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Norfolk Tourism Awards

10 gorgeous places to eat al fresco in East Anglia

PUBLISHED: 16:32 25 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:58 29 August 2017

The White Horse Brancaster Staithe. Photo: The White Horse Brancaster Staithe.

The White Horse Brancaster Staithe. Photo: The White Horse Brancaster Staithe.

The White Horse Brancaster Staithe

Apparently we’re due a heatwave! So pack that brolly away, and make plans for the final few weeks of summer. If you’re after a spot of lunch or a romantic soiree al fresco, we recommend the following pubs and restaurants, known for their outdoor charm.

Enjoy lunch outside at Hintlesham Hall. Photo: Hintlesham HallEnjoy lunch outside at Hintlesham Hall. Photo: Hintlesham Hall

The Greyhound and Twentyone, Wickhambrook

Surrounded by farmland, this elegantly renovated pub and restaurant is a little gem indeed. The garden’s manicured lawns, flanked by impossibly tall hedges and mature trees, is the perfect place for a few drinkies before you step into the restaurant for dinner. Food is homemade using local ingredients and has a Mediterranean twist. Sundays are all about families, with roast lunches very well priced and usually including dry aged beef and Blythburgh roast pork. There’s a play area outside for children.

The River Garden, Norwich

Based on the outskirts of Norwich, The River Garden is a pub and restaurant serving up dishes made using fresh, locally sourced ingredients such as Gressingham duck and Norfolk asparagus. The restaurant boasts a range of outdoor seating in their garden, including a covered area and benches along the riverside, where visitors can enjoy their meal and watch as the boats go by.

The Swan, Long Melford

One of the village’s hidden ‘secret’s is the Swan’s long, inviting garden, which catches the sun from late morning through to sundown. It’s a wonderful, leafy place for brunch. Served every day, the menu includes interesting choices such as chalk stream trout with avocado, fried quinoa, sourdough and lime crème fraiche. Or visit on Thursday or Friday evenings from 5pm to 8pm when you can order the cocktail taster menu of Earl Grey Iced Tea, Passion Star Martini and Suffolk Country Garden, served with canapes for £28.

The Albatros, Wells-next-the-Sea

Why dine by the water when you can dine on it? This former Dutch cargo ship was built in 1899 as a North Sea Clipper but is now moored in the Quay and serves as a bar, restaurant, music venue and B&B. Among the food offered is a range of sweet and savoury Dutch pancakes with toppings such as ham and cheese and chocolate and double cream.

The Butt and Oyster, Chelmondiston

There’s not a huge outside area, but wow, that view. Sitting almost on top of the river Orwell, this scenic pub, surrounded by country walks, woodland and boat yards feels like a Cornish fishing village. The menu is mostly filled with pub classics. Fish and chips. Seafood platters. Hand carved ham, egg and chips. Well worth a visit.

The Olive Tree Restaurant, North Walsham

Set in the countryside, The Olive Tree is a stylish award-winning restaurant, lounge and bar which serves a range of food throughout the day, whether you’re after breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s so easy to picture yourself on a warm summer’s evening sitting out on their Mediterranean-style terrace, complete with picturesque water feature with Koi Carp, box hedges, olive trees and papyrus grass.

The Henny Swan, Henny

Perched by the river, and looking out over the Stour Valley, surely this delightful pub has one of the best locations in Suffolk? There’s a snack and sandwich menu if you’re in for a quick bite. But it’s worth going for the long-haul and settling down for a steak, seared to perfection on the Inka grill – served with a bottle of craft beer.

The White Horse, Brancaster Staithe

The White Horse, a two AA rosette restaurant, places great emphasis on local produce and homemade food, thus they have crafted a menu to reflect this, which includes items such as Brancaster oysters. Enjoy a tasty meal sat out on the restaurant’s terrace, overlooking the lobster pots, oyster beds and saltmarshes out to Scolt Head Island and the sea beyond.

Hintlesham Hall

The gardens of this iconic landmark are lush with greenery, and bloom with flowers, herbs and vegetables, shaded by ancient trees. We rather like afternoon tea here on the terraces. It’s £18 per person for sandwiches, scones and fancy cakes. Or up the ante with a flight of three Laurent Perrier Champagnes for £36 per person.

Wiveton Hall Café, Wiveton

If the Hall’s starring role in BBC Two show Normal for Norfolk wasn’t enough of a reason to visit Wiveton, the cafe just might be. Set within the manicured grounds of the 17th century stately home, the restaurant and cafe has placed a range of candy coloured chairs outside the business, where you can sit and tuck in to your food while surrounded by stretching views of fruit fields and foliage.

• Where’s your favourite place to eat al fresco? Let us know in the comments below.

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