With summer just days away and the weather glorious, now is the time to go out and enjoy an al fresco meal.

Here's seven of the best outdoor dining pubs and restaurants in Hertfordshire.

1. Bar Azita - Hitchin

With their wonderful little tapas restaurant tucked away in the historic Bucklersbury, Bar Azita had to get creative their outdoor space.

And they did just that, opening up a van and outdoor seating in Hitchin's bustling centre, Market Place, serving sangria and Aperol spritz, as well as food carried out from the nearby restaurant.

It really is a lovely spot to sit and eat some of Hertfordshire's best tapas food.

2. The Cricketers of Redbourn - Redbourn

Fancy having a wonderful meal in a dining pod with friends and family? Then The Cricketers of Redbourn is just the place for you.

Costing a non-refundable £30 hire fee, the pods can house six people and come with their very own bluetooth speaker.

Serving up pub classics, stonebaked pizzas and tasty sharing platters, The Cricketers also has separate outdoor dining space to enjoy on a summer's day.

3. The Yard - St Albans

The Hub on Verulam has independent cinemas, shows live sport and host community events and comedy nights, but it also has a wonderful al fresco dining spot called The Yard.

According to the website, The Yard is an "all-season outdoor space, with it’s own private bar and atmospheric festoon lighting" which "serves food from our wild & wonderful Open Kitchen menu for brunch, lunch and dinner".

"During the winter months, The Yard is heated and partially covered for those wishing to dine outside, even on the chilliest of days," the website continues.

As for the food, they are currently running their summer BBQ menu, which includes grilled fish and meats, as well as vegetarian and vegan options.

4. The Alford Arms - Frithsden

Earlier this year, The Alford Arms in Frithsden, just outside of Hemel Hempstead, placed 95th in Estrella's top 100 UK gastro pubs, so we'll let them explain just how good of a place it is to dine.

"Run by legendary pub operators Becky and David Salisbury for more than 20 years, the Alford is a hard-to-find Victorian gem in the woods of the Chiltern Hills," said Estrella.

"Welcoming to locals, walkers, cyclists and destination diners alike, it’s eclectically furnished and has a restaurant and a heated terrace.

"Head chef Jamie Celnik is in charge of the kitchen, serving a mix of pub classics and internationally-inspired dishes based on fresh, local ingredients."

They also have new menus each week, so you never quite know what tasty surprise you're in for.

5. The Victoria - Hitchin

We've praised The Vic many times before, but it really is that good.

With a warm, welcoming and spacious garden, it's the perfect place to spend the summer months enjoying drinks with friends and family, as well as a bite to eat, because the food is exceptional.

Firstly, there's Bun Lovin' Criminals, which according to the pub's website helped save them during lockdown. Described as the "holy grail" of burgers by the The Vic, I can confirm that statement to be true.

And secondly, Dirty Dough Pizza Co., which is up there with the best pizza I have ever eaten. You can even watch the talented chefs make your Neapolitan pizza, with the kitchen based in the pub garden itself.

If you haven't been already, then you really should.

6. The Fox - Willian

Located in the picturesque village of Willian, just outside of Letchworth, The Fox is an award-winning gastro pub with eight bespoke bedrooms, a bar and restaurant.

But mostly importantly, it has an outdoor area perfect for al fresco dining.

And with head chef Piran Dewey earning praise from The Michelin Guide for his "precisely crafted dishes", you know you're in for a great meal.

7. Brookmans - Brookmans Park

Brookmans is a "proper village local" according to the website, and it really is, but it's also so much more than that.

Serving up top quality food, you can enjoy it in the sunshine on not just one, but two terraces.

This really is a great spot for some outdoor dining.