After what feels like a lifetime, the warmer weather is finally with us, and we’ll all be looking to spend our weekends in a pretty beer garden enjoying an icy drink. Luckily for us, Cheltenham is a beautiful town with some great options when it comes to beer gardens. The town has something for all of us, whether your tipple of choice is a craft beer, or a local gin. There are so many beer gardens to choose from in Cheltenham, from those also serving great food to beer gardens with a view. Here’s my guide to the best beer gardens in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
The Rising Sun, Cleeve Hill
Undoubtedly one of Cheltenham’s favourite beer gardens, The Rising Sun is the place to go in the town for a drink with a view. Located on Cleeve Hill, the pub is on the highest point of the Cotswolds, meaning spectacular views over Cheltenham, the five counties, and beyond. Grab an icy cold beer or a G&T, and settle down in one of the best beer gardens in Cheltenham. It’s the perfect stop off to relax with a view after a gentle stroll over Cleeve Hill. As with all good pubs, expect to find a tasty menu with all your favourite pub classics like sausage and mash, beef and pancetta lasagne, and crispy chicken in a basket.
Looking for the best watering holes in the Cheltenham area? Check out my guide to the best pub gardens in the Cotswolds.
Dunkertons Cider Shop, London Road
Dunkertons Cider Shop is Gloucestershire’s largest cidery, and it also boasts its own cider shop and beer garden on the outskirts of Cheltenham. A family run organic cider maker, visitors can enjoy a tour around the craft behind producing their delicious cider. Stop by for tastings and pick up a bottle of award-winning cider – but make sure to enjoy one of the best beer gardens in Cheltenham. They have a large marquee bar and fire pit for the cooler months, making it the perfect spot for enjoying a cider or two. It’s an excellent outdoor venue with regular events like pub quizzes and live music. Should you get peckish, local food trucks like the Woozy Pig and The Tavern serve up delicious treats like tasty burgers and woodfired pizzas.
The Railway, New Street
The Railway has had a reputation as having one of the best beer gardens in Cheltenham for years, and it’s for very good reason. Boasting a relaxed vibe, The Railway serves wonderful local brewers, cider makers, and spirits from local distilleries – the perfect tipples for a long afternoon spent in the sunny beer garden. There’s also an excellent range of European and English wines on offer to enjoy. Located just off Cheltenham’s town centre, The Railway is super easy to get to. If you get peckish, you’re in for a treat too. The Railway is home to Smokey Phi Phi’s – a Thai street barbecue serving up delicious Thai food from the wood fired barbecue.
The Royal Oak, The Burgage
Situated outside of Cheltenham in the beautiful historic village of Prestbury, The Royal Oak dates back to the sixteenth century. With undoubtedly one of the best beer gardens in Cheltenham, The Royal Oak is also the closest pub to the racecourse, in case you’re in town for Cheltenham Races. The beer garden is spacious, and the perfect sun trap for enjoying a few award-winning pints in the sun. In this charming pub, you can also enjoy tasty seasonal dishes from the pub menu, as well as a generous helping of Sunday roast at the weekend that will keep you coming back!
Imperial Garden Bar, Imperial Square
One of the best beer gardens in Cheltenham and arguably the best known, the Imperial Garden Bar is also one of Cheltenham’s prettiest drinking spots. Next to Cheltenham Town Hall, you’ll find the Garden Bar and also Skillicorne Gardens in which you can enjoy a drink next to the adorable fountain. Open daily, as well as an ample drinks menu you can enjoy free live music at the Garden Bar Marquee. Should you get peckish, the Garden Bar serves up a range of pizzas. Don’t miss their exclusive £10 pizza and pint deal!
The Exmouth Arms, Bath Road
The Exmouth is a Cheltenham classic, and definitely has one of the best beer gardens in Cheltenham. Located on the town’s popular Bath Road, it’s the perfect spot for starting off your evening before heading into the town centre. Whether you fancy enjoying the evening in a pub garden sipping Pimms, sinking a bottle of wine, or enjoying an ale, The Exmouth has it all. It’s also pretty well known for its tasty food menu. Enjoy tasty pub classics like slow braised pork ribs, king prawn linguine, or burgers with smoked streaky bacon and house slaw. Whatever you choose, you’ll be happy!
The Kemble Brewery Inn, Fairview Street
Having recently won ‘Cheltenham Pub of the Year’, it’s indisputable that The Kemble Brewery Inn has one of the best beer gardens in Cheltenham. A small pub tucked away near the town centre, it has a great atmosphere whenever you visit. The Kemble Brewer Inn also has an interesting history – it began as a butcher’s in the mid-eighteenth century, and even today you can see the studs in the ceiling from the meat hooks. It started life as a pub when the first owner was from Kemble, and made cider from local apples. Today, you’ll find a range of tasty local ales and ciders. The pub garden itself is pretty and walled – the perfect spot for sipping on a pint and whiling away an evening.
The Retreat, Suffolk Parade
Dating back to 1983 and remaining one of Cheltenham’s favourite watering holes even today, The Retreat has one of the best pub gardens in Cheltenham. Recognisable thanks for its Parisian dark red interiors and facade, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a large glass of wine or four. Out to the back of the pub, and you’ll find the beautiful little pub garden. This sun dappled terrace has a touch of the Mediterranean about it, and is wonderful for the summer months. Round up a group of friends and head here for some tasty cocktails and drinks al fresco in the sun.
The Strand, High Street
Handily located on Cheltenham’s High Street, The Strand is a fun pub that usually attracts a young crowd. Offering real ales, great pub grub, and regular live music, it’s a good pub that offers great vibes. One of the best beer gardens in Cheltenham, there’s a spacious area for enjoying drinks in the sun. Head to The Strand to enjoy a rotating local beer and cider list, as well as some excellent British spirits and wine. There’s a huge emphasis on sourcing local, independent suppliers, which is another string to this great pub’s bow.
The Norwood Arms, Leckhampton Road
The Norwood Arms is a large pub located in Cheltenham’s desirable Leckhampton region. It’s also rather handily fixed for Bath Road, making it the perfect starting point for a pub crawl into the town centre. A popular pub with locals, the star attraction is one of the best beer gardens in Cheltenham. Enjoy the patio area and the pretty gardens for whiling away an afternoon over a few drinks. Conveniently, there’s plenty of car parking, and should you get hungry, there’s an extensive food menu for you to enjoy. Favourites include fajitas and their epic chicken tikka banquet.
Sandford Park Ale House, High Street
Priding themselves on great beer, great service, and great experience, you could say Sandford Park Ale House has accomplished the magic triangle. If you enjoy beer, you must visit Sandford Park Ale House. What’s more, it boasts undoubtedly one of the best beer gardens in Cheltenham. With ten cask lines and sixteen keg lines, you can truly find a beer or ale for you. There’s also an extensive wine and spirits list, meaning there truly is a drink in there for everyone. The beer range is kept fresh and relevant, and the pub was even voted CAMRA National Pub of the Year in 2015. The staff know their beer inside out, so be sure to ask if you’re unsure.
The Plough, Mill Street
The Plough is well known throughout town for having one of the best beer gardens in Cheltenham. Located in the beautiful and historic village of Prestbury on the outskirts of Prestbury, when the sun shines, this is the place to be. With a lush one acre garden, there’s a stream running alongside for the perfect surroundings for a pint in the sun. There’s plenty of outdoor seating, and even a boules pitch at the back of the pub garden. As a former winner of the CAMRA Cider Pub of the Year, there’s a huge focus on traditional cider and cask ales. All real ales are served from a small hatch, straight from the casks. In the summer months, head to The Plough for a cider and a real ale festival, both with live music.
The King’s Arms, High Street, Prestbury
The King’s Arms is a classy pub in the beautiful, upmarket village of Prestbury on the outskirts of Cheltenham. Perfectly located for Cheltenham Racecourse, The King’s Arms is a member of Raymond Blanc’s White Brasserie collection of pubs. A historic pub with nooks and crannies, The King’s Arms also boasts one of the best beer gardens in Cheltenham. Sit outside and enjoy a delicious meal, as well as an aperitif or two in the sun. The menu is delicious – enjoy classics like duck leg confit with blackberries, and glazed chicken with sweet potato wedges. The Sunday roast is equally worth visiting for!
That’s my guide to the best beer gardens in Cheltenham! Are there any beer gardens you think I’ve missed from this list? If so, let me know in the comments below.