Pubs with outdoor spaces in Leicester and Leicestershire

As lockdown restrictions start to ease today (April 12), we can cautiously look forward to a treat that’s been sorely missed by many of us – a trip to the pub. Of course, for now, it’s outdoors only, so whether it’s a few tables on a pavement, a yard carpeted in artificial grass, or lush lawns that would give Kew a run for its money, here are some of the places you can go for that first refreshing pint in the city and county.


A city filled with not-so-secret gardens

If you think that pub gardens are a rarity in Leicester city centre, think again. Some might be a little more compact than their countryside counterparts but there’s certainly enough to go round.

Boasting one of the largest outdoor spaces in the heart of the city, Wygston’s House has another claim to fame as Leicester’s oldest standing dwelling, and with tables spread out onto Jubilee Square, it can welcome even more thirsty customers, so there’s no need to book.

Also serving up a slice of history along with food and drinks is 1573 Bar & Grill, once a grammar school, and the oldest school building in the country. Visit their website to book your place.

Nearby, you’ll find another historic pub, The Globe, which has had a presence in the city since 1720 and has splashed out on new outdoor furniture in readiness for your visit. No booking needed here, just turn up.

High Street is home to several pubs which offer the chance to watch the world go by from pavement seating or enjoy the comfort of a garden out the back. The High Cross, where tables are available on a first-come-first-served basis, has a modern, decked courtyard, and just across the road, Bruxelles serves up, amongst other tipples, Belgian beers in its courtyard. There’s no need to book, but opening times may vary, so check out their Facebook page before you visit. Next-door, The Tree boasts a long stretch of garden, which with a marquee over it, is geared up to face whatever the British weather throws its way. You can book right now, and choose between a covered or non-covered area.

Greys, on the ground floor of the LCB Depot, moves outdoors and becomes Greys Kitchen in the evenings, so book a table now to enjoy drinks and dining beneath beautifully lit marquees in the courtyard. Also in the Cultural Quarter is The Exchange, a laid-back bar just across the road from Curve, so enjoy table service as you plan your next theatre trip. With limited outside seating, booking is recommended.

Housed in the former Leicester Central Station, Lane 7 will eventually offer visitors bowling, pool, crazy golf and loads more fun activities, but for now the entertainment comes in the shape of outdoor street food and drinks. There’s plenty of space here but bookings are welcomed via their website.

If you like a serving of sport with your drinks, The Salmon, on Butt Close Lane, has a TV in its garden so you won’t miss the action. Message them on Facebook to secure a table, or just turn up. If cocktails are more your thing, bookings are not required at The Bottle Garden in St Martin’s Square, which is making the most of its outdoor space and hoping for dry weather.

You can take in the views of Leicester’s gorgeous New Walk from the roof terrace and courtyard of The King’s Head, where traditional bar snacks such as pork pie and filled cobs are the perfect accompaniment to a selection of real ales.

Head up London Road and you’ll find the Marquis Wellington, an historic building whose large beer garden boasts quirky heated beach huts. Hearty meals, real ales and local beers are also on the menu, so booking is highly recommended.

Specialising in real ale straight from the cask, The Real Ale Classroom is located on Allendale Road in Stoneygate, and serves a host of other tipples too. You can book a garden table via their Facebook page, and don’t worry, there’s no homework!

Also offering a range of hand-pulled ales is The Cradock Arms in Knighton. You can also order fine wines, premium spirits and tasty meals from your table in their garden, which is so spacious there’s no need to book.

For city dwellers who think that west is best, Ninebar on Narborough Road, is opening up its cosy outdoor space and taking bookings through Facebook or Instagram. Natterjacks, on Braunstone Gate, whose kitchen was recently taken over by Let’s Burrito, is also opening up its outside decked area for drinks and Mexican food. Finally, what could be better than a stroll through Braunstone Park? Finding the boutique hotel and restaurant Winstanley House in the middle of it, that’s what! Diners should book online, while walk-ins for drinks in the garden are welcome.


County bursting with beautiful beer gardens

Out in the county you’ll be spoilt for choice, with hundreds of pubs oozing charm, steeped in history and offering fantastic outdoor spaces. If we listed them all, we’d break the internet! So here are a few favourites, in no particular order…

Gifted by Henry VIII to his fourth queen in their divorce, The Anne of Cleves is one of Melton Mowbray’s most historic buildings and has a flower-filled beer garden. Another top spot in the area is the Stag & Hounds in Burrough on the Hill, where you can enjoy barbecue dishes and drinks in the garden, just check the website for updates.

Market Harborough has more than its fair share of great pubs, and The Oat Hill is looking forward to welcoming diners and drinkers onto its pretty patio areas and impressive lawned garden. Also in the Harborough area is the Rose & Crown in Thurnby. This charming thatched pub dates back to the 16th century and its south-facing terraced gardens have won awards. Book a table to dine, but there’s no need to book for a drink, or to enjoy the fabulous views of rolling countryside.

Stunning views are also on the menu at The Navigation Inn, a canal-side pub in Barrow-on-Soar, with free mooring if you arrive by boat!

The Charnwood Forest isn’t just a fantastic place for a walk in the great outdoors, its towns and villages are home to numerous pubs which also have lovely outdoor spaces. The lawned garden at The Quorndon Fox, in Quorn, is the perfect place for post-walk refreshments – but be sure to book in advance through their website. Or book in at The Curzon Arms in Woodhouse Eaves, which boasts a long terrace and delightful gardens. In May they aim to introduce their Garden Bubbles – out-of-this-world structures offering the ultimate indoors/outdoors experience.


Opening dates and times may vary due to the national lockdown, so please be sure to check with individual venues to avoid disappointment.

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