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Originally published 2018
Perhaps nothing epitomises an English summer quite like The Beer Garden. We think about it wistfully all day while we’re at work, and there is nothing quite like the disappointment of getting a round in before realising ‘there are no tables outside’. Even if pubs aren’t for you, drinking a coffee outside is one of life’s simplest pleasures. Here is a list of some of our favourite outdoor spaces to enjoy a quiet drink, from a mid-week coffee on a leafy terrace in the heart of Tudor Norwich, to a beer garden complete with wide-screen TV so you don’t have to miss any of the World Cup.
With one of the finest views of the river Wensum in the city centre, the Ribs of Beef is lucky enough to have a narrow terrace right on the river, from which you can see the historic Fye Bridge, Norwich University of the Arts and the St George’s area of the city.
The Playhouse Bar has one of the most abundant gardens in the city, with it’s jungle-esque terrace by the river bursting to life around bright benches and people having a good time. Usually busy in the evenings with a great atmosphere, this is also a great place for a Sunday morning coffee outside, too.
In front of the Playhouse Theatre and Bar, and adjoining the River Wensum, is St George’s Green. This is a popular spot for business people and students alike to sit on the grass and have their lunch, or just relax in the sunshine. You’ll find an array of sculpture here, beside a children’s play area.
Hidden away from the city, this little garden really does feel like a secret. Nestled right a the top of Elm Hill, the Britons Arms (which has recently been dated all the way back to 1397) has a leafy flagstone terrace, with a view over the iconic cobbled streets of Elm Hill. It’s completely charming.
It’s easily done. Walking out of the city towards St Benedicts street, you’re hooked in by the smell of Grosvenor Fish Bar’s INCREDIBLE chips (seriously. They were on the One Show.), and before you know it you’re on St Gregory’s Green navigating a five-quid squid and some battered gherkins. This lovely sloping green is a real sun trap, and perfect for people watching.
The Doghouse Beer Garden is built for a good time: lazy weekday evenings, and weekend parties late into the night. Their undercover outdoor area has JUST acquired a TV screen, so there is nowhere better to enjoy a pint and watch the football this summer: they will be showing Wimbledon and the World Cup!
This secluded garden sits behind the Belgian Monk pub, with a tiered patio filled with benches and hanging baskets. It’s small and intimate, but feels completely chilled; an ideal place to try something from their famous Mussel menu, and some Belgian-style chips.
Plantation Garden is one of the best places to have a city-picnic, hands down. The Grade II English Heritage registered garden is formed of 3 acres of beautiful landscaped grounds. It was established over 100 years in an abandoned chalk quarry, and now houses a huge Gothic Fountain, flower beds, manicured lawns, a ‘Medieval’ terrace wall and a stunning Italianate terrace.
Cathedral Close is possibly on of the most iconic spots in the city. In the shadow of the stunning Medieval Romanesque Cathedral, the historic close feels miles away from the city centre, even though it sits right in the heart of Tombland. It is 44 acres of peaceful grounds, containing more than 80 listed buildings and large greens. It is just perfect for a picnic.
Norwich Cathedral – credit Tom Mackie
As well as claiming to be the oldest pub in Norwich, the Adam and Eve in Norwich’s ancient Bishopsgate (RIGHT next to Norwich Cathedral) also has a beautiful patio in the Summer. In fact, last year the pub won first place in Anglia in Bloom’s Public House Category! Head down there not only for some historic views of Norwich, but a dazzling display of blooms and blossoms.
This is a bar with a view unlike any other. The Rooftop Garden sits right at the top of Norwich’s modern Union building, and is afforded spectacular views of the city’s skyline. This is a contemporary, stylish place to go for lunch, evening dinner and cocktails, plus on Sundays they often have free live music events.