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…
Boasting unbelievably clear views over the Thames, Tower Bridge, The Shard and further, The Residence on the Roof at classic London hotel Four Seasons on Trinity Square is a welcome addition to the rooftops of London, just in time for summer. Hosting a different atmosphere to the smart lobby, The Residence on the Roof is laidback and stylish, buzzing and contemporary, a strip overlooking the city dotted with cool grey sofas and perfectly puffed pillows. Lay back as the sun sets, seasonal cocktail such as the ‘minimalistic pina colada’ in hand and dim sum bite in the other, and soak up the effortlessly sleek rooftop experience that attracts artistic and intelligent hubbub and exudes exclusivity. 10 Trinity Square, London EC3N 4AJ.
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 restaurant/bar scene to drink and eat the night away at, overlooking the Tower of London and far beyond.
NB: The small bites in the restaurant are quite delicious – we recommend the tempura oysters, goat’s cheese, peas and tarragon croquettes (a double order wouldn’t hurt) and the plantain chips with guacamole which comes in a huge portion enough for at least three people. The menu isn’t vegan friendly but it’s most definitely great for those who like a lovely piece of fish or beef. Pair with a bloody mary to start, followed by wine as recommended by the knowledgeable staff, before moving on to the bar or rooftop area for light drinks and conversation. The Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, Floor 12, 7 Pepys Street, London EC3N 4AF.
A new jungle-inspired rooftop hangout has jus opened in Brixton, 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.
The newly opened Champagne Garden on the terrace of Selfridges restaurant Alto by San Carlo is a glamorous place to rest your feet after a long day of shopping. Settle into one of the sofas or private huts and enjoy a well-deserved glass of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne. Open until 4 August. 400 Oxford Street, London W1A 1AB.
Have a taste of la dolce vita at Belgravia hotel The Berkeley’s lemon-tree lined roof terrace, complete with its own outdoor pool. It’s a dreamy setting inspired by the hotels of Italy, with yellow and white striped sunbeds alongside lemon and olive trees. Though usually reserved for hotel guests, this summer all sunseekers are welcome to drop by for a sunbathe and aperitif. Book in advance. Wilton Pl, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RL.
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.
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 back for the summer, a unique space in central London offering delicious food and drinks way up above the crowds. With a fresh line-up of music performances and fitness classes, new bookable flower-adorned dens and one of the biggest rooftop spaces in London, 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 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.
Open now for the summer season, Skylight is a roof terrace bar at Tobacco Dock. Returning for its third year, with views over the city and Canary Wharf, the bar includes street food pop-ups which you can enjoy alongside the classic English summer pastime of croquet. 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