London's rooftop spaces are open for an alfresco season like no other. Here's where you can dine outside and get a great view at the same time.
Where: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, 20 International Way, London E20 1FD
The terrace at Patrick Powell's Stratford restaurant wraps nearly the whole way around his 7th-floor restaurant. It's quite beautiful too with gorgeous planting and views clear across London. On the new food menu, look out for dishes like Market oysters with bloody mary granite and pickled celery along with Cornish pollock ceviche and ice-cream sandwiches.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @allegrarestaurant
Where: 5th Floor 240 Regent Street Entrance 30 Argyll St, W1F 7EB, London W1B 3BR
Tucked away from the shoppers down on pavement level on Regent’s Street, this W1 oasis is always a hard place to get a table at, but if you fancy lunch that's pre-bookable out on the terrace. Sushi and spritzes out in the sun are a hard-to-beat combo.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @aquakyotolondon
Where: Royal London House, 10th Floor Montcalm, 22-25 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1DX
With views over Finsbury Square, this City rooftop spot is perenially popular. And if you’re after some real social distancing, then make a booking for one of their igloos, which are available year-round. On the menu, the big things here are the oysters and steaks cooked in the restaurant's 550°C cast iron Bertha oven.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @aviaryldn
Where: 257-259 Pentonville Road, London, N1 9NL
Food at this King's Cross rooftop bar is courtesy of residency Chuck Burger. They also do a very popular weekend bottomless brunch. This year the terrace has partnered with Hawkes cidery for its cocktail list. The good news is there's also a retractable roof here should it be needed.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @bigchillbar
Where: 8 St Martin's Place, London WC2N 4JH
This rooftop sushi spot has a huge wraparound terrace with amazing views over Trafalgar Square. The cocktails are a cut above the average and the sushi platters are perfect for rooftop dining.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @bisushima
Where: 40 Marsh Wall, London E14 9TP
Running over three floors at the top of a Canary Wharf tower, Bōkan's rooftop terrace is on the 39th floor. There's a covered bar inside for cooler times but when the temperatures heats up the terrace, with its amazing views over the city, is where the action is at. Up here there's a specialist gin bar, rooftop daybed and a food menu that includes British cheese and charcuterie along with a Rhug Estate burger and Hereford salt beef brisket tacos.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @bokanlondon
Where: 2-4 Boundary St, London E2 7DD
The rooftop space here is beautifully done with topiary and full-grown olive trees to transport you from Shoreditch to somewhere closer to the Med. Newly arrived chef Robin Freeman (ex Lombard Street) is working on a new menu at the moment but right now the focus is on grilled dishes.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @boundaryldn
Where: Fifth Floor Roof, Unit B, Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane, London SE15 4ST
Bussey has had a full-blown makeover for the summer with ice-cold De Kuyper cocktails on its drinks list along with great pizzas from Share A Slice’s new menu. Events at the Peckham bar include a regular rooftop club and comedy nights.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @busseyrooftopbar
Where: 4a Station Way, Peckham, London SE15 4RX
The Hennessy rooftop bar at this Peckham bar and lounge features live music sessions at the weekends in the height of summer and, handily, is weatherproof for the British summer. The food is traditional Caribbean - they do excellent Dominican-style fried chicken - and the cocktails are strong. The terrace bar is sponsored by Hennessy and offers table service only.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @theclfartlounge.
Where: 40 Commercial St, Spitalfields, London E1 6LP
The Regen rooftop space in this City pub is all about sustainable and regenerative farming which is what inspires the menus here. There are some great set meal offerings at lunchtime. The drinks list continues the theme with a focus on Biodynamic winemakers and Absolute’s carbon-neutral drinks range.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @theculpeper.
Where: 53 Park Ln, London W1K 1QA
The first summer takeover of this bar high above Park Lane is from Jean-Philippe Blondet, executive chef of the three Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester. He'll be serving up a Mediterranean menu with panisse fries, Beef tartare ‘al coltello’ finished at the table and risottos alongside lobster and cote de boeuf.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @thedorchester
Where: The Rooftop, 133 Rye Ln, Peckham, London SE15 4BQ
Forzawine vie with Bussey over who has the highest rooftop space in South London. Food is a range of snacks and small plates - what they describe as "thoughtfully sourced Italian fare". To that end, the wine list is similarly carefully put together. It may not all be natural, but human intervention has been at a minimum.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @forzawine.
Where: 108 Baker St, Marylebone, London W1U 6LJ
This roof terrace overlooking Baker Street is a rather well-kept secret. Once you've nabbed a space here, enjoy dishes like smoked burrata with endive, grilled sea bream and raspberry sorbet to finish.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @kitchenatholmes
Where: 14th floor Dorsett City, 9 Aldgate High Street, London EC3N 1AH
High on the 14th floor of the Dorsett City Hotel, this bar has properly jaw-dropping views over the City of London. It’s all about drinks here - there are a few snacks - so choose from an interesting cocktail list or go with the magnums section of the drinks list. Weekends feature DJ sessions and parties.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @jinbolaw_skybar.
Where: 45 Curtain Rd, London EC2A 3PT
With a view of their rooftop pool, this slide of California overlooking Shoreditch is one of London's newest rooftop spots. Enjoy dishes like Malibu shrimp cocktail and cobb salads along with frozen spicy margaritas and Canyon Cobblers.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @laurels.ontheroof
Where: Brixton Village, Coldharbour Ln, SW9 8PS
This hidden rooftop space above Brixton has a retractable roof, DJs and plenty of space. Best of all, you can use their app to get food sent up to your rooftop table from some of the traders below like Fish, Wings & Tings, Rudie's Jerk Shack, Okan and more. Cocktails are all about a Latin American vibe.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @lostbrixton.
Where: The Terrace, Horse Hospital, North Stables Yard, London NW1 8AH
With a Mayfair club under their belt, the Lucky Club team picked Camden for their second opening - a rooftop bar across the Chalk Farm entrance to Camden Market. Think tacos and margaritas for the food and drink side of things - so cheeseburger tacos, frozen Naranjaritas and spicy Guajillo Palomas. Bottomless weekend brunches are in the planning.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @theluckyclubcamden
Where: 14-15 Langham Pl, Marylebone, London W1B 2QS
This is a two-for-one. On the fifteenth floor, you’ll find Madera - a Mexican restaurant and bar with a terrace perfect for enjoying tacos and more on. But head upstairs and there’s another bar, The Nest, which also does weekend brunches.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @maderalondon.
Where: 1 Willow St, London EC2A 4BH
The rooftop restaurant at the top of The Hoxton in Shoreditch has half of it inside (fully weatherproof) and a lovely terrace outside. This is a collaboration between Soho House and The Hoxton and the food focuses on coastal Baja-Mexican food using locally sourced produce.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @thehoxtonhotel
Where: Vintry & Mercer, 19-20 Garlick Hill, EC4V 2AU
This London rooftop space boasts quite the City view, taking in everything from The Shard to St Paul's. With an ex Nobu/Zuma chef in charge, the food here is all about the best meat and fish from the British Isles. Cocktails feature their own house-infused spirits and there's a good value set lunch deal here too.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @vintryandmercer.
Where: 1 Westgate St, Hackney, London E8 3RL
If you're not the most organised person, then the good news is that you can't book ahead for this marvellous rooftop, it's a first-come, first-served affair. Drinks-wise, there’s a strong leaning towards local beer and liquor. They do have heaters and some cover, so it's good too when the weather isn't all that great. There are also, randomly, four Finnish saunas up on the roof too.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @netil360.
Where: 19 Motcomb Street, London, SW1X 8LB
The roof garden space at the top of this new Nordic/Japanese space in Belgravia is quite beautiful. South facing and with most of it protected from the elements, it's a great place to people-spot and enjoy a Nordic brunch. The menu features a combination of casual Nordic and Japanese-inspired dishes.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @_pantechnicon
Where: 1 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3JX
This East London rooftop is a perennially popular spot, so get in fast if the weather forecast is good. Right now there's a cherry blossom theme going on, so expect Japanese-inspired cocktails (alongside the usual Moet slushies) and food like chicken katsu burgers and tempura prawns.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @queenofhoxtonldn.
Where: 336-337 Strand, London WC2R 1HA
Up on the 10th floor of ME London, you’ll find this chichi rooftop lounge with views across central London including a sliver of the Thames. It’s an all-day affair, so particularly good for impressing clients at business breakfasts, or ordering one of their double magnums of rosé for sundowners.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @radiorooftoplondon.
Where: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX
This secret rooftop garden at the top of the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank is a real hidden away gem. Open from lunchtime to early evening there's a cafe and bar which serves up cocktails and has a particularly interesting gin collection that covers the whole of the UK.
Where: 10 Godliman St, London EC4V 5AJ
Perched on top of the Leonardo hotel in the heart of the City, Sabine rooftop bar and restaurant has one huge USP - its amazing views over St Paul's. There are two outside terraces and one has a handy retractable roof for dealing with the British weather.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @sabine_rooftopbar
Where: DoubleTree by Hilton Tower of London, 7 Pepys Street, London, EC3N 4AF
This city space has not one but two rooftop terraces giving 360-degree views over London. Expect jaw-dropping cocktail concoctions, with sharing platters the big draw featuring crispy squid sticks and sliders.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @savagegardenldn.
Where: 14th Floor, 40 Blackfriars Rd, South Bank, London SE1 8NY
If it wasn’t for the London backdrop, this rooftop terrace looks like a little slice of Miami in the sky. They have some particularly tropical drinks on offer - tequila cocktail in a ceramic toucan, anyone? And their new weekend brunch offering mixes serious vibes with great food (and mountains of icy martinis).
Check Instagram for the latest info: @seabirdlondon.
Where: Pennington St. Car Park entrance, Wapping, London E1W 2SF
If you fancy really relaxing on a rooftop then this space at Tobacco Dock is billed as London's biggest outside venue. The activities include croquet and petanque and a new food menu featuring tacos, sheesh skewers and corn ribs. If rain stops play there's a covered bar down on level 9 but if the weather's good, the view here is amazing.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @skylight_london.
Where: 17B Kingsland Rd, London E2 8AA
This surprisingly capacious rooftop bar is very handy to know about when you're after a drink away from the madding crowds at ground level in Shoreditch. There are also covered and heated booths for cooler days and nights. Food is pizzas by Gordos and - best of all - they take bookings.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @ttliquor
Where: 68 King William St, London EC4N 7HR
Since launching this summer it's fair to say that this new City rooftop spot has created quite the stir on social media. It looks amazing with two floors of restaurant and terrace space. The food sees ex-Corrigan's Mayfair chef Phil Kearsey in charge of the menu while drinks are by Angelos Bafas who was previously at Aqua.
Check Instagram for the latest info: @wagtailldn
Bodega Argento is this summer's popup at The Rooftop of The Hippodrome Casino on Leicester Square. It's a good way to escape the crowds in this busy part of town.
Amano Covent Garden is the first UK branch of a German boutique hotel chain. Their Skybar features an inside bar along with a decent size roof terrace.
Pocketsquare - up on the ninth floor of the Hyatt Place London City East this cocktail bar features a drinks list with suggested bar snacks pairings.
Look out for The Corin which is new to Tooting and raises South West London's rooftop game.
Royal Festival Hall photo: India Roper Evans
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