When the sun is soaring there’s nothing we love more than dining alfresco and momentarily fooling ourselves that we’re on some Spanish island overlooking crystal clear waters and sandy beaches.
With more and more of London’s restaurants opening up and expanding their outdoor areas this summer, now felt the perfect time to explore what’s on offer here in the city. From tropical inspired terraces to traditional Italian trattorias, here’s where to head for alfresco dining in London.
The 4th of July marked the reopening of some of London’s greatest restaurants and bars, but at the top of our wishlist was heading to the tropical inspired outdoor terrace hidden in The Mandrake.
Jurema is an urban oasis that transports you out of the city and onto a luscious tropic island, with its wood panelling, cosy outdoor sofas and khaki coloured parasols. On the food front, Jurema is home to a South American inspired menu, ranging from parmesan tapioca and aji pancha to lamb, fennel, potato and salted chilli empanadas, prawn, cucumber and raspberry ceviche to fried fish, spring cabbage, sour cream and pumpkin seed salsa topped tacos.
While a holiday truly on an exotic island may be off the cards, Jurema at The Mandrake will sure transport you there mentally for an afternoon at least.
Location: 20-21 Newman Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 1PG
Alto by San Carlo looks like something picked out of a fairytale. The little haven on the rooftop of Selfridges will transport you to a traditional Italian trattoria. Surrounded by lemon trees and rattan furniture, sit back and relax as you tuck into an authentic Italian feast, from creamy burrata filled salads to fresh lemon sole on a bed of green asparagus, mint and lemon, grilled Mediterranean prawns tossed in lemon, summer herbs and olive oil to moreish truffle coated chips.
Location: The Rooftop, Selfridges, Oxford Street W1A 1AB
Home to one of London’s best rooftop pools, you’ll find LIDO at The Curtain is serving up the best of Mediterranean fare. Settle in for a weekend brunch as you look out over London’s skyline or dine alfresco style for your next Sunday roast. It looks just beautiful at nightfall too with the festoon lights overhead.
Open to only hotel guests and Curtain members, book in for a night to soak up the best of LIDO.
Location: 45 Curtain Road, Shoreditch, EC2A 3PT
The Fitzrovia hotspot came onto the scene just last year, bringing with it 20,000 bottles of spirits lining the walls and it soon became a favourite among influencers and Instagrammers alike. And now it might be our favourite spot to alfresco dine too! In true Big Mamma Group style, the terrace at Circolo Popolare reflects the restaurant’s interiors; bold, big and beautiful and you’ll find them serving up authentic Italian fare. As if you needed another reason to race to Circolo Popolare…
Location: 40-41 Rathbone Place, Fitzrovia, W1T 1HX
The luxury Knightsbridge hotel has revamped their terrace, bringing with it a gorgeous lantern filled garden that draws inspiration from Mediterranean trattorias and courtyards. The grill will be serving up an all-day dining menu, featuring small plates and large plates to share and enjoy with your fellow diners. Menu highlights include charred giant prawns; asparagus, whipped ricotta and truffle honey; and grilled whole sea bass with aioli.
It’s no doubt to be ‘the’ place to be seen at this summer so book your spot now.
LOCATION: THE BERKELEY, WILTON PLACE, KNIGHTSBRIDGE, SW1X 7RL
COYA Mayfair is a little slice of Peruvian heaven. Hidden out back on its own private floor, COYA Members’ Club boasts its own Latin American inspired dining room and terrace.
Adorn with cosy corners, green foliage and mirrors, the terrace is a perfect place to escape the city’s rush with one of their famous Pisco Sour cocktails. We recommend tying their blueberry and lavender take on the classic.
If you fancy wining, dining and reclining on London’s best kept secret terrace, enquire about membership here.
Location: 118 Piccadilly, Mayfair, W1J 7NW
Expect jaw-dropping panoramic views overlooking east London’s skyline as you wine and dine at trendy rooftop restaurant, Bōkan.
The rooftop itself is set high up on the 39th floor and is abrim with cushioned day beds and cosy corners, all set to their industrial style interiors inside. After you’ve dined in the restaurant two floors down, venture up and enjoy a cocktail or two overlooking the best of London.
Location: Floor 37-39, 40 Marsh Wall, Canary Wharf, E14 9TP
If you’re after a posh Nando’s experience, head over to Casa Do Frango and their new alfresco dining terrace.
Casa Do Frango’s Shoreditch branch has been extended for the summer, bringing with it an outdoor dining area you won’t want to miss. Add a little spice to your summer with their piri-piri brushed chicken and indulge in their sharing plates and sides. We’d recommend getting your hands on their African rice, a mix of crispy chicken skin, chorizo and plantain.
Location: 2 King John Court, Shoreditch, EC2A 3EZ
Whatever the season, Dalloway Terrace is always our favourite spot to enjoy a cocktail or a spot of brunch. This summer’s floral installation has been designed by renowned florist McQueens Flowers. It’s bursting with sweet peas, entwined tulips and rivalling roses to replicate a quintessentially English garden.
The menu has also had a revamp, bringing with it fresh, seasonal ingredients. Feast into their wild mushroom and mozzarella arancini; grilled tiger prawns with green mango and chili; or enjoy their twist on the classic afternoon tea.
Location: 16-22 GREAT RUSSELL STREET, BLOOMSBURY, WC1B 3NN
Chances are you’ve seen J Sheekey Atlantic Bar pop on your Insta grid thanks to its bright pink and turquoise exteriors tucked on St Martin’s Court, Covent Garden.
The Covent Garden gem is renowned for its glorious seafood, boasting delicious sharing platters of shellfish and oysters galore. J Sheekey Atlantic Bar’s outside space is the perfect spot to while away your afternoon as you delight in some of the best seasonal dishes on offer in Covent Garden.
Location: 33-35 St Martin’s Court, Covent Garden, WC2N 4AL
Soak up the best of the British weather at The Betterment restaurant and terrace. Filled with cosy cushioned seating and greenery, you’ll find The Betterment serving up the best of British produce. Every dish has been crafted to use seasonal produce, with flavours inspired from all across the world.
Location: 44 Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, W1K 2HP
Executive chef André Garrett has been busy preparing a Mediterranean-inspired menu for guests to enjoy out in The Garden at Corinthia London. The Mediterranean menu features everything from crudi to salads and sandwiches, perfect for a summer lunch.
Expect ivy entwined beams overhead, cosy dining tables and a delicious rosé selection to fuel you through the sunny summer afternoons.
Location: Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2BD
Sea Containers Restaurant reopens on August 1st, bringing with it sweeping views overlooking the River Thames on the outdoor area.
It’s the perfect spot for a weekend brunch catch up with friends or for a cosy date night under the twinkling stars.
LOCATION: 20 UPPER GROUND, SOUTH BANK, SE1 9PD
The artist formerly known as Rumpus Room is now 12th Knot but remains one of the coolest venues in town. The terrace is known for boasting some of the best views overlooking London so be sure to nab up your spot this summer.
Location: 20 Upper Ground, South Bank, SE1 9PD
Boasting views over some of London’s most iconic buildings including the giant rotunda of St Paul’s Cathedral, Madison Restaurant should be on your go-to list immediately, if you haven’t already ticked it off. It’s the ultimate spot for brunch and their new menu includes an indulgent dish of Bloody Mary-fried chicken waffles topped with a fried egg, sriracha and maple syrup. It doesn’t get better than that.
Location: One New Change, St Paul’s EC4M 9AF
Aqua Nueva has managed to marry traditional Spanish flavours in a fun, innovative way. The Argyll Street spot has always been a firm favourite of ours thanks to its trendy rooftop terrace that come nighttime becomes a haven for post-work drinks and romantic date nights.
In true Aqua style, the cocktails are faultless. For summery tipple that’s a little different try their ‘sweet escape’, a mix of Pampero Blanco rum, Chambord, peach liquor, bergamot, passion fruit liqueur, vanilla and cranberry.
If you fancy something a little different, head to Aqua Kyoto for Japanese cuisine and sensational cocktails out on their terrace bar. You won’t regret it.
If these take your fancy, it’s best to check their website for opening times.
Location: 5th Floor 240 Regent Street, (Entrance 30 Argyll St) W1F 7EB,
Not everywhere comes equipped with alfresco terraces on all three floors of their restaurant, but then again, everywhere isn’t as great as The Lighterman in King’s Cross.
Opening out onto Granary Square, the ground floor terrace is a perfect for a quick catch-up lunch, but the fun and games really come to play up on the Canalside Bar & Terrace, home to idyllic waterside views and delicious cocktails just perfect for a warm summer’s evening.
Location: 3 Granary Square, King’s Cross, N1C 4BH
King of innovative ideas and authentic Scottish cooking, Mac & Wild have come up with a new fun way of allowing their guests to dine outside at their new Landrover pop-up bar.
Located at their Devonshire Square restaurant, you can enjoy two-for-one on pints and Prosecco every Thursday-Sunday (see times on their website). And if you’re worried about the inevitable rainy weather that’ll hit this summer, the outdoor square is home to a glass roof, so your pint won’t get spoiled.
Location: 9A Devonshire Square, Aldgate, EC2M 4YN
The Courtyard, set amongst Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites & Residences and St James’ Court, has been transformed into a luxurious dining area for guests to enjoy a drink or dinner while staying at the hotels. Gaze up towards the buildings and you might recognise a familiar face engraved in the walls as they begin to depict scenes from Shakespeare’s famous plays.
The Courtyard’s menu is brimming with seasonal and summery dishes, including duck and beetroot salad; vegetable antipasti; oven baked salmon; and gnocchi with truffle salad.
Savage Garden is no stranger to a rooftop themed garden and this summer sees the spot pair up with Lillet Spritz to bring us Londoners a summer long of refreshing tipples and rooftop fun.
Set 12 storey above the city, Savage Garden boasts breathtaking views over London’s skyline making it the perfect spot to while away your sunny afternoons this summer.
Location: 7 Pepys Street, Tower Hill EC3N 4AF
Terra Terra is the neighbourhood Italian you need on your radar. This little South Hampstead restaurant is relatively new on the scene having been open less than a year, but they’ll sure wow you away with their culinary delights and alfresco dining terrace.
The glorious outdoor terrace launched just last week and is available for pre-booked reservations only, so if you fancy dining alfresco with delicious Italian dishes, Terra Terra is the spot to head to this summer. With BBQ season in full swing, they’ve already just launched their BBQ terrace menu running every Sunday, allowing you to enjoy freshly grilled delights outside straight from the barbie. Expect everything from bigoli with pesto to soy and ginger chicken thigh.
Summer hotspot and Handbook favourite, Skylight Rooftop has returned for a summer season of cocktails, sun (hopefully) and fun.
This year the rooftop has had a tropical makeover. It’s been filled with garden booths, lush green foliage, cosy cushioned seating areas and even a pop-up bar keeping you cool with their ice cold lagers on tap.
Location: Pennington St. Car Park Entrance, Wapping, E1W 2SF
Reopening 31st August, The American Bar at The Stafford will be bringing with them delicious summer lunches, exceptional cocktails and a courtyard you won’t want to miss.
Throughout the summer months, The American Bar boasts a barbecue menu for you to sink your teeth into, from grilled wagyu minute steak to spice roasted cauliflower. It’s just perfect for a summer of alfresco dining.
Location: 16-18, St James’s Place, St. James’s, SW1A 1NJ
If you’re on the lookout for a weekend getaway out of the big smoke, head to Great Fosters for a weekend of landscaped gardens, summery picnics and luxury accommodation.
Great Fosters is home to a glorious outdoor terrace overlooking the acres of landscaped gardens, as well as serving up delicious food. But they’ve also been busy restoring their secret gardens that you can now explore too.
The Yew Rooms are a series of private garden spaces, screened away with yew hedges, bamboos and more, discovered one after the other through the rose garden. It’s the perfect escape for a picnic or barbecue this summer.
Location: Stroude Road, Egham TW20 9UR
Exciting news! Century Club is set to reopen following a refurb and an additional Roof Terrace!
The new Roof Terrace can be found adjacent and slightly above their existing roof terrace, giving you the opportunity to look out over London’s iconic skyline while sipping on cocktails. The seating area has capacity for around 50-60 guests, just perfect for a summertime reunion with friends.
Location: 61-63 Shaftesbury Ave, Soho, W1D 6LQ
On your next trip to Coal Drops Yard, take a seat at hicce and enjoy delicious modern dishes.
Set in the centre of Coal Drops Yard, the restaurant has a certain buzz about it and this is carried through to the menu. Their terrace menu is reflects the best of British summer cuisine, with light lunchtime dishes or great sharing plates for those who like to graze while they drink.
Location: 102 Stable Street,
Coal Drops Yard, Kings Cross, N1C 4DQ
Found just a short stroll away from Camden Town, this two floor Latin retreat serves serious heat. With two different terraces plating up Cuban inspired dishes and cocktails, plus live music nights throughout the week, it’s hard not to feel in the party spirit.
Whether you’re sipping on a Margarita or salsa-ing the night away, this is one of our fave North London spots this summer.
Location: The Stables Market, Camden Market, Chalk Farm Road, Camden, NW1 8AH