It won’t be long now until government restrictions lift and we can enjoy dining outdoors again. Plus, where better a place to enjoy a spot of al fresco fare than with the beautiful surroundings of the New Forest?

From 12 April* pubsrestaurants and cafes & tea rooms across the New Forest can reopen their gardens and outdoor spaces once again. With the weather set to improve over the spring and summer months, we can look forward to once more enjoying a spot of tea or perhaps something more substantial to eat outdoors. In this blog, we explore some of the top outdoor food and drink locations you can enjoy here in the New Forest…

Pub gardens offering traditional pub fare and more

With the spring sunshine falling on your face, a pub garden is a great place to stop after a New Forest stroll. The majority of our pubs and inns have outdoor space with beer gardens, decking areas or picnic benches and are set to reopen on 12 April.

The Rockingham Arms will be opening up their pub garden in West Wellow to visitors from 12 April for a reduced menu and for drinks. The pub is dog-friendly pub too, so bring your four-legged friend along as well.

Sit down with a pint in the pretty pub garden of The Waterloo Arms, a Traditional 17th Century Inn nestled in the heart of the New Forest at Lyndhurst, they even have a covered outdoor area for those windy or rainy spring days, or while away some time at The Rising Sun, New Milton, with their outdoor children’s play area.

Just 5 minutes away from historic Lymington, you’ll find the Walhampton Arms. Why not combine some outdoor pub grub after one of the circular walking routes the pub suggests on their own website?

The Trusty Servant, located in the quaint village of Minstead, will be reopening their spacious 2-levelled beer garden, that has a large open barn for undercover seating. A brilliant location to catch up with friends and family after a long time. Or visit one of their Sister pubs, The New Forest Inn, reopening from 12 April with a new exciting menu, thirst quenching local ales and a great outdoor atmosphere in their lovely garden. Their other Sister pubs, The Royal Oak Hilltop and The Bold Forester will also be reopening on 12 April, however please note that The Mortimer Arms and The Royal Oak Downton will be reopening at a later date. 

Cafes and tearooms with outside space

Enjoy a spot of tea and cake or a refreshing soft drink from the outside areas of our New Forest cafes and tearooms.

Steff’s Kitchen, in Beaulieu, is one such example. Offering homemade and locally-sourced produce where possible, this café is a great stopping point for visitors keen to explore the Beaulieu area.

Ideal for cyclists and walkers alike, The Old Station Tearooms at Holmsley has a large area with picnic benches for you to rest up with a cream tea, light lunch or some beverages. Meet some of the farmyard animals whilst you have some homecooked food from Hockey’s Farm Farmyard Café, near Fordingbridge or soak up the tranquil surroundings at the Furzey Gardens Tea Rooms at Minstead whilst enjoying an afternoon tea.


Restaurants with gardens

If you are looking for a more formal meal or perhaps as a romantic treat for the pair of you then be sure to check out some of our New Forest restaurants that offer al fresco dining. Here’s a selection of where you can eat outdoors:

Lime Wood Hotel’s Hartnett Holder & Co will be al fresco for April! Enjoy al fresco piazza inspired lunches in the gardens of this stunning 5* hotel. There will be canvases, awnings, fire pits and heaters so everyone can keep warm on the days when the sun isn’t shining so bright.

The South Lawn Hotel at Milford on Sea has an outside dining area, The Outside Inn, where you can feast upon a traditional roast dinner and other British classics. Enjoy dining with fantastic live music in the background, every evening from 6pm - 8pm!

Reconnect with friends and soak up the sun at Balmer Lawn Hotel’s fantastic beach bar themed outdoor Lodge Kitchen & Bar! Reopening on 12 April for breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus live DJ nights on Fridays and Saturdays throughout April.   

Socially distanced outdoor dining areas have been created and are available for you to enjoy breakfast, lunch, snacks, drinks, or dinner al fresco at the Careys Manor Hotel in Brockenhurst.

The Kitchen restaurant’s terrace at Chewton Glen Hotel will be reopening on 12 April, inviting you to catch up with friends and family outdoors once again. James Martin and the team have worked together to create a delicious menu which features last year's favourite Plateau de Fruits de Mer, a selection of pizzas that everyone will enjoy, a mouth-watering Wagyu Beef Burger and, of course, the return of their famous ‘Kitchen Apple’ for dessert. Heating and cover will be available to ensure that whatever the weather, guests will have the great experience they have come to expect. The Kitchen is also dog friendly, so four-legged friends are more than welcome to join their owners outside.

The Pig Hotel will be offering an open-air, all weather spring shindig serving a simple 25-mile menu from 12 April, an excellent opportunity to sample some of our local produce.

Ray's Italian Kitchen in Milford on Sea are offering brunch, lunch and dinner in their courtyard terrace and pavement seating. The new brunch menu will be available from 10am - 12pm and lunch from 12pm on Tuesday to Saturday. Evening dining is available to book on the day for Fridays and Saturdays! Takeaways are also still available. 

For something a bit different, make sure you visit Pyramid Field at Sunnyfield’s Farm, serving authentic wood fired pizzas, local ales and wines and delicious weekly farm kitchen specials! The perfect place to meet with friends and family for the first time in 2021.

Forest Park Hotel will be reopening their new enchanted garden daily from 10am - 7pm from 12th April! From sandwiches and tapas to delicious main dishes and Sunday roasts, enjoy a spring afternoon in the gardens at this wonderful country hotel. 

Thatched Cottage Hotel will be opening exclusively over the May Bank Holiday Weekend, from 1st to 3rd May. With New Forest Pizza Company serving their wood-fired pizzas on Saturday 1st May from 12pm to 6pm! Reopening fully from 17th May.

We can’t wait to showcase the New Forest’s food and drink venues to you again once more - don’t forget to explore the rest of our website for even more pubs, restaurants and cafes reopening on 12 April and to discover what you can see and do whilst on a visit here.


*Please note, this date was correct at time of writing but is subject to change depending on government advice. We advise checking with the restaurant/café/pub on their status prior to visiting.

**Please also ensure that you follow Government guidance and each businesses’ rules and regulations when visiting outdoor food & drink locations from 12 April.