There's something about looking out over a gorgeous view that adds immeasurably to dining out. This selection of restaurants offers views that are bound to please - from summery al fresco settings and waterside tables to sparkling cityscapes and iconic landmarks. Luckily, they've all got wonderful food as well.
The Tate Modern is one of the UK's post millennial treasures. Home of the national collection of modern and contemporary art, this free art gallery is a wonderful place to while away several hours in London's Bankside area.
But you don't have to be an art lover to appreciate the sensational view of St. Paul's Cathedral and the City of London from the gallery's restaurant on Level 6. It's so perfectly framed by the restaurant's floor to ceiling windows that Canaletto could not have chosen a better viewpoint.
The restaurant serves an accomplished modern English menu for morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea every day and dinner to 9:30pm on Friday and Saturday nights. At lunchtime there's a "kids eat free" deal for children under 12.
Reservations for dinner and at busy times are a good idea. Telephone +44 (0)207 887 8888
© Clive Hopwood
The Glassboat was originally a Bristol-built timber barge that grounded in the Severn mud and was destined to become a tidal breakwater. In the 1980s it was rescued and refitted with with big, plate glass windows overlooking the Bristol Waterfront on the Bristol Channel. It serves modern English and European food from a berth beside Bristol's historic docks. During the day, you can watch trendy locals shop and browse in this pretty part of town. At night, the city lights sparkle on the water of the Bristol Channel.
For most of us, the Waterside Inn, by the Thames in Bray, has to be a luxury treat reserved for very special celebrations. The restaurant has held onto three Michelin stars for 25 years so you can count on the food and the service being splendid. The view, on a quiet, narrow stretch of the Thames is just lovely in all weathers - big windows look out on all the greenery. On a sunny day it's positively dreamy. And there's a terrace where you can enjoy some champagne and hors d'oeuvres.
© Ferne Arfin
Part of the South Sands Hotel, the Beachside Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner beside South Sands Beach, Salcombe
in Devon. Views of the wide, golden sand beach are lovely - and just right for dining on the local seafood in which the the restaurant excels. At night, with the tide in and moonlight on the water, it's simply magic. In good weather, the large french doors are thrown open and you can dine on the terrace - day or night.
Arch 139 was formerly Brighton's Due South Restaurant, specializing in locally caught fish and bistro-style continental dishes. Local sources have reported that since it changed hands, very little else has changed - not even the phone number. But, since we haven't visited recently, consider this a recommendation of the view - which is all we can vouch for at the moment. Nevertheless, the view from this restaurant, that occupies a fisherman's arch under the beach promenade, is pretty special. If you are lucky enough to nab a table in the loft like space above the entrance, you'll have uninterrupted views of the beach, the steely blue English Channel, Brighton Pier and the evocative skeleton of Brighton's burnt-out West Pier
. In good weather, you can sit outdoors and eat shell fish and local fishies within yards of the seas they just swam in.
Courtesy of The Five Horseshoes
The Five Horseshoes is a traditional English pub on the Oxfordshire-Buckinghamshire borders. They serve very well prepared, good quality Modern British food
in the generous portions appreciated by walkers in the area. It's situated in the middle of the kind of walking country that's perfect for a mild summer day or a crisp autumn outing before lunch. Save this place for a sunny day and sit in the newer annex. It's not as atmospheric as the old pub but it has big windows and the views of the Chiltern Hills, a designated Area of Natural Beauty, are as romantic as the English countryside gets. Even better, go in warm weather and enjoy the views from the beer garden. I return to this place again and again. Highly recommended.
© Ferne Arfin
It takes some effort to find The Pipe & Glass Inn, about an hour from York, near Beverley in East Yorkshire. But people from all over the UK have been making the effort to sample the fresh, imaginative, seasonal food served in this country pub with bags of charm and style. In 2010 it was awarded a Michelin Star. The restaurant is a bit like Dr. Who's Tardis. You enter in a small, traditional pub and rooms seem to keep growing off it. Ask for a table in the glassed in annex. The views of the surrounding farmland and the Yorkshire Wolds
seem to go on forever. In good weather, you can also grab a pub table outside.