We've teamed up with We Love Good Times to bring you a comprehensive guide to al fresco dining in Chester this autumn! Make sure to also check our ever-growing list of al fresco options in Cheshire.

Autumn is definitely my favourite season. I love getting cosy in big jumpers and scarves, and wasting time escaping the every day taking photos in and around the city of the changing season. This year, there is more reason than ever to embrace the outdoors as so many of us feel much more comfortable outside – and the good news is that some of our favourite venues have upgraded their beer gardens, or even created beautiful brand new spaces for us to dine, drink and relax within our social bubbles.

Autumn is also my favourite season for food and drink. Casseroles, stews and hearty dishes appear on our menus, and local Chefs have a field-day with the best quality local produce. So this year I’m super-excited about spending lots more time in the great outdoors, enjoying seasonal dishes, big red wines and lots of good times with my nearest and dearest.

Here is my selection of the best Autumn beer gardens in and around Chester – along with my suggestions for the best dishes and drinks to enjoy while you’re there.

Hickory’s Smokehouse Chester 

Hickory's Chester

We know how much effort these guys put into their outside drinking and dining spaces, and Chester has to be the pièce de résistance with their incredible walled garden. A post-lockdown masterpiece with the stunning backdrop of the River Dee. And who doesn’t absolutely love Hickory’s? Their amazing Smokin’ Autumn Deals are back and all of them are seriously good – but my favourite will always be the Steak & Shake. Its epic! And did I mention the chicken wings?

Book here

The Chester Fields Country Pub and Restaurant 

The Chester Fields

Gorgeous gardens, outside Alpine style huts and those stunning views over the Cheshire plains – its certainly worth the ten minute taxi journey from the city centre. They have won countless awards for their consistent use of local produce too. Autumn evenings at The Chester Fields are perfect with gorgeous sunsets and fabulous hearty dishes, but for me, their Sunday Roast is legendary.

Book here

The Black Dog, Waverton

The Black Dog, Waverton

I’m a massive fan of The Black Dog. These guys think very differently and put their exciting plans into action. They have plenty of outside space in the countryside to enjoy great seasonal food and drink, including the best socially distanced dining solution with their fabulous all-weather Domes. Their food is incredible too (I’m a massive fan of Head Chef Mike Hodges) – and a little birdie tells me they have even more plans for their outside area this Autumn, so watch this space.

Book here

Barlounge

Barlounge Chester

In it’s 20th year – Barlounge is looking better than ever! This iconic Chester venue came out of lockdown with a stunning new terrace – covered, heated and very smart indeed – the perfect place to drink and dine, whatever the weather – and their sticky sausages are still totally divine!

Book here 

The Boathouse Chester 

Boathouse Chester

The Boathouse in Chester has one of the best outside spaces in the city with its sunning riverside location, a floating barge and the cutest, heated beach huts for the perfect socially-distanced Autumn dining experience. And they’ve just launched their new Autumn menu – but you can’t beat a hot choccie with a delicious dessert, wrapped up warm with a blanket on a floating barge!

Book here

The Pied Bull Chester 

The Pied Bull Chester

There are lots of great surprises to be found at The Pied Bull. The most incredible bedrooms, a microbrewery (the smallest inside the city walls we believe), great pub food, a couple of friendly ghosts and this fabulous hidden garden right in the heart of the city. This beautiful space is the perfect escape from the everyday … and their pub classics are so good!

Book here

The Faukner Hoole, Chester

The Faulkner Hoole

The Faulkner is a favourite neighbourhood restaurant serving really good food (they’ve won tons of awards). As independents go, its one of the best and their outside space is delightful! Its weather proof and super-cosy with booths, fluffy cushions, heaters and fairy lights – the perfect way to embrace the Autumn chill.

Book here

Ring O’Bells Christleton, Chester

The Ring O Bells Christleton

Ahhh the Ring O’Bells – I always describe this fabulous place as one of our Great Cheshire Pubs. Chef Andrew King heads up an award-winning kitchen and its always a really good quality experience all round, and definitely worth the 5 minute car journey from the city centre. And le boss Ian Wade became quite the gardener over lockdown, upgrading his outside space ready for the Autumn season. Chef Andrew loves the Autumn as much as I do, so you can be sure of some delicious hearty dishes as well as some bloody good beer from this favourite country dining pub.

Book here

Blue Bell 1494 Chester

Blue Bell 1494 Chester

Now this is a real gem in the city centre – a beautifully authentic Spanish tapas bar with this gorgeous garden. We reviewed Blue Bell 1494 recently and gave it five stars (click here to find out why) so give it a go, it really is a very special place with another great ghost story from 1645. We went back just a couple of weeks ago with the children, and were just as impressed as we had been back in the Summer. New dishes included Queso de Cabra Frito – deep fried Goats cheese drizzled with honey & served with quince jelly, and Vieras Fritas – pan fried scallops with a pancetta & Parmesan crumb, served on a fresh pea purée. Both of which were delicious!

Book here

The Goshawk Delamere 

The Goshawk Delamere

Just 15 minutes drive from the city centre, this is another Great Cheshire Pub with a stunning outside space, and this one overlooking an immaculately manicured bowling green. The Goshawk is located close to Delamere forest, so a walk through the golden woodland followed by great pub food is the perfect Autumn escape with the family.

Book here

Opera Grill, Chester

Opera Grill Chester

Opera Grill is a pretty impressive venue. Seriously sexy food, fabulous decor and a truly cosmopolitan vibe, their outside terrace space is the place to be seen in the Autumn sunshine. Heated, covered and with plenty of space, if you’re looking for a super-stylish venue, then Opera Grill is definitely the place for you.

Book here

Duttons

Duttons Chester

I love the new look Duttons – and the fact that it sits on the most beautiful street in the city (Godstall Lane) just makes it all the more gorgeous. Sitting outside Duttons enjoying a delicious alfresco lunch with a glass of wine or two is an affordable treat – and the staff are delightful too. I recommend the Cheshire cheese and onion pie with sauté potatoes, wilted spinach & chive cream sauce.

Book here

Rowton Poplars

Rowton Poplars

Hidden away in Waverton is a very special place called Rowton Poplars Hotel. This unusual venue is well known for its great quality food, fabulously warm welcome and super-cosy bedrooms. Independently run by the Friend family, they have taken full advantage of their idyllic canal side setting by creating a gorgeous fairly light-lit garden – perfect for enjoying the crisp Autumn sunshine. Enjoying a baked brie to share with a couple of glasses of red is a pretty good way to spend a couple of hours unwinding in the Cheshire countryside.

Book here 

Popcorn Chester

Popcorn Chester

Quirky, cute and covered, this is one of my favourite outside spaces in the city. And they even have heaters and blankets keeping you cosy and warm in the Autumn sunshine. They serve a delicious casual dining menu including plenty of vegan options … and it’s the most instagrammable bar in the city.

Book here

Shrub Chester 

Shrub Chester

Pretty new to the Chester Food and Drink scene, plant-based Shrub opened post lockdown, and their gorgeous terrace has been full ever since. These fabulous tables overlooking The Cross have to be among the very best Alfresco tables in the city, and perfect for covered Autumn dining on the historic rows, overlooking the city centre streets below.

Book here

The Secret Garden at Townhouse Chester 

The Townhouse Secret Garden

I’m totally in love with the new Secret Garden at The Townhouse on Bridge Street. This is such a unique venue with great bedrooms (and a seriously good breakfast) and the most delicious Afternoon Tea which you can enjoy in this lovely new outside space – and they have big plans for making it all-weather, so we can all enjoy this stunning garden all year round.

Book here

Meltdown Handbridge 

Meltdown Handbridge

A short walk through the city and either over the glorious Queens Park Suspension Bridge or the postcard-perfect Old Dee Bridge takes you to Handbridge, and here you will find the best cheese toasties on the planet. And the best bit is Laura’s gorgeous little garden out back. Its super-cute and I love it. The ultimate Chester Independent success story.

More info here

The Botanist

The Botanist

Yes, they have now reopened and with a super-fresh new look too. This Chester favourite has had a proper spruce up and its looking as fresh as a daisy, and that gorgeous outside space has had a makeover too. A little oasis in the heart of the city, this super-cosy garden is the prefect Autumn hideaway.

Book here

Related

Hickory's Smokehouse
Restaurant
Hickory's Smokehouse

Hickory’s Smokehouse is an authentic American BBQ restaurant set on the banks of the River Dee.

The Chester Fields
Restaurant
The Chester Fields

Just outside the hustle and bustle of Chester, The Chester Fields isn’t your usual pub and restaurant. With a large garden and indoor space (with many private areas) they like to do things differently and have a bit of fun. Their welcoming converted barn is the perfect setting for any occasion. From cosy couple dining to bespoke weddings and big blow out celebrations. With gardens for Al Fresco dining & private ski-style huts for drinking ice cold beer are the ideal escape from reality.

The Black Dog Chester
Bar
The Black Dog

Fine Dining Modern British Cuisine With Locally Sourced Fresh Produce and lounge with a variety of drinks.

BarLounge
Restaurant
Bar Lounge outside area

Bar Lounge is a cocktail bar and restaurant located in Chester City Centre catering for all occasions for groups large or small.

The Boathouse Chester
Restaurant
The exterior of The Boathouse in Chester offers new floating beer garden and serves JW Lees Beer

The Boathouse is situated in the idyllic loaction of the Groves lining The Chester River Dee, overlooking the river.

The Pied Bull
Pub/Inn
The Pied Bull

The Pied Bull, Chester is a city centre inn with the warm feel of a country pub, located within the walls of the historic Roman city of Chester. As the oldest coaching inn in Chester, the building dates back to the 11th Century, when it was the official residence of the Recorder of Chester. Today the interior reflects its distinctive heritage & even houses an original handmade staircase dating from the 15th Century.

The Faulkner
Restaurant
The Faulkner

Located in the trendy Chester suburb of Hoole, this modern British Gastro pub is sure to go down a treat!

Ring O' Bells
Pub/Inn
Ring O' Bells pub at Cheshire combines high class food with the finest wines

The Ring O' Bells is situated in the heart of the picturesque village of Christleton, only a stones throw from the city of Chester.

The Blue Bell
Restaurant
Blue Bell

Chester's independent tapas bar and restaurant, committed wherever possible to sourcing local fresh produce to create good quality food, inspired by Mediterranean cuisines.

The Goshawk
Restaurant
The Goshawk

The Goshawk is a rare and special country pub in the heart of the Cheshire countryside, offering gorgeous food, cask ales, wine and most of all, a warm welcome and great hospitality.

Opera Grill
Restaurant
Exterior of Opera Grill

Standing out from the crowd, this 400-seater restaurant is housed in a grand Grade II listed building featuring a distinct neoclassical Greek façade and mixes an industrial look with a touch of opulence inside. Opera Grill brings theatre on a grand scale to Chester.

Duttons
Restaurant
Duttons interior

Tucked away on Godstall lane, not far from Chester’s stunning cathedral, is one of the city centres best kept secrets.

Rowton PoplarsRowton Poplars

The Rowton Poplars is a family run hotel in rural Cheshire with 14 modern rooms all recently refurbished. The bar and kitchen has a relaxed and friendly feel with a variety of cocktails, wines, spirits and beers on offer, including local real ales from the micro brewery, Spitting Feathers.

Popcorn
Bar
Popcorn bar

Located across from Chester's Ametheatre with a fun and unique environment. Popcorn has a beer garden and al fresco dining. Dog friendly and vegan options available.

Shrub
Restaurant
Shrub

Shrub is a plant based eatery offering food, coffee, cocktails and more, located on The Rows in the heart of Chester.

Townhouse Lounge & Secret Garden
Restaurant
Townhouse Lounge & Secret Garden

The Townhouse Hotel Chester has a fabulous lounge and Secret Garden, open to all and is pet friendly too!

Meltdown
Café
Meltdown

Visit this award-winning coffee shop, best known for its grilled cheese sandwiches.

The Botanist
Restaurant
The Botanist located on St Werburgh Street, Chester offers world famous selection of botanical cocktails.

Located on St. Werburgh Street Chester, The Botanist is a concept unlike anything else! A floral-themed lodge, aged and transformed into a homely retreat, complete with watering cans and other agricultural accoutrements.

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