It’s hard not to miss the bright pink shop canopy that extends out over Lui’s cute little outdoor seating area on Tynemouth’s Front Street, with its tables always full at the slightest suggestion of sunshine. Sectioned off by matching pink planter boxes overflowing with fresh flowers, Lui’s is renowned for its well-researched drink menus and Northumbrian tapas.
The Beehive, Earsdon
Located on a winding two-mile road that links Earsdon to the coast, The Beehive is an 18th century country pub with a one-acre secret garden that is even home to resident goats. With St Mary’s lighthouse in the far distance, grab a picnic bench, dispatch the children to the play area and unwind with one of the Beehive’s sharing boards and a glass of something cold.
Gusto, Newcastle Quayside
This place on Newcastle’s Quayside has a beautiful outdoor terrace with stunning views of BALTIC and the Millennium Bridge. Sink into their comfy outdoor sofas and bask in the sun with a signature cocktails like the Summer of Love: Green Mark vodka, white wine, black grapes, Licor 43 and grenadine which is shaken and topped with lemonade.
Order an espresso at quirky bistro/café Arlo, with a Sloppy Lola (toasted ciabatta with Toulouse sausage bolognese, melted cheddar, salad and coleslaw) then, if the sun is shining, close your eyes and pretend you’re at a Mediterranean pavement café rather than Brentwood Avenue. If the temperature is a few degrees lower than St Tropez staff leave rugs out on the seats to keep you warm.
The Morritt Country House Hotel, Barnard Castle
Once a haunt of Charles Dickens this atmospheric country house in Barnard Castle has a traditional restaurant, bistro and bar. They do great afternoon tea here: dainty sandwiches, with homemade jam and cake all served on a collection of Royal Albert china. Enjoy it in the peaceful setting of their beautifully landscaped gardens which catch the sun perfectly.
Rockliffe Hall, Hurworth On Tees
The terrace of The Brasserie at Rockliffe Hall makes for a great Al Fresco dining spot. Open for brunch, lunch and into the evening, there’s great mix of regional and continental flavours on the menu. You can order platters, flat breads, mezes, fish, steak and seasonal cuts which are all available to enjoy alongside stunning views of the hotel’s 375-acre estate and golf course.
Lord Crewe Arms, Blanchland
The main part of The Lord Crewe Arms formed part of what was Blanchland Abbey in the 12th century, before it was converted into a manor house and then an inn. The large walled garden here was the Abbey’s cloisters and is a glorious spot to enjoy lunch. Bar Manager Robin has created a special section on the drinks menu called garden cocktails while Chef Simon Hicks’ ‘bait bites’ menu is a delicious nod to Northern pub culture.
The Lookout, Seaham Harbour
This contemporary, nautical-themed café in the new Seaham Harbour Marina has unrivalled views of the Durham coastline. The large raised balcony area has lots of colourful chairs and wooden tables to sit at and enjoy great coffee from with a delicious menu offering homemade scones, paninis, hot carvery sandwiches, jacket potatoes with a daily specials board always worth a look.
Travellers Rest, Slaley
Situated in a 16th century farmhouse, the Travellers Rest has been providing much-needed rest and sustenance to passing travellers (and locals) for over 150 years. There is a fantastic outdoor play area here, beside which plenty of wooden picnic benches sit. Enclosed by trees it’s like a mini forest, with the pub located in the heart of the Northumberland countryside making this a perfect summer day venue.
Cellar Door, Durham
A local favourite in Durham, the riverside location makes this a premier spot for some al fresco dining. The focus is on fine food served from a characterful building that dates back to the late 1200s. It’s a hidden gem as the entrance is a small doorway leading to a steep flight of stairs on Saddler Street, but one that’s well worth hunting out in the summer.
The Boat Inn, Kielder
The waterside setting of the Boat Inn has uninterrupted panoramic views of the expansive Kielder Water. Last year top North East fish chef Richard Sim joined in a consultancy basis, introducing a new menu of local fare that includes fish platters, twice-baked cheese soufflé with nettle pesto, venison, roast trout, and fennel and smoked bacon salad.