Britain’s 20 Best Water Pubs

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The Cross Guns, Wiltshire

A honey stone exterior gives way to beautiful gardens with panoramic views over the River Avon, bordered by weeping willows. There is an impressive selection of local beer, cider and weekly changing guest beers, as well as locally made cider. Pop in at the weekend to visit the tiki bar which is in the garden for the rest of the summer.

The Cornmill, Denbighshire

The Corn Mill a waterside pub and restaurant next to the Dee Bridge in Llangollen North Wales on the River Dee

The tide is out, River Dee. Photo: David Pimborough/Alamy

In Llangollen, on the River Dee, you can see the whitewater rapids from this pub that sits above the rapids. Enjoy a glass of wine or two, while the mill’s water wheel turns behind the bar, and the steam trains blast away on the opposite side of the river bank.

Swan Inn, Oxfordshire

The sign for the Swan Inn, Swinbrook, showing a swan swinging in front of an ivy-clad stone building

Stay at the Swan, Cotswolds. Photo: Greg Balfour Evans/Alamy

The perfect picture book Cotswold pub with coots under the apple trees and sturdy tables on the banks of the Windrush River. It has a legendary Sunday lunch (booking essential) with all the meat sourced locally, and there are 11 bedrooms between a cottage and a converted stable block. Doubles from £140 B&B;

The Pandora Inn, Cornwall

A view across the water to the Pandora Inn taken shortly after sunrise

Good morning, Pandora Inn. Photo: Andrew Ray/Alamy

A 13th century thatched inn on the edge of Restronguet Creek, this pub serves St Austell ales and the ciders are also Cornish. The food includes fish pie with a Pernod sauce. The best way to get there is by boat: there are both water taxis and moorings.

Sculthorpe Mill, Norfolk

Vine-clad Sculthorpe Mill hotel sits on a small bridge crossing the shadowy River Wensum

Dreaming by the river, Norfolk. Photo: David South/Alamy

This riverside pub just 20 minutes inland from the Norfolk coast has won awards for its food – try the buttermilk chicken and waffles made with Norfolk Dapple cheese – while summer Saturdays bring DJs and an outdoor kitchen. Doubles from £150 B&B;

Mayfly, Hampshire

A sunny day at the Mayfly Pub with a terrace with tables and parasols overlooking a weir

Soak up the sun outside Mayfly, Hampshire. Photo: Dukas Press Agency/Alamy

Sit under a parasol outside this gabled red brick Victorian pub overlooking a small spillway. Lunch on local trout and then explore Chilbolton Cow Common, the Black Chalk vineyard and the timber village of Wherwell.

The Waterman’s Arms, Devon

The white exterior of the Watermans Arms Public House, with trees in the background

Pizza and paddling at the pub, Harbourne. Photo: Jonathan Somers/Alamy

Set on a reed-lined bank of Harbourne near Totnes, this 17th-century pub has 15 bedrooms and a lush garden, with the river usually shallow enough to paddle in. A summer pizza hut is currently in place next to the restaurant’s classic pub. . Rooms from £115;

Swan in Streatley, Berkshire

Ski up to Swan, Berkshire.

Ski up to Swan, Berkshire. Photo: Alamy

This pub and hotel in the Chilterns has an expansive terrace that reaches out to the river’s edge, so you can enjoy a rosé at lunchtime overlooking a wide stretch of the River Thames. There is also a private island nearby, accessible by electric boat. Doubles from £70;

Butt & Oyster, Suffolk

Boats in front of the Butt and Oyster Inn at Pin Mill Chelmondiston on the River Orwell with people at outdoor tables

Boats by the Butt, Suffolk. Photo: Justin Kase/Alamy

The Butt & Oyster is deservedly one of the most famous pubs on the East Coast, just 10 minutes from Ipswich. Enjoy a pint of Adnams outside with lovely views over the River Orwell and endless Suffolk skies.

The Blue Lias, Warwickshire

Canal boats moored at the Blue Lias Inn, which has outside tables

Cruise on the canal near the Blue Lias. Photo: Jack Cox/Alamy

A pretty 18th century pub decorated with flower baskets and tables, where the only passing traffic will be walkers and narrow boats on the Grand Union Canal – and the grub is pretty good too. Top it off afterwards with a leisurely stroll through the Warwickshire countryside.

Riverside, Sheffield

An urban gem on Kelham Island, just outside the city centre, with a wide terrace overlooking the River Don. There’s always a good selection of Yorkshire ales as well as Sheffield-made gin, while the food has a strong vegan feel, including fried banana flower and chips.

Green Dragon Inn, Yorkshire Dales

The stone exterior of the Green Dragon pub, with a brightly painted pub sign featuring a dragon

Drop by Dragon, Yorkshire. Photo: John Morrison/Alamy

An ivy-clad Wensleydale gem, this inn backs up to Hardraw Force – a stunning waterfall with a 100ft drop – the longest in England. Don’t leave without trying their much-loved homemade beef pie, best paired with a pint of Theakston Old PeculiarPeculier ale. Doubles from £80 B&B;

Falls of Dochart Inn, Perthshire

Sunset at the Falls of Dochart, overlooking the river to the hills

Sunset at the Falls of Dochart. Photo: Terence O’Neill/Alamy

Enjoy a picturesque pint in this whitewashed hotel overlooking the cascading rapids of the Falls of Dochart. There is a focus on local artisan food, and they also produce their own smoked salmon. Doubles from £120 B&B;

Taybank, Perthshire

The Taybank is a spectacular riverside property with seven stunning bedrooms and an acclaimed restaurant. The Taybank also hosts an outdoor cinema in the garden and there is music inside. Doubles from £170 B&B;

Naust, County Antrim

Enjoy mussels and freshly caught flaky cod with chips at this lakeside pub overlooking Lough Neagh, a large freshwater loch. Afterwards, take a stroll along the coast – ideally you’ll want to time your trip for one of the glowing sunsets.

Ye Olde Ferrie Inn, Herefordshire

On this stunningly beautiful bend of the River Wye, there has been an inn since 1473, but the latest incarnation has seriously good food including salmon from its own river and Herefordshire beef and Forest of Dean wild boar. There is also accommodation, and canoes to rent. Doubles from £110 B&Bs;

Boat Inn, Monmouthshire

The magical terraced gardens of the Boat Inn are reached by an old railway bridge. Spend an afternoon watching the waterfall tumble from the rocks above. There’s a lovely retro menu – don’t miss the scampi and chips – and all the tables have views of the idyllic River Wye. Accommodation to sleep four from £100 per night, minimum stay applies;

Kingfisher on the Quay, Surrey

The pub sign with a Kingfisher

Worth more than a flying visit, Kingfisher. Photo: Sam Oaksey/Alamy

Perfect for a summer afternoon, Kingfisher’s outdoor area spills onto the edge of a spring-fed lake, and the decked terrace is dotted with red and green umbrellas. If you want to get active there’s swimming and water skiing sessions, otherwise relax with an Aperol spritz and enjoy some of their tapas style dishes – the crispy chilli squid is particularly tasty.

Anchor Inn and Boating, Sussex

A delightful country pub on the west bank of the River Ouse, not far from Lewes. Along with delicious locally sourced food, the pub has a fleet of rowing boats where customers can gently navigate the river as far as the Fish Ladder Falls, before returning for a pint or a Pimm’s.

Thames Dock, London

Moored between Lambeth and Vauxhall Bridges, this converted 1930s Dutch barge is the perfect floating pub. At high tide you’ll walk carefully around the Thames, while at low tide you’ll be drinking at a slight angle, but it’s worth it for the views of the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye and Battersea Power Station.

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