A Fantastic Outdoor Sunday Lunch at The Woodmans Arms

If there is one thing I started craving towards the end of lockdown, it was a proper pub Sunday lunch. I mean Steve makes a lush dinner but to do it right, it takes forever and then there are so many dishes too. 

So around a month ago, I booked us an alfresco table at one of our favourite pubs (The Woodmans Arms in Whickham) for Sunday lunch as our payday treat. I counted the days and obsessively watched the forecast as the date drew closer.  

I booked an outdoor table as dining outdoors is deemed to be safer and I love that you can select this option when booking online with The Woodman's Arms. I would actually dine inside now too but if the option to dine outdoors is there and the weather is ok - I will take that option first. I was cautious as this was our first trip to a pub/restaurant post-lockdown. 

The Woodmans Arms is just along the road from Gibside, Thornley Woodland Centre & Sculpture Trail and the Land of Oak and Iron - a perfect pub to enjoy after a nice family walk. There is ample free parking. 

On the day of our reservation, the sun was shining in the morning. So much so that we had breakfast in the garden but typically, as we arrived at the pub, the sky filled with dark clouds. I was worried our much-anticipated lunch would be rained off! 

I did not need to worry though, the outdoor terrace at The Woodman's Arms has open sides but a covered roof. It feels light, airy and well-ventilated yet is completely weather-proof too. Just as well as not long after we arrived, the heavens opened. It was a quick shower and we watched the rain without getting wet. Then the sun decided to shine for the rest of our visit. 

Honestly, I would not let the forecast put you off eating outside here this summer - the whole area really has been designed to withstand the great British weather. 

Booths in the outdoor terrace seat up to 6 comfortably. Each area has their own heater if needed and some have their own beer tap. It was 18 degrees on the day of our visit and perfect. The area is very welcoming and cosy. 

With us sitting outside, I was worried that we may have been forgotten about but this was not the case at all. The outdoor section seemed to have its own team and we were well looked after throughout. Service was friendly and we were in and out (for one course) within 45 minutes. I especially liked that they were prompt in bringing the bill when asked and they brought the card machine at the same time. My pet hate is waiting around for it. 

I already knew what I was going to order so didn't really need to look at the menu. The Beef Brisket here is my absolute fave. It is so soft and tender and just melts when your knife touches it. 

Harry and Heidi ordered pizzas which they really enjoyed. They have their own proper pizza oven here and they are a bit of a speciality. 

Jack ordered the award-winning fish and chips (minus mushy peas and tartare sauce). We let him order the adult portion as he was really looking forward to his fix and is quite a big eater. I pinched a few chips and they were proper homemade ones. Delish! Jack enjoyed his fish and chips but said they were not as good as his all-time fave (Coastline Blyth - I don't think anywhere will beat there for him). 

Steve opted for the lamb shoulder which he loved. As you can see, you get plenty of meat. 

I was a little nervous waiting for my meal  - what if it wasn't as good as I remembered? OMG I did not need to worry at all. It tasted so good and everything was cooked perfectly. 

You are given an extra jug of gravy as standard and it is proper gravy. All pubs should do this! 

Clean plates all round - I even went in for a second helping of vegetables. We all really love the Sticky Toffee Pudding here but we were all completely full up. Full and happy! How Sundays should be. 

Our bill was £70 which for 5 delicious adult meals and drinks, I thought was reasonable. 

COVID 19 measurements in place: 

  • Pre-bookings only (book online or over the phone)
  • Covered outdoor seating available
  • Lots of hand sanitiser available
  • Single-use menus
  • Staff did not wear face coverings (but I am ok with this - it is not compulsory). They do place meals on the table in front of you but are only close for a few seconds, again, I am ok with this. 
  • No info specifically taken for track and trace but our booking was via Open Table which has our details
  • Toilets are just inside the pub entrance - you do not need to walk through the whole pub to get to them
  • Single use sauce/salt/pepper sachets
  • Individual outdoor booths with clear physical separation from other booths
  • Cutlery brought to your table
  • Prompt table service and contactless / card payments 
The Woodmans Arms allows dogs in the outdoor area and is accessible. A step-free route is clearly advertised at the entrance. 

If you are looking for a cracking Sunday lunch in a light and airy setting, I cannot recommend here enough. Well done to the whole team. 

View menus, find out more and book here: https://thewoodmansarms.com/

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Please follow social distancing rules & Government guidelines , respect the local area, leave no trace, take litter home, park responsibly and if somewhere is busy on arrival, please consider leaving and returning at a later date. 

Always check updated opening hours / protocols with venues direct before setting off as things may have changed after this post was published. 


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