Is there anything better than soaking up the sun with a refreshing drink and delicious food? But where to do it? Here are some of London’s best al fresco dining spots. The tricky part is choosing just one…
After the success of Bill Granger’s Sydney-style restaurants in London, he’s just opened a new branch in Chelsea to bring his dishes to the glam residents of SW1. A few steps from Sloane Square station, you can expect sunny, vibrant, feel-good dishes such as excellent Acai bowls and the classic ‘Fresh Aussie’ brunch of jasmine tea hot smoked salmon, poached eggs, greens, avocado and cherry tomatoes. Some new additions such as crab and kohlrabi salad, and dairy-free chocolate pots with turmeric crumb will be exclusive to the Chelsea restaurant that is already one of the hottest spots in South London. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, there’s also a lovely little terrace where you can dine al fresco in the summer months. 237 Pavilion Road, London SW1X 0BP
The lovely courtyard at Hush, Mayfair is home to a fabulous Riviera pop-up this summer. Bringing all the glamour of the Côte d’Azur to central London, until September 8th you can enjoy French bread, fresh Fine de Claire oysters, langoustines, lobster and a glorious platter of fruits de mer, all with a chilled glass of champagne, of course. Great for a summer’s evening, with the nautical theme, striped linen, greenery and seashells you’d be forgiven for momentarily forgetting you’re not in Nice or St Tropez… Also open for brunch on weekends. Until September 8. No. 8 Lancashire Court, Brook Street, London W1S 1EY
A Taste of Cornwall at The Goring, Belgravia
Visit the Goring Hotel’s veranda this summer to discover that it has been transformed into a stylish fish restaurant celebrating the best of Cornwall. For three months only, you can enjoy the best fish, wines, lobsters and crab straight from the Cornish coast with a menu devised by The Goring’s Michelin-starred Chef Shay Cooper, Rick Stein and his son. If you close your eyes for a moment, you can almost hear the sea… A truly dreamy spot to get away from it all. Until September. Beeston Place, London SW1W 0JW.
The Ritz Restaurant and Terrace, Mayfair
Little needs to be said about world-renowned London landmark The Ritz Hotel, famed not only for its unparalleled accommodation but also its exquisite culinary offerings. That said, the hotel’s summer-only terrace has been kept largely a secret among London alfresco diners- and we can understand why. The best spot in the city for a long, indulgent lunch, you can enjoy Michelin-starred cooking while gazing over Green Park in this stylish and sophisticated sanctuary away from the crowds. Request a terrace table when you book for the restaurant. Until mid-September, weather permitting. 150 Piccadilly, St. James’, London W1J 9BR.
GQ Bar at Rosewood London, Holborn
This summer, The Terrace at Rosewood London is hosting the most stylish bar in town: the first GQ pop-up in the form of a relaxed, lounge-style outdoor bar, perfect for soaking up the sun. Beneath white parasols in the hotel’s delightful courtyard, you can easily while away an entire summer’s evening enjoying a selection of drinks and moreish bar snacks (try the GQ burger and the scotch egg) in this little alfresco hideaway just off High Holborn. The specially-created cocktails have been made with premium Tanqueray No. TEN gin (only natural for GQ!), and absolute must-tries are the GQ Bar Manhattan and White Negroni garnished with grapefruit for a summery twist. It’s also open for breakfast, to start your day in style. Until September 30th. 252 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EN.
There’s long been a huge buzz around Angler, the Michelin-starred British seafood restaurant perched atop the South Place Hotel, and in summer it extends onto the rooftop terrace. The west-facing terrace is one of the most in-demand alfresco dining spots in London, functioning as a delightful suntrap into the late evening, away from the noise and heat. A lovely, hidden spot to enjoy delicious, sustainable seafood and a chilled drink with views over the City. 3 South Place, London EC2M 2AF.
The Roof Deck on Selfridges, Marylebone
This new pop-up is replacing the incredible wasted London by Dan Barber on the Selfridges rooftop, with the Californian restaurant, The Roof Deck. Expect frozen cocktails, delicious grills and loads of avocados. 400 Oxford St, Marylebone, London W1A 1AB
The River Café, Hammersmith
The ultimate London spot for a long lunch in the sun with sublime Italian food and a perfect atmosphere. You’ll have heard of this, no doubt. Just don’t miss the boat. Thames Wharf, Rainville Rd, London, W6 9HA.
One of the latest rooftop bars to arrive in London, Aviary in Moorgate does delicious food and cocktails. As its name might suggest, the bar is bird-themed, but you won’t need wings to see the London skyline here as iconic buildings such as the gherkin and cheese grater are within sight from their amazing roof terrace. 10th Floor Montcalm Royal, London House Hotel, 22-25 Finsbury Square, London, EC2A 1DX.
The Garden at Blakes, Kensington
Opening in May, the Blakes Hotel garden has been reimagined by British fashion designer Mathew Williamson with vibrant colours and lovely prints. A great garden in Kensington. 33 Roland Gardens, Kensington, London SW7 3PF.
The Ivy Chelsea Garden, Chelsea
Well it would be wrong not to include this popular Chelsea haunt. When the sun’s out, few places beat The Ivy’s garden. 197 King’s Rd, London, SW3 5EQ.
Petersham Nurseries, Richmond
Nestled in between the foliage, plant pots and greenhouses is a restaurant at Petersham Nurseries. An idyllic spot even when the sun hasn’t got its hat on… And for fans of the Richmond spot, in June a second location is opening in Covent Garden’s Floral Street. The opening will include a shop, delicatessen, wine cellar and florist, as well as two restaurants (to follow in September). Petersham Rd, Richmond, TW10 7AB.
Chiltern Firehouse, Marylebone
One of London’s most glamorous and notorious spots in London isn’t just about celebrity spotting and crab doughnuts. The restaurant and hotel have a beautiful terrace, perfect for afternoon cocktails. The steak tartar is also worth travelling for. 1 Chiltern Street, Marylebone, London, W1U 7PA.
SushiSamba, The City
The fusion restaurant – Japanese, Peruvian, Brazilian – takes parts from three different cultures and merges them together to create something a little different. But it’s the views that are impressive. On the 38th and 39th floor of the Heron Tower, the sights over London are pretty much unparalleled (aside from perhaps The Shard). Soon to be opening in Covent Garden too. Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4AY.
Barrafina, Covent Garden
This Spanish tapas place is perfect for enjoying delicious sharing plates in the sun. With three locations around London, you have plenty of choices. The Barrafina brothers also opened the trendy taco restaurant, El Pastor, near Borough Market late last year. Read more about El Pastor here.