During the sunnier months, nothing beats an aperitif in the sun in one of London’s best terraces. Here are the city’s best roof terraces to enjoy the sunshine outdoors…
Standing at 155 metres above the city, the Sky Garden on top of 20 Fenchurch Street is one of London’s best-kept secrets. 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. Open 7 days a week; 1 Sky Garden Walk, London EC3M 8AF.
Formentera Terrace at Aqua Nueva
Contemporary Spanish restaurant Aqua Nueva brings Formentera’s bohemian, relaxed vibe to London with its new rooftop bar inspired by the exclusive island. Sit among the plush greenery and floral displays and enjoy one of the specially-crafted Ciroc cocktails on a long, balmy evening or before a lazy lunch on a sunny afternoon. Aqua Nueva has also created Formentera-inspired dishes if you get peckish- the seafood croquettes are truly exceptional. The service is second to none, with the charming Massimiliano on hand to ensure you sample the best that the restaurant has to offer. Must-try: the Nueva Spirit cocktail is the perfect refresher in the heat, mixing fresh flavours such as elderflower, lime and cucumber with Cava and Ciroc vodka. Aqua Nueva, 5th floor, 240 Regent Street, London W1F 7EB. Entrance to bar is at 30 Argyll Street.
Gardening Society Rooftop Garden, John Lewis Oxford Street
Fighting your way through throngs of shoppers on Oxford Street, you’ve surely thought how great it would be if you could stop for a breather somewhere to get away from it all? Well, now you can! John Lewis’ rooftop is open for the summer, a unique space in central London offering delicious food and drinks way up above the crowds. The Gardening Society is a quintessentially British summer garden atop the department store, currently housing the Foley’s taco pop-up and The Gardener’s Arms, one of Britain’s smallest pubs measuring just 6ft by 8ft. There are also private Summerhouses which you can book for events, each with its own front garden and white picket fence. It really is as idyllic as it sounds, and the view over London’s not bad either. The Rooftop, 300 Oxford Street, London W1C 1DX.
London’s newest 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. Novotel Canary Wharf, 40 Marsh Wall, London E14 9TP.
8 Hoxton Square’s Mediterranean Shack
8 Hoxton Square has opened its Mediterranean Shack, at the summer edition of Pergola on the Roof in White City. The roof terrace serves seasonal Mediterranean-inspired dishes among the Long Island inspired aesthetic of Pergola. Perfect for long summer evenings in the sun. Until 1 Oct; 8 Hoxton Square’s Mediterranean Shack; Television Centre, Wood Lane, W12 7RJ.
Skylight Rooftop Bar at Tobacco Dock
Opening on 25 May, Skylight is the new roof terrace bar at Tobacco Dock. Set to be a hit, with views over the city and Canary Wharf, the bar will include street food pop-ups and the classic English summer pastime of croquet. Sounds ideal. Tobacco Quay, Pennington St, St Katharine’s & Wapping, London E1W 2SF
The Oxo Tower
The Roof Deck, Selfridges
After the success of wasTED London, The Roof Deck is the new pop-up on the Selfridges rooftop. This Californian restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy frozen cocktails, delicious grills and loads of avocados. 400 Oxford St, Marylebone, London W1A 1AB.
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 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.
Skylounge DoubleTree by Hilton
Set near the Tower of London, Skylounge has great views across some of London’s famous historic features including the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, the Shard and the glittering river Thames below. If it’s impressive views you are after, Skylounge is the rooftop bar for you. 7 Pepys Street, London, EC3N 4AF.
No detail has been spared at this pop-up beach bar at the lovely Montague Hotel in Bloomsbury. You’d be forgiven for thinking you were on a tropical island, with real sand underfoot, a pina colada in your hand and the barbecue sizzling in the background. And the best thing about it is that you can book the whole bar out for you and your friends. 15 Montague St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 5BJ.
Other London Terraces
Mercante x La Gelatiera Summer terrace
Mercante, the Italian Mayfair restaurant and artisan gelato makers, La Gelatiera, have partnered to bring Londoners a little taste of Italian sunshine for the summer season with the launch of their summer terrace. Sheraton Grand London, Park Lane Hotel, Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 7BX.
Dalloway Terrace has reopened in full bloom with a blossom filled terrace, a new summer menu, Dalloway Film Club, and a collaboration with Hendrick’s Gin with a menu of gin based cocktails to enjoy in the sunshine. Visit the terrace for great brunch (with plenty of floral photo opportunities), as well as Lululemon yoga classes and evening film screenings. For more details click here.
Barrafina, Covent Garden
Barrafina, the 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.
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.
Sea Containers Summer Terrace
Set on the banks of the River Thames, the Summer Terrace at The Mondrian Hotel is the perfect spot for all day dining in the sun. Designed by Tom Dixon, the interiors are sure to impress too. Opening from 22 May through until September. 20 Upper Ground, London SE1 9PD.