*UPDATE* This post has been updated in July 2021, to take into account current COVID restrictions
The best Stratford-upon-Avon outdoor dining experiences are not always easy to find: tucked away behind a hotel, occupying a quiet corner by the riverbank, nestled among the historic rooftops of William Shakespeare’s hometown.
With Stratfordblog at your fingertips, however, that sun-drenched restaurant table is closer than you think.
Whether you are looking for Stratford-upon-Avon restaurants with outdoor seating by the river or a funkier, urban dining terrace, Stratford-upon-Avon has a wealth of restaurants with al fresco options.
Booking is advised, if not essential, at these venues, so do get in touch with them before turning up – particularly during weekends.
In no particular order, here are my favourite Stratford-upon-Avon outdoor dining terraces:
Top 5 Stratford-upon-Avon outdoor dining terraces no. 1: Crowne Plaza
Bridgefoot, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6YR; website
When it comes to outdoor dining in Stratford-upon-Avon, the sprawling terrace at the Crowne Plaza hotel has one big advantage: its location on a sleepy offshoot of the River Avon just moments from the bustling town centre. The terrace has also had a major facelift during 2020, and it’s looking fine! I can’t wait to get back there at sunset for one of their fantastic cocktails this summer.
In sight of ducks, swans, herons, a swaying willow and the occasional boat, there are comfy chairs you can sink into on the Crowne Plaza terrace alongside dining tables and chairs, which are much more practical if you plan to dine off the Terrace Bar and Lounge menu. And you should, because it’s filled with tempting dishes such as steak frites, cod and chips, pizzas, burgers, salads and sandwiches. Oh, and save room for dessert, because the sticky toffee pudding is amazing.
Top 5 Stratford-upon-Avon outdoor dining terraces no. 2: Carluccio’s
13 Waterside, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6BA; website
Stratford-upon-Avon dining terraces on busy Waterside fill quickly when the sun shines. The roadside terrace at Carluccio’s is one of the most in-demand spots for great people-watching opportunities and views across to Bancroft Gardens, The Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the River Avon.
The menu is a big attraction too of course, with the chain’s reputation for great Italian food luring visitors and locals. Breakfast treats (how do you like your eggs in the morning?) are dished up from 8am (9am at the weekend), while lunch and dinner menus are packed with favourites such as seafood linguine, chicken Milanese and ricotta e zucchini.
Along the same stretch of Waterside is the outdoor dining terrace of the Encore and fish-and-chip restaurant Barnaby’s.
Top 5 Stratford-upon-Avon outdoor dining terraces no. 3: Hotel du Vin
Rother Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6LU; website
A 2018 addition to the Stratford-upon-Avon outdoor dining scene and a truly welcome one. Known for its stylish design, both indoors and out, Hotel du Vin has created a sumptuous al fresco space, modestly calling it their courtyard. With benches and tables wrapping around a central tree and Med-style planting, plus a number of others in the shade of a veranda, this lavender-scented, walled terrace is a gorgeous space for outdoor dining in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Booking is essential at Hotel du Vin. Book a table here.
Dine al fresco in Stratford-upon-Avon’s Hotel du Vin on breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner or the magnificent four-course Sunday lunch – you’ll need plenty of room for this one.
Top 5 Stratford-upon-Avon outdoor dining terraces no. 4: La Marina Tapas Bar and Restaurant
Stratford Marina, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6YY; website
For a town known for its river, Stratford-upon-Avon has surprisingly few riverside dining spots. Whether it’s the waterside setting or the fact I used to live in Spain and the food here is fabulous, I just love La Marina Tapas Bar and Restaurant. Oh, and the G&T menu is pretty amazing too.
Top 5 Stratford-upon-Avon outdoor dining terraces no. 5: The Arden Hotel
Waterside, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6BA; website
This is one dining terrace, I confess, I am yet to dine on. But many times I have coveted a table on the terrace at The Arden Hotel, with its views of both the gardens by the River Avon and the RSC theatres. Many times I have been told just how lovely a spot it is. Many times I have seen it in square form on Instagram (usually with an ice-filled drink in the foreground).
So it has to be here, on this list of the best Stratford-upon-Avon dining terraces, purely on reputation and good looks. I’ll get there soon and review it, I promise.
NOT YET OPEN
Marco’s New York Italian
Chapel Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6ER; website
Formerly on my list of great Stratford-upon-Avon outdoor dining terraces, Marco’s New York Italian has not yet set a date for the re-opening of indoor or outdoor dining.
Blink and you might miss it as you stroll past the black-and-white Mercure The Shakespeare Hotel, within which Marco Pierre White has established another outpost of his restaurant chain. But behind the thick wooden doors and through the dark, moody, leather-clad restaurant (where did they get their inspiration from?) is a lovely, bright little dining terrace across two levels.
The dining terrace at Marco’s has a few low-slung sofas, perfect for al fresco cocktails, and a handful of dining tables, with parasols for when the sun is fierce. The high walls and the towering roofline of neighbouring buildings gives the feeling that you’re tucked up into Stratford’s historic rooftops, a bit trendy New York. The menu is obviously New York inspired, with a hint of Italian, including burgers, pasta, pizza and grills. You can take afternoon tea here too.
Other Stratford-upon-Avon outdoor dining
There are more outdoor dining tables in Stratford-upon-Avon than you might think. My very unscientific estimate puts the figure at 400-450 outdoor dining tables in Stratford-upon-Avon town centre alone.
Other Stratford-upon-Avon restaurants with dining terraces include the Rooftop Restaurant at the RSC, Cox’s Yard, Zizzi’s, and Loxleys Restaurant.
In Bell Court, you can dine outdoors at Ask Italian, All Bar One, Nando’s, Veeno, Miller and Carter Steakhouse, Burger Priest, and on the balcony of the Everyman cinema.
Stratford-upon-Avon dining pubs with terraces include The Phoenix (new for 2021), The One Elm, The Dirty Duck, The Red Lion, and The Rose & Crown.
Cafes in Stratford-upon-Avon with outdoor tables include Boston Tea Party, HR Coffee Bar, Midsummer Garden Licensed Coffee House (opened 2020), Bardia’s, York’s Cafe, Hooray’s, Bensons, Mida, Hobsons, Box Brownie, The Fourteas, the RSC’s Riverside Cafe and The Other Place. There are a couple of outdoor tables at the Shakespeare Hospice Bookshop too, plus many more elsewhere.
Hotels with outdoor dining tables in Stratford-upon-Avon town centre include The White Swan Hotel, Best Western Grosvenor, and Macdonald Swan’s Nest Hotel (at the Bistrot Pierre restaurant).
Some of these will feature in Stratfordblog’s forthcoming guides to the best Stratford-upon-Avon cocktail terraces, beer gardens and cafes with outdoor seating.
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