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Aperol al fresco! Wiltshire pubs with gorgeous gardens

Make the most of sunny afternoons in Wiltshire's most glorious pub gardens. Whether they're by rivers, in remote countryside or in the centre of the city, there's something for everyone. Now, who's round is it?

The Cross Guns, Avoncliff

This has to be the best riverside pub view in Wiltshire, with terraces running down to the Avon and nestled in the shadow of a stunning Georgian aqueduct that carries narrowboats along the canal. The Cross Guns welcomes everyone from kids to walkers, dogs to drinkers and is a coveted spot for a Ploughman’s and a pint on a summer afternoon. Not the simplest place to drive to, but certainly an easy walk (30 mins along the canal path from Bradford-on-Avon). Or catch the train to Avoncliff, the request-stop station just over the river.

The Wheatsheaf, Chilton Foliat

Not only did this village pub win Best Organic Eating Out at last year’s Boom Awards, but its thin crust pizzas are to die for, as they’re authentically baked in a Florentine terracotta oven. The Wheatsheaf also has a 4-star rating from the Soil Association for sourcing organic produce, plus its chef-owner Ollie has published two excellent cookbooks. Naturally you want to know about the garden too and this doesn’t disappoint, with a botanical arch as its entrance and laid-back locals as its clientele. (Plus you and yours of course.)

The Beckford Arms, Fonthill Gifford

Set in stunning parkland on the Fonthill Estate near tastemaking Tisbury is The Beckford Arms, a traditional yet stylish country pub, and one that is right up our village street. Think lovely large mature rambling garden, courtyard terrace, local ales and a fab gastro restaurant. Their mouth-watering menu has summer holiday vibes, like pan-fried Brixham plaice and new potatoes or Beckford Burger and fries – and it’s just 20 minutes from Salisbury. Plus if you enjoy yourself just a little too much, they have eight B&B rooms for you to crash in too.

The Bull at Hinton, near Chippenham

A big Muddy tick goes to The Bull at Hinton, a proper ‘pub’ pub – family -friendly, dog-friendly and really great grub. When it comes to al fresco fun, choose from the terrace at the front or tables on a dedicated deck out the back, where you’ll also find a play area for the kids and allotment to explore. The building is handsome and traditional, and was formerly an inn, a farm and a dairy (and apparently it has its fair share of ghosts!). But it’s what comes out of the kitchen that stands out here – think traditional pub food and great value for money, like fish and chips or a bacon chop, although there are plenty of delicious-sounding vegetarian dishes too, like sweet potato burger or rosemary and garlic arancini. Produce is sourced locally as much as possible, and they use their own home grown seasonal fruit, herbs and vegetables from their allotment.

The Lamb, Hindon

Rock up at the romantic village of Hindon in the West Wiltshire Downs (an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a mere stone’s throw from mighty megalith Stonehenge) and you’ll find everything you need in a country pub with (18) rooms. Like any worthy Wiltshire pub, The Lamb is dog-friendly, providing blankets and tasty treats for pooches and prides itself on welcoming kids too – under 2s receive complimentary stays. Food is seasonal country fayre, from classics like pork and apple Sausages with creamy mash to modern essentials like their Miami plant burger. Outside the garden has plenty of seating, wooden furniture and smart umbrellas so you can enjoy your rural retreat come rain or shine.

The Old Ale and Coffee House, Salisbury

The Old Ale and Coffee House might have its roots firmly in town, but it also has the coolest garden in Salisbury: near the Cathedral, bookable beach huts, (for goodness sake!), a garden bar, and an outdoor TV showing the sport. If you ever make it inside, check out the full range of craft beers (they will bring them to you outside, promise), Bloody Marys to die for and over 30 different gins. Food is made from fresh ingredients, locally sourced, with well-chosen menus of pub grub and more unusual fancy feasts – think Brixham Crab and Crayfish Tail Linguine.

The Bath Arms, Horningsham

After a day at Longleat you’ll deserve to hot-foot it to The Bath Arms, a hygge hideaway tucked in the shadow of the safari park and a perfect place to relax and unwind. Inside, heritage meets contemporary country style, in the form of brass candlesticks, an oak-lined bar and matte Georgian greens, while outside the garden provides a lush retreat to eat, with paved areas and willowy mature planting. Part of the same group as The Beckford Arms (see above) the food is as good as you’d expect – locally sourced and seasonal wherever possible, with meat and game often from the Longleat Estate, local farms and fish landed daily on the south coast.

The White Horse Inn, Compton Bassett

You can’t help but sigh with relief when you come across this charming white-washed pub, set deep in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside. It exudes quintessential Englishness, calming the soul before you’ve even stepped inside and the large garden at the back has plenty of seating spaced far enough apart to give you a sense of privacy. You’re guaranteed a treat if you stay over as it has a 4 AA Star Rating and 2 Rosettes for its fab food. A great base for walkers looking to explore the spectacular views of the surrounding countryside or for drivers to visit Bath, Avebury, Marlborough and Chippenham.

The George Inn, Longbridge Deverill

Nothing beats a cosy, classic pub – and The George Inn is exactly that. Situated on the banks of the River Wylye in the charming village of Longbridge Deverill, The George is a traditional coaching inn serving delicious food including pub classics like buttermilk chicken burgers to innovative vegetarian dishes like grilled aubergine, mushroom and chimichurri burgers. More importantly, the bar is well-stocked and outside they have no less than an acre of grassland, so there are plenty of tables for all.

The Dog and Gun Inn, Netheravon

Located in the heart of Salisbury Plain, The Dog and Gun Inn is everything a great country pub should be, plus it’s got a truly Muddy vibe with a really quirky atmosphere. Originally a 17th Century coaching inn it was renovated in April 2021 to bring it up to a modern rustic style (muted colours, stripped back plaster and wooden furniture). Although the location feels remote (amenities are a drive away) it’s nevertheless well-prepared for hungry guests and serves Salisbury’s acclaimed Nole Sourdough Pizza. Plus it has five overnight room, plus garden of course, although the plain itself also serves as one vast outdoor space.

The Prince Leopold, Upton Lovell

This quirky riverside pub is famous for its Harry Rambo’s fish and chip shop, open on Fridays and Saturdays from 5 to 8.30pm and serving up plenty of freshly-cooked fishy specials (as well as afternoon teas from time to time!). Even if you can’t make it to the chippy, the lush garden with its views of the Wylye Valley and excellent regular menus make The Prince Leopold well worth a visit – you can even dip your toes in the river on a hot day! Maybe not after a full bottle of rose, though…

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