Marston's pub revamp Whittington Cat beer garden in Whitehaven ready for April 12 opening

The Homebrew Forum

Help Support The Homebrew Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Staff member
Mar 17, 2013
Reaction score
Ulverston Cumbria.
It's not long now until pubs can reopen their doors again for outdoor seating.


As part of one company's ongoing Covid-19 secure measures they have invested in outdoor garden spaces to accommodate the easing of restrictions from April 12.

Marston's has invested in the Whittington Cat, Whitehaven pub garden ahead of reopening.
Forming part of a wider national initiative by the company and with an understanding that one size doesn’t fit all, each pub garden has undergone a bespoke design plan that carefully considered how the space will be used and most importantly what customers will be looking for from their

Whilst designs will vary from site to site, all outdoor areas will benefit from updated heating and lighting systems alongside bigger structures such as:

  • Orangery-style garden room
  • Teepees
  • Marquees
  • Awnings
  • Jumbo Umbrellas
Amber Sullivan, manager of the Whittington Cat, said: “What a year it has been. We know people have missed coming to the pub and we have missed having them here. We can’t wait to get back to it and welcome guests back once again.”

The focus on these newly re-purposed spaces has been in development since last year following the success and demand for outdoor areas during the summer period. The announcement of Marston’s initiative follows Boris Johnson’s lockdown roadmap of easing restrictions, which allows pubs to serve outdoors from 12 April.

Alongside these new garden spaces, Marston’s has introduced an online ordering system, Marston’s Tap, for both food and drinks which guests can use during their visit as well as for takeaway services. The online platform is available across the majority of Marston’s pubs for guests to use and a full rollout is underway following its success last year. Customers will also have access to toilets and baby changing facilities when on site.

With plans now set on the future, the focus on external spaces is set to become more valuable than ever especially to the pub hospitality industry which had to completely shut down during the majority of the pandemic.

Ralph Findlay, CEO of Marston’s, added: “We can’t wait to reopen, it has been a difficult year for everyone and we are delighted that we will be able to reopen some of our pub gardens from the 12 April (government guidance permitting) and once again hear the laughs and chatter that only a pub community brings. Our teams are raring to go and excited to welcome guests back, albeit just in outdoor areas for now. We have created new outdoor spaces with a number of new external dining areas to welcome back friends and families.”

The group has previously released details of how they plan to open their pubs safely.

Pubs owned in Cumbria include:

  • Kings Head, Ulverston
  • Bush Inn, Cockermouth
  • Farmers Arms, Portinscale, near Keswick
  • Sun Inn, Hensingham
  • Whittington Cat, Whitehaven

With the focus on alfresco hospitality, pubs that can accommodate customers in outdoor gardens will operate with an adapted offering in line with restrictions.

Key details across all Marston’s pubs regarding reopening include:

  • Adapted food and drink offers for customers to enjoy outdoors. Food offers may vary from site to site, but much-loved pub food will be at the heart of every menu which will include vegetarian and vegan options
  • To accompany table service, Marston’s has introduced an online ordering system called ‘Marston’s Tap’. The online platform is available across the majority of Marston’s pubs for guests to use and a full rollout is underway following its success last year
  • Bookings are being accepted and guests can reserve a table via each pub’s website. Pubs will also be accepting walk-ins
  • Access to toilets and baby changing facilities will be available
Until the weather warms up it'll be like the Christmas markets...standing outside,having a drink...freezing your knackers off! Such are the British...the pubs will be busy.
I thought the outdoor space had to be open to the elements on 3 sides. Just like smoking areas.

Yes they're using the same definition as smoking areas, but that definition is over 50% of the wall area being open, it doesn't have to be a full three sides.

Personally I disagree with that, there should be far more focus on ventilation rather than simply opening walls (what if there's no wind and high fences nearby?), but that's the law. I suspect Environmental Health and plod are going to be quite busy the next few weeks...
They're all doing it, all the pubs round here are the same: my local now has a huge tent on the front lawn, fully enclosed with heating. Really can't see the difference to being inside the main pub.
This is one of our locals interpretation of the rules, it's just a tent! 😂

I kind of feel for them though as it's only a little pub, doesn't do much or even anything by way of food, and probably has about half a dozen regulars that keep the place afloat. It's almost closed down completely on one or two occasions. Must be really hard for them.


Personally as someone who has had to shield due to a condition that makes me clinically extremely vulnerable I'm in no rush to go to the pub. I've had my first dose of AZ and the second will be soon but I still want to wait to see how things go over the next few months, i.e. how effective are the vaccines and will the lifting of restrictions cause another upsurge, before going crazy.

Latest posts