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The Ultimate Guide to London’s Best Rooftop Bars & Alfresco Terraces

Now that the sun is out, here’s the Resident’s pick of London’s best rooftop bars and terraces for outdoor grazing and cocktails across the City, and into the capital’s north, south, east and west pockets…

Lead image: SushiSamba

The City & central LONDON’S TOP Rootops & TERRACES

1 14 Hills, the City
14 Hills’ rooftop terrace above the restaurant, offers 360 degree views across London’s iconic skyline and tables set among beautiful flowers and trees. Situated on the 15th floor of 120 Fenchurch St, the terrace is open daily from 11am till midnight for all-day drinking and dining in the sun. The terrace menu features dishes focusing on modern British cooking with a touch of French flair.
14th floor, 120 Fenchurch St EC3M 5BA; 14hills.co.uk

2 SushiSamba, the City
SushiSamba offers a unique blend of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine, music and design. Located on the 38th and 39th floors of the Heron Tower, it has one of the highest outdoor dining terraces in Europe, offering unparalleled 360-degree views of the City of London. The indoor-outdoor elements featured throughout the space, most notably, the designed structural orange tree on the west terrace.
110 Bishopsgate EC2N 4AY; sushisamba.com

3 Aviary, the City
Aviary has one of the top rooftop drinking spots in the City, with its famous igloos for those looking to indulge in a food and drinks package, and uncovered lounge areas with a more relaxed offering. Aviary’s extensive food menus offer the likes of chorizo and sweetcorn croquettes, steak tartare, oysters and a plant-based roast ironbark pumpkin and wild rice ‘Wellington’. Accompany the cracking views of the City skyline with a botanical cocktail.
10th Floor Montcalm, 22-25 Finsbury Square EC2A 1DX; aviarylondon.com

4 Coq d’Argent, the City
When work’s out, the City decamps to Coq d’Argent to drink and dine. Most head straight to the rooftop garden for cocktails, where the grass and privet hedges are neatly trimmed, the wisteria blows in the breeze and London’s skyscrapers sprawl before you on the horizon. French-inspired lunch and dinner is served Monday to Friday, while on Saturday it’s dinner only. The award-winning wine list is extensive, as is the choice of spirits and liqueurs. 
No.1 Poultry EC2R 8EJ; coqdargent.co.uk

5 Angler & Secret Garden Bar at South Place Hotel, Moorgate
Michelin-starred restaurant Angler, located at South Place Hotel, not only serves up some of the best seafood in London but also has a lovely, elegant outdoor terrace on the 7th floor. South Place Hotel also likes to transform its Secret Garden for summer, creating a floral suntrap with waterfalls, palm trees and creeping vines. The Secret Garden operates on a first-come, first-serve basis.
3 South Place, Moorgate EC2M 2AFsouthplacehotel.com / anglerrestaurant.com

 

 

6 The Mercer Terrace at Vintry & Mercer, the City
Vintry & Mercer, a boutique hotel on Garlick Hill in the City, has a lovely terrace with views of London’s dramatic skyline from the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral to the glass tip of The Shard. Dine alfresco or enjoy a drink at the bar, which has floor-to-ceiling windows to make the most of the city lights. The menu celebrates the best of modern British cooking, showcasing meat and fish from the British Isles, cooked over the charcoal oven.
19-20 Garlick Hill EC4V 2AU; vintryandmercer.com

7 Jin Bo Law, Aldgate
East London hot-spot Jin Bo Law, which has a rooftop bar boasting panoramic views of the London skyline, offers an innovative selection of Asian-inspired cocktails. The stylish bar on the 14th floor of the Dorsett City Hotel has aligned its chic collection of tipples with its Chinese heritage and influences, with cocktails such as the Eye of the Buddha (yuzu juice, Prosecco, Bacardi White and Yuzushu sake), Mandariňa (FAIR Kumquat Liqueur, Plum Sake, Lime and Monkey Shoulder Whisky).
14th Floor Dorsett City, 9 Aldgate High Street EC3N 1AH; jinbolaw.co.uk

8 SavageGarden at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London, Tower of London
This all-day bar and cocktail lounge on the top floor of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London – Tower of London boasts a brilliant 360-degree vista of the city, taking in the Tower of London, The Shard, The Gherkin and St Paul’s Cathedral. As well as a south-facing gin terrace, there’s an all-seasons terrace with retractable roof. Savage Gardens shakes up some pretty theatrical cocktails and also serves epic weekend brunches.
Floor 12, 7 Pepys Street EC3N 4AF; @savagegardenldn

9 Sabine, St Paul’s
Named after the bird whose migratory travel is influenced by the seasons, Sabine is a seventh-floor botanical rooftop bar with two outside terraces – one with a retractable roof for all-weather drinking and dining – overlooking St Paul’s Cathedral. The verdant venue, full of hanging plants and lush greenery, also offers up cocktails in stylish glassware, as well as seasonally changing bar bites, sharing plates and leisurely weekend lunches.
7th Floor, Leonardo Royal Hotel London St Paul’s, 10 Godliman Street EC4V 5AJ; sabinelondon.co.uk

10 Madison, St Paul’s
Madison’s famous rooftop terrace, complete with views of St Pauls’ Cathedral, offers a great escape from the busy streets of the City, and with a party vibes all day every day, its a place to escape the hump-day blues. The restaurant takes its cues from classic New York-style dishes and the terrace has been known to host a kitchen pop up from time to time. Expect cocktails, lively brunches, live DJ sets and a hangover the next morning.  Reservations and walk-ins welcome.
Rooftop Terrace, One New Change, St Paul’s EC4M 9AF; madisonlondon.net

 

CENTRAL West LONDON’S TOP Rootops & TERRACES

1 Wild by Tart, Belgravia
A neighbourhood restaurant, tucked away in Pimlico’s quaint Eccleston Yard. Housed in a former power station and coal store, it’s a restaurant and bar, as well as a coffee shop, retails store and events space, that comes with a 24-seat terrace, perfect for when you want to share a couple of plates of food with a friend in the sun.
3-4 Eccleston Yards, SW1W 9AZ; wildbytart.com

2 Radio Rooftop Bar, Strand
Radio Rooftop’s north-facing and south-facing terraces are an enviable destination all year round, with striking views over central London and the Thames, with space heaters to keep things toasty. Located on the 10th floor of ME London, winter usually means Alpine lodges and boozy hot chocolates, while in summer its sundowner cocktails while taking in views stretching from the Shard and St Paul’s to the London Eye and Big Ben.
336-337 Strand WC2R 1HA; radiorooftop.com

3 The Somerset House Terrace, Strand
The Somerset House Terrace is a great spot for alfresco drinks overlooking the Thames. Each summer, a pop-up bar sets up shop offering shelter from the sun (or rain!) and a special drinks partnership. While the pandemic saw the terrace dial things down, previous collaborations included San Miguel.
Somerset House, Strand WC2R 1LA; somersethouse.org.uk

4 The Montague Beach Bar, Bloomsbury
**Currently closed**The Montague Beach Bar, located in a cute courtyard to the rear of The Montague on the Gardens hotel, this is Bloomsbury’s version of the Bahamas, complete with real sand, a beach-hut style thatched roof, cocktails and palm trees. There’s also a BBQ, ice cream cones and cocktails served in coconuts. While you can book a spot with friends, you can also hire the bar semi-privately should you want your own beach party in the the centre of London. Open until late July.
15 Montague Street WC1B 5BJ; montaguehotel.com

5 Dalloway Terrace, Bloomsbury
Dalloway Terrace’s whimsical garden setting and retractable roof and walls offers you a stylish and weather-proof way to catch up with friends. With floral installations by leading London florists that change with the seasons, this spot is picture perfect all year round. Dining is available all day, with afternoon tea is served from 3pm-5pm each day.
16-22 Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury WC1B 3NNdallowayterrace.com

6 SUSHISAMBA Covent Garden
SUSHISAMBA Covent Garden has a cute Opera Terrace Balcony overlooking the Covent Garden Piazza on the Royal Opera House side. It’s compact, so book ahead, but it’s oh-so-chic and without a doubt one of central London’s top spots to see and be seen in summer. And should the weather turn, the botanical oasis inside the restaurant is sure to keep your spirits geared towards the tropical.
35 The Market Building, Covent Garden WC2E 8RF; sushisamba.com

7 On The Terrace at Four Seasons London Park Lane
On The Terrace, at one of London’s hottest addresses, provides the ideal backdrop for a leisurely afternoon or relaxed evening spent indulging in hearty modern dishes or expertly mixed cocktails. The menu offers all day dining as well as afternoon tea.  Open daily until midnight.
Hamilton Place, Park Lane W1J 7DR; fourseasons.com

8 God’s Garden at Chameleon, Marylebone
Set in a stunning neo-classical church in Marylebone, Chameleon’s God Garden is an alfresco-dining spot split between two tents, behind a pathway dressed in colourful foliage and features live music from 8pm. The venue’s flower-festooned greenhouses remain open should you want a cosy, intimate setting for a group of up to 22 people. Either way, both options are a great way to enjoy spring and Chameleon’s Tel Aviv and Mediterranean-inspired sharing plates.
1 Marylebone Road, NW1 4AQ; chameleon.london

9 Orrery, Marylebone
This luxury French restaurant, part of the D&D London group, is located on the first floor of a converted stable block, overlooking St Marylebone Church gardens. Orrery’s suntrap rooftop terrace is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the busy street below. The south-facing terrace, lined with delicate lavender and olive trees, is a lovely spot for lunch, dinner or a cocktail.
55 Marylebone High StreetW1U 5RB; orrery-restaurant.co.uk

10 Alto at Selfridges, Marylebone
Head to Alto on the rooftop at Selfridges for day-to-night dining inspired by chic Italian style. Dishes can be shared or not, whichever you prefer, and the menu tips its cap to stylish riviera dining –  grilled artichokes, pasta and pizzas dishes as well as snacky bites such as Sicilian arancini, ham and cheese croquettes and a selection of salads too. The wine list, which features Italian drops, has heft. Tables book up quickly, but a limited number of walk-ins are available each day. Enter via the express lift in Fragrance on G.
400 Oxford Street W1A 1AB; selfridges.com

11 The Garden at Corinthia, Westminster
A little oasis in the centre of the hotel filled with olive trees ans seasonal plants, The Garden is a great spot for a blush rosé over a meal of Mediterranean dishes. In case it gets nippy in the evenings, the courtyard has heaters, blankets and hot water bottles should you need them.
10a Northumberland Avenue, SW1A 2BD; corinthia.com

12 Bbar, Westminster
Dine alfresco underneath London’s largest living wall directly opposite the Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace. Bbar has a weekend brunch serving South African dishes like boerewors eggs benedict with chili chutney biltong, buttermilk chicken burger and brioche French toast with banana, coconut bacon and salted caramel sauce. Available Saturday or Sunday from 11am-4pm, and naturally, you can make it bottomless.
43 Buckingham Palace Road SW1W 0PP; bbarlondon.com

13 Ham Yard Hotel, Soho
Ham Yard Hotel has a great rooftop terrace, which used to host fun summer collaborations. Now however, it is for private events or exclusive use for in-house guests. But fear not, as the hotel also has a charming tree lined courtyard on ground level serving lunch and dinner as well as afternoon tea, or just drinks.
1 Ham Yard, Soho W1D 7DT; firmdalehotels.com

14 The Dorchester Rooftop, Mayfair
The Dorchester Rooftop offers sweeping views of Hyde Park, seasonal cocktails and light bites of the likes of oysters, Wagyu beef sliders and vegan mac and cheese with truffle shavings. Ope seven days a week from midday to either 11pm or midnight, the bar is a great choice if you want to enjoy refined drink or few with a glorious sunset. Reservations only.
53 Park Lane, Mayfair W1K 1QA; dorchestercollection.com

15 Pantechnicon, Belgravia
Pantechnicon on Motcomb Street has three eating options, one being a glorious rooftop garden.  The roof garden bar and restaurant comes with a glass-roof open terrace and a Nordic-inspired menu offering all-day-dining options. Come for a leisurely weekend brunch, a weekday breakfast, or lunch or dinner, or even just to try one of the Japanese and Danish beers on tap.
19 Motcomb Street, Belgravia SW1X 8LB; pantechnicon.com

16 Scott’s, Mayfair
Scott’s, the famed celebrity haunt in Mayfair, has a chic little street-side terrace that’s the perfect to see and be seen. Tucked under the Scott’s awning, which is often draped in wisteria or the floral of the moment, you can take in the comings and goings of Mayfair’s elite, tripping in and out of the likes of Louboutin, Celine and Balenciaga. Be sure to order the lobster.
20 Mount Street, Mayfair W1K 2HE; scotts-restaurant.com

WEST LONDON’S TOP Rootops, Alfresco TERRACES & courtyards

1 Serpentine Bar and Kitchen, Hyde Park
When the sun comes out, Londoners take to the parks. The Serpentine Bar and Kitchen is in the middle of Hyde Park, right next to the Serpentine Lake and the views are spectacular. Not only does it offer clear views the swans and boats, but it is also a great spot for people watching – picnic makers, rollerbladers and dog walkers alike. There’s woodfire pizzas, breakfasts and salads to eat and cocktails and cold drinks to quaff.
Serpentine Road, Hyde Park W2 2UH; benugo.com

2 Harvey Nichols Fifth Floor Terrace, Knightsbridge 
Harvey Nichols Fifth Floor Terrace is a great spot for summer drinks and dining. The menu offers something for every meal of the day, including afternoon tea and brunch, and for drinks, there’s a fairly comprehensive list of cocktails, beers and wines, as well as non-alcoholic drinks too. Look out for seasonal transformations too.
109-125 Knightsbridge SW1X 7RJ; harveynichols.com

3 Bluebird, Chelsea
Bluebird Chelsea’s iconic terrace is a great spot for coffee, cocktails, brunch, lunch and everything in between. In summer there’s usually a fun takeover by the likes of Nyetimber, where floral installations, special menus and limited-edition drinks take centre stage.
350 King’s Road, Chelsea SW3 5UU; bluebird-restaurant.co.uk

4 The Ivy Chelsea Garden, Chelsea
Since The Ivy Chelsea opened it has become a firm sunny favourite. The beautifully decorated terrace and orangery is as stylish as a garden could get, and being part of The Ivy family, you’re in safe hands when it comes to food and drink. Cocktails and an all-day British menu are available in the alfresco space, which is adorned with fountains, climbing ivy and beautiful antique furniture abound.
197 King’s Road, Chelsea SW3 5EQ; theivychelseagarden.com

5 Dinings SW3, Chelsea 
Chelsea Japanese restaurant Dinings SW3 has a lovely terrace for a tranquil city escape this summer, tucked away with the courtyard walls. Located just minutes from the bustle of Harrods and South Kensington’s museums, it’s a great spot to enjoy the summer incarnation of the restaurant’s elegant take on the Japanese Izakaya.
Lennox Garden Mews, Chelsea SW3 2JH; dinings.co.uk/sw3

6 The Phene, Chelsea
Dating back to 1853, The Phene has a classy interior, which is matched by its beautiful outdoor garden where you can drink and relax all year round. The serene atmosphere is completed by a natural colour scheme, an array of lounge sofas gathered around tables, and a trellis arch with flourishing greenery. The menu offers refined European dishes and there’s plenty of choice for vegetarians and vegans too, as well as people on gluten-free diets.
9 Phene Street, Chelsea SW3 5NY; thephene.com 

7 Stanley’s, Chelsea
Formerly The Chelsea Courtyard, this tranquil oasis, tucked between two beautiful Victorian buildings metres from the King’s Road, has undergone a transformation and reopened as Stanley’s. As well as a large outside courtyard and bar, Hugh Stanley’s first debut restaurant has an orangery style dining area and private dining room. Enter through a floral archway flanked by olive trees and tiered shrub planting into a courtyard area inspired by a traditional English country garden. Open for lunch, dinner, late night drinks and Sunday brunch.
151 Sydney Street, Chelsea SW3 6NT; stanleyschelsea.co.uk

8 Pergola Paddington
Pergola Paddington has returned as a sunny summery paradise. There’s covered areas, underneath perspex roofing, and tables under the sun and elements, as well as bookable daybeds. DJs play on the weekends and Pergola will often host a party for dates in the calendar – St Patrick’s, Oktoberfest and Halloween for example. Food vendors include Filth & Co Burgers, Japanese kitchen Yuki, and Kwispy fried chicken. Booking is appreciated, but walk-ins are welcomed.
5 Kingdom Street, Paddington Central W2 6PY; pergolalondon.com  

9 The Darcie & May Green Barges, Paddington
The floating restaurant and bar barges, Darcie & May Green, are right outside Paddington Station on the Grand Union Canal. The floating pieces of art, designed exclusively by the ‘godfather’ of British pop art, Sir Peter Blake, provide the perfect setting for canal side dining, serving Aussie brunch, healthy lunch and relaxing dinners. The two boats share a combined 50 metre upper deck overlooking the Grand Union Canal and have been transformed with the addition of rooftops gardens.
Sheldon Square W2 6DS; daisygreenfood.com

10 Kricket Television Centre, White City
Kricket, the neighbourhood restaurant based in West London’s Television Centre, has a large terrace for warm weather cocktails and dining. The garden terrace has a wide view of the studios, while still maintaining a level of privacy for guests to enjoy alfresco dining and cocktails such as the Pink Lady (gin, spiced rhubarb and chilli)Kricket, which rose to fame in Brixton and then Soho for its seasonal, modern Indian plates and drinks, combines British ingredients with the authentic flavours of India.
2 Television Centre, 101 Wood Lane W12 7FR; kricket.co.uk

11 Bluebird Café, White City
Bluebird Café at Television Centre is the younger sibling of the Kings Road institution of the same name. It has a lovely outdoor terrace from which you can enjoy a similar charm to the Chelsea venue, all-day dining, cocktails or a bottle of wine, as you bask in the west London sunshine.
2 Television Centre, 101 Wood Lane W12 7RF; bluebirdcafe.co.uk

12 No 197 Chiswick Fire Station, Chiswick
No 197 Chiswick Fire Station is a destination bar that pays homage to the history and community, and also has a lovely walled garden out back. Set well away from the bustle of the Chiswick High Road, the white-washed garden is a lovely serene spot that’s flooded with sunlight by day, making it an ideal for a relaxed weekend brunch, while the early evening lends itself to a chic aperitif.
197 Chiswick High RoadW4 2DR; no197chiswickfirestation.com

13 The Prince, West Brompton
The Prince – part pub, part street-food hub – has a roof that when retracted, creates quite the suntrap in its expansive rear pub garden. The venue, which boasts three bars and four pop-up restaurants, often gets a seasonal makeover with fresh greenery and colourful flowers.This place is also a venue to head to for bank holidays and dates in the calendar.
14 Lillie Road, West Brompton SW6 1TT; theprincelondon.com

14 The Waterway, Maida Vale
One of the loveliest terraces in west London for sure, The Waterway’s expansive alfresco space sits right next to the Grand Union Canal, making it the perfect stop-off for summer strollers (it’s just two minutes from Little Venice). A great spot for everything from brunch to Sunday roasts and cocktails, there’s even a specific terrace menu with a selection of gins, summer jugs of Pimm’s and sangria, as well as tasty dishes like squid, steak and Ceasar salad alongside.
54 Formosa Street W9 2JU; thewaterway.co.uk

15 Skylark Roof Garden, Little Venice
Skylark Roof Garden, located 10 floors up on the banks of Little Venice, is a great rooftop drinking and dining destination with an enviable vista over Notting Hill and the west London skyline and ample space for 180 people. The menu features flavour-packed dishes full of the best seasonal ingredients, such as sauté of mussels, clams and tiger prawns, and the drink of choice is champagne. You can even hire a lavish day beds for sunny weekends, with guest DJs playing late into the evening. Open weekends only.
10th Floor, 4 Kingdom Street W2 6BD; skylarkroofgarden.co.uk 

south bank & bankside’s TOP Rootops, Alfresco TERRACES & courtyards

1 Coppa Club Tower Bridge
One of London’s most Instagrammable riverside spots, Coppa Club Tower Bridge never holds back on its alfresco terrace and igloo pods. Seasonally-apt florals and decor always make this one a big draw for those who like to dine in style. The riverside spot offers knock-out views of London’s iconic Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast and The Shard, are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Do book ahead as they’re very popular, although a limited number of bookings are held for walk-ins every day.
3 Three Quays Walk, Lower Thames Street EC3R 6AH; coppaclub.co.uk

2 Bar Elba, Waterloo
This vast rooftop across from Waterloo Station – reached by climbing one heck of a flight of stairs – added a new mezzanine level last year, boosting its capacity from from 375 people to 600 people and bolstering its panoramic views across London. The vibrant rooftop bar, which takes Napoleon’s hedonistic exile to the Mediterranean island of Elba as its inspiration, is ideal for long evenings of cocktails, with pop-up music, food and drink events.
Mercury House Rooftop, 109-117 Waterloo Road SE1 8UL; bar-elba.co.uk

3 OXO Tower Bar, South Bank
Eight floors up at the OXO Tower Bar is a fantastic 200ft Thames-side terrace serving cocktails and bar snacks. Summertime means sassy collaborations, crisp cocktails, elegant dishes and a stunning view overlooking the Thames and the iconic London skyline.
Barge House Street, South Bank SE1 9PH; harveynichols.com

4 The Ivy, Tower Bridge
The Ivy Tower Bridge offers accessible, sophisticated all-day dining with a Parisian-style alfresco terrace that seats 50 and directly overlooks the Thames and Tower Bridge. The modern British menu is all-encompassing including breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, weekend brunch, light snacks, cocktails and dinner. Should the weather turn, you can retreat indoors and still enjoy the same lovely views through the floor-to-ceiling windows.
One Tower Bridge SE1 2AA; theivytowerbridge.com

5 12th Knot at Sea Containers, South Bank
The terrace at 12th Knot doesn’t have a lot of seats, so it can get a little standing-room-only side, but the views are worth it. Located on the 12th floor of the Thames-side hotel, the bright, verdant riverside rooftop bar has lush greenery, plush sofas and comfortable lounge spaces indoors and British-American inspired cocktails. Find your way to the rooftop bar via the neon signs. Alternatively, stay at ground level on the pop-up terrace outside Sea Containers Restaurant. In summer there’s usually a rather Instagrammable – and quaffable – partnership taking place.
20 Upper Ground, South Bank SE1 9PD; seacontainerslondon.com

6 Art Yard Bar & Kitchen, Bankside
Art Yard Bar & Kitchen, the design led all-day dining restaurant and bar in London’s Bankside Hotel, has a great terrace ideal for long, sunny lunches that sprawl into the afternoon. There’s an all-day menu with a kind of pub-like offering of burgers, and dumplings, grain bowls. There’s also an extensive drinks list to sample, with plenty of cocktails to try.
Art Yard, 2 Blackfriars Road SE1 9JU; artyardbarandkitchen.com

7 Southbank Centre Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden
Most South Bank amblers don’t even know it’s there, but The Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden, designed by the Eden Project and maintained by Grounded EcoTherapy gardeners, is an excellent find. Closed for winter, it reopens for spring time, with plenty of leafy greenery including a wildflower meadow, mini allotments, alongside riverside views and a cafe-bar, it’s one a great spot in the sun. The Riverside Terrace outside the Royal Festival Hall is a great summer spot for a quick drink too, but it can be tricky to find a table.
Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road SE1 8XX; southbankcentre.co.uk

8 Mezemiso at Crowne Plaza London – Albert Embankment
Perched on the 15th floor of the Crowne Plaza London – Albert Embankment and blessed with panoramic views over the River Thames and the Houses of Parliament, Mezemiso brings  together Japanese & Lebanese cuisine in a super swanky dining room. Mezemiso’s Cigar and Shisha Terrace occupies one of the most desirable spots in the restarant. With an extensive cigar and shisha menu to match the unparalleled Westminster view, the 20-seat outdoor terrace is a great spot to try Mezemiso’s signature cocktails.
10-11 Albert Embankment SE1 7TP; crowneplazalondonalbertembankment.co.uk

SOUTH LONDON’S TOP Rootops, Alfresco TERRACES & courtyards

1 Skylight Peckham, Peckham
With heated igloos, bottomless brunches, live music and hot desking, there’s many reasons to visit Skylight Peckham. The live music programme, created in partnership with Euphonica runs across five nights a week, and ranges from DJs on the weekend, to jazz and cabaret. If the weather turns, there’s covered seating indoors, behind floor to ceiling glass doors and windows so you can still overlook London.
Theatre Walk, 120 Peckham Hill Street SE15 5JT; skylightbars.com

2 Frank’s Cafe, Peckham
Frank’s Café is a spot south of the river where all the cool kids hang come summer. The multi-storey carpark comes with cocktails (make it a Negroni or Aperol Spritz) and with more street food and boozing opportunities, with Peckham Levels below. Up top you can still enjoy excellent sharing plates for brunch, lunch and dinner. No need to nook, as it’s walk-in only.
Peckham multi-storey car park, 95a Rye Lane, Peckham SE15 4ST; frankscafe.org.uk

3 The Bussey Building, Peckham
The huge roof terrace of the Bussey Building in Peckham, is the scene of many a party and even the odd yoga class. There’s pretty floral pergolas, sundowner cocktails, pizza and one of south London’s best views. Both covered and uncovered areas are available to book, and dogs on leads can join in the fun too.
Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane, Peckham SE15 4ST; busseyrooftopbar.com

4 The Laundry, Brixton 
The Laundry, just beyond Brixton Village, has a huge Parisian-style terrace serving up breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails. It also does a Sunday roast. The menu features fresh and colourful dishes such as black truffle and burrata tortellini, pea and herb fritters with beetroot pesto and roasted heritage carrots with blood orange vinaigrette.  There’s a smashing wine list, too.
374 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton SW9 8PL; thelaundrybrixton.com

5 Pop Brixton
Pop Brixton, south London’s go-to alfresco drinking and dining destination, has an ever-growing selection of street food vendors and bars serving everything from gyoza to jerk chicken, the venue is perfect to while away the summertime. Look out for special events, from yoga brunches to vintage kilo sales, film clubs, family discos and big music nights.
49 Brixton Station Road, Brixton SW9 8PQ; popbrixton.org

6 Lost in Brixton
Lost in Brixton is a concrete jungle with drinks, music, local draft beer and a Latin American-inspired cocktail menu. Tucked behind Brixton Village, Lost in Brixton has a capacity for 440, a retractable roof to keep you happy whatever the weather, and lots of lush greenery set against the brickwork of Brixton’s railway arches.
Coldharbour Lane SW9 8PS; lostinbrixton.com

7 The Sail Loft, Greenwich
Peaceful waterside dining is a pretty rare find in London, but you’ll find it at The Sail Loft in Greenwich. This Fuller’s pub serves up a brilliant brunch, with the likes of black pudding hash with fried hen’s egg, plus roasted field mushroom, spinach, butternut squash and sourdough on the menu. If the weather turns, head indoors where you can still enjoy a view of the Thames from the floor-to-ceiling glass windows.
11 Victoria Parade Greenwich SE10 9FR; sailloftgreenwich.co.uk

8 400 Rabbits at The Lido, Herne Hill
Brockwell Lido is one of south London’s absolute gems with glistening blue waters, art deco surrounds and palm plants giving the place an almost Mediterranean feel. The lovely poolside Lido Cafe is run by south east London pizza maestros 400 Rabbits, so pizza and a swim is definitely one for those sunny summer days. The menu is conveniently divided into vegan, meaty and cheesy pizzas, and they really are some of the best in south London.
Dulwich Road, Herne Hill SE24 0PA; 020 7737 8183; 400rabbits.co.uk

South West LONDON’S TOP Rootops, Alfresco TERRACES & courtyards

1 Cinnamon Kitchen, Battersea
Cinnamon Kitchen is bringing fire and spice to Battersea Power Station with minimalist industrial décor and a large outdoor terrace with sweeping views of the Thames. The restaurant serves contemporary Indian dishes, many unique to Battersea, and you can also enjoy imaginative cocktails, and bar bites inspired by the dishes found on the Mumbai Jaipur Pink City Express train route.
Circus West Village, 2 Arches Lane SW11 8AB; cinnamon-kitchen.com

2 No 29 Power Station West, Battersea
No 29 Power Station West, part of the neighbourhood bar group, Darwin & Wallace, has a lovely riverside terrace with a pergola decorated delicately with greenery. Dine on seasonal, locally sourced food, craft beers including Five Points Pale and fresh and zingy cocktails. It’s also a great spot for breakfast and brunch, plus, the Battersea Power Station River Bus Pier puts the venue within 15 minutes of Embankment Pier on the Thames Clipper.
29 Circus West, Battersea Power Station SW8 4NN; no29powerstationwest.co.uk

3 The Ship, Wandsworth
Riverside hangout The Ship in Wandsworth is an alfresco institution. Also available for private hire, it has a buzzing atmosphere that lends itself well to sampling beers from Sambrooks, Camden Town and Meantime breweries. They do a great bloody Mary too, and combined with a blast of fresh air and a rib-eye steak, it’s the perfect hangover cure.
41 Jews Row SW18 1TB; 020 8870 9667; theship.co.uk

4 London Stock, Wandsworth
London Stock, the smart Ram Quarter restaurant that champions British produce and innovative cooking, has a lovely alfresco dining space in a peaceful courtyard. They also have a cracking Sunday roast menu featuring starters like chicken liver parfait, and carrot curry soup, with mains of roast sirloin of beef and pan-fried gilt-head bream.
2 Bubbling Well Square, Ram Quarter SW18 1UQ; londonstockrestaurant.co.uk 

 

EAST LONDON’S TOP Rootops, Alfresco TERRACES & courtyards

1 Hackney Coterie, Hackney Downs
Hackney Coterie is a modern warehouse brasserie and low intervention wine bar in Hackney Down, offering an all day menu created by Dominic Auger (ex-HIDE and Scully St James). Dressed with festoon lighting and trestle tables, the large terrace is a great way to spend a low-key afternoon drinking your way through the wine list.
230B Dalston Lane, E8 1LA; hackneycoterie.net

2 Crate Brewery, Hackney Wick
The pick of Hackney Wick haunts, Crate Brewery is as bit of a sun trap perched on Regent’s Canal, overlooking canal boats and Hackney Bridge and all the canal-side action- a perfect spot for an afternoon beer or two. The brewery has a decent range of beers from crisp lagers to punchy IPAs, and it makes stone-baked pizzas too. Open until 1am on the weekends.
Unit 7 Queen’s Yard, London E9 5EN; cratebrewery.com

3 Skylight at Tobacco Dock, Wapping
Skylight at Tobacco Dock became one of London’s most popular and imaginative rooftop destinations and a firm fixture on any summer hotlist. Soaring above one of London’s most unique event venues, Tobacco Dock in Wapping, Skylight boasts three floors of bars, street food, croquet, pétanque, screens, DJs and an unrivalled view of London’s iconic skyline.
Wapping Lane, Wapping E1W 2SF; skylightlondon.com

4 Roka, Canary Wharf
Roka Canary Wharf’s tasting menu is the stuff of dreams. As is the à la carte – try one of Roka’s legendary sushi and sashimi platters and hot dishes inspired by Japanese and Asian cuisine.  The sake sommelier will make sure you have something suitable to wash it down with. The terrace is a fantastic spot to dine come summer, overlooking Canada Square Park, you take in the bright lights of London’s sleekest office towers while soaking up the atmosphere.
4 Park Pavilion, 40 Canada Square E14 5FW; rokarestaurant.com

5 Boundary Rooftop, Shoreditch
The Boundary rooftop combines grape producing vines and wild herbs to create a rooftop garden space that is open all year thanks to the weatherproof pergola and open fire. In terms of eating, you can expect Mediterranean hors-d’oeuvres, bar snacks and steaks off the grill. When the weather’s good there may be a wait on tables, and it doesn’t take bookings on small tables so either get together a group and plan ahead or expect to join the well-dressed queue of punters. The views over the roofs of Shoreditch are worth it, though.
2-4 Boundary Street, Shoreditch E2 7DDboundary.london

6 The Culpeper, Spitalfields
A green rooftop garden that grows herbs and vegetables for the pub’s kitchen, Culpeper’s rooftop is charming oasis near Liverpool Street – you can even volunteer to tend to its plots. Already an excellent place for the list of natural wines and dishes making the most of nature’s bounty such as pickled mussels, roast parsnip, walnut mayo and watercress; and stuffed cabbages with spiced lentil and cauliflower, the rooftop garden just makes things better.
40 Commercial Street E1 6LPtheculpeper.com

7 Trinity Riverside Bar, Trinity Buoy Wharf
This glorious south-facing alfresco terrace by the Thames offers an expansive alfresco terrace with deckchairs and tables overlooking the river Thames and the O2 Arena. There’s an extensive menu of drinks, with beers, spirits, wine, cocktails, prosecco, mocktails, softies and hot drinks, as well as hearty burgers, hot dogs, wraps, nachos, flatbreads, salads and sweets like Belgian waffles and ice cream. There’s also large indoor lounge area, located in the Grade II listed Chainstore building.
64 Orchard Place, Trinity Buoy Wharf E14 0JW; trinitybuoywharf.com

8 TT Liquor, Shoreditch
TT Liquor has a garden roof terrace with great views over the City skyline this summer. As well as seating among the verdant greenery, there are covered and heated booths from which to enjoy summer spritzes, charcuterie and Neapolitan pizza made on-site by Good Fired Pizza. Booths are can be covered should the weather turn, and come heated too.
17 Kingsland Road, Shoreditch E2 8AA; ttliquor.co.uk

9 Upper 5th Shoreditch at Courthouse Hotel, Shoreditch
With a panoramic view over the City of London skyline, the Upper 5th Shoreditch is a sweet spot for a sunny summer’s evening. There’s comfy seating with table service, with light bites and sharing plates. Walk-ins seated on a first-come-first-served basis. Reservations are recommended for larger groups.
335-337 Old Street, Shoreditch EC1V 9LL; shoreditch.courthouse-hotel.com

10 Boisdale Garden Terrace, Canary Wharf
Boisdale of Canary Wharf usually transforms its popular outdoor space into something fabulous for summer, like a Jamaica Garden Terrace decked out with lush tropical plants and cascading palm trees. Rest assured delicious cocktails, fine wines and plenty of fizz will be available, as well as a seasonally appropriate, and very indulgent, menu.
Cabot Place, Canary Wharf E14 4QT; boisdale.co.uk

11 DalstonRoof Park, Dalston
Described as an ‘urban utopian oasis’ with views of the London skyline, Dalston Roof Park is Dalston’s only rooftop bar and music venue. Nestled among Hackney’s Victorian buildings and overlooking London’s skyscrapers, it’s a great spot to relax, eat, drink and dance. It’s run by the Bootstrap Charity, where all profits go back into empowering young people and businesses. Walk-ins only – first come, first served (unless there’s a special event on).
The Print House, 18-22 Ashwin Street E8 3DL; bootstrapcharity.com/dalston-roof-park

12 The Merchant, Canary Wharf
The Merchant has established itself as a place to enjoy great fresh food, cask ales, wines, eclectic beers and spirits, and simply unwind. The Merchant makes the most of Canary Wharf’s tranquil dockside terraces with 90 alfresco covers and heated parasols, all overlooking the North Quay. It’s a great spot to escape the hustle and bustle of Canary Wharf.
25-27 Fisherman’s Walk, Canary Wharf E14 4DH; themerchantcanarywharf.co.uk

13 The Sipping Room, Canary Wharf
The Sipping Room has a very Instagrammable Thames-side terrace – currently rocking the wisteria hysteria look as part of its Tanqueray Gin Garden Escape installation – this summer. A great one for those living and working in Canary Wharf, the expansive terrace is a great spot to soak up the sun and catch major sporting events on its outside TV with a beer or a gin and tonic.
West India Quay, 16 Hertsmere Road, Canary Wharf E14 4AX; drakeandmorgan.co.uk

14 Roof East, Stratford
Much more than a rooftop bar, Roof East is London’s biggest outdoor playground at a whopping 30,000sq ft. You can play bowls, belt out a tune at carpark karaoke, have a round of crazy golf and play a round of cornhole, where you throw bags into a hole. The bar serves wine, craft beers, softies and specially crafted cocktails and there’s street food from the likes of Naughty Burger, Raastawala and Piddaji.
7 & 8 Stratford Multi Storey Car Park, Great Eastern Road E15 1BB; roofeast.com

15 Hackney Bridge, Hackney Wick 
Hackney Bridge, from the team behind Pop Brixton and Peckham Levels, is a bar and food truck space as well as offering studios and coworking spaces too. It’s home to In The Courtyard, an alfresco drinking and dining hotspot for east London with bar and a revolving selection of street food traders. The Courtyard hosts events throughout the summer, including big sporting events like Wimbledon on a giant 2m by 3.5m outdoor screen.
Units 1-28, Echo Building, East Bay Lane E15 2SJ; hackneybridge.org

NORTH LONDON’s TOP Rootops, Alfresco TERRACES & courtyards

1 The Lighterman, King’s Cross
The Lighterman is a really lovely spot. It has a wraparound first-floor terrace and a canalside bar for more casual visits, but come for the views and linger for the food. While at first glance the menu seems fairly standard – fish and chips, rib-eye steak, pan-fried Loch Duart salmon – the calibre of the chefs (exec chef Diego Cardoso is ex- The Connaught  and ex- Murano, while head chef Aaron Ashmore was a Masterchef: The Professionals semi-finalist) elevates this food to an artform.
3 Granary Square, King’s Cross N1C 4BH; thelighterman.co.uk

2 The Standard London, King’s Cross
The Standard hotel open air rooftop offers a taste of New York’s iconic rooftop bars in London. The Standard Rooftop sits above the hotel’s 10th floor, serving a specially curated menu of cocktails, wine on tap and bottled beers. The hotel also offers a garden terrace at its all-day restaurant, Isla, serving traditional pub classics and NYC dive bar food.
10 Argyle Street WC1H 8EG; standardhotels.com 

3 Granary Square Brasserie, King’s Cross
Granary Square Brasserie has a great terrace overlooking – no prizes for guessing here – Granary Square. With over 70 covers, it’s one of London’s biggest terraces, and a great spot to grab a bite while you watch people frolic in the fountains on a hot day or steal yourself for a day exploring this incredibly transformed neighbourhood with its public art, canals and great shops.
Granary Square, 1-3 Stable Street, King’s Cross N1C 4AB; granarysquarebrasserie.com

4 The Albion, Islington
This Georgian pub has a quaint walled garden with wisteria spilling down from the trees, foliage-covered back wall, plant pots, hanging baskets and stone pillars. The Albion boasts a classic English menu that has chalked up a number of awards and recognition, and is a place to go when you want to impress someone on a ‘casual’ date.
10 Thornhill Road, Islington N1 1HW; the-albion.co.uk

5 The Canonbury Tavern, Islington
Since the early 1700s, Canonbury Tavern has been providing Londoners with the perfect spot to drink, eat and laugh with friends. Even George Orwell once sat writing his book 1984 here. Showcasing classic British pub food, hearty meals from the grill and, of course, a Sunday roast, everything’s a winner on Canonbury Tavern’s menu. No matter when you go, make sure you spend time in the back beer garden, which is one of the largest in London with the room to seat over 200 people.
21 Canonbury Place N1 2NS; thecanonbury.co.uk 

6 Smokehouse, Islington
This restaurant looks like a vintage doll’s house. But not only is it truly adorable, Smokehouse has won its fair share of plaudits for its original smoked and grilled food, great beers and small-vineyard wines. The outside space is enclosed by tall green hedges and accessed via a quaint leafy arch, where a chimenea at the far end keeps any evening chill at bay. There are also comfy cushioned banquets, ideal for enjoying a cold jug of Pimm’s while contemplating the menu of dishes like BBQ gilt head bream with Korean BBQ dressing and smoked bone marrow with pickled shallots and sourdough.
63-69 Canonbury Road, Islington N1 2DG; smokehouseislington.co.uk

7 The Skinny Kitchen, Islington
With branches in Islington, Canterbury and Ibiza, The Skinny Kitchen offers all-day dining for the health conscious, with nutritious, healthy meals served up from breakfast through to dinner. There’s also a lively bottomless brunch option at the weekend, complete with Ibiza-style DJs and live entertainment (calorie-counting and Keto diets are replaced with bottomless pornstar martinis or prosecco here). Located right by the Business Design Centre, The Skinny Kitchen has a great alfresco terrace, complete with pergola, fairy lights and leafy green plants to add a tropical touch.
52 Upper Street, Angel N1 0QH; theskinnykitchen.co.uk

8 Big Chill, King’s Cross
Kitsch and colourful furniture decks out this rooftop bar which claims to bring a taste of Shoreditch to King’s Cross. Atop a Victorian pub with a quirky interior, this rooftop bar is an excellent place for an elevated drink. The menu ranges from craft beer, cider and wine to cocktails like the Big Tea Party – Absolut, Beefeater, El Jimador, Appleton white, Triple sec, apple juice, lemon juice, bitters and blackcurrant jam. It does food, too, and brunch for the morning after.
257-259 Pentonville Road, King’s Cross N1 9NL; bigchillbar.com

9 The Lord Palmerston, TufnellPark
After an extensive renovation, The Lord Palmerston re-opens its doors; with a new look that combines the historic beauty of the pub with fresh and contemporary features. This neighbourhood favourite celebrates the best things in life: hearty British fare and London’s finest craft beer, all enjoyed in a relaxing environment. The traditional pub has been given a new lease of life with an all-weather terrace complete with finer, cosy features. This is the perfect place to enjoy a spot of al fresco dining or relaxed afternoon drinks.
33 Dartmouth Park Hill, Tufnell Park NW5 1HU; thelordpalmerston.co.uk

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