10 great al fresco places in Lancashire, Manchester and the Lake District

PUBLISHED: 08:57 14 July 2020 | UPDATED: 08:57 14 July 2020

The Ivy Spinningfields. Picture from The Ivy Spinningfields

The Ivy Spinningfields. Picture from The Ivy Spinningfields

The Ivy Spinningfields

Countryside views, cold pints and Lancashire and the Lake District’s best award-winning food

The Cartford Inn, Little Eccleston

A place that constantly and consistently innovates, the team at The Cartford Inn in Little Eccleston have done it again. Scandi-influenced greenhouses, there are four of them, mean you and your bubble can dine not only in style with food from head chef Chris Bury, but you can also enjoy the inimitable Cartford atmosphere created by owners Patrick and Julie Beaume. You can also take something home with you from their fabulous deli, TOTI at Home - don’t leave without perfect patisserie and salted caramel brownies. This is a click and collect or delivery at home service currently so make sure to order in advance. There are also gorgeous riverside views and if you want to eat indoors, the team have removed 30 per cent of their tables leaving plenty of room to dine safely.


Parkers Arms, Newton-in-Bowland

Uninterrupted views of unspoilt countryside in the heart of the Forest of Bowland are served up alongside a stellar menu at the multi award-winning Parkers Arms. Chef patron Stosie Madi has impressed some of the food industry’s most veracious critics with her to-die-for pies made using pork-fat pastry. But you’ll have an enviable struggle choosing from the tantalising menu. If it’s raining? No problem, the lovely Parkers interior has been set out to meet with the proper guidelines.


The Ivy Spinningfields, Manchester

The Manchester city centre restaurant has reopened across four floors with diners able to sip on cocktails and feast on delicious dishes in The Ivy Brasserie and Ivy Asia as well as enjoy skyline views from The Roof Garden.


Eagle and Child, Ramsbottom

A visit to this Ramsbottom institution is a must. The chefs, who have cooked more than 1,000 meals for the Eat MCR initiative to feed NHS workers and the vulnerable during lockdown as well as doing takeaway through their Pennine Pop-Ups, have now opened their doors again serving up those Eagle and Child classics - put the Double Bomber cheese and onion pie on your list. Socially distant dining is available indoors but the real jewel in its crown is its beer garden, a lovely space full of growing veg and a great view. Not ready to venture out, the team are still doing food delivery and collection.


Bay Horse Inn, Ellel

Local food is put centre stage in at this countryside gastropub run by chef Craig Wilkinson and wife, Nicola. The gardens have lovely views over never-ending fields and grazing animals. Don’t know what to choose? A Sunday dinner is hard to beat. You can have it in the garden or if the weather isn’t playing fair, their new indoor dining space, Willow Barn. It’s a large, well ventilated space but Nicola and Craig have made sure a global pandemic hasn’t taken away from the atmosphere. Want to eat in your bubble? They have a private dining room for bubble gatherings of six to 10 people. Want something to go - you can order a pub Ploughmans for a posh picnic.


Askham Hall, near Penrith

Pick up a pizza in Michelin star surroundings at Askham Hall, near Penrith. Whether it is in the huge barn or in the outdoor seating in the gorgeous gardens at this pretty property, you can feast on wood-fired pizza and drink hand-pulled beers. They’re open from 11.30am to 8pm. Is there a better way to spend a summer’s eve? You can also eat at the Kitchen Cafe and its restaurant Allium, awarded its first Michelin star last year, is set to reopen on July 30th. Fancy spreading your wings further? Their sister business the George and Dragon in Clifton is open to the public and The Queen’s Head in Askham is open for overnight stays and resident diners from July 30th.


Hotel Dakota, Manchester

Chic, stylish and the perfect place for drinks, Hotel Dakota may be city centre-based but you can still get that al fresco feeling with city skyline views on the new terrace, the new go-to-spot for dining and drinking in the open air. Operating at 30 per cent capacity, there will be minimal and socially distanced interaction between diners and staff, meaning you can feel relaxed while you enjoy your large glass of rioja, cocktail or one of their mega rib-eye steaks.


Gibbon Bridge

Reopening August 26th Global pandemic or not, the gardens at this Chipping hotel and restaurant are the perfect for al fresco dining. With views as lovely as the perfected dishes on the menu, sit and enjoy the lovely green space that has been lovingly tended by owner Janet Simpson and her team for decades There is plenty of local produce on the menu, including some grown in the grounds.


Armathwaite Hall, near Keswick

If unrivalled views while sipping on an aperitif is your thing, Armathwaite Hall, is the place. Sit on the lake view patio or enjoy fantastic food from The Courtyard Bar and Brasserie Restaurant while overlooking the Lake District fells, Skiddaw and Bassenthwaite Lake.


Ducie Street Warehouse, Manchester

Contemporary eating spaces inside and out, you can’t go wrong with a spot of something to eat at this achingly cool hangout. Formerly known as Cultureplex, the ground floor of this renovated warehouse now has Counter, a shop, coffee and wine bar serving up cocktails as well as grab and go food that you can either take away or pull up a chair on the outdoor terrace. There also informal dining space, The Lounge and modern brasserie, The Restaurant.


Want to know how our Lancashire Life Food and Drink Awards winning venues are reopening? Of course you do. You’ll find all the information in the August issue of Lancashire Life on sale on July 22nd.

Heading out for a picnic? Put together a picnic blanket everyone will enjoy with food from Lancashire and the Lake District

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