Our favourite places for al fresco dining

Last updated: Friday, 31 May 2019

We were well and truly spoiled over the Easter bank holiday weekend, weren’t we?

Beer garden with friendsFour whole days of incredible sunshine and heat. The actual ‘I’m too warm’ kind of heat. It was bliss, wasn’t it? It’s so exciting looking out the summer clothes and knowing that you’re not going to freeze when you wear them. I mean, that’s not always the case in Scotland.

With summer just around the corner, we’re banking on the sunshine and heat coming back to delight us. Weather Gods, if you’re listening, take note.

Because it doesn’t happen too often in Scotland, we love taking the chance to enjoy some al fresco dining when the sun shines. Taking the train means being able to enjoy a wee drink too if you fancy it, safe in the knowledge that you don’t need to drive. Definitely a train wins situation!

Here’s a few of our favourite spots to enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the sun:

The Blackbird, Edinburgh

Rain or shine, we’re more than happy to visit this quirky bar. Just a 15-minute walk from Haymarket Station, it’s close to the Meadows, which is always a fun place to hang out in the sunshine. The Blackbird’s beer garden is a really cool spot to hang out with your other half or a group of friends. It’s got cool décor, colourful furniture, amazing cocktails and a great selection of craft beer, you’ll want to stay a while. When the munchies hit, the food menu is worth delving into!

Closest station: 15-minute walk from Haymarket Station

Port-Na-Craig Inn and Restaurant, Pitlochry

Nestled on the banks of the river in Pitlochry, this beer garden is the perfect spot to relax. Take the train to Pitlochry and enjoy a walk through the town before crossing over the River Tummel. Take a right after crossing the river and you’ll soon see the garden on your right. It’s such a relaxing spot with the river flowing past and you’ll often see fishermen out there too. After a refreshing glass of something, wander over the damn back towards the station.

Closest station: 15-minute walk from Pitlochry Station

Bridgeview Station Restaurant, Dundee

Keeping the train theme going, the Bridgeview Station Restaurant is housed inside an old Victorian railway station with stunning views over the water and Tay Bridge. For another part of railway nostalgia there’s an authentic 1870’s railway carriage that houses food-to-go. In lovely weather, try to nab one of the seats outside to enjoy the relaxing views and amazing food and drink.

Before or after some indulgence, take a wander around Dundee’s newly developed waterfront. The V&A Museum of Design is well worth a visit!

Closest station: 20-minute walk from Dundee Station

The Waterside Restaurant, Inverness

On the banks of the River Ness, the Waterside Restaurant is a great place to enjoy some good food and a glass of something cool on a sunny day. From Inverness railway station take a short walk down to the waterfront and then follow the river along until you see the Glen Mhor hotel on your left. The restaurant specialises in Italian food, so when the sun’s shining and you’ve got a glass of Prosecco in hand, you could pretend that you’ve swapped Scotland for a little piece of Italy.

Closest station: 15 minute walk from Inverness Station

Brel Bar beer gardenBrel, Ashton Lane, Glasgow

This must be one of Glasgow’s prettiest outdoor and drinking eating spots. The garden is heated all year round so even in cooler weather, it’s a great place to hang out. Situated on quirky Ashton Lane in the West End, Brel has a fantastic drink selection with loads of craft beers and a great array of gin too. Perfect for a hot, sunny day. The food is rather delicious - they’re well known for their mussels and fondue. When the sun sets, you won’t want to move because the garden gets lit up with beautiful lighting. It’s so pretty!

Closest station: 15-minute walk from Partick Station

Gro Coffee, Irvine

If you’re not fussed about having an alcoholic drink, then GRO coffee in Irvine is our go-to place on a hot, sunny day. With a huge garden out the back with deckchairs and benches, it’s the perfect sunny spot to relax with cake. We have to mention that this café is a cake-lovers dream. There is a huge selection! And we mean huge. Take some friends with you so you can try and steal some of their cake too. If you don’t manage to get a seat outside, or the weather just isn’t playing ball, the inside seating is lovely and airy. Plus, it’s all dog friendly so pooch can come for a day out too.

After, or before indulging, carry on walking along the waterfront to get to the town’s stunning white sandy beach. The sunset from here is rather special too.

Closest station: 10-minute walk from Irvine Station

We’d love to know what your favourite beer garden or place to dine al fresco is. Let us know on our social channels.

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