Hungry for more? Check out London’s best restaurants with a view.
Restaurant terraces with outdoor dining
Flora, JOY at Portobello, Ladbroke Grove
Stevie Parle’s latest venture combines restaurant, music venue and shop showcasing small-batch wines and brews (Howling Hops, Wiper & True, The Kernel) and an abundance of Kentish produce from Canterbury’s Goods Shed. The latter is used in the seasonal dishes at Joy’s outdoor terrace restaurant, Flora. In summer, savour clams with salty guanciale pieces and bright, fresh peas, alongside a Venetian Select spritz beneath the parasols. Come winter, book one of the stylish-yet-cosy pavilions for six nestled around an open fire pit. Tuck into swiss chard gratin, veal shin with anchovy and rosemary sauce, pumpkin sticky toffee pudding and much more. Or call ahead to order the four-course truffle menu.
The Pilgrm, Paddington
This boutique hotel on a pretty Victorian terraced street in Paddington has a hidden secret at the top of its original mahogany staircase… A retro-chic lounge, scattered with coral and olive velvet chairs and marble tables, is the perfect hideaway for brunch or date-night cocktails. Doors open onto a cosy terrace, where you can sit under blankets with a hot chocolate or eggnog and enjoy the bustle of Paddington from a distance. Tuck into brioche brunch baps, including thick-cut bacon with house-made ketchup and smashed avocado with feta and olive salsa. Don’t forget to peruse the grocery store-cum-coffee shop on your way out, stocked with Workshop Coffee, fig jam, Cretan woodland honey and more.
CRATE Brewery, Hackney Wick
There are few more lovely places to spend an afternoon than on the canal outside CRATE’s tap room in Hackney. Each week there’s a selection of guest bottles from a fruity brown ale to a dark Indian pale ale as well as regular casks and kegs of zingy lemon gose, velvety Crate stout and a crisp Crate cider. They do great pizza, too, such as sage and truffle, middle eastern lamb and spicy salami.
Vinegar Yard, London Bridge
From the folks behind London Bridge’s popular foodie destination Flat Iron Square, this amalgamation of drinking terraces, bars and street-food trucks is a great ‘al fresco’ hangout. Choose an Atlantic IPA from the bar that shares a space with artist Joe Rush’s workshop (check out his installations made from scrap metal scattered around the space), or order a glass of fizz from the pastel-pink prosecco van.
Take your drink of choice to the covered grassy area of benches and tuck into street food from Baba G’s (chicken tikka burgers, loaded masala fries and poppadom nachos slathered in Indian salsa and fresh mint raita), Up in My Grill (perfectly pink flame-grilled bavette or picanha steak on beef dripping fries with chimichurri) or Nanny Bill’s (burgers and croquettes galore).
The Waterway, Little Venice
This large canal-side terrace is an ideal spot for alfresco eating and drinking. The large dining deck is well-equipped with huge parasols and patio heaters so you can sit out until late at night all year round.
Huge goblets of gin are spruced up in perfect serves – Plymouth gin comes with refreshing lemon tonic, grapefruit peel and a stalk of lemongrass – or stick to one of the many wines or craft beers. Seared tuna fillet is perfectly pink with a tomato salsa, red peppers and artichoke, half rotisserie corn-fed chicken comes with French fries and slaw, and there are plenty of burgers to choose from, including the super deluxe beef burger with foie gras, crisp bacon and tomato chutney.
Hidden gardens with outdoor dining
No.16, South Kensington
As soon as you step through the door of this pristinely manicured mid-Victorian white townhouse, hidden just minutes from South Kensington tube station, co-owner Kit Kemp’s bold statements make themselves known. Textiles in the suite of drawing rooms range in colour from pistachio and pink to stylish yellow and purple, with unique artwork throughout – a huge wall-mounted birdcage marks the entranceway, books line the walls, and hand painted puppets guard the honesty bar stocked with spirits, wines and bubbles.
Continue through to The Orangery for afternoon tea in a terracotta-walled room with tribal statement vases and artwork, brightened by sunshine bursting through floor-to-ceiling French windows.
If it’s a nice day, make the most of No.16’s hidden garden oasis and enjoy a glass of wine in a thick-cut glass goblet, or afternoon tea perched on pale green garden furniture under elegant white parasols. Vases of white flowers dress the tables and Kit Kemp’s personalised Wedgewood crockery adds a bit of fun, with dancing mythical creatures from her favourite Indian fabric that literally look like they have been stitched on to teacups and saucers.
If you’re lucky enough to bag the tiny gazebo, you can look back on the garden, complete with stone fountain bubbling away in the rectangular fish pond.
Petersham Nurseries Café, Richmond
Seasonal, Italian-inspired dishes are the focus at this charming café set within a glasshouse. Try risotto with peas, garden mint and Parmesan or spiced chickpeas with broccoli, courgette and nigella seed flatbread. Many ingredients come from Petersham itself, and, among others, you’ll find herbs, cherries and salsify growing along its walls. Supplementary produce comes from a tight-knit network of small producers such as Haye Farm, run by Harry Boglione, a son of Petersham’s founders. In summer, you can dine outside under a canopy of wisteria surrounded by roses.
Rooftop bars and restaurants
Boundary Rooftop, Shoreditch
Boundary Rooftop is the ideal spot to rise above the streetside hustle and sip cocktails as the sun sets over a slightly hushed, 360-degree view of London. Shelter under the pergola and a string of fairy lights with a seasonal cocktail and a sharing plate of octopus and chorizo skewers, or fish or meat dishes cooked on a Robata grill. Or just head up after dinner and sit by the outdoor fireplace nursing a digestive glass of vielle prune.
The Culpeper, Spitalfields
There are scant opportunities to escape the concrete and grime in London, which makes the rooftop garden at this handsome Spitalfields boozer all the more precious. Its raised beds and greenhouse (which doubles as a private dining room), provide herbs, salad leaves, tomatoes and aubergines for dishes, such as heritage tomato, peach and cucumber salad, or courgette risotto with goat’s curd and mint.
Skylight at Tobacco Dock
Head to Skylight Rooftop for some of the best views of London along with street food, après ski vibes and seasonal cocktails. Split over three levels, there are plenty of seating areas to choose from.