, shell-on prawns, salad and bread and butter.

The Queen's Head, Blyford Picture: Matthew GoodwinThe Queen's Head, Blyford Picture: Matthew Goodwin

The Duke’s Head, Somerleyton

This marvellous country pub, found down the equally marvellously-named Slugs Lane, has a large, lawned garden with mature trees and peaceful countryside outlooks. Tables must be pre-booked (even in the garden) with fish and chips available on Friday nights. Key to the success of this pub is its fantastic range of local beers, wines and spirits, and a menu that elevates its key ingredients to new heights. Local pork, for example, is carefully transformed into charcuterie, whereas prime beef (usually Belted Galloway) is roasted on the bone, carved and brought to the table for the kitchen’s signature dish. Drenched in house butter and with a simple leaf salad and seasoned fries, beef doesn’t get any better.

The Ramsholt Arms in Ramsholt near Bawdsey - on the River Deben Picture: Janice PoulsonThe Ramsholt Arms in Ramsholt near Bawdsey - on the River Deben Picture: Janice Poulson

The Cadogan, Ingham

The Suffolk-based Gusto Pronto group of pubs have taken re-opening incredibly seriously, reducing indoor and outdoor seating and introducing multiple cleaning procedures for safety of customers. The garden The Cadogan, north of Bury St Edmunds, has an elegant terrace with sail coverings for diners tempted to eat out, leading to a grassy area surrounded by mature plantings. A lot of thought is put into the menus, which put the kitchen team’s own slant on classic dishes – chicken Caesar comes in the form of a croquette with charred gem and Parmesan, and risotto is stirred with saffron and crab and topped with fresh pan-fried sea bass. Families are welcome, with half portions available for children, and there’s a set menu priced at £20 for two courses or £25 for three.

The Newbourne Fox, Newbourne

The Duke's Head, Somerleyton Picture: Tara SmythThe Duke's Head, Somerleyton Picture: Tara Smyth

Ensconced in flowers and with a pretty rose garden leading down to a trickling stream, the appearance of this pub (which won Pub of the Year in the Eat Suffolk Food and Drink Awards 2018) is enough to put a smile on your face. It just screams ‘English summer’. Tables are via booking only, either by phone, website or the pub’s app, with seating capacity reduced inside and out – outside tables being first come first served. Food is generous and packed with flavour. A recent menu included a sharing board of continental meats with chicken and chorizo terrine, stuffed baby peppers, garlic bread, pesto and olives and dressed Cromer crab with salad, new potatoes and lemon mayonnaise.

The Maybush, Waldringfield

One of the best spots to watch the sun rise along this part of the river Deben, with a sloping, stepped garden terrace that’s been a favourite with drinkers and diners for years. Moor up and arrive by boat, or simply take pleasure in watching craft sail and motor along on a fine sunny day. New measures here include a bookings-only policy for indoor tables, a one-way system, drinks, cutlery and condiments delivered to your table by tray, no customers ordering at the bar, and hand sanitiser stations across the site. Food can be ordered via an app, with QR codes on menus. Dishes include a cold seafood platter, fritto misto, Suffolk ham with chips and free-range eggs and Cajun chicken burger. You can also pre-order a picnic box with 24 hours’ notice, including sandwiches, homemade sausage rolls, scones with jam, cream and local strawberries, crisps, coleslaw, potato salad and mixed leaves. The pub is family-friendly and welcomes dogs.

The Cadogan Arms in Suffolk  Picture: Paul SevernThe Cadogan Arms in Suffolk Picture: Paul Severn

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The Tuddenham Fountain, Tuddenham (nr Ipswich)

Just a short drive from Ipswich town centre is this pub, with a south-facing terrace (including covered area) and sloping lawn, which is glorious in good weather.

The Fox Inn, Newbourne Picture: The Fox InnThe Fox Inn, Newbourne Picture: The Fox Inn

Food is reliably good, with the set menu of £16.50 for two courses and £20.50 for three incredibly popular, supplemented by an interesting a la carte menu and blackboard of seasonally influenced plates. Typical dishes range from glazed pork belly with miso and celeriac puree to grilled salmon with potato, spring onion and bacon salad and chilli and lime butter. The signature dessert of baked dark chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream is not to be missed.

The Turk’s Head, Hasketon

Winner of the Outstanding Customer Service category of our Eat Suffolk Food and Drink Awards 2019. The family and dog-friendly pub has a pretty lawn and terrace (as well as boules area), where customers enjoy whiling away the hours on sunny afternoons. The pub is known for its extensive gin list (there’s usually a beer, gin and cider festival in the summer), Cask Marque commended beers, interesting lagers, and unique menu which showcases the best of Suffolk produce, often with an Asian-influenced twist. You’ll find anything from a Suffolk beef burger with organic cheddar, hand cut chips and chilli jam to Bengali monkfish curry with coconut rice, aubergine bhaja and tiger prawn pakora.

The Maybush Inn Picture: Janice PoulsonThe Maybush Inn Picture: Janice Poulson

The Boot, Freston

The Keen family’s pub is in many ways perfect. Looking out over the Orwell and boasting its own petite ‘cinema’, The Boot’s sprawling grounds encompass a working kitchen garden, lawn with roundhouse, a pond, bee hives in the meadows, and a smallholding. The pub even has its own smokehouse. A one-way system is currently in place, sail blinds have been put up outside to enable as many people as possible to eat outside, and booking in advance is highly recommended.

A flavour of the food could include wood-fired Caribbean chicken with charred corn, red onion and avocado salad and citrus yoghurt dressing, and spicy chargrilled aubergine with roasted peach, French bean and tomato salad and balsamic reduction. The pub is cashless so don’t forget your credit/debit card.

The Henny Swan, Henny

The view from this pub’s garden, over the Stour to grazing fields where cows munch happily at the grass, is absolutely beautiful, and there are benches abutting the water where you can sit with a drink and bask in the sun. You can even arrive by canoe, or hire boats and paddleboards from the site. If that sounds like too much work, simply pull up a seat on the terrace where you’ll be surrounded by blooming perennials as you eat.

A number of safety measures have been put in place for dining here for everyone’s reassurance, including the separation of restaurant and garden, with the garden having its own menu and orders being placed outside. Treats to sample range from a smoky cheeseburger cooked over the charcoal grill with skinny fries, to a roasted squash super salad of quinoa, edamame, candy beetroot, lemon and herb dressing, and a simple warm pork and apricot sausage roll.

The White Hart Inn, Blythburgh

The huge garden at The White Hart has a gentle gradient that leads down to the Blyth Estuary in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – look upwards for glimpses of Marsh Harriers and listen out for the distinctive boom of Bittern when they’re in residence. The ‘big skies’ over the pub are also a prime spot for seeing breathtaking starling murmurations.

Government guidelines are being strictly adhered to with bookings for indoors required, and the pub is not open on Mondays and Tuesdays at the moment, with plans to reopen on those days from July 20.

Typical dishes include miso glazed half lobster with sticky rice and pak choi, Indian spiced Blythburgh pork chop with Bombay fondant potatoes, mango chutney and yoghurt, and summer pudding with local strawberries and clotted cream.

The Greyhound & TwentyOne, Wickhambrook

A really friendly and welcoming community pub close to Newmarket, Bury St Edmunds and Clare. The Greyhound is known for its generous portions of tasty food, fish and chip takeaways, and tremendous pies. In addition to its smart restaurant space, TwentyOne, the award-winning business has a terrace and garden with far-reaching countryside views. A special ‘early bird’ dining offer of two main meals for £20 and kids’ meals for £5 is available from 5pm to 6.30pm Wednesday to Saturday, focussing on pub classics such as burgers and local sausages and mash, while the main menu includes chicken schnitzel with kiev mash, griddled Dingley Dell pork chop with apple mash, seasonal vegetables, roasted apple and cider sauce, and halloumi and walnut salad with hand cut chips.

The Commadore, Oulton Broad

A flower-scented terrace is found immediately behind this popular pub, on elevations to take in all the beauty of the gateway to the southern Broads, with cruising boats, yachts and dinghies dotted on the water.

The terrace spills out onto lawns below.

Food is classic British pub fare done well. Think local beer battered catch of day with mushy peas and hand cut chips, the Commadore fish pie, steak and trimmings, and pan-roasted cod with bubble and squeak and cockle sauce.

The Eel’s Foot, Eastbridge

Found a hop, skip and jump from RSPB Minsmere, this pub is a favourite with birders, walkers and the families who head to the reserve for its activities throughout the year. As well as a large lawn and funky Ghost Ship play area, the dog-friendly pub garden has patios which catch the sun’s rays for much of the day.

Food is no-nonsense, and beer well-kept with a big nod to local brewer Adnams.

We recommend The Eels Foot Special of Welsh rarebit made with Adnams Blackshore Stout and mushroom, ham or smoked haddock, topped with a poached egg and served with salad and chips.

If you’re eating or drinking out we recommend you:

1. Call ahead and book, giving your details for track and trace.

2. Sanitise your hands before entering and upon exiting, avoiding touching your face where possible

3. Follow instructions and signs from staff.

4. Pay by card to minimise staff interaction.

5. Stay in your ‘bubble’ and follow the one metre plus rule


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