Al fresco drinking isn’t just for summer, it’s for life. Just because the temperatures are dipping and we now can’t leave the house without multiple layers doesn’t mean that we can’t make the most of being outside still. All you need is a blanket, a mug of mulled wine and you’re good to go. Here are 9 festive winter rooftop and terraces that will make you want to embrace the night air.
What: Rooftop Winter Forest
Why: One of the most spoken about pop-ups of the summer, The Gardening Society on the rooftop of John Lewis Oxford Street is back with a bang. Out with the sunshine-soaked grass and in with warming cocktails, private dining lodges and hearty burgers as Mac & Wild take over the kitchen and Background Bars run the bar. The lodges are a highlight if you want a bit of privacy and the Downton Abbey-esque service bells mean you don’t have to leave the warm when you need another mulled spice negroni. And, because John Lewis sells everything, you can even buy your Christmas tree there if you don’t mind dragging it home.
7th November-31st December
Where: John Lewis, 300 Oxford Street, W1C 1DX
What: Narnia Hideaway
Why: Dalloway Terrace has been a must-visit since it launched, and even more so now it has been transformed into a winter wonderland thanks to genius florists Wild at Heart by Nikki Tibbles. Sparkling twigs hang from the ceiling and flickering lanterns sit on every table, where you can enjoy boozy hot chocolate and cheese or white chocolate fondue under cosy sheepskin rugs. A chocolate afternoon tea gives you reason to visit during the day whilst the Praline Vodka and Black Forest Gin cocktails will keep you there. A Saturday film club will run weekly with The Nomad Cinema complete with 30-foot screen and bespoke cocktails inspired by the film.
8th November-22nd December
Where: 16-22 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3NN
What: A Caledonian Christmas
Why: Adding to the festive afternoon tea, Winter Sparkler cocktail and Shopping in style package they’ve already got going on, Jumeirah Carlton Tower is giving you one more reason to visit now things are finally starting to feel festive. The Scottish Winter Terrace at The Rib Room Bar & Restaurant brings a taste of the Highlands to the city, in partnership with William Grant & Sons brands Glenfiddich and The Balvenie who have created some warming cocktails to go alongside tempting bar snacks. Keep an eye out for live music performances, tastings and masterclasses too.
20th November-25th January
Where: Jumeirah Carlton Tower, Cadogan Place, SW1X 9PY
What: Alpine Glamour
Why: The Goring is turning its veranda into an alpine bar with a sense of adventure and eclecticism. Inspired by The Cresta Run, St Moritz’s famous skeleton racing toboggan track (and favourite ski resort amongst the royal family) albeit far less hazardous, great cocktails and a glamorous setting make it somewhere you’ve want to while away the hours. The drinks have been created by bartenders from St Moritz’s famous Sunny Bar for an authentic taste of the slops - we like the sound of the Winter Magic Punch and the precariously named Shuttlecock, named after the Cresta Run’s infamous bend.
28th November-1st February
Where: 15 Beeston Place, Belgravia, SW1W 0JW
What: Luxury Rooftop Cinema
Why: One of the most exclusive rooftops in London, The Berkeley is transforming the rooftop of its health club into a festive cinema, and the best part is that you don't have to be a guest to get tickets. Mulled wine, heaters and hot water bottles will stave off the cold and because it's a 5-star hotel, the blankets aren't just any blankets - they're down feather blankets - and instead of slightly stale popcorn you can enjoy Champagne, mince pies and Christmas canapés. Choose between Miracle on 34th Street and Santa Claus: The Movie and pick your friends wisely - the cinema is so exclusive that there are only eight seats for each screening (2 per night at 5pm and 7pm). Weather permitting.
Where: Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, SW1X 7RL
What: A Winter Fairy Tale
Why: Coq d'Argent is once again transforming its terraces into ‘Lodge d’Argent’, although this year it's inspired by Little Red Riding Hood. Rustic wooden walls, fur blankets and the necessary heaters are made all the more authentic with warming cocktails and holiday favourites like raclette gratin and indulgent chestnut macaroons as well as a selection of Hennessey cocktails. Hopefully the Big Bad Wolf of Wall Street types stay away.
23rd November-28th February
Where: No.1 Poultry, City of London, EC2R 8EJ
What: Nordic Winter Forest
Why: This summer it was all about Pergola on the Roof, the Mediterranean- inspired roof garden on top of the Television Centre, but now winter is coming...you’ve probably noticed how you now commute in the dark. The theme is a Nordic winter forest and they have a tree lined walkway and a dome that apparently is all sorts of weather proof to keep you snug throughout. The white-washed walls have been replaced with burgundy colours, deep bark forest flooring and plenty of holly, ivy and winter flowers. On the food front Patty & Bun are back with their burgers and joining them will be Snaps & Rye, Gunpowder and Le Bab.
From 3rd November
Where: Television Centre, Wood Lane, Shepherd's Bush, W12 7RJ
What: Skye Halla Nordic Rooftop
Why: This winter, Shield – Maiden Skye has pitched up at the Queen of Hoxton’s Winter Wigwam in her Nordic Viking long boat. She’s brought her band of noble savages with her as they celebrate their victorious battle with decadent feasting and plenty of mead in slurped from drinking horns. Join them at the banquet table for the likes of Týr’s Sloe Gin turkey leg and Hodhr’s Hotpot pork belly hot pot with apples, potatoes, herb, wild and smoked garlic. There’ll also be events taking place throughout the season including the art of etching and a braid bar. Let’s all raise a skål to the best food and wine this side of Ægir.
Now - March 2017
Where: 1 Curtain Road, Hoxton, EC2A 3JX
What: Ski Terrace with Grey Goose Vodka
Why: So you're in London wishing you were skiing instead? We can't get you to the mountains but we can tell you about the Courthouse Hotel's winter terrace which is bringing the après to Soho. Having teamed up with Grey Goose you can warm up with Grey Goose cocktails such as the L'Orange which has a smoky orange flavour and the La Poire which has warming plum notes. Food will include smoky chorizo in red wine and piping hot sticky toffee. Pull up a pew in the snug fleece lined chairs and wrap up under a blanket, it might not be the Alps but it is London and it will be cold.
15thNovember - February 2017
Where: 19-21 Great Marlborough Street, Soho, W1F 7HL