Canoeing has undoubtedly got to be one of the nicest ways to reach the Chequers Inn – although it does come with the potential pitfall of having to sit through lunch with soggy shorts.
The wildlife spotted on the River Avon – a heron, damselflies, ducks, a kingfisher, a stag party crammed into a couple of inflatable dinghies – all make for a memorable trip to this Hanham watering hole one recent sunny Saturday.
Wet shorts or not, it’s impossible not to appreciate the surroundings of a pub that has to be a strong contender for one of the best-located venues in Bristol, and possibly one of the city’s worst kept secrets if the weekend crowd is anything to go by.
Family groups dressed in their best for a leisurely lunch out, paddleboarders stopping for a quick pint, couples sharing chips and one lone man in a sun hat soaking up some of the late summer rays have all convened on the vast suntrap decking overlooking the river on Ferry Road.
Luckily, there’s room enough for everyone and the buzz of laughter and talking is partially drowned out by the soothing sound of water rushing over the nearby weir.
London brewery Young’s took over the running of Chequers Inn in 2017 and the company has got the Covid-19 safety measures down to a fine art. One way systems operate throughout the vast building raised high over Ferry Road and there are hand sanitiser stations situated at regular points indoors and out.
Ordering is done via a special Young’s app and ice cold ciders brought straight to the table, leaving customers with little to do but sit back and enjoy the unrivalled river views. I say unrivalled, there’s also the decking of the Old Lock & Weir right next door for those fancying a mini pub crawl with minimum crawling.
Out on the river, a man in a wooden canoe is valiantly ferrying children up and down the river one by one while the rest of the adults in the group get the beers in and take photos from dry land. Meanwhile, a couple of people on horseback stroll past on the roadside.
The fish and chips (£14.50), selected from the pared-back menu and washed down with a cold pint of Orchard Thieves cider (£4.85), hit the spot after a morning’s canoe.
Whether you arrive by land or water, this is a location just made for a lazy weekend afternoon.
The Chequers Inn, Ferry Road, Hanham Mills, Bristol, BS15 3NU
0117 3291 711
All photos by Ellie Pipe
Read more: Pub of the Week: The Old Lock & Weir