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Al Fresco Dining in Purbeck

The Purbecks are all about the great outdoors, so what better place to choose to dine al fresco! With plenty of options from riverside pubs, beachside restaurants, and sun-dappled terraces, you are bound to find the perfect location whatever the occasion.

We have rounded up a few options for you to make your life easier, as we’re nice like that…


Knoll House Hotel

Knoll House Hotel

Location: Studland 

About: If you're looking for the perfect spot to enjoy a delicious meal while taking in the stunning natural beauty of Studland Bay, look no further than Knoll House Hotel. With its large garden and fantastic views of Studland, this hotel is the ultimate destination for al fresco dining.

One of the standout features of Knoll House Hotel is its beautiful outdoor seating area, which is perfect for soaking up the sun on a warm summer day. Whether you're in the mood for a leisurely breakfast, a light lunch, or a romantic dinner, you'll find plenty of comfortable spots to enjoy your meal in the great outdoors.

But it's not just the beautiful surroundings that make Knoll House Hotel such a fantastic destination for al fresco dining. The food is pretty incredible too! They serve traditional British-Continental cuisine with a focus on locally sourced, sustainable food and a traditional homely atmosphere. 

Things to note: The dress code is smart casual and they're open for residents and non-residents. Dinner service is from 6pm - 8.30pm.

Highly Recommend: Free-range chicken & smoked bacon mac & cheese £20

Al Fresco Rating: 5/5

Address: Knoll House, Ferry Road, Studland, Dorset, BH19 3AH

Telephone: 01929 450450

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Kingston Country Courtyard Al Fresco

Kingston Country Courtyard

Location: Wareham

About: Kingston Country Courtyard is nestled in the heart of the picturesque countryside, this charming retreat offers a beautiful al fresco dining experience. They are passionate about serving only locally sources ingredients, not only to provide the diner with only the freshest food, but also to help the environment! 

Their menu changes often to reflect the season and to most benefit that seasons' ingredients! However, expect to see their Roast of The Day, whether it’s local Kimmeridge pork or Dorset’s finest beef - they will be serving up a new roast daily.

Highly Recommend: Roast of The Day.

Al Fresco Rating: 5/5

Address: Kingston Country Courtyard, Corfe Castle, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5LR

Telephone: 01929 481066

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The 1859 Pier Cafe & Bistro Swanage

The 1859 Pier Cafe & Bistro

Location: Swanage

About: If you’re visiting Swanage and fancy a bite to eat outside, then the 1859 Pier Cafe and Bistro on the Pier is a must! Housed in Grade II listed Marine Villas and named the original construction date of the pier. Aside from all the glorious history, 1859 Pier Cafe has a lovely outdoor terrace to dine in with incredible views of Swanage, the Jurassic Coastline, and the Purbecks; and on a clear day, you can even see Old Harry Rocks! 

Open every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and offering treats like the Dorset Blue Burger, Moules Marinière, and Posh Fish Finger Sandwiches - you can't go wrong. Did I mention the Hot Belgian Waffles…? Fully licensed with a cracking wine selection. Plenty of choices for the kids and Gluten Free too.

A beautiful spot, with fantastic views, friendly service, and lots of dishes and daily specials to choose from - winning! Check out their menus HERE.

Highly Recommend: Seafood Basket - Beer battered gurnard, tempura prawns, salt & pepper squid & a chili mango prawn, served with sweet chili & mayonnaise dip, chips, Dorset leaf salad garnish & homemade coleslaw - £26.00

Al Fresco Rating: 4/5

Address: Swanage Pier, Swanage, BH19 2AW

Telephone: 01929 500387


The Old Granary Wareham

The Old Granary

Location: Wareham

About: The Old Granary is situated right on the banks of the River Frome with a stunning riverside terrace perfect for dining and or drinking outside with friends and family. Enjoy the scenic views of the countryside whilst enjoying the sights and sounds of tranquil river life. 

A truly magical spot to enjoy a glass of deliciously crisp glass of rose and enjoy some inspired pub menu classics with a modern twist. From Whitebait to Warm Beetroot Falafel Salad, Crispy Pork Belly Salad to Coq au Vin, Beer Battered Fish & Chips to Steak Frites - there is something for everyone! A great selection of burgers, pie, and a banging Sunday lunch - check out their menus HERE.

The Old Granary does not take bookings outside, it is on a first come first served basis, so head on down and unwind with a spot of riverside outdoor dining.

Highly Recommend: Steak & Tangle Foot Pie - Shortcrust & Puff Pastry Top, Buttery Mash, Badger Beer Gravy, Braised Red Cabbage

Al Fresco Rating: 4/5

Address: The Quay, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 4LP

Telephone: 01929 552 010


Shell Bay Studland

Shell Bay

Location: Studland

About: As far as outdoor dining spots go, Shell Bay has to be one of the best on offer. Its location on Studland affords a magical backdrop of views across the harbour, Brownsea Island and the Purbecks. Shell Bay is a stunning glass-fronted seafood restaurant with sliding glass doors leading onto multiple wooden terraces, it has a retractable sunroof and heaters for any eventuality with the weather too.

Aside from terrace dining in the restaurant, you can now also grab a bite in ‘The Shell Bay Garden’; a delightfully tropical area with hammocks, and brightly coloured picnic tables, making it a wonderful spot to relax in. Shell Bay really does offer alfresco dining of the highest standard, so why don't you spend an afternoon here savouring sumptuous seafood with a crisp glass of rose and watching the stunning sunsets Dorset has to offer…

Things to note: Shell Bay can get very busy and is weather dependent - please book to avoid disappointment.

If you are visiting via ferry from Sandbanks - please note it runs every 20 minutes and leaves Shell Bay for the last time each night at 11.10pm.

Highly Recommend: EVERYTHING! - Kerala Seafood Curry, Aloo Puri, Basmati Rice, Apple & Carrot Raita - £26.00

Al Fresco Rating: 5/5

Address: Shell Bay Seafood Restaurant Ferry Road, Studland, Dorset BH19 3BA

Telephone: 01929 450 363

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