As soon as the sun starts to shine, thirsty Londoners ask ‘which pub has the best beer garden?’ Make the most of the sunshine and good weather with our pick of the five best beer gardens in south-west London
1 The Avalon, Clapham South
The Avalon’s Summer Garden may take you by surprise as you enter it through a small door from the dining room, and step out into a ginormous garden. Its impressive space is dotted with mature trees and raised beds, with its own private ‘zones’, including an all-weather section with large umbrellas, teak furniture and shrubbery and a secluded, centred area around a tiered fountain and with tall plants all around. It’s easy to forget you’re in London and days can slip by rather too easily…
16 Balham Hill, Balham SW12 9EB; 020 8675 8613; theavalonlondon.com
2 The Devonshire, Balham
Balham’s ‘best kept secret’, according to The Devonshire pub, is the sun trap of a beer garden behind its building on the corner of Balham High Road and Balham New Road. If the sun is feeling shy, you can still enjoy a drink in the fresh air without catching a chill, in the pub garden’s heated and covered corner. Be sure to order food from the BBQ or the regular menu inside.
The Devonshire, 39 Balham High Road, SW12 9AN; 020 8673 1363; dukeofdevonshirebalham.com
3 Hand in Hand, Wimbledon
If it can claim Wimbledon Common as its own, then the Hand in Hand on the edge of the common is the winner of the best beer garden in London in our opinion… but that might be cheating. Still, its very own courtyard is an excellent alfresco space. Combined with the low-ceilings and cottage vibes of the pub, it maintains a village atmosphere despite still being in London.
6 Crooked Billet, Wimbledon Common SW19 4RQ; 020 8946 5720; youngs.co.uk
4 The Ship, Wandsworth
Does South West London have a beer garden more in demand than The Ship in Wandsworth? A favourite of ale/wine-swigging revellers from both sides of the river it resides on, this oh-so popular pub by WandsworthBridge has made the most of its off-the-beaten-track location. Founded in 1786 as a Thameside Waterman’s Inn, The Ship has stood the test of time – and is it any wonder with its vast and crowd-pleasing outside space?
41 Jews Row, Wandsworth SW18 1TB; 020 8870 9667; theship.co.uk
5 The Leather Bottle, Earlsfield
A pub rich with history, The Leather Bottle on Garratt Lane began life as an inn and hostelry, with a blacksmith attached to the side of the building, nowadays its boosts an infamous back garden. Complete with an all-day barbecue, this atmospheric pub garden is a popular summertime haunt for South-West Londoners, and has real log fires for when the temperatures start to drop.
538 Garratt Lane, Earlsfield SW17 0NY; 020 8946 2309; leatherbottlepub.co.uk
6 The Magic Garden
The pub that does it all, The Magic Garden will fit whatever mood you’re in. With an eclectic and cosy garden and interior, the Magic Garden has enough personality to overflow onto the streets. If you’re in the mood for a more party scene, stop by on the weekends, listen to some great DJs and check out why they describe themselves as a ‘festival in a pub’. If you’re looking for a more low-key atmosphere, swing by during the week and relax in their comfy armchairs and enjoy lunch and drinks (warm cappuccinos or refreshing cocktails).
231 Battersea Park Road SW11 4LG; 020 7622 4844; magicgardenpub.com
7 The Queen Adelaide
With history, and charm, dating back to the late 18th century, the Queen Adelaide pub has mastered the art of the perfect pub. From the warm and comfortable dining room and tasting table inside to the inviting secret garden out back, the Queen Adelaide is the perfect place to while the day away with friends. Whether you try one of their seasonal dishes from their ever-changing menus, simply grab a drink from their extensive drink menu or both, you won’t regret stopping by the Queen Adelaide.
35 Putney Bridge Road, Wandsworth SW18 1NP; 020 8874 1695; thequeenadelaide.co.uk
8 The Garden Shed Pub
If you’re looking for a pub that feels like home, look no further than the Garden Shed Pub. With comfy couches, booths galore and the latest sports match going on in the background, nowhere could feel more like home (other than your actual home, of course). Make sure any of their delicious burgers, pizza or the classic cod and chips while lounging out back in their famous garden bar and conservatory.
145 Haydons Road, Wimbledon SW19 1AN; 020 8543 0445; thegardenshedpub.com