Editors’ picks: 10 of our favourite UK pubs for summer

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UK summer pubs

This piece is a product of National Geographic Traveller (UK).

Imagine yourself basking in the summer sun with a chilled drink at hand, taking in the enchanting surroundings. The team at National Geographic Traveller (UK) is here to provide you with just the right options. Here, we present our top 10 favourite summer pubs in the UK, ranging from secluded beach bars to bustling city breweries.

  1. The Beachy Head, Eastbourne, East Sussex 

Post an exhilarating climb from Eastbourne to Beachy Head lighthouse, quench your thirst at The Beachy Head. This rustic pub offers regional cask ales, beers, and ciders on tap. What sets this place apart are the stunning views from the spacious pub garden, providing an unbroken panorama of the cliff tops and out to the channel. One of the unique features of this place is the free overnight camping facility for campervan visitors, with the only request being to dine at the pub. The South Downs area, primed for coastal walks, and Birling Gap, a favoured location for sea swims, surround it. Megan Hughes, project editor, National Geographic Traveller

  1. Cross Guns, Avoncliff, Wiltshire

A leisurely stroll from Bradford-on-Avon along the Kennet and Avon Canal leads you to the Cross Guns. This pub has a rich history dating back to the 14th century, but the real charm lies in the garden. It descends to the River Avon, providing picturesque views of the aqueduct carrying the canal – an ideal location for a chilled pint on a warm day. Amanda Canning, deputy editor, National Geographic Traveller 

  1. Piglove by the River, Leeds, Yorkshire

A stone’s throw away from the Leeds city centre, Piglove’s riverside taproom is an ideal location for a laid-back summer afternoon. Dozens of picnic tables spread across a sunny patch of grass beside the tranquil River Aire. With an array of craft beers and a rotating menu of street food vans, it has become a popular hangout for locals. Matthew Figg, contributor, National Geographic Traveller

  1. The Old Neptune, Whitstable, Kent

The Old Neptune or “The Neppy” as the locals call it, is a Whitstable favourite. This pub is one of the few actually situated on a beach, and its sunny exterior invites you in for a local ale or a continental lager. A perfect weekend includes pairing fish and chips with sunset views and live music. Karlina Valeiko, deputy digital editor, National Geographic Traveller 

  1. The Peterboat, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex

In Old Leigh, where the estuary is lined with cockle sheds and traditional pubs, lies The Peterboat. This old fisherman’s inn has been popular with locals and visitors alike for its brilliant fish and chips and the outside area that overlooks the estuary. It’s perfect for enjoying an ice-cold beer while watching the sunset. Lucy McGuire, project editor, National Geographic Traveller 

  1. Princess of Wales, London

The Princess of Wales in Hackney is a go-to location during summer. It stands out not just for the refreshing cocktails or the appetizing burgers from the outdoor Burger Shack but also for its location on the River Lea. The waterside terrace and the picnic benches on the towpath provide the perfect setting to enjoy the sun and watch boats pass by. Berkok Yüksel, content strategist, National Geographic Traveller

  1. The Globe Inn, Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk 

The Globe Inn in north Norfolk provides the perfect British summer experience. The parasol-shaded courtyard terrace is perfect for enjoying a local seafood platter and a chilled pint of Adnams, all a short walk from the beach huts and sandy beaches of Wells-next-the-Sea. Georgia Stephens, commissioning editor, National Geographic Traveller

  1. Port Charlotte Hotel, Islay, Argyll

Housed in an old inn, the Port Charlotte Hotel is set in one of Islay’s most scenic villages. The bar offers a variety of peaty malts from Islay’s nine distilleries. The cosy spot also offers dolphin-spotting while dining on local delicacies. Sarah Barrell, senior editor, National Geographic Traveller Food (UK)

  1. Tŷ Coch Inn, Porthdinllaen, Gwynedd

Tŷ Coch Inn on Wales’s Llŷn Peninsula is a laid-back pub that embodies summer. The sheltered beach off its front steps provides a relaxing environment to enjoy local beer served in paper cups. To get to Tŷ Coch, you need to hike over a clifftop or along the beach from the small town of Morfa Nefyn, which is an adventure in itself. Lorna Parkes, commissioning editor, National Geographic Traveller

  1. The Swan Inn, Chiddingford, Surrey 

The Swan Inn in Chiddingfold is a welcoming country pub and a dog-friendly spot, making it perfect for unwinding after a long stroll across Surrey’s green hills and open fields. With treats available for your canine pals, there’s also plenty for humans to enjoy, including delicious amaretto cherry sours and a selection of draught beers. The recently renovated garden is a bonus in the summer. Layla Turner, project editor, National Geographic Traveller

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about UK summer pubs

What is this article about?

This article presents the top 10 summer pubs in the UK recommended by the National Geographic Traveller (UK) team.

Where are these recommended pubs located?

These pubs are spread across the UK, from Eastbourne, East Sussex to Leeds, Yorkshire and even Chiddingford, Surrey. Each pub offers a unique location and experience, whether it’s beachside or near a bustling city.

What types of experiences do these pubs offer?

These pubs offer a variety of experiences from rustic pubs with regional ales and ciders, historical inns, a local brewery taproom, to beach pubs and more. They all offer a unique ambiance, great food and drink, and excellent views, making them perfect for summer visits.

Are these pubs dog-friendly?

Some of the pubs, such as The Globe Inn in Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk and The Swan Inn in Chiddingford, Surrey, are mentioned as being dog-friendly.

Is there a subscription option for National Geographic Traveller (UK) magazine?

Yes, there is an option to subscribe to National Geographic Traveller (UK) magazine. The subscription link is available at the end of the article.

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