Best holiday cottages for dining al fresco


Best holiday cottages for dining al fresco

When the sun shines, there’s no better place to be than basking under its warming glow like a lizard warming in the midday sun. Whether its beach days or sun-drenched strolls through the countryside, days spent in the fresh air are a tonic we just can’t get enough of. The best part? Making the most of glorious days when we return to our home from home, as we swap dining rooms for terraces and patios and let the good times roll with a spot of al fresco dining.

From platters laden with deli favourites to the smoky delights of a BBQ, there’s just something extra fun about eating outside under the sun or stars. The al fresco opportunities don’t end with dining, either, as we have Cornish cottages with coastal views and steamy stays with bubbling hot tubs for that extra special post-dinner dip, and a whole host of cottages with dreamy gardens the whole family can enjoy.

Ready to throw open the doors and dine as nature intended? Here are some of our top cottages for dining al fresco.



The dining table at Varcoe in Cornwall over looking the beach

Portscatho, Cornwall | Sleeps 10

Best for: Breakfasts by the beach

With the serene waters of South Cornwall right on your doorstep, you can look forward to the quiet brush of lapping waters along the shore as you enjoy your al fresco meals on the sun-drenched terrace. Your waterside location in Portscatho also makes this dreamy cottage perfect for pre-breakfast dips – after all, nothing quite whets the appetite like a swim in the ocean! Sleeping 10 lucky guests, this fabulously large cottage is great for groups looking for a peaceful retreat that’s within easy reach of the idylls of the Roseland Peninsula.


Treveryan House

A pretty al fresco dining table and BBQ at Treveryan House in South Devon

Wembury, Devon | Sleeps 10

Best for: BBQs and bubbles

Surrounded by the rural charms of Dartmoor National Park, afternoons will slowly ebb into evenings as you make the most of the superb outdoor facilities at this cosy country cottage in Wembury. Swap stories over a fresh-air feast, challenge your friends and family to a table tennis tournament, or simply sit back and relax in the gently bubbling hot tub – there’s even a trampoline for the kids to let off steam. The fabulous outdoor kitchen is totally covered, and you’ll find a lovely little veg patch at the bottom of the garden, which you’re welcome to harvest – don’t forget to say hello to the chickens!


Flax Barn

The pretty winding path leading to the outdoor dining table at Flax Barn in Somerset

Ilminster, Somerset | Sleeps 4

Best for: Garden idylls

This charming barn conversion in Illminster has everything you need for a botanical oasis, from the winding path through flourishing borders to a summer house that promises endless hours spent disappearing into your holiday read. Alongside the sheltered hut, a lovely outdoor table and parasol offers the perfect spot to unwind with a lavish meal. The pretty garden comes alive in spring and summer, with the gentle chatter of birdsong creating a truly magical setting for your al fresco feast. With the Dorset border close by, you have the pick of the litter when it comes to filling your days. Embark on a scenic stroll through Somerset or spend the day filling your bags with local delights at one of Dorset’s many tempting food festivals.


Poorton House

The pretty al fresco dining area overlooking the fields at Poorton House in Dorset

Bridport, Dorset | Sleeps 6

Best for: Character, charm, and country living

With the utterly idyllic thatched cottage of Poorton House as your backdrop – alongside the rolling Dorset countryside – it’s only too easy to be swept away in the rural charms of this beautiful retreat in Bridport. A sweeping lawn provides plenty of space for the little ones to run around while a botanical banquet is prepared, and the pretty little gravel dining area provides the perfect setting in which to reap your rewards. Dorset’s stunning coast is wonderfully close, including the famous sandy shores of West Bay (known far and wide as the setting for TV’s Broadchurch) and the fossil-hunting delights of Lyme Regis.


The Mews Manor

The Mews Manor garden

Penzance, Cornwall | Sleeps 10 + 3 Cots

Best for: Opulent dining and countryside views

Sitting pretty in the scenic folds of West Cornwall, The Mews Manor awaits for an extra special stay. Perfect for large groups, family and friends will love spending time on the idyllic patio, listening to birdsong over breakfast or sharing a bottle of Polgoon wine from the nearby vineyard, as the sun sets over sweeping countryside views. Boasting an oasis of exotic plants, a large lawn for little ones and little paws to let off steam, and a hot tub for ultimate relaxation, this sub-tropical paradise has something for everyone.


Park Farm Cottage

The beautiful garden at Park Farm Cottage with a dining table for some al fresco dining

Malmesbury, The Cotswolds | Sleeps 8

Best for: Dog-friendly delights

Enjoying an enclosed garden and plenty of space for leg-stretching (whether two or four), Park Farm Cottage in Malmesbury has an outdoor garden the whole family will love. Settle down at the outdoor table with a glass in hand while the spectacular BBQ does its thing or explore the garden with the dog in tow and discover its many hidden secrets, from wigwams to orchards. Alongside pretty villages and rural wanders, The Cotswolds is famed for its rustic farm shops and bustling markets, giving you plenty of choice when it comes to filling the patio table with local delicacies.



One of the many al fresco dining options at Sheldonia, with a wooden terrace and comfy seating

Ventnor, Isle of Wight | Sleeps 6

Best for: Spectacular views

Boasting not one, not two, but three al fresco options, Sheldonia certainly ups the ante when it comes to dining with the sun on your face. Enjoy a relaxed breakfast on the balcony, a leisurely lunch on the upper deck, and a decadent dinner overlooking the secluded tiered garden – or whatever combination takes your fancy! The seaside scenes of Steephill Cove are a short walk away, as are the vibrant delights of Ventnor, from the colourful botanical gardens to one of the Island’s mouth-watering Michelin starred restaurants.


Castlemans Coach House

Two lovely al fresco dining tables in front of the red-bricked Castlemans Coach House in Sussex

Battle, Sussex | Sleeps 8

Best for: Rural charm with a side of history

Nestled in the heart of 1066 country in East Sussex, this red-bricked retreat is another cottage to enjoy multiple dining options, with a patio table promising feast nights aplenty and outdoor sofas that beckon for morning coffees and pastries – there’s even a built-in gazebo so you can dine outside all year round. The gardens here are particularly beautiful, with rose-laden archways and vines climbing up the walls. Nearby, the history-rich town of Battle beckons for fascinating days out, not to mention a whole host of tempting eateries.


Station A

The incredible al fresco dining table with reaching coastal views at Station A in Pembrokeshire

Fishguard, Pembrokeshire | Sleeps 4

Best for: Panoramic coastal views

Perched high atop the rambling Pembrokeshire Coast in Wales, Station A makes for a wonderfully secluded stay, with nothing but panoramic views for company. You can enjoy these sweeping scenes from the comfort of the sofa or sprawled out in the sun on the patio. Oh yes, if you’re looking for a meal with a view, this is the place to go. Fill the table up with Welsh cakes and endless pots of tea and you’ll never want to leave. Of course, famed for its glorious sandy beaches and historic castles, Pembrokeshire is sure to tempt you out eventually, rewarding you with some of the best sights in the country.


The Workshop

The pretty garden patio at The Workshop in Yorkshire

Malton, Yorkshire | Sleeps 4

Best for: Blissful breakfasts in the sun

Where better to embrace the al fresco lifestyle than Yorkshire’s food capital. Known far and wide for its eateries, as well as its markets and annual food festival, Malton is the place to be to inspire a button-popping spread. Whether you fancy a slap-up Sunday roast in the sun or a picky tea consisting of every cheese you can get your hands on from the local farm shops (and some glorious home-grown Yorkshire wines), the pretty courtyard at The Workshop makes for a rather spectacular setting – especially in summer when the hydrangeas are in full swing. Situated in North Yorkshire, there are plenty of fun things to fill your days with, from the rolling beauty of the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to the family-friendly delights of Flamingo Land.


Far View

The incredible outdoor kitchen and reaching rural views at Far View in North Cornwall

Bodmin, Cornwall | Sleeps 14

Best for: Group stays

More than living up to its name, Far View boasts a jaw-dropping setting in North Cornwall, with a terrace perfectly placed to make the most of the panoramic views. A lovely wooden table and spectacular outdoor kitchen have you utterly covered when it comes to preparing your al fresco feasts (check out the local pick-you-own farms for some fabulously fresh fare). Cook up an absolute storm in the Egg BBQ, sit back with a cocktail in hand, and bask in the far-reaching views that wrap around this fabulously spacious (and dog-friendly) Cornish cottage. There are some incredible walks nearby too, the perfect way to work up a mega appetite for your al fresco banquet.


The Lodge

The pretty dappled courtyard and al fresco dining table at The Lodge in Devon

Kingsbridge, Devon | Sleeps 8

Best for: Quintessential dining

Simply stunning inside and out, The Lodge certainly packs a visual punch. A picturesque courtyard and dining table looks out over the well-kept garden, while a cosy cabin offers a covered place to enjoy some foodie delights. Crack open a bottle of Devonshire wine and dig into a moreish mix of farm-fresh foods from one of Devon’s many fantastic farm shops. There are some spectacular walks surrounding Kingsbridge, giving you everything you need for a revitalising stay in the fresh, country air.


Acorn Barn

The pretty, ivy-covered Acorn Barn, with a lovely lawn and al fresco dining table

Alfriston, Sussex | Sleeps 8

Best for: Sunset toasts

Tucked away in the heart of Cuckmere Valley and South Downs National Park, this beautifully converted barn makes for a super special stay. The idyllic, enclosed garden boasts multiple tables where you can raise a glass of home-grown bubbly. Choose between serene ponds, patios with views over the downs, and a charming little table that sits under the vine-covered gaze of the cottage. Nearby, a criss-cross of stunning countryside walks await, including the magical South Downs Way, making this one perfect for big family holidays with the dog in tow.


Create a memorable holiday full of fresh air feasting with one of our beautiful holiday cottages across the UK. You just can’t beat al fresco dining for a meal to remember!

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