The long-awaited easing of England’s lockdown is finally here, with pubs and restaurants finally allowed to open to outdoor customers.
From Michelin Stars to Bib Gourmands – and from big suntrap beer gardens to a few street-front tables – here’s a list of alfresco dining spots you’ll want to visit this Spring in the Garden of England.
Kentish Hare, Bidborough
The owners of this Bib Gourmand pub have been excitedly counting down the days to their reopening date of April 14. They will be serving lunches in the beautiful garden, Wednesday to Sunday, and advise customers to dress according to the weather.
Swan, West Malling
The terrace of this 15C coaching inn is open for pre-booked reservations April 12 - May 17; covered, heated and with a never ending supply of blankets to wrap around your shoulders and across your knees.
The Old Fishmarket, Royal Tunbridge Wells
This small black and white building in The Pantiles was once the town’s fish market; tables are now available in the Winter Garden; fully covered and heated, with sheep skin rugs and blankets to keep you cosy.
The Poet at Matfield, Matfield
The poet in question is War Poet Siegfried Sassoon, who used to live in the village. Alfresco meals are now available and pre-booking is required.
Fordwich Arms, Fordwich
This Michelin-Starred restaurant sits in a delightful spot beside the River Stour and its wisteria-covered terrace affords wonderful views. Lunch is being served from now until 16 May, but bookings are weather dependent.
The Goods Shed, St Dunstans, Canterbury
The ‘new and improved’ garden area of this daily farmers’ market and food hall is now open for weather dependent walk-ins only. On the menu is plenty of fresh produce, cooked on the barbecue.
The Windmill, Hollingbourne
A suntrap beer garden, a newly refurbished decking area and plenty of parasols to save you from any April showers; the Windmill has got you covered. Customers will be welcomed on a first-come-first-served basis for their seven-days-a-week barbecue menu.
Plough Inn, Stalisfield
This rustic 15C pub opened on April 12 for alfresco dining; the marquee is up but to follow guidelines this can only have 50% of its walls on, so dining will be weather dependent. Booking is essential.
The Pig - at Bridge Place, Bridge, Canterbury
Dress appropriately and come with a pioneering spirit suggest the owners of this popular, restaurant, which opened this week for 'The Big Outdoor Lunch'. You’ll be under canvas on the terrace, so it’s an all-weather affair; they’ll also provide blankets and heaters if required.
Eat on the terrace of this impressive harbourfront restaurant from now until May 19; opening times will be weather dependent and on offer will be a simplified spring menu of sharing dishes. Bookings required.
Bottega Caruso, Margate
This sweet little deli-cum-osteria in the heart of Margate’s old town opens for walk-ins only from April 14 (until mid-May). Enjoy Southern Italian fare, with pasta freshly made every morning.