The Best Beer Gardens in South West London

From Balham to Battersea and Wandsworth to Wimbledon, The Resident picks out some of the best beer gardens in south west London

Lead image: The Avalon, Clapham South

When are the pubs reopening?!
Most pubs are due to reopen their outdoor spaces on 12 April, but those with no or limited outside space will have to hold on till 17 May. Reopening dates, where we can find them, are listed below…

1 The Avalon, Clapham South
The Avalon’s doesn’t just have a beer garden, it has gardens plural! There’s the ginormous rear garden with mature trees, raised beds, private ‘zones’ and giant bean bags. There’s also a covered courtyard with heaters and a terrace out front with awnings and heaters. A lot of care has gone into the planting of the Avalon’s outdoor spaces, making it easy to forget you’re in busy ol’ London.
16 Balham Hill, Balham SW12 9EB;
Reopening date: 12 April

2 The Devonshire, Balham
Balham’s ‘best kept secret’ is The Devonshire’s sun trap of a beer garden. Tucked away behind the pub on the corner of Balham High Road and Balham New Road, it usually features burger shacks, cute little beach huts, deck chairs and a real-life tree. It’s suns out, guns out at the cheekily Instagrammable Balham Beach Club… For something a little more low key, pop your bot’ on a bench on the terrace out front.
39 Balham High Road SW12 9AN;
Reopening date: 12 April

3 Hand in Hand, Wimbledon
If it can claim Wimbledon Common as its own, then the Hand in Hand, skirting the home of the Wombles, should easily be able to claim the crown of best beer garden in London… 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;
Reopening date: 12 April

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 Wandsworth Bridge 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;
Reopening date: 12 April

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 boasts an infamous back garden complete with a burger shack and bookable garden huts, as well as an all-day barbecue. Out front, things remain more casual with a few traditional picnic benches. Either way, The Leather Bottle is an understandably popular summertime hangout for south west Londoners.
538 Garratt Lane, Earlsfield SW17 0NY;
Reopening date: 12 April

6 The Magic Garden, Battersea
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 more of a 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’. 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;
Reopening date: Unconfirmed. The Magic Garden is fighting for survival following the Covid-19 closures. Pitch in at

7 The Queen Adelaide, Wandsworth
With history, and charm, dating back to the late 18th century, the Queen Adelaide has mastered the art of the perfect pub. From the warm and comfortable dining room and secret garden out back, the Queen Adelaide is the perfect place to while the day away with friends. There are pretty pergolas, snazzy soft furnishings and snack shacks come. There’s even enough room for a big screen when the big summer of sports rolls around.
35 Putney Bridge Road, Wandsworth SW18 1NP;
Reopening date: 12 April

8 The Garden Shed Pub, Wimbledon
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 (especially if you’re from New Zealand, as this place offers a Kiwi twist on a London Pub). Their famous garden bar is a great summer hangout, and there’s a conservatory too for chillier days. Their burgers, pizza and classic cod and chips are pretty good, too.
145 Haydons Road, Wimbledon SW19 1AN;
Reopening date: 12 April

9 The Alexandra, Wimbledon
There’s nothing like a rooftop terrace for soaking up the sun and catching up. If it gets a little chilly as the evening progresses, hot water bottles and blankets are on hand, so you can focus on enjoying the traditional menu of fish and chips or socialise over a sharing board. There’s also DJs at the weekend if you’re after a more lively atmosphere come sundown.
33 Wimbledon Hill Road SW19 7NE;
Reopening date: 12 April

10 The Perky Nel, Clapham
The Perky Nel opened its doors in March 2019 to perk up Cavendish Parade with a new drinking and dining spot where the rather rowdy Gigalum once reigned supreme. Run by the Livelyhood group (The Clapham North, The Regent and The Old Frizzle), The Perky Nel has more of a brunch vibe, with the large west-facing terrace festooned with pretty lights and plants. Expect pub classics but with added consideration, from gluten-free burgers to vegan-friendly dishes, specials and a kids menu. Come Sunday it’s time for a roast.
7-8 Cavendish Parade, Clapham SW4 9DW;
Reopening date: 12 April

11 Waterside, Fulham
The Waterside in Fulham, recently refurbed, is a grand, three-story pub located in Imperial Wharf with elegant dining, opulent interiors and great views. It also has an expansive Thames-side terrace with plenty of seating, a light, airy conservatory opening onto the river and great views, making The Waterside is a summer essential or anything from brunch to cocktails and even a sunny Sunday roast.
The Boulevard, Imperial Wharf SW6 2SU;
Reopening date: 12 April

12 The Castle, Tooting
Established back in 1832, The Castle in Tooting is a cavernous pub with a generous outdoor space to match. There’s plenty of seating, in both heated cabins and in the open air, so even on the hottest, busiest days of the year you’re sure to find a spot for your crew to soak it all up.
38 Tooting High Street SW17 0RG;
Reopening date: 12 April

13 The Mere Scribbler, Streatham
The Mere Scribble, another one from the Livelyhood group, aims to inspire the writer in you. It’s amazing what a few tipples of a Tuesday afternoon can do for writer’s block… Situated opposite Streatham Common, the pub is relaxed and cosy inside, with a rather cool outside space featuring a very pretty bird-cage-cum-pergola thingy and a few covered spots should the weather not play ball.
426 Streatham High Road SW16 3PX;
Reopening date: 12 April