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With the hot weather continuing, everyone is escaping to the water to try to cool down. But once you are sun-soaked, where should you head for much needed refreshment?

From a remote boathouse to a riverside corn mill, here we bring you our guide to some of the best pubs, restaurants and cafes by the water.

1. Pandora Inn, Cornwall

The Pandora Inn and its expansive deck on the creeksideWith an idyllic location on the banks of Restronguet Creek in southern Cornwall, the seating that leads onto the water, where canoeists pull in for a pint, is packed throughout summer with guests dining on fresh local produce. But the inside of this traditional inn is almost as beautiful as out and the roaring fires mean it is also a great spot for when the weather turns.

2. The Ship Inn, Northumberland

Set metres from the beach and right on the Northumberland Coast Path, the Ship Inn in Low Newton-by-the-sea (to give it its full title) gets pretty much everything right. It’s location is idyllic in good weather and dramatic in bad, interiors are simple and welcoming, the food is excellent and fresh, and several real ales, including at least one from the on-site micro-brewery, line the bar.

3. The Corn Mill, Llangollen, Wales

Sitting on the edge of the lively River Dee, the pub was a working mill until 1974 and retains many original features, including a working water wheel, the mechanics of which can be watched turning behind the bar. The large deck is perfect for a sunny day as the steam trains roll by on the other side of the river.

4. The Cary Arms, Devon

The white-washed buildins of the Cary Arms tucked into the cliffsideThe setting of the Cary Arms, tucked into the cliffs of delightful Babbacombe Bay, is hard to beat. This upmarket spot manages to retain all the charm and character of a traditional English Inn. The outside deck is perfect for a drink as the sun goes down, the food focuses on super-fresh seafood from the local area and there is always plenty of local ale at the bar. Luxurious bedrooms are available for those that don’t want to leave.

5. The Boathouse, Gigha, Scotland

At this café bar situated in an unspoilt harbour on the tiny island of Gigha in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides, visitors line the seafront as the waves splash in and feast on fresh Gigha halibut and other local seafood.

6. The Sportsman, Kent

Inside table at the SportsmanOn a quiet coastal road close to the harbour town of Whitstable in Kent, this refreshingly simple pub-cum-restaurant serves absolutely top quality food, making the most of the wealth of local seafood, without any of the stuffiness that many places of this standard think necessary.

7. The Quarter Deck at The Nare, Cornwall

For something a bit upmarket, head to The Nare Hotel on Cornwall’s Roseland Peninsula where you can enjoy lunch, afternoon tea or dinner on the Quarter Deck, with views out to sea, then stretch your legs along the beautiful South West Coastal Path.

8. The Three Chimneys 

For a really special foodie experience by the sea, head to the far north-west of the Isle of Skye. The remote Three Chimneys restaurant, set on the edge of Loch Dunvegan, offers a gastronomic experience (focused firmly on Skye’s local larder) which is considered by many to be one of the best in the world.

9. The Isis Farmhouse, Oxford

The large garden of the Isis Farmhouse filled with benches and peopleHaving previously featured in our blog as one of the best pubs in Oxford, the Isis Farmhouse gets a well-deserved second mention here. Really a combination of café and pub –cream teas and homemade cakes are always on offer as well as something a bit stronger – the huge front lawn with plenty of tables sits alongside a lovely stretch of the River Thames just outside Oxford. Rowing boats are available to hire.

10. The Gun, London

You don’t have to leave the city to enjoy a drink by the water. The Gun in London’s Docklands serves great gastro-pub food and an excellent selection of drinks on a large terrace on the edge of the River Thames. The cosy bar and smart restaurant are both inviting options when it turns cool.

Let us know if you have been to any of these waterside treats or if you can recommend others that are worthy of a mention.

  • About my Blog

    On this blog, I am going to share some of my favourite things about Britain – taking beautiful country walks, trying out classic british pubs, exploring castles, palaces and stately homes, getting involved in some uniquely British experiences and events and much more. I hope that this blog will whet your appetite for a trip of a lifetime in Britain.

    Helen Coppin
    Founder, Great British Escapes