When the sun comes out it seems we want to be as close to the sun as possible…sky high to be precise. Contrary to popular opinion, London actually graces us with plenty of days that justify rooftop dining, drinking and dips, so read on for our pick of rooftop venues where you can marvel at the views, have a drink and enjoy a bite to eat.
Can’t make it to Cuba this year? Don’t worry Skylounge is bringing a taste of Cuba to Tower Hill, granted you won’t have the vintage cars and you will still be looking over the London skyline, but you will have Cuban cocktails from Havana Club Rum including mojitos and Cuba Libres and future classics including Mouse’s Ear made from Havana Club Especial, Ramazotti amaro, peanut orgeat, chocolate bitters and a peanut brittle garnish. To eat there’ll be fried green plantains with garlic mojo; Red Snapper ceviche with serrano chillies and a tomato jelly; pulled pork quesadillas and chargrilled octopus.
After Work Cocktails
Aviary is a new drinking destination aimed at city workers, nestled in between Old Street and Liverpool Street. The large marble bar serves botanically inspired sharing cocktails while the menu is full of raw plates, British meat from the 550°C cast iron Bertha coal oven and indulgent sides. The large rooftop terrace serves botanically-inspired cocktails in quirky glasses; think copper pineapples containing sharing cocktails and views of the Gherkin, the Shard, the Walkie Talkie and beyond.
Where: 10th Floor Montcalm Royal London House Hotel, 22-25 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1DX
Nearest station: Moorgate (Great Northern) (0.2 miles)
Mediterranean-Inspired Roof Terrace
You’ve probably heard the news the our favourite summer pop-up has ventured to Paddington, but if not: Pergola Paddington Central is open for lunch and dinner, 7 days a week and can cater to a whopping 850 guests. We mustn’t forget the White City original, though. Still promising street food from the likes of Patty & Bun and Breddos Tacos, outdoor day beds which can seat 13 and a roof for those unpredictable British showers, this year sees it transformed into a Hamptons-style haven.
Top-Notch French Restaurant
Famous for its fine French food, Orrery in Marylebone have a much better-kept secret: their stunning roof garden. A refurb last year saw it transformed into a relaxing Provençal garden which means only one thing – rosé. Browse the menu for dishes like Herbes de Provence-marinated artichokes and cheese from their award-winning cheese trolley and let the wafting lavender and olive trees transport you to Southern France.
Where: 55 Marylebone High Street, London, W1U 5RB, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Regent's Park (0.4 miles)
Tranquil Roof Gardens
Stepping out onto Kensington Roof Gardens, you’re struck by just how green it is. Exotic plants, palms and…flamingos make you question if you’re really still in Kensington but more importantly, it’s a fantastic place to have a drink or two. Visit the club at night to join Kensington’s best and brightest for a dance, come by in the day time and enjoy a stroll around the gardens free of charge, or take a seat in Babylon, the much-acclaimed seventh-floor restaurant, for mouthwatering modern British food and classic cocktails.
Where: 6th and 7th Floor, 99 Kensington High Street, Kensington, London, W8 5SA, United Kingdom
Nearest station: High Street Kensington (0.1 miles)
South London's Favourite Hangout
Frank’s Café isn’t just some bar which happens to have rooftop. Frank’s is a rooftop. Housed atop a multi-story carpark, it has become a key part of Peckham’s community, a unique place to hang out and chill in the summer. With a mixture of art installations, performance and film screenings, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. And if none of that grabs you, the views probably will.
London's Highest Gin Collection
Laid out over three floors of the Novotel Hotel in Canary Wharf, Bōkan features panoramic views of London’s skyline, the first to do so in Canary Wharf. The menu is casual, with small dishes like pugliese burrata and sea bass carpaccio with zingy lime. If a sit-down meal isn’t for you, you can head up to the 38th floor for lobster rolls, or to share boards of charcuterie and cheese. Plenty of space to explore, the terrace is also home to London’s highest gin collection.
Californian Beach Bar
Selfridges rooftop has become a bit of an icon. The winter forest is long gone and The Roof Deck Restaurant and Bar has been transformed for summer, inspired by America’s West Coast. Expect palm trees, a boardwalk and sandy floors across the open air restaurant and outdoor drinks terrace which will serve a healthy fish, salads and frozen cocktails to compliment the Californian lifestyle.
Private Hotel Roof Terrace
Usually reserved only for hotel guests, Ham Yard’s spectacular fourth-floor terrace has just been opened to the public for special occasions. Not only does it boast sweeping views across central London, there’s a fantastic bar with great cocktails, as well as special detox sessions like Equinox sunrise yoga. If you can’t stay in the hotel itself, keep an eye out for announcements about summer sessions – it really is worth a visit.
360 Degree Views of the Thames and Canary Wharf
Craft London offers you views of London from an angle you’ve probably never really seen. Look on over the city from Greenwich and enjoy a sophisticated drink in the stylish Tom Dixon-designed café, restaurant and rooftop cocktail bar before tucking in to Stevie Parle’s tempting food menu. Gaze over towards Greenwich Peninsula Garden and you’ll see the meadow, orchard, smoke house and beehives.
Where: Craft London, Peninsula Square, London, United Kingdom
Nearest station: North Greenwich (0.1 miles)
Rooftop Pool in Knightsbridge
So you’re in London, and suddenly the sun comes out. From being cold and windy, it’s now sweltering hot. You want somewhere to cool off and make the most of the sunshine. Head to The Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge, take the lift to the seventh floor and marvel at one of London’s rare rooftop pools. Beautiful mosaic tiling, poolside deckchairs and an excellent bar make this one of London’s foremost swimming pools.
Views of St Paul's Cathedral
Renowned for its views of St Paul’s, Madison’s should be on any rooftop bucket list that you might be compiling. Sitting on the penthouse of One New Change it makes for the perfect pit stop during shopping or for cocktails after work whilst you try and soak up as much of the sun as you can. If you’re celebrating then they also happen to do Jeroboams of Champagne…
Where: Rooftop Terrace, 1 New Change, St Pauls, London, EC4M 9AF, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Mansion House (0.2 miles)
London's Highest Public Garden
Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street is London’s largest highest public garden, with an open air terrace and observation deck. Whizz up to the Sky Pod Bar on the 35th floor when the sun is setting to get breathtaking 360 degree views of London or enjoy a civilised meal at Fenchurch Restaurant or Darwin Brasserie. You could do a lot worse than choosing here for a date.
Where: Sky Garden, 20 Fenchurch Street, London EC3M 8AF, UK
Nearest station: Monument (0.2 miles)
Views of Oxford Circus
High above the crowds of Regent Street, Aqua Nueva boasts some of London’s best views, from the heart of the city. Although a few people sneak up to the terrace just for the views, head to the bar and treat yourself to a Spanish-inspired cocktail or ‘Aqua Classic’ with a couple of plates of bar snacks to tide you over.
Radio Rooftop Bar
Leave the streets of London behind and head to the Radio Rooftop Bar which you’ll find right at the top of ME London. Head there on a sunny day and you’ll be forgiven for forgetting that you are in London, with it’s party atmosphere and look that wouldn’t be out of place in Ibiza. Make sure you order a couple of their tapas plates whilst you’re there too, well you’ll need something to accompany the cocktails…
Legendary Shoreditch Nightclub and Bar
For years, the Queen of Hoxton has enjoyed a special reputation in bar-packed Shoreditch. And when you see their rooftop, it’s not hard to see why. Climb the wide staircases and step outside, four storeys high. Expect big installations (winter sees an enormous wigwam set up), a couple of rooftop bars and spectacular views across the city and beyond. Even though it gets busy in good weather, there’s plenty of space. When the sun finally sets, head downstairs for a dance.
Hot Tub on the Roof
If you’re an in house guest at Sanctum Soho then you have access to 24 hour bar service on the roof terrace. So you can quaff Champagne under the stars (they are there if you really squint beyond the light pollution) and drink Bloody Marys at sunrise, if you’re so inclined. They also have a hot tub and a fireplace. Sounds ideal.
Where: 20 Warwick Street, Soho, London, W1B 5NF, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus (0.4 miles)
Shoreditch Cocktail Bar
On bustling Old Street you’ll find Golden Bee which is the perfect pit stop on the way home in the summer for post-work cocktails – you may even spot a celeb or two. They have an eclectic menu with cocktails including Porn Star Martinis, Summer in the City, Made in Old Street and a pretty extensive whisky list too and have doubled the size of their space for summer 2017. Rooftop cinema sessions and a two hour happy hour (5-7pm Tuesday – Friday) will keep you going back.
Opens 13th April
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