As soon as we see even a suggestion of sunshine, we all know it’s time to get down to the nearest beer garden or restaurant with outdoor seating, to make the most of it! Eating al-fresco is one of the many joys of summer days, so celebrate the incoming warmer weather with our top picks:
This family-run coffee house/ restaurant is housed in an incredibly historic building – dating right back to the 14th century, having escaped a terrible fire in 1507 which raged through much of the area. The Britons Arms building got off lightly as it’s not connected to other buildings on Elm Hill. It’s one of the oldest continuously-occupied buildings in Norwich and today serves up fresh cakes, light lunches and snacks made from locally sourced ingredients. They have a gorgeous enclosed courtyard area where you can enjoy your food and soak up the sunshine – or opt for some shade, if you’d rather…
This is another building steeped in history, also dating back to the 14th century - though far less lucky than The Britons Arms, having suffered a great damage in the Elm Hill fire of 1507. Some parts were rebuilt, though some original walls still stand today. Find out more about its history in this blog post. The pub is owned by Roger and Anthea Cawdron, and serves up a fantastic range of real ales and beers alongside delicious pub food which you can enjoy on their riverside terrace.
Conveniently situated near intu Chapelfield, Byron Hamburgers serves up proper burgers with delicious toppings and sides - check out our blog post about our experience there. They have outdoor tables at the front of the restaurant overlooking Chapelfield Plain which are perfect for enjoying an al-fresco bite to eat.
Housed in the (rather grand) old library right in the city centre, this restaurant combines the original features of the building with some contemporary twists, and offers delicious lunch and dinner menus alongside a wide range of cocktails. They have outdoor seating with great views of the Guildhall and you can enjoy delicious roast dinners on a Sunday between 12 – 4pm.
Many restaurants in Tombland offer spectacular views whilst you eat, and Giggling Squid is no exception - they have a number of tables at the front offering great views of this historic street. Be adventurous and sample some unique recipes (we love the Sea Bass Pad Cha, FYI!). Their tapas-style lunchtime menu is well worth a punt if you fancy trying a range of smaller dishes, too. Enjoy it all outside and soak up the area’s great atmosphere! Find out more about Giggling Squid in our blog post here.
Head down to the Norwich Lanes and you’ll be met with plenty of food choices, and lots of opportunities to eat al-fresco too. Finnie’s, Moorish, and Strangers Coffee House all offer outside seating and are great spots to enjoy a summer’s day – and you’ll struggle to find a more vibrant area for people-watching.
Pick up some tasty fish 'n' chips with a twist at this city centre fish bar! We love their take on classics such as shark bites, cheeky cod, and 'chicky chicky bang bang' plus many more! You can take your food outside to eat in their informal al-fresco seating area, or why not take it over to The Birdcage pub and enjoy with a pint - or perhaps St Gregory's Green which is opposite, and which leads us onto our next point...
Image: Cathedral Close
Why not pick up some ready-to-eat food and take it to one of the city’s lovely green spaces? We suggest checking out the delicious food on offer at Bistro Britannia, Amaretto Delicatessen, Louis’ Deli, Cupcakes & Bubbles, or The Refectory at Norwich Cathedral, and then taking it to eat in Chapelfield Gardens, the Castle's gardens, the Plantation Garden, Norwich Cathedral's Close, St George's Green or St Gregory’s Green...
Image: riverside by Fye Bridge
How about taking your treats to eat by the market place, by the church on St Giles Street, or on one of the benches in Timberhill? We also love the riverside area near Fye Bridge for pretty architecture. There doesn’t need to be grass to feel like you’re having your own personal picnic – and it’s nice to have a change of scenery every now and again!
Image: The courtyard garden at the Loddon Swan
Great al-fresco spots aren’t just confined to the city centre; The Bird in Hand at Wreningham and The Walpole Arms both have beer gardens, or the Loddon Swan has a lovely courtyard garden with tables to enjoy their Modern British and grilled dishes in. There are plenty more restaurant and pub choices on our website.
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