5= The Birds
Sure, it can sometimes be a little quiet of an afternoon, but we rather enjoy a pint in this astroturfed backyard, with its trio of booths and well-established flora, all secret-garden realness. More info.
5= The Northcote
A corner landmark on Grove Green Road, locals flock to the much-loved courtyard, strewn with festoon lighting, best appreciated with pint of Hells and wood-fired pizza in greasy paw. Access is through the old rear gates, too. More info.
4. The Red Lion
The original – and still divine – tarted-up local boozer on the High Road boasts a Mediterranean-style high-walled courtyard. And its dusty interior is busy all day long, with table service too if you’re eating. This one is easy to spend a lost afternoon in. More info.
3. Leytonstone Tavern
Our main pic, above, the newly revamped pub in south Leytonstone has an achingly hot suntrap garden (as well as spacious front terrace), yet with plenty of shade on offer to stop you cooking. And the landlord himself is so sunny you’ll be bezzies by the time you leave. More info.
2. Heathcote & Star
Its stunning and capacious garden, with central alfresco bar, is almost rural, like the village pub it could be (or perhaps once was). Just take your noise control headphones if you’re particularly sensitive to the sound of a teed-up toddler running amok. However, it makes for lively, sun-drenched people-watching. More info.
1. The North Star
Actually it’s the front pavement terrace of this bucolic Bushwood boozer that takes our top spot in E11. Here you can bask (factor 30 firmly applied) like a lizard, Neck Oil in hand, pondering the timeless view over tiny terraced cottages. But be warned: the sun is ferocious all day long. At least if things get too over-heated there’s a shadier rear courtyard, too. Cheers! More info.
August 2020 UPDATE: We love the courtyard garden at Filly Brook too.
Main image: Leytonstone Tavern (SE)