Raise a glass to East Devon's beer gardens

PUBLISHED: 17:00 01 June 2019

The terrace at The Golden Lion, Tipton St John

The terrace at The Golden Lion, Tipton St John

Tipton St John

What's your favourite beer garden in East Devon? Here are some that come highly recommended, for a variety of different reasons

The garden at The Grove, Exmouth. Picture: William CandelentThe garden at The Grove, Exmouth. Picture: William Candelent

The time of year for al fresco dining and drinking is here… almost.

Knowing the changeable nature of springtime weather, the ideal plan is to go somewhere you can sit outside when the sun is out, but quickly retreat indoors if it turns cold or wet. In other words, a pub with a beer garden.

There are plenty of different reasons for having a favourite beer garden, and it's not just about the food and drink. Some have lovely landscaping or beautiful views; others might be chosen for their children's play facilities or easy wheelchair access. Or they might simply be in a great location, handy for shopping, finishing a country walk, or visiting the beach. Here are a few you might like to try out as the days and evenings get warmer.

Hare & Hounds, Putts Corner, A375, Sidbury, Sidmouth EX10 0QQ. 01404 41760

The Golden Lion Tipton St John. Ref shs 27-16TI 3752. Picture: Terry IfeThe Golden Lion Tipton St John. Ref shs 27-16TI 3752. Picture: Terry Ife

Large, roadside pub with a very popular daily carvery offering locally-produced meat, and a wide choice of other restaurant dishes and snacks. Some vegetarian options, including a nutroast carvery. As well as a big garden with excellent children's play facilities, it has a decked outdoor seating area - both have wonderful views down the Sid Valley to the sea at Sidmouth. Serves Otter Ale and Bitter, St Austell Tribute. Dogs on a lead are allowed in the Tap Room and Lounge Bar. Large car park. Recommended by The Good Pub Guide. www.hareandhounds-devon.co.uk

The Grove, Esplanade, Exmouth. EX8 1BJ 01395 272101

A popular family lunch venue, across the road from the beach, and in good weather its beer garden is a real suntrap. There is also the option to sit on its large outdoor upstairs balcony, which has a beautiful sea view as well as being a great place to make the most of the sunshine. The food menu offers a choice of home-made dishes using local produce, including locally-caught fish, and some vegetarian options. There is also a Burger Shack in the gardens. Craft and cask ales. Dogs are welcome. No car park, but metered spaces along the seafront. "Worth a visit", according to The Good Pub Guide. www.groveexmouth.co.uk/

The Golden Lion, 1 Railway Terrace, Tipton St John, Sidmouth EX10 0AA 01404 812881

Friendly staff and a stunning view at The Clock Tower Cafe. Picture: Clock Tower CafeFriendly staff and a stunning view at The Clock Tower Cafe. Picture: Clock Tower Cafe

A highly-regarded pub with a tempting Mediterranean-based menu, featuring plenty of fresh fish and seafood in the summer. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options are also available. There's a walled terrace with wicker chairs and flower beds, a small glass-roofed patio for cloudier days, and a large, south-facing beer garden with traditional benches to admire the view of the river Otter. The owners say well-behaved children are welcome in the dining areas, and dogs can come into the beer garden and terrace if they are kept on a lead. Locally-brewed Otter Ales, Bitter and Doom Bar are served. Car park. Recommended by the Good Pub Guide. www.goldenliontipton.co.uk/

The New Inn, Kilmington, Axminster, Devon, EX13 7SF 01297 33376

Traditional thatched country inn (originally three 14th-century cottages) with a large attractive garden, some of it under shady trees. "Pub classics" menu and a new spring menu, Sunday roasts including a vegetarian option. All produce sourced from local suppliers. Palmers Ales served. Good wheelchair access, children and dogs welcome. "Worth a visit", according to the Good Pub Guide. https://www.newinnkilmington.com

The Clock Tower Café, Connaught Gardens, Peak Hill Rd, Sidmouth EX10 8RZ 01395 515319

Refreshing drinks outside at The Clock Tower Cafe, Sidmouth. Picture:Clock Tower CafeRefreshing drinks outside at The Clock Tower Cafe, Sidmouth. Picture:Clock Tower Cafe

Not, strictly speaking, a pub or a beer garden, but local residents say it's one of the best places in Sidmouth to eat and drink outside, and it does have a licence. The location - in Connaught Gardens, at the top of Jacob's Ladder - offers beautiful views of the sea and the Jurassic coastline. Open for breakfast, lunch and tea - the homemade cakes are highly recommended. A new menu for spring has been launched. Vegetarian, vegan and coeliac options available. Sunday roasts. Nearby long stay pay-and-display car park at Manor Road. www.clocktowersidmouth.com

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