We're not a nation known for our al fresco dining scene, but come now that pubs, bars and restaurants can open for outdoor dining, you can bet we'll be making the most of it – whatever the weather. 

Boris Johnson gave the green light to phase two of his roadmap on Apr 5, meaning hospitality will reopen outdoors for groups of six from April 12. For many of us, that means making a beeline for our nearest beer garden. 

Groups of up to six, or two households, are also able to meet in outdoor areas for a much-needed catch up or picnic in the park, after the rules on social gatherings were relaxed on March 29.

Below Telegraph Food writers reveal where they will be trying to nab a table for a drink and some food – food that is delicious, of course, but also (praise be!) cooked by someone else. 

Sam’s Riverside, Hammersmith 

Recommended by William Sitwell, Telegraph Magazine food critic

Situated on the Thames, Sam Harrison's popular restaurant had been open for less than half a year before the pandemic hit. With ample outdoor seating, which they extended throughout the summer months last year, it's the first place I'll be going for a plate of dressed crab and Queen of Puddings, to be enjoyed while catching some rays (I'm being optimistic, I know) and gazing up at Hammersmith Bridge. 

Gylly Beach Cafe, Falmouth


Recommended by Keith Miller, Sunday Telegraph restaurant critic

Cooped up like Rapunzel in an upstairs flat these past months, I've been dreaming of wide open spaces. When I finally get to let my hair down for some socially-distanced al fresco restaurant action, I think I'll be hankering after the seaside. The terrace at the Gylly Beach Cafe, near my in-laws in Falmouth, would be just the thing: maybe the "West Country brodetto" from the evening menu, washed down with some locally-sourced fizz.

The Mash Inn, Buckinghamshire

Recommended by Keith Miller, Sunday Telegraph food critic

I don't know how, or if, they'll be utilising it, but the Mash Inn in Buckinghamshire has a beautiful terrace at the back, looking out across a pretty Chilterns valley. The food there is adroitly pitched between heartiness and artiness, with lots of acutely artisanal pickles and excellent grills. Stay tuned for more information via the website or social media. 

The Fordwich Arms, Kent

Recommended by Stephen Harris, Telegraph Food columnist 

Last year, I enjoyed watching Noma in Copenhagen turn itself into a burger and wine bar by using their garden (they served 1,300 burgers in a day) and have been thinking how we could use the outdoor space at my pub, The Sportsman in Seasalter. My local the Fordwich Arms near Canterbury also has a lovely terrace overlooking the River Stour, so I look forward to being able to go for lunch again.

Riley’s Fish Shack, Tynemouth

Credit:  Chris Watt

Recommended by Pip Sloan, Telegraph Food writer and assistant food editor

With the uncharacteristically fine weather teasing us all with thoughts of pub gardens and beach picnics, I’ve been dreaming of Riley’s Fish Shack, nestled right in King Edward’s Bay in Tynemouth, Newcastle. As the name suggests, it’s less of a fine dining establishment and more of a shipping container on stilts, but its fantastic setup involving an order-and-pay kiosk, deck chairs (which can be booked for spring/summer 2021 already) and fire pits make it the ideal candidate for a socially distanced meetup. Plus, the food is out of this world. It operated as a fishmonger and supplier of local produce during lockdown.

The Hare and Hounds, Bath

Credit: The Hare and Hounds

Recommended by Pip Sloan, Telegraph Food writer and assistant food editor

With its glorious Georgian high ceilings and windows looking out onto the rolling hills of Bath, The Hare and Hounds is currently lodged in my mind as the place I want to escape to right now. Seasonal, locally produced posh pub grub with plenty of crowd-pleasers make up the menu, but what I’m more focused on is bagging one of the idyllic white picnic tables perched on the hillside. 

Mazi, Notting Hill 

Recommended by Morgan Lawrence, Telegraph Food writer and lifestyle assistant

A much-loved community favourite tucked away on leafy Hillgate Street, Mazi (which means ‘together’) offers ‘artfully presented and updated Greek cooking’. The outside courtyard, with its terracotta decking, ornamental olive trees and hanging lanterns, becomes a real suntrap in summer. Bask in the rays while plates of cloud-like tarama, spicy tiropita and Grandmama's meatballs whizz past, preferably taking a sip of a Cosmopolis (a summery mix of vodka, Mastiha, watermelon and fresh lime).

The Salthouse Dun Cow Restaurant, Norfolk 

Recommended by Maddi Howell, Telegraph Food writer

The Dun Cow restaurant and pub in Salthouse, north Norfolk, boasts a gorgeous garden looking out to the marshland. Last year it ran a takeaway service with a short menu of its most popular dishes, including the legendary Dun Cow burger (as well as wines and draught beer - hello, Adnams dry hop lager and Moongazer ale, my old friends) and the likes of katsu chicken wrap with teriyaki mayo, crispy lettuce and fries - perfect for picnicking.

The Hawk's Nest, London

Recommended by Pip Sloan, Telegraph Food writer and assistant food editor

Tucked away in a previously forgotten goods yard in Shepherd's Bush Market - and, luckily for me, just down the road from my flat - is The Hawk's Nest, an outdoor hub for social get-togethers. Kitted out with bierkeller-style benches and tables, it's a great spot to grab a beer or cocktail, share a pizza and settle in for a night of comedy, live music or whatever else happens to be on the cards for the evening. 

Got a favourite restaurant with plenty of outdoor space? Let us know about it in the comments