There’s something special about eating outdoors in the sunshine or on a warm summers evening, and it’s an especially delightful experience in the New Forest, being surrounded by beautiful nature and even seeing a pony or two wandering by!

Whether it’s for brunch, lunch or dinner, there are plenty of options of amazing places to dine al fresco in the New Forest – here’s some of our most recommended spots:

Enjoy stunning outdoor terraces at our restaurants – serving delicious food made by top chefs, wonderful decoration and a lovely atmosphere to enjoy a meal. Located at Careys Manor Hotel in Brockenhurst, you’ll find Le Blaireau, a French restaurant with a hip garden to relax and enjoy fine cuisine. Careys Manor Hotel also have a special outdoor dining experience this summer, ‘The Neigh Bar’! Graze the afternoon away in their green garden, with a spritz in hand and flatbread to share.

1 Le Blaireau, Careys Manor Hotel
Image - Le Blaireau, Careys Manor Hotel

Just next door is Balmer Lawn Hotel, treat yourself to culinary delights from their menu and enjoy gorgeous views across the open forest from their outdoor seating area, you’ll most likely see a few free roaming animals on the other side of the fence while you’re there!

An unmissable location in the heart of bustling Lymington is Stanwell House. This incredible boutique hotel has recently undergone a huge refurbishment and have a fabulous new garden bar in their hidden gem of an outdoor area. Escape the busyness of the town’s high street with signature cocktails and mouth-watering food.

Stanwell HouseImage - Stanwell House Hotel

Transport yourself mentally to Italy and enjoy dining al fresco at Lime Wood. Savour sensational Italian tastes and enjoy a tipple in their magnificent garden. It’s the ideal place for a date or to catch up with friends.

Who can say no to a pub garden, especially in the summer? Meet with family or gather with your pals in the colourful surroundings of our pub gardens. The New Forest Inn in Emery Down have given their garden a bit of a refresh! Here you’ll find hidden tables in their fairy-like garden, a brilliant choice of local drinks and yummy food.

New Forest InnImage - New Forest Inn

With a large garden, with many options of seating and even an undercover area for if that typical wet weather appears over the summer, the Waterloo Arms in Lyndhurst shouldn’t go amiss. Enjoy a local ale, a selection of gins or a great choice of soft drinks and tuck into flavoursome home-cooked food from their large menu within their secluded pub garden in the heart of the New Forest.

The Filly Inn near Brockenhurst is always a fabulous go-to location for a pub lunch in the garden. There's plenty of seating, a varied menu on offer and direct access to the open forest and enclosures for a post-lunch wander. Or make your way to The Royal Oak at Hilltop, a traditional pub surrounded by the open forest. Their garden terrace is an excellent place to relax after a long walk – or a horse ride with their onsite horse corrals – and dive into proper pub grub!

The Filly Inn - Garden seating
Image - The Filly Inn

For something a little lighter while exploring the magical New Forest, the gardens at our cafes and tearooms are the ideal locations for al fresco dining for a refuel before continuing your wild adventures. Dive into breakfast, a light lunch or cake, full of local produce, at Hockeys Farmyard Café. They are spoilt with a wonderful outdoor seating area, surrounded by trees, flowers, an aviary and farm animals that you can visit across the farm!

Nestled within the enchanting Furzey Gardens, is their very pretty thatched tearoom. Visit this hidden spot for a tasty slice of cake, panini, sandwich or even a cream tea, while looking out onto the glorious gardens.

Furzey GardensImage - Furzey Gardens

The perfect location for a pit-stop on bike is The Old Station Tearooms in Holmsley! It’s along the popular Old Railway route between Brockenhurst and Burley and has a great selection on amazing food and drink. They also pride themselves on using lots of quality local produce from the New Forest, making the food and experience even better!

For homecooked and homegrown food, stop by at Steff’s Kitchen at the tranquil Fairweather’s Garden Centre located in the centre of the charming village of Beaulieu. With an extensive menu including Full English Breakfast, jacket potatoes, soups, main meals, scones and more, you’ll be sure to find something you love.  

Steff's Kitchen, Fairweathers Garden CentreImage - Steff's Kitchen, Fairweathers Garden Centre

Another excellent way of dining al fresco in the New Forest is on a picnic! Head to a local farm shop, fill up your basket with fantastic local food, grab your blanket and find the perfect spot within our ancient woodlands or settle down amongst our heathlands or grasslands with a breathtaking landscape view across our National Park.

Wherever you choose to visit, enjoy dining al fresco in the New Forest this summer!