London’s Best Terraces and Rooftops for Drinking Al Fresco

Now we don’t want to tempt fate, but it looks like the warmer weather is here to stay. With that in mind and with many a long weekend on the way, we’ve uncovered the best London locations for al fresco sipping this season. From riverside rosé haunts to sky-high cocktails, this is where you’ll find us all summer long.


Head to the 14th floor of The Hoxton, Southwark, and you’ll find Seabird, a sprawling terrace complete with palm trees for sunnier spells (plus heaters and retractable awnings should rain stop play). We’d recommend booking an early evening table to watch the sunset over the city spires with a ‘Catch of the Day’ in hand (a suitably sea-swept libation, featuring Hendricks Neptunia, aquavit, dill syrup and olive brine). It’s home to London’s longest oyster list and an impressive raw bar, where you can take your pick from scallop ceviche to sweet Carlingfords – or push the boat out with their grand Cousteau, served on ice with sourdough, house mayonnaise, romesco, and lemon wedges.

South Bank, 40 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8NY. 020 7903 3050.

Petersham Nurseries

Anthophile or not, it’s hard to deny that Petersham Nurseries is one of London’s prettiest purlieus. Our favourite perch can be found in the bougainvillea-filled glasshouse restaurant, where you can peruse their impressive Italian wine list – spanning southern Sicily to Trentino – and tuck into seasonally-inspired plates, such as black Iberico tomato and apple bruschetta with horseradish butter and pickled fennel, and puntarella alla Romana with grumolo, chilli and anchovies.

Petersham Nurseries, Church Lane, Richmond TW10 7AB. 020 8940 5230.

Wild by Tart

Far from the maddening crowds – yet just a stones throw from Victoria Station – is Wild by Tart, a neighbourhood restaurant complete with a sun-dappled 24-seat terrace. Their cocktail list encapsulates their sustainable ethos, with many ingredients such as purées made in-house or sourced from the owners, Lucy Carr-Ellison and Jemima Jones, family farms. We can’t resist the Spicy Ginger Daiquiri (a fiery combination of cut spiced rum, ginger syrup, red chilli and lime), paired with smoked Catalan almonds and creamy burrata topped with confit tomatoes, pine nuts and fresh basil. After you’ve had your fill, be sure to stop by their indoor store, where you can browse Tart London’s range of homeware, including cutlery, crockery, and linen napkins.

3-4 Eccleston Yards, London SW1W 9AZ. 020 3848 6240.

The Terrace at The MAINE Mayfair

Located in the original gardens of 20 Hanover Square, this hidden 100-cover space is set to become one of London’s most sought-after summer spots. Expect abundant foliage, New England inspired striped awnings, and a tempting line-up of perfectly chilled rosé – if there’s a better backdrop for a sun-filled afternoon, we’re yet to find it. The terrace will also boast a central Champagne and cocktail bar, where you can indulge in Mayflower Martinis and the MAINE’s signature Bloody Shell (a spiced mix of Ketel One vodka, lobster bisque, tomato and clamato juice).

Medici Courtyard, 20 Handover Square, London W1S 1JY. 020 3432 2192.

The Garden at Corinthia

It’s no secret that the Corinthia has many a coveted corner to while away an evening, but our favourite in warmer weather is The Garden. This secluded courtyard is an oasis of olive trees and chic Mediterranean-inspired dishes (think the Amalfi coast, minus the air miles). To drink, rosé is de rigeur – with Minuty, Whispering Angel, and Domaines OTT by the glass or bottle – but there’s also an equally tempting cocktail menu to choose from including our favourite El Morro, a summer-ready mix of Tanqueray, Pimm’s, St. Germain and pink grapefruit juice.

Whitehall Pl, London SW1A 2BD. 020 7930 8181.

The Mitre

While London isn’t short of riverside venues, they don’t come chicer than The Mitre. Designed by award-winning designer, Nicola Harding, the interiors are second-to-none, and the prime table in the house can be found at the Whispering Angel Bar. Set right on the water, this is the perfect place for long lunching and if you feel like making a night of it then why not check in to one of their bedrooms, where rolltop baths, plush linen, and breakfast in bed awaits.

Hampton Court Road, Molesey, East Molesey KT8 9BN. 020 8979 9988

The Culpeper

A Spitalfields pub may not be your first port of call for al fresco drinking, but follow the winding stairs through The Culpeper’s pub, restaurant and rooms, and you’ll reach the rooftop. An urban garden at its space-defying best, all the ingredients grown are used in the drinks and dishes served, be that a cocktail garnish or a house-made pickle. They’ve recently launched their steal of a set lunch menu, which offers 6 sustainably-sourced dishes for just £35.

40 Commercial St, London E1 6LP. 020 7247 5371.


Opening its doors on 12th May, Wagtail will unveil three distinctive drinking and dining areas, but the rooftop – with 360-degree views of the city – should be your first port of call. The food and drink offering is a safely guarded secret as it stands, but with Philip Kearsey heading up the kitchen and Angelos Bafas (formerly SOMA, Aqua at The Shard, and Galvin at Windows) behind the bar, you can rest assured you’re in safe hands.

68 King William Street. London, EC4N 7HR.

Garden Terrace at The Hari

Boasting one of London’s hottest postcodes, The Hari in Knightsbridge is a haven in all weathers (thanks to a slick retractable roof), but it truly comes into its own in summer. From the 28th April, the space will be transformed into Le Jardin Minuty at The Hari, bringing a slice of the South of France to the city. Plates will be paired with Provence’s most popular export, with stand-out dishes including whipped cods roe with potato bread croutons and olive dust and pissaladière, a French onion tart with herb-laced cheese, anchovies and olives.

20 Chesham Pl, London SW1X 8HQ. 020 7858 0100.

Roof Garden at Pantechnicon

Come for the views over Belgravia’s rooftops, but stay for the natural wine list and Nordic spritzes (ours is a Hønefoss, if you’re wondering). But, truth be told, you’d be hard-pressed to order badly here, for all the cocktails are crafted by head mixologist Gento Torigata using fresh produce, house-made infusions and first class spirits. With a botanical-filled terrace and glass-covered interior, it’s all too tempting to let the afternoon run long into the evening.

19 Motcomb St, London SW1X 8LB. 020 7034 5426.

What to wear for outdoor drinks

When it comes to drinking al fresco, thought has to be considered in order to curate a seamless, elevated wardrobe. London can often boast unpredictable weather, and whilst we crave beautiful high summer days, there are often colder conditions to combat during the evening. Layering is of the utmost importance, perfect for throwing on over dresses or a cami top and trousers. When it comes to footwear, a considered pair of court shoes or heeled sandals are always a good choice, however consider the steps to your favourite rooftop bars.

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