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12 gorgeous pubs with gardens in Essex

Here comes the sun – get thee to a gorgeous pub garden pronto, I say! Here are 12 of the county’s loveliest locals to enjoy an alfresco quaff in. Cheers!

Is there anything more British than a beer garden?  Whether you want your green space near a river, meadow, coast, village or town, we’ve scoured the county for the best Essex pubs with gardens. And there’s bound to be lots more absolute corkers out there, so get your drinking caps on and if you think there’s been a disgraceful admission, let me know!

The Fox on the Green, Finchingfield

The Fox on the Green

Overlooking what is commonly referred to as “the prettiest village in Essex”, The Fox on the Green is as quintessential as English country pubs come. Pull up a pew on the front terrace to watch the ducks glide across the village pond or head into the lovely beer garden out back to escape the hustle and bustle (Finchingfield is very popular). Either way, you’ll be able to enjoy some exceptional dishes featuring local produce, including a variety of ales, spirits and wines. We’ll cheers to that.

The Sun Inn, Dedham

Dripping in charm and commanding picture-perfect views over Dedham’s historic village, the Sun Inn also happens to have a handsome pub garden tucked behind its warm exterior. Think a peaceful, plant-filled patio that leads out on to a sprawling sun-dappled lawn, shady trees to while away the afternoon under, and hearty Italian-style menu to peruse while sinking another glass of pinot noir. And relax…

The Hoop, Stock

Constructed in 1640 from the timber of warships at Tilbury Docks, this charming Stock stalwart is big on heritage, hearty dishes and outdoor dining, which all helped it scoop this year’s Muddy Award for Best Pub. A secluded stretch of lawn greets locals round the back, while villagers often spill out onto the green for languid rounds of sundowners. Order a full-bodied vino from local vineyard, New Hall, or a fruity pint of Adnams from nearby Suffolk before tucking into a pub classic out on the patio. And, yes, pretty festoon lighting comes as standard. 

Tim Allen’s Flitch of Bacon, Little Dunmow

Perched in the picturesque hamlet of Little Dunmow – a stone’s throw from the quiet passing wash of River Chelmer and market town of Bishop’s Stortford – this absolute gem of a restaurant with rooms has been luring foodies from the capital and beyond since winning the prestigious Michelin honour in 2018. Indeed, with farm-to-fork tasting menus leading the venue’s gastronomic charge for excellence, it’s a no-brainer for special occasions, Sunday feasts and mid-week treats. And now’s the sun’s out, there’s no better time to enjoy quaffing Rose and enjoying amazing food on their lovely terrace, complete with retro van.

Galvin Green Man, Great Waltham

Galvin Green Man

Set in the picturesque countryside fringing Chelmsford, this beautifully refurbished building dates back to 1341 and serves up an enormous pub garden with panoramic views. Kids will love the huge dedicated play area and, with plenty of space to dine alongside, mums and dads will too. Menu-wise, it’s run by the Galvin brothers – award-winning Essex-born chefs who have turned this little corner of the countryside into a foodie favourite. With its Bib Gourmand credentials, the Galvin Green Man is ticking a lot of pub-garden-shaped boxes for stress-free summer supping right now. 

The Plough, Great Chesterford

This well-loved village pub comes with all the quirks associated with a proper local – a relaxed, welcoming pub that serves up great-quality food, including a wide and tasty selection of gluten free and vegan/vegetarian options. But it’s the garden that’s the real puller – the Plough’s is gorgeous, generous, and both kiddy and dog friendly. Come night time or chillier weather, move closer to the roaring fire pit and grab one of the blankets that are given out. Cosy beer-garden bliss.

The Lion Inn, Boreham

The Lion Inn garden

Offering up stylish courtyard dining for light bites and a chilled bottle of something fruity, this gorgeous gastro pub in the rolling hills of Boreham is just the ticket for a long lunch with friends. The bar is pure French theatre, with an eclectic mix of antiques and salvaged finds dominating the stylish interiors (have a peek through the windows). Outside, you’ll get to drink in piazza-style views while perfusing the menu, which delivers fresh plates of quality pub classics. 

The Peterboat, Leigh-on-Sea

The Peterboat terrace

Situated in the heart of Old Leigh’s cobbled lanes, with uninterrupted views out across the estuary, it’s no surprise that The Peterboat is a spring and summertime staple for locals. Famed for serving up the freshest fish dishes in Leigh-on-Sea since 1695, head down early to bag a prime spot on the heated patio on the seafront and order its signature Peterboat cockle chowder. If you’re lucky, you might just catch one of the pub’s buzzy live music nights too. 

The Folly Bistro, East Hanningfield

The Folly Bistro Essex pub garden

What started life as a village butchery in 1642 is now a cosy inglenook gastro jaunt, complete with an always-blooming alfresco dining space, so I had to include it in this roundup, even though its site says it may not be opening until 17 May. Anyhoo, once it does open, you’ll find an immaculately dressed pub garden and terrace to decant to, both kitted out in swish-looking parasols and want-to-take-home dining sets. Oh, and don’t forget about the food: mouthwatering moules, sautéed wild mushrooms, pie of the day and chumps of lamb are all local favourites, best washed down with a Pucks Folly ale from the Brentwood Brewery. Don’t mind if we do. 

The King’s Head, Ongar

The King's Head Ongar pub garden

Laced with acres of outdoor lighting, swanky lounging sets and modern bistro furniture, The King’s Head courtyard is a smart choice for chic swillers. Nab a cream-cushioned sofa, order a bottle of something bubbly, and soak up a spot of people watching while you tuck into one of the pub’s signature wood-fired pizzas. Friday nights don’t get better than this, people. 

Theydon Oak, Epping

Theydon Oak Essex pub garden

Festooned with flowering baskets and framed by the ancient boughs of Epping Forest, Theydon Oak is a real gem of a country pub. Even Epping local Rod Stewart agrees: he opened up the venue’s sprawling gardens with wife Penny Lancaster. This spring, happy punters can enjoy one of three spacious patios; gently meander along the pub’s babbling brook and listed lawns; or watch the kids take full advantage of Theydon Oak‘s all-weather play area. What’s not to love? 

The King William IV, Chigwell

If a trendy setting, Insta-worthy bites and a round of kickass cocktails is what you’re hankering after (aren’t we all?), look no further than The King William IV. A stylish pub and restaurant set in the heart of leafy Chigwell, this popular spot boasts its own courtyard and garden. And it’s not all fur coat and no knickers, either. The extensive menu serves up a whole host of classic pub food dishes, as well as a dedicated children’s menu and scrumptious Sunday roasts. We’re sold. See you there.

Can’t book up a pub for love nor money? How about a picnic instead? Check out Essex’s best deli and picnic spots here

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