During the sunnier months, nothing beats an aperitif outdoors – particularly from one of London’s roof terraces. Here’s our pick of the best places in London to enjoy sunshine and drinks with a view.
Spread across the 12th floor of The Doubletree by Hilton Hotel is London’s ‘wildest rooftop’, Savage Garden. Young and fun city workers flock here for after work drinks on a Friday, and birthday parties are celebrated with wines, cocktails and beer in the restaurant. The rooftop, which protrudes out from the bar area, is long and pretty in pink with places for sitting or standing, mingling and moving. With dark modern interiors and effervescently friendly waiters, Savage Garden is another welcome addition to London’s rooftop bar scene, overlooking the Tower of London and far beyond. The Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, Floor 12, 7 Pepys Street, London EC3N 4AF.
Brixton’s jungle-inspired rooftop hangout is back, complete with Latin American-inspired cocktails, market food and all the summer vibes. Tucked away behind Brixton Village, Lost In Brixton will be the first of its kind to offer food deliveries from the market below, alongside freshly brewed beer from the nearby Brixton Brewery. With traders including Franco Manca, Jalisco and Thunderbird Fried Chicken, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Brixton Village, Coldharbour Ln SW9 8PS.
Like it’s taller sister Duck & Waffle, the spectacle of the iconic SUSHISAMBA Liverpool Street begins from the panoramic glass lifts, which whisk you up to the 38th and 39th floors of the Heron Tower. It boasts one of the highest outdoor dining terraces in Europe, but during the winter months you can admire the views from indoors thanks to the restaurant’s three glass walls. A glamorous New York City import, the menu fuses together Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisines, and you can guarantee great sushi, cracking cocktails and a buzzing atmosphere.
The luxurious Four Seasons at Park Lane has opened its doors to a new Italian-inspired al fresco drinking and dining space: On The Terrace. Enjoy summer cocktails curated by Bar Manager Ivan Arena – who has become famous for his excellent Negronis. Menu highlights include Ivan’s take on the traditional Martini, made with gin, vermouth, caper berry brine and fennel liqueur; and the Rhubarb Americano, a mix of Campari, rhubarb soda and six different vermouths. Hamilton Pl, Park Ln, Mayfair, London W1J 7DR.
The newest addition to London’s rooftop scene is Skylark Roof Garden, perched over Notting Hill with views of the West London skyline. Settle into one of the day beds with a sundowner – their frozen cocktails will go down a treat on hot summer days. Opening 6 July. 10th Floor, 4 Kingdom Street, London, W2 6BD.
Perched atop ME London on The Strand, the Spirit of Summer Terraces at Radio Rooftop is made up of two spaces. Choose between tequila cocktails in the Mexican Hacienda, complete with woven seats and Latin American snacks, or Bombay Sapphire G&Ts in the pretty English Botanical Garden. 336-337 Strand, London WC2R 1HA.
Spicing up London’s rooftop bar scene is Market Hall Victoria, perched at the top of the three-storey food market – formerly the Edwardian arcades of Terminus Place. An ideal central location for meeting friends after work, the sun-trap spot serves up British beers, independent spirits and cocktails from the Summer Spritz menu – and when you get hungry, just head downstairs for a bite to eat from one of the many food stalls. 191 Victoria St, Westminster, London SW1E 5NE.
Angler, South Place Hotel’s Michelin-starred seafood restaurant, boasts a lovely sun-trap roof terrace, open for cocktails and snacks during summer evenings. This year they’ve partnered with Cambridge Gin Distillery to offer a selection of refreshing gin cocktails amid flower-adorned settings. 3 South Pl, Finsbury, London EC2M 2AF
As the highest rooftop gardens in London, Sky Garden is an oasis of green calm with unparalleled views across the capital, and the perfect spot to get away from the heat this summer. Entry to the gardens is free (though you should book well in advance), and while there you can enjoy breakfast, a light snack, an aperitif or one of their fabulous cocktails inside the glass pod or on the outdoor terrace. Spread over the top three floors of the skyscraper there are various dining choices including the Darwin Brasserie and Fenchurch Restaurant, while you should keep an eye out for special activities taking place year-round, from early morning yoga with a view to live music sessions. Top tip: try the delicious freshly-made mixed berries smoothie in the bar. 1 Sky Garden Walk, London EC3M 8AF.
London’s buzziest sky-high restaurant, bar and terrace in Canary Wharf is Bōkan, spread over three floors with floor-to-ceiling glass to ensure that no matter where you sit, you’ll be able to enjoy the panoramic view of London’s skyline. The 39th floor boasts an all-weather, all-occasion open-air terrace where you can relax with a cocktail, listen to lounge music and kick back on the daybeds. It’s a surprise there aren’t more rooftop hangouts on this side of town, as the vantage point is particularly good. Novotel Canary Wharf, 40 Marsh Wall, London E14 9TP.
Head up the Instagram-famous pink staircase to reach Frank’s, the ever-popular bar perched on the top of a multi-storey car park in Peckham. Unlike many of London’s rooftop bars, Frank’s is relaxed and not too pricey, with incredible views of the capital – particularly at sunset. There’s a good brunch and all-day food menu, and sometimes you’ll find a barbecue sizzling away. It’s a popular spot and they don’t take reservations, so expect to queue on sunny weekends. 95a Rye Lane, London SE15 4TG.
Entry to this exclusive rooftop spot on a summer’s day is one hot ticket, and one well worth a membership at The Curtain. The day-to-night brasserie serves up fresh seasonal fare of the healthy-ish ilk, against sweeping views of London’s skyline. The real allure though is The Lido’s fully retractable roof (for when the European summer takes an inevitable turn) plus the floor to ceiling bi-folding doors which open out onto the small – but not tiny – pool. Grab a towel from the chest and go for a swim before tucking into a delicious chicken katsu club sandwich, or just dangle your legs in the water while sipping on a cocktail. Heated all year round and illuminated at night by twinkling lights overhead, a dip is always on the agenda – no matter the time or season. 45 Curtain Road, Hackney, London, EC2A 3PT.
The rooftop terrace known for its panoramic views of the city skyline, Skylight is back. While its popular lawn games are out of action for now, there’s a new tropical beer terrace to enjoy, featuring lush green foliage, cushioned seating areas, cosy garden booths and a pop-up bar selling pints of ice cold lager. What more could you need? Tobacco Quay, Pennington St, St Katharine’s & Wapping, London E1W 2SF.
Go East for the annual summer oasis created on Queen of Hoxton‘s Shoreditch roof terrace. This year’s theme is ‘Las Mexicanas’, inspired by the colourful town of San Cristóbal in Mexico, featuring tacos, tequila, and giant frozen margaritas. 1 Curtain Rd, London EC2A 3JX.
With 360 degree views across London, Bussey building’s rooftop bar is rather spectacular come sunset. It’s one of Peckham’s buzziest venues throughout the summer, especially on weekends when the party continues late into the night. Roof B Bussey Building, 133 Rye Ln, London SE15 4ST.
As its name might suggest, Aviary bar is bird-themed, but you won’t need wings to see the London skyline here as iconic buildings such as The Gherkin and The Cheese Grater are within sight from their amazing roof terrace. 10th Floor Montcalm Royal, London House Hotel, 22-25 Finsbury Square, London, EC2A 1DX.
Enjoy magnificent views of St Paul’s Cathedral at Madison, a glitzy bar and restaurant in the Penthouse spot of One New Change. Drawing inspiration from the sky-high bars of Manhattan, Madison hosts parties all day long at weekends, from brunch to late. Rooftop Terrace One, New Change, London EC4M 9AF.
Formerly Rumpus Room, 12th Knot is the rooftop bar sitting atop chic hotel Sea Containers London. Although the outdoor space is smaller than some of the city’s sky-high terraces, its prime position on the River Thames means iconic views of the city – also visible from the plush indoor seats. There’s always a buzzing atmosphere, and cocktail offerings are impressive. 20 Upper Ground, South Bank SE1 9PD