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Al fresco eating

Love to eat al fresco? Here's the Muddy pick of some of the best places to dine in Surrey. Bon appétit!

Soak up some rays while you dine with our pick of Surrey’s best al fresco eating – from cool cafes to gastropubs with gorgeous gardens and Michelin-starred restaurants. Any to add to the list?  Let me know in the comments box below. Bon appétit!

GASTROPUB: The Victoria, Oxshott

A pretty garden and fabulous French-inspired food. Plus, there’s a stunning tipi, complete with gorgeous interiors, a roaring fire pit and it’s own exclusive gin bar. What more could you ask for? A bit of celeb-spotting perhaps? Okay, you may even get that here too as the pub is a regular haunt for some of the Chelsea footballers.

GASTROPUB: Stag on the River, Eashing, nr Godalming

This is a gorgeous 18th-century pub right on the river Wey with a patio and garden – and a very relaxing way to while away a lazy afternoon listening to the sounds of rushing waters. It’s just a five minute drive from the A3, in the village of Eashing, and well worth seeking out. Food is fresh and locally sourced where possible. There are also seven stylish rooms if you want to make a weekend out of it.

MICHELIN-STARRED: The Clock House, Ripley

The Michelin-starred restaurant in Ripley has a gorgeous terrace tucked away out the back, which overlooks a beautiful garden. It’s the perfect setting to enjoy a summer’s drink alongside this fine food by head chef Fred Clapperton. The summer lunch tasting menu is excellent value at £55 per person.

GASTROPUB: The Mulberry Inn, Chiddingfold

Family friendly and dog friendly, The Mulberry Inn – aka Chris Evans’s pub – has something for everyone. There’s an a la carte menu for when you’re feeling fancy, but also a pitstop menu if you want to speed things along a bit, and of course a menu for the kids. There’s even an area for the kids to (mis)behave in in peace while you concentrate on the important stuff like dessert.

LEBANANSE: Meejana, Weybridge

The sun streams in through the windows of this upmarket Lebanese restaurant in Weybridge during the afternoon – or sit outside and enjoy pavement style dining overlooking the quieter end of Church Street. Massive bi-fold doors also open, to really bring the outside in. Food is traditional homecooked and deliciously fresh – there’s a huge mezze selection as well as main courses. And on a Saturday night, you’ll find resident pianist Pasqual tinkling the keyboard of the baby grand (although he’s on hols until September!).

GASTROPUB: The White Horse, Hascombe

The White Horse in Hascombe doesn’t do anything by halves, so in addition to having stunning terrace dining, there’s also picnic-style tables in a lush garden setting. And food, naturally, is top notch – served up by exciting Surrey chef, Valentino Gentile. Call in for a bite in the sun, washed down with a cold Sauv Blanc, perhaps?

TEA SHOP: The Tea Shop at Watts Gallery, Compton

Known for its Welsh rarebit, excellent homemade cakes, and tea served in traditional mismatched cups and saucers – the Tea Shop at Watts Gallery Artists Village is worth a visit in its own right. Of course, you’ll want to wander around the village to take in the art by GF and Mary Watts.

GASTROPUB: The Onslow Arms, West Clandon

The garden at The Onslow Arms in West Clandon is gorgeous, and a beautiful place to while away a few hours. It’s a large courtyard with some shelter and heating for those less summery, summer’s days. And there’s the most gorgeous collection of potted plants I’ve seen outside the RHS gardens at Wisley. As a bonus, you can count on fabulous food here as well.

RIVER VIEWS: The Runnymede-on-Thames

It’s hard to beat the gorgeous riverside setting of The Runnymede – and there’s something here to suit pretty much every occasion. Take drinks or afternoon tea on the lounge terrace, dine on the terrace of the a la carte Lock Bar and Kitchen – named for its position next to the pretty Bell Weir Lock – or take a table outside  at the family-friendly brasserie, the Leftbank Restaurant. Of course if you want to really make the most of your stay, book a treatment in the spa and make a weekend of it by staying overnight.

GASTROPUB: The Barley Mow, Englefield Green

With tables out the front overlooking the Englelfield Green as well as a private enclosed garden out the back, you’re a bit spoiled for choice at this charming timber clad village pub. And just a stone’s throw from Great Windsor Park, so it’s the perfect place to pitch up after a Sunday walk. The food is excellent – a mixture of French classics and British faves.

TOWN CENTRE: The Ivy Castle View, Guildford

A legend in its own lunchtime – and what a lunch spot. It’s hard to beat the restaurant’s mix of cool retro glamour and the stunning views out over Guildford Cathedral. Add to that The Ivy’s top notch food and drinks menu (Ivy Royale anyone?) and I’d say you’ve got yourself a pretty darn good combination.

GASTROPUB: Fox and Hounds, Englefield Green 

Englefield Green punches above its weight when it comes to great pubs – and that includes the Fox and Hounds. There’s a strong focus is on seasonal and locally produced food, much of the meat comes from the nearby Crown Estate in Windsor Great Park.  There’s a terraced garden at the front of the pub where the summer BBQ are popular events. And if you come on horseback, they can be tethered, fed and watered here. Giddy up!

CAFE: Seasons Café and Kitchen at The Lightbox, Woking

A large courtyard dining space overlooking a pretty canal. Now that doesn’t sound like Woking. But it’s exactly what you get at Seasons Café at The Lightbox. With a plenty of choices from healthy light bites to more substantial mains, and a great selection of home baked cakes and slices, it’s well worth a visit.

GASTROPUB: The Black Horse, Reigate

Just outside Reigate town centre, The Black Horse has a mahoosive garden – part terraced leading to a large grassy area with picnic tables. The attention to detail is lovely; gorgeous woollen throw rugs draped over the backs of the chairs and large plaid cushions angled on the benches. Just outside the door is a large basket of blankets – the perfect way to extend the life of this garden as the cooler evenings draw in.

GATROPUB: The Sun Inn, Chobham

An attractive pub in the chocolate box village of Chobham, between Woking and Sunningdale. The Sun Inn has a lovely courtyard garden with plenty of greenery. Food has a French focus, and there’s a great set menu offering £11.95 for two courses.

FRENCH RESTAURANT: Brasserie Blanc, Farnham


A touch of Paris in the heart of Farnham – Raymond Blanc’s, Brasserie Blanc offers up a mix of French classics inspired by his love of travel and world flavours. There’s a lovely terrace garden out the back as well as pavement cafe tables out the front of this stunning Georgian building.


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