Sarah Hardy looks at the pubs, restaurants and hotels in Norfolk and Suffolk offering al fresco dining
The White Horse
One of the best known pubs in North Norfolk, The White Horse has lots of exciting outdoor spaces to enjoy. The Marshside Bar has been revamped and now boasts a pop up oyster bar, there’s the wonderful Sundeck Terrace and a cosy courtyard garden at the front of the place, too.
There are tremendous uninterrupted views out over the tidal salt marshes and you can walk straight on to the Norfolk Coastal Path for a spot of bracing fresh air!
As you’d expect, seafood features strongly on the menu, bossed by head chef Fran Hartshorne, it is all very dog friendly, and we’re hearing reports of funky new deckchairs!
West Runton, Sheringham
Well, if you like your seafood super fresh, this is the place for you. Perched on the cliffs and based in and around a former brick kiln, this family-run restaurant is simply a delight and a firm Feast favourite. The gardens open today so you can tuck into delights like tart of the day, enormous crevettes and a dressed crab or two – the house speciality – and just admire that view out to sea. Black Shuck gins and local wines like Winbirri feature, too.
Tuddenham, Nr Bury St Edmunds
Well, this is a pretty place to be sure, with the majestic watermill standing guard over 12 acres of mature parkland, which includes a very splendid weeping willow.
Tucked away is a Nordic tipi which creates a perfect spot for some al fresco eating and drinking as chef patron Lee Bye tantalises the taste buds with dishes such as whole lobsters, Jersey rib cap steak and Cornish crab pappardelle.
The cocktails are rather good, too – how does a Breckland Bull grab you? The vibe is cool and there is always great attention to detail.
Maids Head Hotel
Right in the heart of the city, close to the Cathedral, the Maids Head Hotel has created a very lovely courtyard dining space, with plenty of blooms, fairy lights and more!
Called the Inside Out Garden, it is sheltered and offers brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, from 9am to 9pm. We’re looking forward to exploring further!
The Harbour Inn
The Harbour Inn opens today from noon to 6pm for outdoor dining (there is masses of space) and you should pre book a table. You can choose from the terrace with views towards the town, over the marshes, or the patio at the front which overlooks Blackshore harbour and the River Blyth. On the menu, look out for classics like fish and chips, burgers and, another Feast favourite, ham, egg and chips!
It is a laid back place, and a lovely walk from the town centre – where you’ll be able to enjoy all those independent stores now open, too.
The Ramsholt Arms
Now this is a special place. It is tucked away, down a single track lane, on the banks of the River Deben, and the large terrace (a real sun trap when it is hot) is the most marvellous setting for some modern British dishes – the curries are great and, if it is on, the open fish pie is highly recommended! There’s a little beach to enjoy, you can watch the boats sail by and there are marvellous sunsets.
It is very relaxed, dog friendly and there are some gorgeous walks around here – make sure you call in at the village church, All Saints.
The Rose and Crown
Winner of countless awards, including being voted Norfolk Dining Pub of the Year 2020 by the Good Pub Guide, the Rose and Crown has been run by Jeanette and Anthony Goodrich for years. It’s a very pretty place, all roses round the door, with lots of outdoor space. They reopen today, with a great new sky blue beach hut bar, built by local company Anglia Log Cabins and this, combined with a heated marquee, means that they are all ready for us. Food is always first class, with lots of local produce, and we can recommend the ultimate R&C burger, made with Red Poll beef, and the puddings – warm banoffee cake anyone?
The Brisley Bell
This handsome freehouse, run by Amelia Nicholson and Marcus Seaman since 2017, faces the village common where games of cricket are often fiercely fought, and has an extensive garden at the back. Much effort has been made here, with gorgeous blooms and plenty of upmarket tables and chairs so it’s a lovely place to sit awhile and enjoy some delicious food. Indeed, the food is sourced locally and is always seasonal and in the very safe hands of French head chef Herve Stouvenel who uses his classical training plus global flavours to produce on trend dishes.
Other places offering outside dining we are hearing good reports of:
The King’s Head at Bawburgh, near Norwich, (opens tomorrow, April 13) Goodies, Pulham Market, (opens Thursday, April 15) Jorge’s in Norwich (opens tomorrow, April 13), The Dolphin, Thorpeness, The Boardwalk on Southwold Pier – both from today.
Covid restrictions and guidelines will be in place. It is recommended to call up and check as many places require pre booking.