Just because the nights are darker and the air is colder doesn’t mean that London closes all its rooftops. This winter you’ll find rooftop ice-skating, rooftop igloos, rooftop cinemas and rooftop feasts. You’ll be transported to the South Pole, to Marrakesh and into secret gardens. You’ll feast on mince pies and croque monsieur and sip on hod toddies, hot chocolate and spiced buttered rum. Rooftops after all are for all year round, not just for summer…
Proud Camden's Winter Roof Gardens
Proud Camden had such success with their summer roof garden that they have decided to give it a winter make over. The terraces are now heated and covered in comfy cushions for you to collapse on with some delicious nibbles from the new winter menu. There are smaller bites available, but if you are in need of some serious nourishment, you can wrap your lips around a foot long juicy bratwurst, and pick at a bowl sweet potato fries. Cradle your cocktail close as you look down upon Camden’s historic stable markets, but be sure not to spill it on any suspecting passers by, you are on a rooftop remember.
Oxford Street's Abandoned Rooftop Fair Ground
The first winter pop-up at the venue on top of Oxford Street (over the summer it was Sisu), design team DENLDN have taken their inspiration from an abandoned urban fairground with animal see-saws, tea cup fairground ride booths, swings, log tables and hot gin punch and Negronis on tap. They’ve teamed up with croque-monsieur street food connoisseurs, Madame & Monsieur to serve up grilled cheese sandwiches including Le French, Le Swiss and Le Welsh as well as London Raclette on potatoes.
With just eight seats and set in a secret rooftop garden, The Berkeley’s winter cinema is like non-other. Throughout December, there will be daily screenings of Miracle on 34th Street and Elf and then in January they’ll be back Thursday to Saturday with new films. To stop you getting cold (because cinemas are normally freezing even when they aren’t outside) you’ll find Moncler fur wraps, fleecy rug, hot water bottles and fluffy cushions. Add in mince pies and hot chocolates or if you’re going all out, Champagne, and you have yourself the perfect winter evening.
Opens 1st December
Where: Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7RL, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner (0.3 miles)
John Lewis = Christmas
Christmas pretty much starts when you first see the John Lewis advert. Until then you can drink hot toddies, sing carols and snuggle up in lodges at The Gardening Society – the rooftop at John Lewis Oxford Street. When it comes to food, the final residency of the year comes from the acclaimed Somerset based restaurant, The Ethicurean. Dishes include The Ethicurean Christmas pie made from venison and Pipers farm bacon with port stout, buttered mashed potato and cider and juniper sauce and London Stout pudding, said to be served with an inappropriate amount of cream. As it should be.
Rooftop Ice Skating
Skylight will be laying out their 10th storey ice rink for experienced pros and absolute beginners. You can bring your own skates, or you can rent them there. Skate around in circles, enjoy ice-hockey slap-shots or come and experience one of the icy performances being hosted throughout the festive season. As well as a frozen lake of ice the venue will be serving up mulled wine, craft beers and seasonal cocktails, perfect to keep up stamina as you Tourvel and Dean it round the former carpark turned venue! Meanwhile, recover on the fully heated 9th floor where you can warm your cockles, rest your legs and more importantly indulge in street food and guzzle as much cheese and chocolate fondue as you can humanly manage as you enjoy your ‘apres-skate’ in style. All this comes accompanied by the beat of live DJs.
Igloos and Sliders
A car park might not seem like the most festive of places, but that’s probably because you haven’t been to Roof East. If you were to go to Roof East and were to go in their 80s neon retro-chic ski lodge and then cosy up inside a snow globe and feast on hot toddies and croque monsieur before having a go at sliders. Well, if you were to do all of that, then you would probably say that a car park is a rather festive place.
This December, ME London Hotel will be bringing the Alps to London with their #ApresWithAView rooftop pop-up. On arrival to ME London you’ll be handed your lift pass before you ascend to Radio and settle in for the evening in one of their three luxuriously furnished cable cars. There’ll be spiced rum eggnog served in chocolate cups, magnums of Veuve Clicquot and decadent truffle cheese fondue and boards of charcuterie.
Opens December 1st
South Pole Saloon
There’s a band of rebels in Brixton – a group of elves who have broken free from the shackles of Bad Santa. They’ve set up home on Brixton Rooftop, bringing their South Pole Saloon to south London. To make their stay more comfortable they’ve brought with them street food favourites Mac to the Future, The Lambassadors, Vudu Food and Fancy Funkin Chicken. Of course, after their days working non-stop for Santa they’ll need plenty of cocktails and they’ve managed to get ABQ to join them on their roof to serve up molecular cocktails. We’ve also heard that the rebel elves and candy cane girls will be joined by DJs for a series of live music nights and DJ sets. Unlike the South Pole, however, the rooftop will be fully covered and heated!
Opens Thursday 23rd November
Inspired by Marrakesh
In amongst the Christmas and alpine themed rooftops is the Queen of Hoxton. They are looking to warmer climates, to the romance, mystery and intrigue of Marrakesh. Granted they might not be able to bring the temperatures to London, nor can they fly us all out there. What they can do though is fill their rooftop with intoxicating colours, the heady scent of shisha and twinkling lanterns. You’ll find a secret snug (or not so secret now) hidden inside a giant Moroccan lamp where you can drink spiced hot buttered rum and sweet cardamom spiced coffee. Throughout the winter they’ll also be hosting various workshops including how to make Moroccan shoes; film screenings, life drawing and comedy evenings.
Igloos at Altitude
If you’d rather be looking out rather than up, then the Aviary Igloos is where you need to be. Rise above the hubbub of the busy London streets, feast on a three course festive dinner, and relax in an igloo at altitude. Snuggle down against the cold and experience some Scandi-style in the sky.
Where: 10th Floor Montcalm Royal London House Hotel, 22-25 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1DX
Nearest station: Moorgate (Great Northern) (0.2 miles)