When the sun is shining London goes searching for beer gardens and outside spaces. In Chelsea, choose to while away a summer’s afternoon in an elegant orangery or a secluded garden, whether you’re on the King’s Road or at Chelsea’s Imperial Wharf
1 The Ivy Chelsea Garden
Alfresco socialising is elevated at The Ivy Chelsea Garden, an enchanting setting and a place where you’ll want to be seen. The garden is adorned with ornate pots, wisteria, climbing ivy and garden sculptures; a gorgeous fountain sits in the middle and there are plenty of secret nooks and comfy cushions where you can recline in comfort in the pretty surroundings. Bear in mind that this is a restaurant, so not a drinking hole, but the exemplary food alone is worth a visit and the atmosphere is suitably relaxed. There is an all-day menu and a brunch offering for weekends, with everything from sandwiches and lighter dishes to a substantial mains selection – all crowd-pleasing choices.
197 King’s Road SW3 5ED; theivychelseagarden.com
2 The Phene
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. Another reason to come is for the quality seasonal dishes; the Phene’s signature lobster and chips is a must.
9 Phene Street, Chelsea SW3 5NY; thephene.com
3 The Jam Tree
With one of the best pub gardens anywhere in London, The Jam Tree Chelsea has alfresco drinking covered with its expansive space, outdoor BBQ, cocktails and outdoor heaters. There are even free hog roasts that run every second Thursday from 4 June until the end of August. Your main problem will be trying to secure an area so make sure you get here early.
541 Kings Road, Chelsea SW6 2EB; thejamtreechelsea.com
4 The Chelsea Courtyard
Tucked between two beautiful Victorian buildings, metres from the King’s Road, The Chelsea Courtyard Bistro and Bar is a tranquil oasis offering alfresco drinking and dining. A showcase for The Chelsea Gardener flagship store, the courtyard is a lush, botanical escape, brimming with plants and foliage, providing both sunny spots and cool shady areas to relax. Do try the cocktails, which have a particular focus on botanical ingredients.
151 Sydney Street, Chelsea SW3 6NT; thechelseacourtyard.com
5 The Anglesea Arms
This is a charming, traditional pub with an easy-going feel – it’s extremely popular for good reason. In addition to a constant rotating array of ales and servings of Pimms in the summer, the Arms’ historical connections are another great pull – Charles Dickens and DH Lawrence reputedly frequented many evenings here. Come on a warm evening and you’ll find the garden packed with South Kensington locals and young professionals, making it a fantastic choice for post-work drinks.
15 Selwood Terrace, South Kensington SW7 3QG; angleseaarms.com
Always popular with Chelsea denizens and tourists, Bluebird has upped its game since its summer terrace was stylishly renovated, elegantly clad in grey paved flooring and green shrubbery. It’s an excellent choice for food and cocktails – and people watching.
350 King’s Road, Chelsea SW3 5UU; bluebird-restaurant.co.uk
7 The Imperial Arms
Set in a stunning Victoria building, The Imperial Amrs garden is an elegant space inside and out. During the summer, the setting becomes a suntrap during the day but as the sun sets, it’s also a lovely place to enjoy an evening meal. The décor is Ibiza-style and the atmosphere is chilled – you certainly won’t think you are just off the King’s Road. Food is seasonal and locally sourced, and there are plenty of sharing-style dishes. The garden is also dog-friendly should you want to pop in with a furry friend.
577 King’s Road SW6 2EH; the-imperial-arms.com
8 The Waterside Bar & Kitchen
Only a stone’s throw from Chelsea Harbour is The Waterside Inn, a great outdoor setting furnished with comfy rattan sofas and bright-coloured cushions that overlooks the River Thames. The pub is part of the Young’s family so the food and drink choices are fairly reliable. There is a modern British menu, plus a good range of stone baked pizzas on offer – it makes a great choice for a leisurely Sunday afternoon catch-up with friends.
The Boulevard, Imperial Wharf, SW6 2SU; watersidelondon.com