We all know that any meal or drinks can be enhanced by a fantastic view. Luckily, with most of Bristol resting on a ridiculous gradient, impressive views over the city and beyond are not hard to come by. Sometimes though, it’s just nice to sit in a good pub garden and take in your surroundings, whether it be on a river bank, on a busy high street or up a behemoth hill.
I wrote a post on the best places to enjoy around the harbour a while ago; but despite it having arguably (and unsurprisingly) the best concentration of bars and restaurants in the city, the harbour isn’t the only place in town to go once the sun shines – so here are some of my tips for the best places to enjoy the fine weather, regardless of where you are in town.
Recently given a lovely spruce up by Butcombe Brewery, this pub boasts possibly the largest terrace in the city centre, plus an outdoor bar and food trailer.
Situated on a boat (or barge, as the name suggests) in Hotwells, there is no better place in Bristol for views of the harbour on a sunny day.
One of the most iconic spots in the city for al fresco drinking, the bar is run by Bristol Beer Factory so expect a fine selection of their tipples on tap.
The pub itself might be small, but there’s plenty of space on the steps down to the water out front where you can sip your cider and enjoy a portion of their fish & chips. Proper job.
Not only is this another great spot for boat watching, this place also does some top gastro pub grub and has a gin selection running into the hundreds!
A small and traditional pub on the inside, you can also take a pew on the outside benches and enjoy a panoramic view of the far end of the harbour.
North of the water
Famous for its views over the Avon Gorge and the Clifton Suspension Bridge, this place is a big draw for locals and tourists alike.
Half way down Jacobs Wells Road, this unassuming pub leads through to a lovely tiered garden at the back. A veritable magic garden if ever there was one.
I need to stop adding this place to every list I produce on this site, but what can I say, these guys do a lot of things right.
Off a side street in the heights of Redland, this pub manages to sneak in an impressively large garden out back.
A nice large pub towards the top of Gloucester Road – not only are there plenty of seats inside, but you can also find a pew out the front, or out back in their huge garden, complete with a small playground for kids, and a mini bar & pizza oven (mainly used for their epic beer and cider festivals).
South of the river
Situated on the Windmill Hill side of Victoria Park, this pub has a lovely expansive garden which looks over the rolling hills south of Bristol.
The best of the rest
How did we cope without this sunny terrace before? Situated at the bottom of Colston Tower overlooking the centre, this is the perfect spot for summertime fizz in the sunshine.
As well as being a lovely local city farm, St Werbugh’s also has an award-winning cafe and a fantastic pub to boot. Well worth a visit to all three!
Tucked away in a side street in Montpelier, this is a very typical pub for the area – think hemp clothing, dreadlocks and nose rings.
A beautifully restored building on Old Market (duh) with an unexpectedly lush roof terrace up top.
A bit of a secret treasure for most Bristolians – a small bar and cafe hidden away in the depths of Brislington, overlooking the Avon. Not the easiest place to get to, but it is worth the trek.
These two pubs are next to each other on a stretch of the river in Hanham. They’re a bit awkward to get to but well worth it for the huge riverside terraces where you can enjoy drinking and munching with a calm view of boats, rowers and paddleboarders.
Let me know your tips for enjoying the outdoors in the city. Also, check out my other Bristol guides:
- The Best Pub Crawls in Bristol
- Bristol’s Best Roast Dinners
- Bristol’s Best Burgers
- The Best Brunches in Bristol
Happy adventuring, sun worshippers!