There are some things that British summertime just wouldn’t be complete without. Drinking Pimms out of a plastic cup in your local park; striding determinedly into a steel-grey sea, gritting your teeth as the icy water reaches your bikini bottoms; buying a ‘99’ from an ice cream van and reflecting sadly on the fact that they no longer cost 99p.
But possibly the most beyond-crucial ingredient is the classic British beer garden. From seafront seating in Brighton, to trendy roof terraces in Leeds and secret courtyards in Soho, we've got some of the UK's best right here.
Headrow House, Leeds
The beer hall inside stocks 60 beers from around the world, but the pièce de résistance of hip Leeds venue Headrow House is its two Instagram-worthy roof terraces, with a kitchen, outdoor bars and sheltered areas. (Just check out that Tracey Emin-style light installation).
Bramleys Yard, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 6PU. headrowhouse.com
The Faltering Fullback, North London
Tucked away on a leafy suburban road just behind Finsbury Park and shrouded in ivy, this Irish bar looks deceptively small from the outside. It houses an epic beer garden spread over a number of winding multi-terraced platforms, with overgrown greenery and wooden picnic benches.
19 Perth Rd, London N4 3HB. thefullback.co.uk
The Ship, South London
About as close to the water as its possible to be without actually being a ship, this is one of the oldest pubs along the Thames: it's been open since 1786. Watch the sun set from the decked waterfront beer garden, close to Wandsworth Bridge.
41 Jews Row, Wandsworth, SW18 1TB. theship.co.uk
The Albion, North London
Tucked away on a quiet street in genteel Islington, the picture-postcard Albion has a garden made up of wooden pergolas, overhanging wisteria and village-green charm.
10 Thornhill Road, Islington, N1 1HW. the-albion.co.uk
Pub on the Park, East London
On a sunny day this place has a carnival feel, with DJs at the weekend and great barbecues in the summer months. There's even an outdoor boules court.
19 Martello Street, Hackney, London, E8 3PE. pubonthepark.com
Atlas Bar, Manchester
You could call this a gin garden just as much as a beer garden: Deansgate's Atlas Bar stocks an incredible 250 varieties of the stuff. Their tranquil terrace is the perfect place for unwinding with a cold drink in hand.
376 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 4LY. atlasbarmanchester.com
The Yard, Central London
It's notoriously difficult to find a decent beer garden in Soho (we know, we know - get out the tiny violin), so The Yard is something of a gem. This historic gay bar is currently under threat of redevelopment, which could result in the loss of its enchanting cobbled courtyard. Pop down for an after-work drink, and sign the petition on their website.
57 Rupert Street, Soho, W1D 7PL. yardbar.co.uk
Glasgow's cobbled Ashton Lane is packed with quirky places to eat and drink, but none of them has a fairytale garden like Brel. With its twinkling lights and overhanging trees, it feels more like a magical forest than central Glasgow.
Ashton Lane, Glasgow, G12 8SJ. brelbar.com
Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, East London
The Curve Garden is a bit like Diagon Alley: you could walk down Dalston Lane every day without noticing it. Head through the unassuming wooden doors and discover a magical community garden, with lanterns strung between the trees, sofas tucked away in hidden spots and delicious pizza.
13 Dalston Lane, Dalston, London, E8 3DF. dalstongarden.org
The Farm, Bristol
Tucked away in Bristol’s leafy St. Werburgh’s district, The Farm – as its name suggests – has the feel of a proper countryside pub. Its big green garden is a balm for the soul, and there’s a great selection of local cider at the bar.
Frank's, South London
The roof of a multi-storey car park might not sound like the most obvious place for a beer garden, but trust us: Frank's is a gem. The views across London are breathtaking once the sun goes down, and the stairways’ candy-pink walls are already iconic. It's always rammed on sunny days, but punters are just as happy to sit on the floor.
10th floor, Peckham Multi-Storey Carpark, 95a Rye Lane, London, SE15 4ST. frankscafe.org.uk
Fortune of War, Brighton
Does it count as a pub garden if it's on the beach? We're going to say yes. The Fortune of War is hardly a secret in Brighton: it's right on the seafront, and gets rammed on sunny days. But it's also one of the best places to grab a pint in a plastic cup and wander down onto the pebbly beach to watch the sunset.
157 Kings Road Arches, Brighton, BN1 1NB. facebook.com/FortuneBrighton
Kazimier Garden, Liverpool
A former car park next door to Liverpool's Academy of Arts, the Kazimier Garden has a secret garden feel about it. There's an outside bar, mezzanine roof terrace, and a stage (which might host a film screening or an indie band, depending on the night).
4-5 Wolstenholme Square, Liverpool, L1 4JJ. thekazimier.co.uk
The Windsor Castle, West London
The Windsor Castle pub in Kensington is known for its freshly cooked food, speciality beers and offbeat charm. Its 'secret' garden has an outdoor bar and heated areas, ideal for alfresco dining.
114 Campden Hill Rd, Notting Hill, W8 7AR. thewindsorcastlekensington.co.uk
Prince of Wales, Birmingham
The huge outside area of this lively Moseley boozer offers far more than your standard beer garden. As well as plenty of seating, there’s a tiki bar, the ‘Shed du Vin’ (otherwise known as ‘the wine shed’), a stand selling Cuban cigars and a street food van. At the weekend, bar staff roam the garden delivering shots directly to punters’ tables, but it’s also a great spot for a relaxed pint.
118 Alcester Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 8EE. theprincemoseley.co.uk
People's Park Tavern, East London
The large garden of this friendly pub and mini-brewery forms part of Victoria Park. Its BBQ food is inspired by Mexican cuisine and there are heated outdoor booths for when the sun goes in.
360 Victoria Park Road, E9 7BT. peoplesparktavern.pub
The Botanist, Newcastle
This gorgeous restaurant and bar is an eccentrically ritzy affair, with swanky cocktails on the menu and a beautiful tree growing through the centre of the bar. Upstairs, the pretty roof terrace is a tranquil little suntrap.
Monument Mall, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7AL. thebotanist.uk.com
The Ostrich Inn, Bristol
A short walk from Temple Meads station, the Ostrich Inn dates back to 1745. Its huge outdoor seating area is out the front of the pub, overlooking the River Avon, making it the perfect place to watch the world go by.
Lower Guinea Street, Redcliffe, Bristol, BS1 6TJ. sabrain.com
The Blackbird, Edinburgh
Tucked down a side street near The Meadows, The Blackbird strikes the right balance between cosy and cool. Pop in for a drink on their sunny terrace – there's a great selection of craft beers.
37-39 Leven Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9LH. theblackbirdedinburgh.co.uk
The Eagle, West London
Complete with heaters, comfy chairs and a burger hatch, hanging out in The Eagle's beer garden makes for a decidedly chilled out experience.
215 Askew Rd, London, Shepherd's Bush, W12 9AZ. geronimo-inns.co.uk
Grand Union, South London
There are seven branches of Grand Union across London, but this is our favourite. The beer garden is adorned with oriental ornaments, lanterns and four ultra-cool tree houses where you can snuggle up with friends and watch movies on the enormous outdoor screen.
111 Kennington Road, London, SE11 6SF. grandunionbars.com
The Wharf, Manchester
Inside, The Wharf is a busy gastropub. Out on the vast canalside terrace, things move at a more leisurely pace. There's an almost laughable amount of space, making it the perfect spot for an after-work drink.
6 Slate Wharf, Manchester, M15 4ST. brunningandprice.co.uk
There are more than 80 varieties of whiskey on offer at this retro-ish joint, named after infamous Beat writer Charles Bukowski's literary alter-ego. (Don't worry if that's not your poison – there's all the regular stuff, too.) The tiered beer garden out back is small, but perfectly formed.
239 North Street, Glasgow, G3 7DL. chinaskis.com
The Trout Inn, Oxford
In the summer months, this riverside pub just outside Oxford absolutely heaves with punters. It's not surprising: it's very pretty, with a great selection of beers and peacocks roaming the terrace.
195 Godstow Road, Wolvercote, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX2 8PN. thetroutoxford.co.uk
The Clove Hitch, Liverpool
In the evenings, the Clove Hitch restaurant is often rammed with theatre-goers grabbing a bite to eat before heading to the nearby Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. Skip the food and head straight out to their fairylit garden.
23 Hope Street, Liverpool, L1 9BQ. theclovehitch.com
Pear Tree House, Edinburgh
Edinburgh's not famous for its sun, but when it shines, you can catch it here. This Old Town pub is popular with students and artsy types, and gets rammed during the Edinburgh Festival in August.
38 West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9DD. pear-tree-house.co.uk
Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds
What is it with Leeds and achingly hip roof terraces? Located in the vibrant Northern Quarter, this previously neglected former nursery school has been given a gorgeous revamp. Sipping a frozen cocktail while kicking back in a deckchair, you could almost forget you're in the north of England.
1-1a Cross Belgrave Street, Leeds, LS2 8JP. belgravemusichall.com
The Tattershall Castle, Central London
It may look like an old barge from the outside, but The Tattershall Castle is a pub set in a moored boat on the banks of the River Thames. There are breathtaking views of the London Eye and Westminster from its outdoor deck.
Victoria Embankment, Whitehall, SW1A 2HR. thetattershallcastle.co.uk
The Spaniards Inn, North London
One of London's oldest pubs, The Spaniards Inn was immortalised by Charles Dickens in his first novel, The Pickwick Papers, and apparently is where John Keats pennedOde to a Nightingale.
Today, the pub hosts regular BBQs in its huge alfresco eating and drinking area. Best of all, it's right on the doorstep of Hampstead Heath: perfect for summertime boozing.
Spaniards Road, Hampstead, NW3 7JJ. thespaniardshampstead.co.uk