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Best Beer Gardens In Durham: Get a Drink Outside

Looking for the best spots to enjoy a drink outside in Durham? Look no further! We’ve rounded up the top beer gardens in the city, perfect for a sunny day or a relaxed evening. From unique decor to signature drinks and excellent service, these beer gardens offer something special for everyone. Let’s dive in and explore the best places to unwind with a pint or a cocktail in Durham. Cheers!

Top Beer Gardens in Durham – Quick Nav

Reviews of the Best Beer Gardens in Durham

1. Boat Club

Boat Club

The Boat Club is a standout beer garden in Durham, located along the picturesque Elvet Riverside. This venue, housed in a 500-year-old building, offers stunning views of the river and medieval Elvet Bridge, creating a unique and charming atmosphere for enjoying a drink outside. The ground-floor cocktail bar and heated riverside beer garden provide a cosy yet vibrant setting, perfect for any occasion.

We found their drink offerings exceptional, with various options to cater to all tastes. The signature cocktails are a must-try, especially during their 2-for-1 happy hour from Sunday to Friday and on Saturday evenings. The ambience is enhanced by friendly and attentive service, ensuring a pleasant experience. The Boat Club also offers excellent value for money, particularly during special events like Durham Restaurant Week, where you can enjoy a three-course meal for £20 or a £35 bottomless brunch. Whether you’re here for the drinks, the view, or the atmosphere, The Boat Club is a top choice for outdoor drinking in Durham.

  • Best for: Scenic riverside views
  • Drink to order: Signature cocktails
  • Address: Elvet Riverside, Durham, DH1 3AF
  • Rating: 4.5/5
  • Price: £££ (3/5)
  • For table reservations, please visit: The Boat Club 

2. Head of Steam Durham

Head of Steam Durham

Nestled off North Road, The Head of Steam in Durham is an excellent choice for those seeking a beer garden with a fantastic atmosphere and a diverse drink selection. The bar offers a wide range of craft beers, local ales, and international spirits, making it a haven for beer enthusiasts. The outdoor balcony and new sitting area provide a great spot to enjoy drinks away from the city’s hustle and bustle, perfect for sunny afternoons and mild evenings.

The ambience is lively yet inviting, with friendly and knowledgeable staff ensuring a pleasant visit. We were particularly impressed by the extensive menu, featuring delicious burgers, pizzas, and sharing plates, with plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. The craft beers are the highlight, offering something for every palate. The Head of Steam combines quality drinks, excellent service, and a charming setting, making it one of Durham’s best beer gardens.

  • Best for: Craft beer selection
  • Drink to order: Craft beers
  • Address: 3 Reform Place, North Road, Durham, DH1 4RZ
  • Rating: 4.5/5
  • Price: ££ (2/5)
  • For table reservations, please visit: The Head of Steam                                                   

3. The Angel

The Angel

The Angel Inn, situated on Crossgate in Durham, is a vibrant pub known for its eclectic punk decor and welcoming atmosphere. The beer garden, perched higher up, offers a fantastic view and a relaxing spot to enjoy a variety of drinks. This venue is especially popular among rock music enthusiasts, with live music in Durham every weekend, contributing to its lively and energetic environment.

The drink selection was impressive, with local kegs, bottles, and cans. The staff are friendly and attentive, enhancing the overall experience. The unique decor, featuring mirrors, fairy lights, and music posters, adds to the pub’s charm. While the pub does not offer real ales, it makes up for this with its extensive selection of other drinks. The Angel Inn stands out for its alternative vibe and enjoyable beer garden, making it a must-visit for those seeking a fun and distinctive pub experience in Durham.

  • Best for: Rock music and punk style
  • Drink to order: Variety of national kegs
  • Address: 53 Crossgate, Durham, DH1 4PR
  • Rating: 4.4/5
  • Price: ££ (2/5)
  • For table reservations, please visit: The Angel Inn

4. Swan and Three Cygnets

Swan and Three Cygnets

The Swan and Three Cygnets on Elvet Bridge in Durham is a must-visit for those seeking a beer garden in Durham. The pub offers a spacious outdoor seating area overlooking the river and stunning views of Durham’s historic cathedral. This setting creates a perfect backdrop for enjoying a pint on a sunny day.

The atmosphere is relaxed and inviting, with a friendly crowd and attentive service. The pub serves a range of Samuel Smith’s beers, known for their quality and affordability. The no-mobile phone policy promotes genuine social interactions, adding to the traditional pub experience. The combination of picturesque views, excellent beer selection, and a welcoming environment makes The Swan and Three Cygnets one of the best beer gardens in Durham.

  • Best for: Scenic river views
  • Drink to order: Samuel Smith’s beers
  • Address: Elvet Bridge, Durham, DH1 3AG
  • Rating: 4.4/5
  • Price: £ (1/5)
  • For table reservations, please visit: The Swan and Three Cygnets 

5. The Woodman Inn

The Woodman Inn

The Woodman Inn, located on Gilesgate in Durham, is a prime spot for those seeking a delightful beer garden experience. The garden is spacious and well-maintained, perfect for enjoying a sunny afternoon or evening. With over 190 years of history, the pub combines a traditional setting with modern amenities, including large-screen TVs for watching sports in Durham and a play area for children.

We were impressed by the excellent selection of real ales and spirits, served by friendly and efficient staff. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, ensuring a pleasant visit every time. The outdoor seating area is particularly enjoyable, offering a comfortable space with ample seating and umbrellas. The Woodman Inn’s combination of historic charm, great drinks, and a welcoming environment makes it a top choice for beer gardens in Durham.

  • Best for: Best beer garden
  • Drink to order: Real ales
  • Address: 23 Gilesgate, Durham, DH1 1QW
  • Rating: 4.4/5
  • Price: ££ (2/5)
  • For table reservations, please visit: The Woodman Inn

6. The Drunken Duck

The Drunken Duck

The Drunken Duck, located on Claypath in Durham, is a gem for those seeking a vibrant beer garden experience. This pub boasts a historical charm blended with modern design, creating a lively yet spacious environment. The beer garden, complete with a balcony, is perfect for enjoying a variety of drinks, including speciality lagers and a great selection of zero-alcohol options.

We found the service exceptionally friendly and efficient, enhancing the overall atmosphere. Live music and a pool table add to the lively vibe, making it a popular spot for social gatherings. The combination of its welcoming staff, diverse drink menu, and inviting beer garden makes The Drunken Duck a top choice for outdoor drinking in Durham.

  • Best for: Historical charm and live music
  • Drink to order: Speciality lagers
  • Address: 91-91a Claypath, Durham, DH1 1RG
  • Rating: 4.3/5
  • Price: ££ (2/5)
  • For table reservations, please visit: The Drunken Duck

7. The Half Moon Inn

The Half Moon Inn

The Half Moon Inn on New Elvet in Durham offers an exceptional beer garden experience combining historic charm and modern amenities. Set in a Grade I-listed Tudor building, this pub features a spacious riverside beer garden with stunning River Wear and Elvet Bridge views. The garden has outdoor seating, overhead heating lamps, and numerous large screens for sports enthusiasts.

We were particularly impressed with the selection of real ales and craft beers served by friendly and knowledgeable staff. The pub’s interior maintains a traditional feel with original features, including a historic fireplace, creating a cosy and inviting atmosphere. The combination of excellent drinks, a picturesque setting, and a relaxed yet lively environment makes The Half Moon Inn a top choice for enjoying a pint outdoors in Durham.

  • Best for: Riverside beer garden
  • Drink to order: Real ales
  • Address: 86 New Elvet, Durham, DH1 3AQ
  • Rating: 4.8/5
  • Price: ££ (2/5)
  • For table reservations, please visit: The Half Moon Inn

8. Ye Old Elm Tree

Ye Old Elm Tree

Ye Old Elm Tree, located on Crossgate in Durham, is a must-visit for anyone seeking a genuine pub experience with a fantastic beer garden. This historic pub dates back to the 1600s and has been recently renovated to combine its traditional charm with modern comforts. The beer garden is a standout feature, offering a lovely terrace perfect for enjoying a sunny afternoon with a drink in hand.

We were delighted by the selection of real ales, particularly Timothy Taylor’s range, and the variety of lagers and ciders. Thanks to the friendly and attentive staff, the atmosphere is warm and inviting. The pub’s interior exudes historical charm with cosy log burners, while the garden provides a serene, relaxing setting. Regular events, including live folk music and pub quizzes, add to the vibrant community feel. The combination of top-quality drinks, excellent service, and a picturesque setting makes Ye Old Elm Tree one of Durham’s best spots for outdoor drinking.

  • Best for: Traditional charm and real ales
  • Drink to order: Timothy Taylor’s ales
  • Address: 12 Crossgate, St Margarets Garth, Durham, DH1 4PS
  • Rating: 4.7/5
  • Price: ££ (2/5)
  • For table reservations, please visit: Ye Old Elm Tree

9. The Library

The Library

The Library, located on Saddler Street in Durham, is a bustling spot perfect for those looking to enjoy a drink outdoors. This casual dining venue features a spacious beer garden with comfortable seating and an outdoor smoking area. The garden’s relaxed atmosphere makes it an excellent place for socialising and enjoying the warmer weather.

We were particularly impressed with the diverse drink menu, which includes speciality lagers, craft beers, and a variety of cocktails. The food offerings are equally appealing, with options ranging from traditional breakfasts to vegan wraps and hearty sharers. The service is prompt and friendly, ensuring a pleasant visit every time. The Library stands out for its vibrant ambience, great drink selection, and welcoming outdoor space, making it a top choice for beer gardens in Durham.

  • Best for: Lively atmosphere and cocktails
  • Drink to order: Speciality lagers
  • Address: 46 Saddler Street, Durham, DH1 3NU
  • Rating: 4.5/5
  • Price: ££ (2/5)
  • For table reservations, please visit: The Library

10. The Kingslodge

The Kingslodge

The Kingslodge Inn, nestled near Flass Vale Nature Reserve in Durham, offers an exceptional beer garden experience that seamlessly blends tranquillity with traditional pub charm. The beer garden is a standout feature, providing a serene and picturesque setting perfect for enjoying a drink away from the bustle of the city centre. The garden’s well-maintained greenery and comfortable seating make it ideal for relaxing with friends or as a family-friendly spot.

We were impressed by the range of local ales and craft beers, complemented by a diverse menu featuring seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. The food, from hearty pub classics to refined dishes, is delicious and well-presented. The service is friendly and attentive, ensuring a pleasant dining experience. With its peaceful garden setting, excellent drink selection, and high-quality food, The Kingslodge Inn is undoubtedly one of Durham’s best outdoor drinking and dining spots.

  • Best for: Tranquil beer garden
  • Drink to order: Local ales
  • Address: Waddington Street, Flass Vale, Durham, DH1 4BG
  • Rating: 4.3/5
  • Price: ££ (2/5)
  • For table reservations, please visit: The Kingslodge Inn

11. Old Toms Gin Bar

Old Toms Gin Bar

Old Toms Gin Bar, located on the scenic Riverwalk in Durham, is a must-visit for gin enthusiasts. Set in a historic setting, this bar offers a beer garden with stunning riverside views, perfect for enjoying a drink outdoors. We were impressed by their extensive selection of over 250 gins from around the world. The Ginologists, as the expert bartenders are known, provide personalised recommendations and craft perfect gin-based drinks.

The charming decor and the relaxed yet sophisticated atmosphere enhance the ambience. We particularly enjoyed the artisan cheese and charcuterie boards, which paired beautifully with our drinks. The service is top-notch, adding to the overall exceptional experience. With its unique offerings and picturesque setting, Old Toms Gin Bar stands out as one of the best beer gardens in Durham.

  • Best for: Extensive gin selection
  • Drink to order: Speciality gins
  • Address: 33 Riverwalk, Durham, DH1 4SL
  • Rating: 4.3/5
  • Price: £££ (3/5)
  • For table reservations, please visit: Old Toms Gin Bar

12. Revolution Durham

Revolution Durham

Revolution Durham, situated on North Road, is an excellent choice for those seeking a vibrant beer garden experience. The well-designed outdoor area features comfortable seating and heating, making it suitable for all weather conditions. We were particularly impressed with the extensive cocktail menu, which includes two-for-one deals during happy hours. The bar also offers a diverse selection of craft beers and spirits.

The atmosphere is lively, with friendly and knowledgeable staff ensuring prompt service. The food menu is varied, with options ranging from light bites to substantial meals, catering to all dietary preferences. The dynamic setting, exceptional drinks, and welcoming outdoor space make Revolution Durham a top spot for enjoying a drink outdoors in the city.

  • Best for: Lively atmosphere and cocktails
  • Drink to order: Craft cocktails
  • Address: 1-4 North Road, Durham, DH1 4PW
  • Rating: 4.5/5
  • Price: ££ (2/5)
  • For table reservations, please visit: Revolution Durham

13. Slug and Lettuce Durham

Slug and Lettuce Durham

Slug and Lettuce, located in Durham’s Walkergate, offers a lively and stylish beer garden perfect for outdoor drinking. The garden features comfortable seating and a vibrant atmosphere, making it an ideal spot to enjoy its extensive cocktail menu, especially with the two-for-one deals. We found the service prompt and friendly, enhancing the overall experience.

The food menu is varied, catering to different dietary needs, including vegetarian and gluten-free options. The bottomless brunch is a standout feature, providing excellent value with a continuous flow of drinks and a selection of tasty dishes. With its trendy setting, excellent drink options, and welcoming outdoor space, Slug and Lettuce is a prime choice for drinking outdoors in Durham.

  • Best for: Bottomless brunch
  • Drink to order: Two-for-one cocktails
  • Address: Unit 7 Walkergate, Durham, DH1 1SQ
  • Rating: 4.3/5
  • Price: ££ (2/5)
  • For table reservations, please visit: Slug and Lettuce

Best Beer Gardens In Durham – FAQ

Who has the best beer garden in Durham?

The best beer garden in Durham depends on what you’re looking for. The Half Moon Inn offers a serene riverside setting, while The Boat Club provides picturesque views and a vibrant atmosphere. Both are excellent choices for enjoying a drink outdoors.

Where to go for drinks in Durham?

Durham offers a variety of great spots for drinks, including The Boat Club for scenic views, Old Toms Gin Bar for an extensive gin selection, and Revolution Durham for a lively atmosphere with excellent cocktails.

Are there any family-friendly beer gardens in Durham?

Yes, The Kingslodge Inn is a family-friendly beer garden in Durham. It offers a tranquil setting near Flass Vale Nature Reserve and has a welcoming atmosphere suitable for all ages.

What is the oldest beer garden in Durham?

Ye Old Elm Tree, dating back to the 1600s, is one of Durham’s oldest pubs with a beer garden. It combines historic charm with a contemporary outdoor terrace, making it a unique drink spot.