10 Devon pubs and bars with great beer gardens
PUBLISHED: 12:25 29 August 2017 | UPDATED: 10:59 16 February 2018
The summer isn’t quite over yet… Make the most of the last of the sunny weather with a pint in a glorious Devon beer garden. From north to south, we pick 10 of the best pubs to visit
Located right by the sea, The Red Barn in Woolacombe is the perfect pit stop for anyone enjoying a walk along the beach from Putsborough. Surfboards line the walls inside, and outside the picnic benches are a great place to enjoy cheesy chips and chicken wings whilst looking out to Baggy Point.
Remember when 99 ice creams used to cost 99p? Well at the Café Onboard in Bideford they still do. This pirate ship come bar has plenty of reasonably priced food on offer, as well as an impressive selection of alcoholic drinks to enjoy portside. Below deck, arcade machines and kitsch decorations make it a fun alternative to a traditional pub.
Midway point on the Tarka Line Rail Ale Trail between Exeter and Barnstaple, The Old Malt Scoop is a picturesque pub, with farmland views that make it quintessentially Devonshire. The building itself is Grade II listed, with exposed beams and old stone walls, and it can be admired in all its majesty from the impressive beer garden and patio area.
Situated on the Exeter shipping canal, there are few better places to enjoy the sun than in the vast beer garden of The Double Locks. There’s an outdoor marquee that serves all manner of local ales, and on every August Bank Holiday the pub holds its own ‘Cider & Sausage Festival’, an event that boasts over 50 different types of cider.
Formerly a paper mill, and located on the River Exe, The Mill on the Exe’s name is not particularly creative. Fortunately, however, the pub more than makes up for this lack of creativity with tranquil, riverside gardens and an impressive menu. In the summer, big charcoal barbecues are hosted on the terrace, and there are few better ways to spend a sunny afternoon.
Set within the Dartmoor National Park, The Elephant’s Nest Inn is famed not for a Baskerville hound, but for Bertie, Digby and Musket - three friendly, resident canines. The pub is perfect for dog-lovers, who are welcome to bring their own four-legged friends into the large, recently extended beer garden. Sports fans, too, are welcome, as the Elephant’s Nest has its own cricket team and pitch. Games are usually on Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons, and they make for good viewing if you’re not too busy marvelling at the moor.
Located just 200 yards from Torre Abbey Sands, Appleby’s in Torquay has a sun terrace that offers exceptional seaside views across Torbay. If that’s not your thing, they’ve also got an all-weather, outdoor TV, perfect for the start of the football season.
Aptly named, The Waterfront in Plymouth is situated right on the edge of the city’s Grand Parade, as close to the sea as you can get without being in it. The pub was completely refurbished in 2015 after extensive storm damage closed it down, and now the interior is awash with nautical references that pay homage to the building’s rich maritime history. Outside, a large decked terrace is perfect for breathing in the sea air whilst sipping down a pint of the pub’s award-winning cask ale.
Located above the lapping waters of The Barbican, part of Plymouth’s Harbour, The China House is a charming pub with spectacular seaside views. The food, too, is spectacular, and the new seasonal dishes are certainly worth trying al fresco on a warm, summer’s evening.
The Tradesman’s Arm’s has been described as ‘one of the prettiest pubs in Devon.’ This is an understatement. With its charming thatched-roof and hanging baskets, the pub is nothing short of picturesque, and is surely worthy of the number one spot. If you can pull yourself from its cosy interior – complete with slate flooring and log-burning fire – then the pub’s beer garden is a great place to enjoy countryside views and the fantastic food on offer.