As seasons give way, one to another, so too rooftops. Summer rooftops, flowing with Pimm’s and Prosecco, pretty dresses and promise are replaced by winter coats, warming cocktails, Christmas and cosiness. And the array of rooftop venues getting into (and onto) the winter spirit is long and illustrious, so here are some of our favourites…
It’s a winter whopper in Wapping: Skylight’s winter rooftop is back! Or, at least, it’s about to be. Launching at the end of the month, Skylight Rooftop will be rolling out the ice skating rink, the igloos (and huts) and launching a whole new range of warm Christmassy cocktails, mulled wine and street food.
Where: Tobacco Dock, Pennington Street entrance, St Katharine's and Wapping, E1W 2SF
An enchanted wood overlooking St Pauls and twinkling with fairylights and woodland foliage (can foliage twinkle?) That’s what visitors to Madison can expect this winter, add in glasses of Handbook favourite tipple Moët and you’ve got yourself the ideal winter rooftop. Sit in your ‘Little Lodge’, sip Champagne or a Belvedere cocktail and take in the view…
Where: Rooftop Terrace, 1 New Change, St Pauls, London, EC4M 9AF, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Mansion House (0.2 miles)
Austria: 2 hours by plane or 30 seconds by lift. Head to Savage Garden, the city rooftop bar, and hit Savage Schloss. The Austrian ski lodge promises glühwein and cheesy music as it brings the apres ski of St Anton to London. Order a stein of bier and relax.
Where: 7 Pepys Street, Tower Hill EC3N 4AF
Nearest station: London Fenchurch Street (0 miles)
Endlessly stylish Radio Rooftop this week bids farewell to its Spirit of Summer garden and is on the cusp of announcing their winter theme. We’ll keep you updated, but either way but suffice it to say that this 10th floor rooftop is one of the places to head for some winter rooftopping.
Where: RADIO Rooftop at ME London, 336-337 Strand, WC2R 1HA
FEST Camden, where German sausage jokes are the FEST (see what we did there? Wurst joke ever?) Someone at FEST clearly enjoys wearing lederhosen because they’ve taken the Bavarian theme and run amok with ‘WinterFEST’. Expect to see oompah bands, German beers, BBQ schnitzel and burgers covered in sauerkraut, not to mention glühwein. As if das roof terrace doesn’t sound cosy enough, WinterFEST will be putting on a number of outdoor cinema screenings with classic rom-coms like Dirty Dancing, Notting Hill and Pretty Woman featuring throughout the season.
Where: Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road, Camden, NW1 8AH
Google, Phillips and John Lewis walk into a bar: not the most boring FT corporate story of all time but rather a reality on the roof at John Lewis Oxford Street. The three household names have clubbed together to bring The Winter Carnival, a winter rooftop that’s both hi-tech and Christmassy.
So there’s curling, but it uses the technology of Google’s Pixel 4 and Google’s Nest Mini to judge the results. There’s a House of Lights, where you can use Philips Hue lighting to create various effects. And, conveniently, you can just wander a floor or so down and buy all the tech from the relevant department in the store below. For anyone still using quill pens and enjoying face-to-face conversations, there’ll be all the usual pop-up food and drink places, though these include a coffee cart touting the new Oracle Touch Espresso Machine.
Where: 300 Oxford Street, Marylebone, W1C 1DX
Winter at SFG Club at Roof East means the world’s favourite broom based sport. After quidditch. The Stratford venue is the ideal place to come and enjoy multi-storey carpark fun and certainly beats. The curling went live at the start of October, we await further winter-rooftoppy-ness to come (last year they went for a Cool Runnings theme).
Where: Floors 7 & 8, Stratford Multi Storey Car Park Great Eastern Way, E15 1XE
We already know that you’re partial to an igloo, and the fact you’re reading this suggests you’re not too anti-rooftops. But this is going to blow your mind… Imagine igloos… on a rooftop. Yes. See! *kaboom*. Welcome to Aviary.
The igloos (technically we’re convinced they’re ‘pods’ but why split hairs when there’s Talisker Whisky on offer?) are perched 10 floors up on Aviary’s terrace and come complete with sheep pelts and whiskey (they’ve been dubbed the ‘Skye-line igloos’, which we feel is pretty strong punning.)
Where: 10th Floor Montcalm Royal London House Hotel, 22-25 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1DX
Nearest station: Moorgate (Great Northern) (0.2 miles)
Remember the time that your brain exploded because someone put an igloo on a rooftop? (hopefully not, it’s about 50 words ago). Well hold onto your hat…
Show me the rooftop igloo?’ In a mo’! No, actually, inamo. The Camden rooftop igloos serve Inamo’s tasting menu and sharing menu, including their sushi platters, with the three pods sporting all the sheepskin warmth you’d hope for when you’re perched on a fairy light lit rooftop in the mid-winter cold. The pods are dressed with floral decorations and feature their own heaters (phew!) and, in case you were panicking about the tunes, their own speaker systems. They are also a welcome reminder that there’s more to inamo than their interactive tables.
Where: 265 Hampstead Road, Kings Cross, NW1 7QX
Pergola is, technically, no longer ‘on the roof’, because, well, they’ve added a roof, albeit temporary. But it nevertheless remains one of our favourite winter rooftops (again, technically not a rooftop), and this year they’re back with their urban winter forest. A rooftop (ahem) full of hidden gardens, brunching, daybeds and DJs. Welcome back Pergola Paddington (not a rooftop – did we mention?)
Where: 5 Kingdom Street, London W2 6PY
We’re always being told to ‘go green’ and props to Queen of Hoxton who really ran with the advice. Their winter rooftop theme is the Emerald City, and everything will be green. The beer? Green. The iconic wigwam? Green. The emerald garden? Emerald green. You get the picture.
Inspired not by Greta Thunberg but by the Wizard of Oz (and/or Wicked) the ‘You’re not in Kansas anymore’ theme will bring out the witch in all of us.
Where: 1 Curtain Road, Shoreditch, EC2A 3JX