What are the district's best pub gardens to visit from April 12?
- Credit: St Michael's Manor
It's been months since we've been able to enjoy a pie and a pint in our local pubs, but as lockdown restrictions finally start to be eased, from Monday April 12 hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors.
There will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks, and also no curfew, but you must order, eat and drink while seated, so table service will be in operation.
Fortunately the district is blessed with a plethora of pub gardens, so there is a wide choice of venues to choose from - if you can get a table that is! Here is a selection of some of our favourites...
Ye Olde Fighting Cocks
The oldest and boldest! Plenty of covered seating. Full meals will be served -- landlord Christo Tofalli has four chefs in the kitchen.
The pub will be serving up Fighting Cocktails shaken and stirred by Alfie Bigg and Benji Newland, both 18, who teamed up with Christo to launch the Fighting Cocktails at home service during the third lockdown.
Cocktails will be served from 12pm-3pm and 6pm-9pm Mondays to Saturdays. On Sundays, cocktails will be available from 12pm-4pm.
Great Northern Pub
A large outside space, with patio area and grass, so plenty of space for social distancing, serving locally sourced and seasonal modern European food.
The Elephant and Castle
A massive teepee in the garden, plenty of tables, and a new locally sourced food menu.
The White Lion
A big garden with gazebo, picnic tables and fire pits, serving hearty British fare.
The Portland Arms
This 18th century backstreet boozer has covered pods for our unpredictable weather, and a menu which relies on local, seasonal produce.
A large outside area with a mix of gazebos, booths and tables with umbrellas, plus heating for when the temperature falls in the evening and you don't want to go home - and who would after three months stuck indoors?!
Craft and Cleaver
Pretty much the whole outside area of this city centre venue has been covered by a huge tent, complete with heaters, and as ever, it's all about barbecue, beers and cocktails!
St Michael's Manor
Enjoy fine dining from beautiful gardens overlooking the lake, with a marquee option if required.
Covered seating and plenty of heating outside means you can visit even when the weather takes a turn for the worse - April showers anyone? Individual screens separate tables.
The Jolly Sailor
A decent amount of covered seating in a large outside area.
Prae Wood Arms
The stone terrace has been extended to become the perfect spot for al fresco dining, overlooking the lawns that gently slope down towards the River Ver at the bottom of the massive gardens.
The city centre's newest pub, on the site of the former BHS store, will have table seating outside when it opens for the first time on April 13.
The Six Bells
One of the last surviving pubs in St Michael's Village, with a large outside area, including marquee, serving real ales and classic pub fare.
The King Harry
Home cooked food and a diverse range of drinks served in a large outdoor area.
Hidden behind the pub is a spacious beer garden, with plenty of seating for catch-ups with friends and big family feasts.
Claiming to be the best garden this side of Babylon, there's plenty of seating both outside and under cover, including brightly coloured "beach huts" and plenty of bunting!
This newly refurbished pub has individual booths, each with their own flat screen TV, perfect for watching sport with your half-dozen besties.
A family friendly pub with a reasonably sized outdoor seated area, and flatscreen TVs in booths.
A huge outside area with plenty of seating, it's also a bit of a sun trap, so you can pick up a tan while enjoying drinks and food after a few hours spent shopping in the city centre's newly reopened non-essential shops.
The Rose and Crown Sandridge
Featuring both covered and uncovered areas of the garden, so there is plenty of space for any type of weather. All of the tables under the marquee have heaters and they can also provide blankets on particularly cold evenings which are washed after each use, perfect for snuggling up with a loved one.
The Gate, Bricket Wood
There is an absolutely huge beer garden to be found here, and with social distancing they can still sit over 200 people! The garden offers views across the fields and some fantastic walking nearby, so is the perfect place to stop off for a cold drink. The toilets are easily accessed from the garden and they have excellent parking too!
The Silver Cup, Harpenden
Located on the edge of the Common, they are operating a first-come, first-served system for their outdoor tables and will be able to seat about 50 people. The pub is offering a takeaway burger menu in the afternoons from 5pm. It will be opening from 3pm in the week and 12pm at weekends, with closing time largely depending on the weather!
The White Horse, Harpenden
The pub terrace is bedecked with a spacious stretch tent strung with warm white festoon lights and dotted with heaters and log burners to keep things nice and toasty when it gets chilly. There are comfy rattan armchairs to sink into, fleecy blankets to snuggle under and even hot water bottles on tap.
For warmer days there are additional tables and chairs alongside the tent, while to the front of the pub are ten new whitewashed picnic benches for soaking up some spring sun whilst nursing a pint or sipping on a refreshing sloe or elderflower spritz.