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The best of British pubs

It's so hard going straight home after work if the sun's still beaming... so don't. Rustle up a couple of mates and try out what the British do best: a good pub. The choice selection below come complete with a beer garden or a patch of outdoor space from which you can gaze skywards and enjoy an alfresco tipple.

The Royal Oak in Swindon
This is a foodie's heaven! Owned by the organic farm next door and sporting Liz Franklin as head chef, the pub has become famous for its local events, quality food and DIY BBQs (the pub provides the meat, you grill it up in the garden). They do picnic hampers to order and organise local walks if you want to explore the Bishopstone area, though the beautiful beer garden would be my choice.

Bishopstone: The Royal Oak

Windsor Castle in London
This historic little pub in Kensington may seem dark (all mahogany wood panels) on the inside, but step outside and you're in a magical secret garden. Trailing plants cover the walls and a canopy shelters part of the garden from sun. There's also a mini bar outside in the summer months so you don't miss a second of sunshine.

Highbury Vaults in Bristol

This traditional, cavernous pub is famous for its ale and as popular with students as it is with discerning drinkers. Escape that damp beer smell and head outside with your pint - the large, walled garden is lush and green with the added bonus of being heated when it gets nippy. (164 St Michaels Hill, Bristol, BS2 8DE)

The Cumberland Bar in Edinburgh
The quaint paved garden is the Cumberland's selling point. Head outwards and you'll be greeted with large, round picnic tables, raised flower beds and plenty of leafy greenery. It may not be terribly warm in Edinburgh particularly often, but when it is, this is the place to go.

Ferry Inn in Salcombe
This is one of Salcombe's most famous pubs. Perched on the edge of Kingsbury Estuary, it's waterside location makes it a popular destination so don't expect a quiet drink if the sun is shining. What you will get is a scenic alfresco drink and, if you're peckish, a menu featuring locally caught, fresh seafood. (Fore Street, Salcombe, TQ8 8JE)

Edinboro Castle in Camden
This is a perennial London favourite. Lots of outdoor seating means you're never fighting for a place to perch and its location (right next to Regent's Park) makes it a handy drinking hole if the sunbathing gets to much. If you find yourself there as the sun sets, you'll catch the twinkly fairy lights. Lovely.

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