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Jason Allen 30/04/24


74 Amazing London Restaurants with Outdoor Seating

The Best Restaurants for Outdoor Dining in London | 74 Al Fresco Terraces To Explore

If you accidentally spill someone’s pint, and that person politely asks you to step outside…

…the good news is that there’s a slim chance that they’re just keen to show you one of London’s many picturesque, verdant, and secluded al fresco dining spots. And now that the sun is deigning to make an appearance in our city once more, we’ve slapped a new layer of sunscreen on our guide to London’s best spots for a little outdoor dining.


JUMP TO: EAST LONDON | WEST LONDON | NORTH LONDON | SOUTH LONDON


CENTRAL LONDON

Circolo Popolare | Fitzrovia

Circolo Popolare restaurants with outdoor seating

Jérôme Galland

Circolo Popolare comes to you from the people behind Gloria, and she mimics her big sister where it counts, bringing a maximalist, overstated, lavishly fun vibe to everything she does. And that includes her leafy Sicilian-styled terrace, which seats a mere 60ish people. No big deal.

Details: 40 Rathbone Place, Fitzrovia, W1T 1HX | Book here

Barrafina Drury Lane | Covent Garden

Set on the edge of Covent Garden, Barrafina’s only venue with bookable outdoor seating might just make it the best of the bunch. You’ll find all their delicious, top-quality tapas, plus sunshine.

Details: 43 Drury Lane, WC2B 5AJ | Book here

The Mandrake | Fitzrovia

the mandrake hidden courtyard restaurant

The Mandrake hotel’s hidden courtyards are so beautiful, they’ve literally won awards. Set over two tiers, there’s the spacious courtyard, overhung with trailing vines and creepers, and the relaxed terrace bar above, both of which serve dishes from their South American-inspired restaurant YOPO, and ‘ethnobotanical’ cocktails…

Details: The Mandrake, 20-21 Newman Street, London W1T 1PGBook here

Café Boheme | Soho

Café Boheme does not have a terrace. What it does have is an irresistible cluster of small tables wrapped snugly around its corner of Old Compton Street, where you can spend all day drinking wine and listening to the live jazz floating out through the bifold windows in quintessentially Parisian fashion.

Details: 13 Old Compton St, London W1D 5JQ Book here

Petersham Nurseries | Covent Garden

Petersham Nurseries al fresco dining

Given that this venue actually houses two restaurants, plus a bar, deli, florists, shop and wine cellar… it’s no surprise that they also found room for a sizeable, wonderfully secluded outdoor terrace, hidden just off Floral Street.

Details: Petersham Nurseries, Floral Court, WC2E 8JD | Book here

Bleeding Heart Bistro | Farringdon

Once the scene of an infamous 17th century murder, Bleeding Heart Bistro’s al fresco courtyard is now the picture of Provençal French serenity. Time has improved things, just like their selection of aged cheeses.

Details: Bleeding Heart Yard, EC1N 8SJ | Book here

The Chiltern Firehouse | Marylebone

chiltern firehouse outdoor dining london

When Chiltern Firehouse first opened with Nuño Mendes at the helm, getting a table anywhere within a mile radius of the kitchen was an achievement. And now that the celeb sheen of the place has died down just a little, you can afford to be a bit pickier – and make a beeline for the expansive, monochrome terrace.

Details: 1 Chiltern Street, Marylebone, W1U 7PA | Book here

J. Sheekey | Leicester Square

j sheekey terrace lunch

Famous for its white glove service, exquisite seafood dishes and elegant interiors, J. Sheekey has been a theatre-land favourite for over a century. But with a terrace this inviting, there’s a very real danger of missing your matinee.

Details: 28-35 St. Martin’s Court, WC2N 4AL Book here

Ham Yard Hotel | Soho

Ham Yard Hotel al fresco restaurant

The Ham Yard Hotel is designed to a tee, with sumptuous furnishings, vibrantly papered walls and its own 1950s bowling alley… So it’s quite something that the best part is actually the outdoor terrace, which feels a million miles from the rest of Soho in its own sheltered courtyard.

Details: Ham Yard Hotel, 1 Ham Yard, W1D 7DT | Book here

Mercato Metropolitano | Mayfair

mercato mayfair outdoor terrace

A huge, free-to-enter food market inside a historic, Grade I listed church, whose dazzling interiors are capped off – both literally and figuratively – by a rooftop terrace hugging the bell tower. With a dozen food stalls, everyone in your group’s guaranteed to get something they like. And if it rains? Well, you’ll just have to go down to the crypt, which naturally is stockpiled with gallons of craft beer, wine, and artisanal gin…

Details: 13a North Audley Street, W1K 6ZA | Book for larger groups here, or just turn up

Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill | Mayfair

bentleys terrace

Bentley’s is one of London’s very best seafood spots. And hell, even if you don’t like shellfish, it’s worth going and ordering the steak just so you can live it up on their covered terrace.

Details: 11-15 Swallow Street, London W1B 4DG Book here

Moro | Farringdon

morito exmouth market

Unfortunately, you can’t book any of the tables outside Moro and Morito on Exmouth Market. Fortunately, however, you’re on one of the city’s most atmospheric semi-pedestrianised stretches, so you can probably get an outside table somewhere else in a pinch (and save Moro’s fantastic Northern Spanish dishes for another, rainier day).

Details: 34-36 Exmouth Market, Farringdon, EC1R 4QE

Café Laperouse | Westminster

Café Laperouse might be one of the most striking restaurants in the whole of London. Big words, we know, but if you wander into the stately & palatial central courtyard of the Old War Office you’ll find a modern marvel nestled within the historical grandeur—a restaurant encased in a gleaming silver structure that almost looks like it was airlifted from a sci-fi movie set. Inside, it’s a rather elegant French restaurant, with rather elegant French food to match. On a sunny day or a balmy evening, you can’t do much better than puling up to one of the scattered tables out in that courtyard and diving into beef tartare with matchstick fries, grilled lamb chops with niçoise ratatouille, or classic Dover sole with meunière butter.

Details: Raffles The OWO, Whitehall, SW1A 2BX | Book here

Dinner | Knightsbridge

A more relaxed affair than his madcap, time-travelling, Michelin-starred eatery inside, Heston Blumenthal’s garden restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental offers native lobster rolls, oysters and ice cream overlooking Hyde Park. And yes, ‘relaxed’ is a relative term here.

Details: Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge, Knightsbridge, West London, SW1X 7LA | Book here

Bubbledogs | Mayfair

bubbledogs outdoor dining london

We need to address what’s happening at 45 Park Lane. Because this summer, the luxury Mayfair hotel is giving over its parkside terrace for a pop-up incarnation of Bubbledogs, the former restaurant dedicated to hot dogs and little-known Champagnes, from a Michelin Star-winning team…

Details: 10th May – 29th September 45 Park Lane, London W1K 1PN Book here

EAST LONDON

TT Restaurant | Shoreditch

TT Restaurant

Try not to get sidetracked by the various diversions across TT’s four storeys – clandestine cellars, cocktail workshops, hidden cinemas and the like – and you’ll eventually reach the rooftop, where former Oren chef Sam Lone is rustling up a wood-fired menu of barbecued chicken thighs, smoked oyster mushrooms, dry-aged ribeye steak and more…

Details: 17b Kingsland Road, London E2 8AA Book here

Pavilion | Victoria Park

pavilion outside seating victoria park

Sure, you could just take one of Pavilion’s freshly baked pastries for a walk in the park. But if you want to settle in for one of their famous Sri Lankan breakfasts, you’re just going to have to park yourself at one of the café’s sun-dappled tables overlooking the lake.

Details: Victoria Park, E9 7DE No bookings

Dusty Knuckle | Dalston

dusty knuckle dalston outdoor tables

The al fresco seating at this Dalston bakery is way bigger than the bakery itself (though that’s not difficult, seeing as it’s stowed away inside a 40ft shipping container). Since opening in 2013 they’ve drawn crowds for their fresh bakes, brick-thick sarnies and quality pizzas – and now they have almost the entirety of their car park home to accommodate them.

Details: Abbot Street Carpark, E8 3DP No bookings

SMOKESTAK | Shoreditch

Smokestak restaurant with outdoor seating

SMOKESTAK takes its BBQ seriously. In fact, the rusted, industrially hard-edged restaurant itself seems to resemble the inside of a BBQ oven, even extending to the rolling shutter that leads to the terrace outside. And it’s that terrace that we’re concerned with today. It’s got a decent number of tables, well-heated, adequately spaced, and you can enjoy the likes of a USDA brisket bun with pickled red chilli, thick-cut pork ribs with pickled cucumber, and crispy ox cheek with anchovy mayo. And they have a house-label wine to wash it all down…

Details: 35 Sclater St, E1 6LB | Book here

Jones & Sons | Dalston

jones & sons courtyard dining

A Dalston loading yard transformed into one of the most charming outdoor dining spots in London, with bundles of greenery, parasols, and globe-trotting seasonal menus (including their famous all-you-can-eat brunch).

Details: Stamford Works, 3 Gillett Street, N16 8JH Book here

Crispin | Spitalfields

crispin spitalfields restaurant outdoor seating

The only thing lovelier than Crispin’s seasonally changing menu (currently boasting gorgonzola & radicchio salad; cime di rapa pasta and plum & brown butter pudding) and its cellar full of natural wines is its outdoor seating, set out under brollies to shelter you come rain or shine.

Details: Pavilion on The Corner, White’s Row, Spitalfields, E1 7NF Book here

ACME Fire Cult | Dalston

Acme Fire Cult outdoor dining

Dalston’s Acme Fire Cult was, hands down, one of our favourite 2022 restaurant openings for a wide number of reasons: live-fire cooking, low waste principles, cocktails (like a michelada made with their own hot sauce), wine (the list curated by Holly Willcocks; once of Noble Rot, now of Half Cut Market) and locally-made beers (some in collaboration with 40FT Brewery next door, coincidentally also one of our favourite London breweries). Oh, and having a 60-seater al fresco terrace didn’t do any harm either…

Details: Abbot Street Car Park, E8 3DP | Book here

Towpath Café | Haggerston

towpath cafe outdoor restaurants

Towpath is almost exclusively outside, so an al fresco table is pretty much guaranteed. That’s if you can get one at all, of course. Open only for the warmer months, this cult café draws the crowds like nobody’s business, so if you want mouthwatering brunch dishes or Modern British small plates by the canal, better sharpen those elbows…

Details: 42 De Beauvoir Crescent, London N1 5SB | No bookings

My Neighbours the Dumplings | Homerton

My Neighbours the Dumplings lantern-lit terrace

If you wanted to get some fresh air in the area around Victoria Park, you could, of course, go to Victoria Park. But an alternative option – no less appealing – would be to make yourself at home in the lantern-lit courtyard of MNTD, which unlike the park, boasts prawn har gau and crispy potsticker dumplings… 

Details: 178-180 Victoria Park Road, London, E9 7HD | Book here

Luca | Clerkenwell

Luca

Luca by name, looker by nature… this Michelin-starred Italian restaurant doesn’t just offer some of most exquisite pasta in london (made in a dedicated pasta-making room, no less), it offers it in a cobbled garden courtyard with olive trees and jasmine plants, and with an open fire for whenever it does get a bit cold.

Details: 8 St. John Street, EC1M 4EH | Book here

Sager + Wilde Paradise Row | Bethnal Green

Sager + Wilde al fresco

Flowing seamlessly into the main area of the restaurant, the al fresco courtyard at Paradise Row is both a dining area for S+W’s glorious Italian dishes, and a bar which serves an ever-changing cocktail menu centred around different spirits.

Details: Arch 250 Paradise Row, E2 9LE | Book here

Pophams | London Fields

pophams london fields outside tables

Sure, you could just pop in to Popham’s for your flat white. Or, you could commandeer one of their outdoor tables for a breakfast, lunch or dinner time feast (featuring beautifully laminated pastries, molten toasties or freshly rolled pasta respectively).

Details: 197 Richmond Road, Hackney, E8 3NJ | Book here

Barge East | Hackney Wick

barge east garden dining

The restaurant aboard this 114-year old Dutch cargo barge has proved so popular that they’ve had to spill out onto the banks they’re moored on. And what started out as a casual picnic spot has since become a fully fledged operation, with shaded tables and chairs for groups, miniature plant beds growing ingredients for the kitchen, and even a vintage airstream caravan serving a street food menu.

Details: River Lee, Sweetwater Mooring, White Post Lane, London, E9 5EN Book here

Bar Douro City | The City

bar douro city terrace

Bar Douro is much more than just upmarket Portuguese dining in the city, it’s upmarket Portuguese dining in the city with an azulejo-tiled al fresco terrace out front. Transform your working lunch into a miniature holiday with salt cod fritters, garlic prawns and pastel de nata (with cinnamon ice cream)… and a couple of white port & tonics depending on how many emails you have to send when you get back to the office.

Details: 1 Finsbury Avenue, EC2M 2PF | Book here

Los Mochis London City | Liverpool Street

los mochis city terrace

Sure, some people reading this can lunch al desko and enjoy 9th floor views of the City. But Los Mochis’ new Liverpool Street restaurant is a much more pleasant place to do it, with a huge 3,000 sq ft terrace featuring skyline views, Japanese-Mexican dishes, and a Champagne trolley…

Details: 100 Liverpool Street, EC2M 2AT | Book here

Boundary | Shoreditch

boundary shoreditch rooftop restaurant

Shoreditch has seen it all: nuns, factory owners, criminals, and prostitutes. Now it boasts a roof terrace with 360-degree views across the chimneys of the East End. And hipsters.

Details: 2-4 Boundary Street, E2 7DD | Book here

Rochelle Canteen | Shoreditch

Rochelle Canteen eat outside London

A genuine secret garden, Rochelle Canteen can be found behind a brick wall orbiting Arnold Circus in Shoreditch. Ring a buzzer, and you’ll be welcomed into a hidden, terrace-toting restaurant serving gorgeous seasonal grub. Simply some of the best outdoor dining in London.

Details: Rochelle School, Arnold Circus, E2 7ES | Book here

Dishoom Shoreditch | Shoreditch

dishoom shoreditch outdoor seating

Dishoom’s eclectic East London verandah is home to a jumble of vintage furniture, salvaged architecture and familiar-feeling bric-a-brac – as well as, crucially, a retractable roof. (Dishoom King’s Cross has a pretty great outdoor terrace too).

Details: 7 Boundary Street, E2 7JE | Book a table (terrace walk-in only)

The Culpeper | Spitalfields

culpeper rooftop dining

Some of the finest outdoor seating London can offer, The Culpeper’s rooftop has its own bar serving signature cocktails, a garden supplying herbal tinctures for said cocktails, a menu of sprightly modern British dishes from the restaurant downstairs, a view of the City’s towering skyline, AND, an intimate, 12 – 14 seater glass Greenhouse. Just in case.

Details: 40 Commercial Street, E1 6LP | Book here

 

WEST LONDON

The River Cafe | Hammersmith

River cafe garden dining

It’s called The River Cafe because it’s next to the river. And if you open a restaurant next to the river and don’t provide a little outdoor seating for people then, quite frankly, you’re not going to be open for three decades. Which the River Cafe has been.

Details: Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, W6 9HA | Book here

The Ivy Chelsea Garden | Chelsea

Ivy Chelsea Garden outdoor seating

Technically speaking, The Ivy Chelsea Garden doesn’t have an al fresco area. It IS an al fresco area, with an indoor bit attached. Because they have a 3,500 square foot outdoor terrace and paved garden, filled with stone-clad water fountains; sandstone firepits; marble tables; mosaic chairs; and balustrade pergolas covered in creeping wisteria and red rose vine.

Details: 195 -197 King’s Road, SW3 5EQ | Book a table (inside/outside allocated on arrival)

Scott’s Richmond | Richmond

scotts richmond terrace

With jaw-droppingly glitzy interiors decked out with Venetian glass chandeliers, mirrored ceilings and a centrepiece raw bar, Scott’s Richmond would have to pull something pretty spectacular out the bag to lure you outside. Which is why their version of al fresco dining is a raised riverside balcony, with sweeping views and flower-laden tables that bask in the sunshine.

Details: 4 Whittaker Ave, Richmond TW9 1TH | Book here

Peggy Jean | Richmond

peggy jean

PJ is a beautifully restored barge which features a cosy dining room below deck; two al fresco dining terraces and a pair of clay-baked pizza ovens, Peggy and Jean. And with views over the Thames and the grassy knolls of Richmond, it’s like a little slice of the Riviera in West London…

Details: The Boat, Bridge Boathouses, Riverside, Richmond TW9 1TH Terrace seating walk-in only

The Cheese Barge | Paddington

You know how it is with barges: you wait ages for one… then two show up with al fresco tables perched on their roof. The key difference with The Cheese Barge being that it almost exclusively serves a menu of British cheese dishes.

Details: Sheldon Square, Paddington Central, London, W2 6HY | Roof terrace walk-in only

Kricket White City | White City

Kricket white city al fresco west London

Overlooking the redeveloped BBC Television Centre, Kricket’s sprawling al fresco dining in London’s White City terrace is a delightfully peaceful spot to overdo it on Chaitinis and gorge on every one of their Anglo-Indian small plates.

Details: 2 Television Centre, 101 Wood Lane, W12 7FR | Book a table

Chicama | Chelsea

Chicama al fresco dining in west London

Chicama is named after a Peruvian coastal town… something that won’t feel so distant if you can score a table under their awning on a sunny day, as you tuck into ceviche, popped corn monkfish cheeks, and pisco cocktails.

Details: 383 King’s Road, SW10 0LP | Book a table

No 197 Chiswick Fire Station | Chiswick

Chiswick Fire Station outdoor dining

Chiswick Fire Station’s jaw-droppingly suave interiors (pink velvet loveseats, beautiful artwork and cacti of an Arizonan scale) are matched only by the breezy courtyard, with its vine-entwined pergola and brilliant white furnishings.

Details: 197-199 Chiswick High Road, W4 2DR | Book here

High Road Brasserie | Chiswick 

high road brasserie covered terrace

Justin De Souza

Taking the high road always works out in the long run – see The High Road Brasserie; a Soho House-run restaurant where you’ll want to accommodate yourself for as long as possible on their awning-shaded al-fresco terrace, while enjoying elevated, crowd-pleasing fare.

Details: 162-170 Chiswick High Road, W4 1PR | Book here

Carmel | Queen’s Park

Carmel comes from Berber & Q head chef Josh Katz and serves his signature fluffy flatbreads and superlative Middle Eastern small plates. That’s probably all you needed to hear to make the dash out to Queen’s Park, pronto, but just in case, it has a canopy-covered outdoor dining terrace out the front too…

Details: 23-25 Lonsdale Road, Queen’s Park, NW6 6RR | Book here

Polpo Chelsea | Chelsea

polpo chelsea al fresco dining

If Polpo Soho‘s secret weapon is a subterranean Campari bar, then the Chelsea follow-up’s is the al fresco terrace where you can elope after a mooch around the Saatchi Gallery for cicchetti (Venetian-style small plates) and spritzes under shaded parasols in Duke Of York Square.

Details: 81 Duke Of York Square, London, SW3 4LY | Book here

Maria G’s | Kensington

maria g's kensington garden dining

Maria G’s Kensington location recently drifted from its Italian upbringing towards a more British-led menu populated with brassiere classics. Don’t worry though, this change in food direction has had absolutely no impact on their secluded outdoor space, with wicker chairs, shady umbrellas and a manicured lawn.

Details: Coe House, 2-4 Warwick Ln, W14 8FN | Book here

Bluebird Chelsea | Chelsea

outdoor dining at bluebird chelsea

An impressive old Grade II listed, Art Deco garage in the heart of Made In Chelsea country, this is a solid option for all of those times that you fancy heading down the King’s Road with Ollie, Binky & Spencer (they’re still in it, right?) for a glass of bubbles and a spot of alfresco dining in London.

Details: 350 King’s Road, London SW3 5UU | Book a table

 

NORTH LONDON

Parrillan | King’s Cross

Parrillan al fresco

Run by the team behind Barrafina, Parrillan doesn’t just boast a sprawling, heated, covered terrace. It also has a chef who knows exactly how you like your food. Because it’s you who’ll be tossing their impeccably sourced Spanish ingredients onto your own tabletop grill…

Details: Coal Drops Yard, Stable Street, N1C 4AB | Book here

Plaza Pastor | King’s Cross

plaza pastor outdoor dining

That rambunctious covered terrace you just passed on the way up to Parrillan? That’s Plaza Pastor, the colourful, tequila-soaked annexe to Casa Pastor, here for all your all-weather outdoor taco needs. Set underneath an archway, it’s always shaded, providing a little respite from the searing British weather – plus, there’s DJs Thurs-Sat.

Details: Coal Drops Yard, N1C 4DQ Book a table here

Lina Stores King’s Cross | King’s Cross

lina stores king's cross terrace

The second restaurant from the iconic 75 year-old Soho deli that has all the charms of the first. Fresh crab linguine. Pear bellinis. More gelato than you can shake a cannoli at. All enjoyed on one sweetly shaded terrace.

Details: 20 Stable Street, King’s Cross, London N1C 4DR | Book a table

The Standard | King’s Cross

the standard dining terrace

The Standard hotel in King’s Cross has an exceptionally beautiful ground floor terrace, and now it finally has the menu to match courtesy of Ixta Belfrage. She’s cooking here until the end of June, with a menu of steampunk, globe-trotting inventions like king-prawn lasagne (with the head sticking out the top) and guava roast duck tacos.

Details: The Standard, 10 Argyle Street, WC1H 8EG Book here

Caravan King’s Cross | King’s Cross

Caravan al fresco north london

Set in the industrially grand Granary Square, Caravan not only has a huge outdoor seating area, but stellar coffee ground in-house; a cornucopia of dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner; and cocktails. For breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Details: 1 Granary Square, N1C 4AA | Book a table

Tranga | Newington Green

Trangallan stoke newington

It’s not like there are any bad seats at Tranga – a gem of a local on Newington Green, repping Northern Spanish fare – but when the sun’s out and the sky’s blue, there are particularly good seats; outside, before the entrance, and under the black and white striped awning where a cluster of al fresco tables command the street.

Details: 61 Newington Green, N16 9PX | Book here

Coal Office | King’s Cross

coal office roof terrace

100 years ago, the people inside these buildings were in charge of managing the flow of coal and fish deliveries into London. Now, they’re in charge of combining coal and fish (and meat, and veg) and delivering it straight to your table. And happily, you can enjoy Assaf Granit’s lauded Middle Eastern cooking on their rooftop space overlooking the canal.

Details: 2 Bagley Walk, Coal Drops Yard, N1C 4PQ | Book here

Common Ground | Finsbury Park

common ground

They want brunch with miso mushroom double-cheese toasties and dulce de leche brownies, while you just want to sit in a sun-drenched (but also shaded) backyard with loads of plants and an alligator sculpture. Go to Finsbury Park, find Common Ground…

Details: 49 Stroud Green Road, Finsbury Park, London N4 3EF | Book here

Yard Sale Pizza | Walthamstow

In spite of their name, Yard Sale Pizza’s third branch was actually the first to offer back yard dining since their pop up days, with a terrace adjoining the intimate restaurant housed in a former stained glass workshop.

Details: 15 Hoe StreetE17 4SD | Walk-ins only

Smokehouse | Islington

smokehouse restaurant with outdoor dining

Islington’s critically acclaimed gastropub dedicated to smoking, grilling & roasting takes up a kind of awkward stretch of land at the tip of a triangle. So they’ve done what any right-minded eatery would do, and turned it into a hedge-lined, chiminera-smoking, utterly glorious pocket of outdoor drinking & dining.

Details: 63–69 Canonbury Rd, London, N1 2DG | Book here

 

SOUTH LONDON

Trivet | London Bridge

trivet outdoor dining

Jodi Hinds

A double Michelin starred restaurant? Serving mains from £14? On a peacefully shaded, secluded terrace? We’re not sure what kind of alternate universe Trivet has sprung from, but it’s one you’re going to want to visit. Soon.

Details: 36 Snowsfields, Southwark, SE1 3SU | Book here (then ask to move to the terrace when you arrive)

Le Pont De La Tour | Shad Thames / Tower Bridge

le pont de la tour outdoor dining by the river

Literally only just realised that Le Pont De La Tour is French for “Tower Bridge”.

Essentially this is a pretty old school French restaurant by D&D that’s been around forever featuring white table cloths, a pricey menu (asparagus for starters with a main course of a side of french beans will set you back £19), but also – crucially, given that we’re here to talk about alfresco dining – a lovely terrace on the river, with live jazz on Thursday evenings and a Grade A view of Le Pont De La Tour.

Details: 36D Shad Thames, London SE1 2YE | Book a table

JOIA | Battersea

Joia

We’re going to go out on a limb here and say, unless there’s another rooftop on a powerstation with an infinity pool somewhere in the world, Joia is one-of-a-kind. Mix soaring views of the Battersea Power Station itself with Portuguese snacks from star chef Henrique Sá Pessoa and mandatory jugs of sangria, and you’ve got the recipe for one of the best alfresco dining experiences in London…

Details: art’otel Battersea, 1 Electric Boulevard, Nine Elms, London SW11 8BJ | Book here

The Laundry | Brixton

laundry terrace brixton

Hang yourself out to dry at The Laundry, whose home in a grand Edwardian laundrette is fronted by a sprawling outdoor terrace with plenty of space to spread out. A great choice whether you’re popping by for brunch, or to peruse The Cleaner’s Diary – a little black book of their cellar wines.

Details: Walton’s Lodge, 374 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8PL Book here

Kudu | Peckham

kudu garden

You couldn’t design a lovelier back garden, Kudu? And aside from being a total suntrap with lush greenery and pretty wrought iron seating, it also allows you to enjoy the team’s Michelin Bib Gourmand-winning South African braai dishes while you’re at it.

Details: 119 Queens Road, Peckham, SE15 2EZ Book here

Seabird | Southwark

seabird roof terrace

Seabird has a wonderful sense of occasion right from the outset; to find it, you’ll head to the lobby of the mid-century chic Hoxton Hotel, and find a large gold plaque with a single button marked ‘Seabird’. This summons an elevator that’ll whisk you up to the 14th floor. Seats on the terrace are rarer than hen’s teeth, but you might just get lucky… occasionally.

Details: 40 Blackfriars Road, SE1 8PB | Book a table

Llewelyns | Herne Hill

llewelyns outdoor dining

If there’s one thing you have to do in your life in the next, hmmm, lets say, day? It’s prioritise getting down to Llewelyn’s (preferably for lunch running through to dinner) and snatching a seat on their front terrace, for some of the best seasonal small plates merged with outdoor dining that London has to offer.

Details: 293-295 Railton Road, London SE24 0JP | Book here

Sharkbait & Swim | Deptford

sharkbait swim deptford

With its jugs of cocktails, exceptional seafood and the mass of al fresco seating spilling out from its revamped railway arch, Sharkbait & Swim makes Deptford Creek feel like the Spanish riviera.

Details: Arch 11, 4 Deptford Market Yard, London SE8 4BX Book here (outdoor tables first come, first served)

Tavolino | London Bridge

tavolino terrace with a view of tower bridge

By rights, an affordable Italian restaurant with views over one of London’s most famous landmarks should be an absolute tourist trap. And yet somehow, Tavolino manages to just be a really, really wonderful spot for fresh pasta, negronis, and al fresco dining.

Details: 2 More London Pl, London SE1 2RR Book here

Brunswick House | Vauxhall

brunswick house terrace with wisteria

A lot’s already been said about Brunswick House’s antique-heavy interior (where the ceiling is covered in chandeliers), but more needs to be said about the walled-in, wisteria-laden garden, which allows one to dig into lunch & brunch in and amongst statues, sculptures and pot plants, courtesy of highly-skilled chef-patron Jackson Boxer.

Details: 30 Wandsworth Road, SW8 2LG | Book here

Milk | Balham

milk al fresco brunch

The tables spilling out of Milk almost double the capacity of this modestly-sized corner eatery. And as one of the most popular brunch spots in South London, it’s not so much a luxury as an absolute necessity…

Details: 18-20 Bedford Hill, SW12 9RGNo bookings

Parrillan Borough Yards | London Bridge

Parrillan borough yards al fresco dining

Graciously providing ample shade thanks to enormous parasols and the sweeping railway arches overhead, Parrillan Borough Yards is the perfect choice for when you want to eat outside, but don’t want to be scorched as much as the BBQ dishes on your table.

Details: 4 Dirty Lane, SE1 9PA | Book a table

Fish, Wings & Tings | Brixton

Fish, Wings and Tings

London’s weather might not match up to the Caribbean, but the flavours on your plate will: Trinidadian-born Brian Danclair draws on his grandmother’s cooking as well as his training in ‘nouvelle cuisine’ to create mouthwatering dishes, served exclusively on picnic tables spilling out of Brixton Market.

Details: 3 Granville Arcade, Brixton Village, Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8PR | No bookings

Forza Wine | Peckham

Forza Wine rooftop bar

From the team behind lots of pop ups, a rambunctious pizza, past & cocktail joint inside an old Peckham cash & carry, and a bunch of other things we can’t remember is this little gem of a rooftop bar & snack house perfect for anyone who’s keen to enjoy some very light Italian dishes as an accompaniment to their main course of booze. Right next to Peckham Rye station, by the way.

Details: 5th Floor, The Market, 133 Rye Lane, SE15 4ST | Book a table

Little Kudu | Peckham

Little Kudu exterior

Tucked into a railway arch, Little Kudu is, understandably, tiny. What’s not so tiny is the foliage-filled al fresco terrace, where you can knuckle down with some of their ‘modern South African tapas’ – Kalahari-spiced biltong; pig’s head croquettes decorated with dollops of wild garlic aioli; and braai-grilled courgettes served with ricotta and cashew dukkha, among others – paired with a nice bottle of wine from the Western Cape…

Details: 133 Queens Road, SE15 2AY | Book a table

Wright Brothers | Battersea

Wright Brothers battersea riverside dining

Toby Keane

Battersea – it’s pretty much the perfect place for a seafood spot; especially when it’s the third in a family of well-established eateries, and comes with its own festoon-lit verandah overlooking the river…

Details: 26 Circus West Village, Battersea Power Station, SW8 4NN | Book a table

Vinegar Yard | London Bridge

Vinegar Yard outdoor street food

Taking over a formerly disused patch of land, Vinegar Yard is now a very used piece of land, full to the brim with street food traders like Baba G’s and the Untitled Sandwich Shop, outdoor bars and picnic tables.

Details: 72-82 St Thomas St, London SE1 3QU

Berberè Pizza | Clapham

berbere pizza outdoor seating

Berberè Pizza has 17 pizzerias in Italy, which should tell you something about the quality of their output. And their South London spot pays tribute to the birthplace of al fresco dining with colourful tables and chairs spilling onto the pedestrianised street.

Details: 67 Venn Street, Clapham, SW4 0BD Book here

400 Rabbits | Herne Hill

400 rabbits brockwell lido

Sure, there are a couple of these spots across South London now. And sure, they all do great sourdough pizzas. But only one of them spills out onto the patio of a Grade II listed art deco swimming pool…

Details: Brockwell Lido, Dulwich Road, SE24 0PA Book here

The Crown & Greyhound | Dulwich Village

crown greyhound beer garden

Always nice to recommend a lovely local pub, particularly when it’s located in the sort of London neighbourhood that you may (particularly in summer months) wish to spend some time pootling around one lazy Sunday afternoon. Dulwich, which combines a quaint village and beautiful park (boating lake, check) with the shops and restaurants of Lordship Lane in East Dulwich, just a short walk away, is one of those places.. and the Crown & Greyhound, located in the heart of the village itself, is a nice place to go for lunch or dinner.

And most importantly – for this article, at least – it has a large outdoor courtyard complete with a retractable roof & plentiful heaters (as and when required) plus, beyond that, a large paved garden with lots of additional space for alfresco dining.

Details: 73 Dulwich Village, Dulwich SE21 7BJ | Book a table

 


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