Because when the weather's great in London you're going to want our guide on London's loveliest spots to eat outdoors.
Where: 43 Drury Ln, London WC2B 5AJ
What: Some of the best Spanish tapas in London
USP: The great joy of summer is that your chances of getting a seat at Barrafina increases exponentially. And if you're out eating on the terrace here in Covent Garden you really could believe you're on holiday in Spain somewhere.
Where: 11-15 Swallow St, London W1B 4DG
What: Top seafood, courtesy of chef Richard Corrigan
USP: Squeezed in down Swallow Street, this is one of those alfresco spots the weather can't spoil (and we know - we've had pre-Christmas drinks here and been as warm as toast). But it's better still when the sun's out and you've a platter of oysters in front of you.
Where: 5 St James's Street, London SW1A 1EF
What: Classic French cooking in St James.
USP: Where to start? The fact that it's the largest private courtyard in central London? The fact that the last pistol duel in England was fought here? Or that those boards you see around the outside actually come from Henry VIII's tennis courts?
Where: 1 Chiltern St, London W1U 7PA
What: Modern European cuisine in a very fancy hotel. Watch for celebs.
USP: The huge courtyard is not only wonderfully warm and snug (with an open fire to take the chill off on colder days) but there's also an oyster cart serving up rock and native oysters here. A cracking place for a fruits de mer platter or weekend brunch.
Where: 1 Poultry, London EC2R 8EJ
What: Classic French in the City
USP: Taking up a huge space on the top floor, this is one of the City's most famous alfresco spots. If you can grab a space here on a busy weekday lunchtime, you've done a good job. Also make sure to find the mini green out the back with great views of the City.
Where: 16-22 Great Russell St, London WC1B 3NN
What: Part of the Bloomsbury hotel, Modern European menu with a big Juicery section.
USP: Probably one of London's most instagrammable outdoor spaces, the terrace here is redesigned every season to keep it looking as fresh as a daisy. Afternoon teas are popular and there's even a separate juice menu if wellness is your thing.
Where: 17-21 Elizabeth St, London SW1W 9RP
What: Top NYC/French pastries. And the only place to get a proper cronut.
USP: If you want to try top patisserie chef Dominique Ansel's afternoon tea, there's only one place they serve it - in their sun trap of a terrace.
Where: 1 Ham Yard, Soho, London W1D 7DT
What: Boutique hotel with a secluded spot in Soho (also has a great rooftop).
USP: A rarity in central London, the titular 'yard' here is an oasis tucked in away from the traffic of Soho and Piccadilly. Created by the bombing during The Blitz it's now a super place on a summer's afternoon or evening - if you can get a table...
Where: 8 Brook Street, London W1S 1EY
What: Classic brasserie fare in Mayfair
USP: Even though this tucked away courtyard makes you feel as if you've stumbled on a secret garden, it's about the worst kept secret in London. You'll have to fight hedge funders and other Mayfair folk for your chance to nab a coveted table on a sunny day.
Where: 55 Marylebone High St, London W1U 5RB
What: Classic French food in Marylebone
USP: While there is a special terrace menu of small dishes upstairs at this Marylebone restaurant, what you're really after with your chilled glass of wine is a cheese plate from Orrery’s famous trolley.
Where: 31 King St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8JD
What: Richmond nurseries cafe's Covent Garden branch
USP: Given they have a full blown nursery down by the river, you'd expect any alfresco space by the Petersham Nurseries crew to be rather lovely. This new courtyard space they say "combines English country charm with Italian elegance". We say it provides a rare opportunity to eat alfresco in the heart of London without cars whizzing by.
Where: 36D Shad Thames, London SE1 2YE
What: French cuisine next to Tower Bridge.
USP: One of the classics of the south bank of the Thames, this restaurant's terrace has unparalleled views of Tower Bridge. And pop into their shop if you fancy a smoothie for a post-lunch riverside walk.
Where: 150 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1J 9BR
What: Classic French dining at a London institution
USP: John Williams cooking is great any time, but we can't think of a more beautiful spot for a lunch than overlooking the gardens at The Ritz. And don't worry - there are plenty of parasols to go around if you're not after a suntan.
Where: 20 Mount St, London W1K 2HE
What: Classic seafood restaurant in Mayfair
USP: The terrace at this Mayfair establishment has long been a spot where you'll find yourself sitting downwind from unrepentent smokers like Ronnie Wood or Charles Saatchi and getting your photo taken by passing paps.
Where: 400 Oxford St, Marylebone, London W1A 1AB
What: Italian cooking on the top of the famed Oxford Street store.
USP: The retractable roof up on the top floor of Selfridges' flagship Oxford Street shop means that the minute the British summer decides to make an appearance, you can enjoy the full benefit.
Where: 26-28 Ray Street, London EC1R 3DJ
What: Henry Harris' Clerkenwell pub
USP: This sheltered courtyard is rather tucked away, set at the back of the ground floor dining room.Enjoy some of Henry's French dishes like Saucisson Noir de Bigorre, celeriac rémoulade and toast and make like you're in the Loire Valley somewhere.
Where: Unit 7 Queen's Yard, Hackney Wick, London E9 5EN
What: Beer and pizza in Hackney
USP: If you can grab one of the coveted outdoor seats at this Hackney brewery, you'll want to stay there all night. Not only can you work your way through the beer but you can always think about a cocktail cruise on the Alfred Le Roy, moored outside.
Where: 254 Hackney Rd, London E2 7SJ
What: Modern British cooking in Hackney. Also, amazing tarts.
USP: The terrace leading off the upstairs dining room at this East London gastropub could feel a bit like climbing out on to your flat roof, were it not for how beautiful it looks with all the greenery.
Where: 47-48 St John’s Square, London EC1V 4JJ
What: Once Anna Hansen's place, this continues in the same vein
USP: Enjoying the fusion brunch out on this terrace in the heart of Clerkenwell is a weekend goal for Londoners.
Where: Rochelle School, Arnold Circus, London E2 7ES
What: A favourite of chefs, with cooking by Melanie Arnold & Margot Henderson
USP: Once you've found your way in, which is harder than you'd expect, nabbing a table out in the walled garden at the original Rochelle Canteen feels like a total blessing.
Where: Redchurch Street, Shoreditch, E1 6JJ
What: top barbecued meats in Shoreditch
USP: There's only one way to avoid having to dry clean your clothes after a trip to Smokestak and that's by eating outside. Happily there's a large terrace here to enjoy their punchy cocktails and that beef brisket bun.
Where: Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA
What: Daniel Boulud's Knightsbridge casual restaurant
USP: If the sight of the Royal Horseguards trotting by on their way to and from the Changing of Guard at Buckingham Palace doesn't sell an outside space in London to you then what would? This gloriously-situated new terrace has fabulous views over Hyde Park.
Where: Serpentine Sackler Gallery, West Carriage Drive, London W2 2AR
What: Italian food in Kensington Gardens
USP: The first Chucs to do takeaway, the real draw here - other than their great Italian food - is the marvellous backdrop of the late, great Zaha Hadid's Serpentine Sackler Gallery.
Where: 195 -197 King's Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 5EQ
What: Floral Ivy Cafe branch
USP: An Instagrammer's dream spot (and popular with the Made in Chelsea crew too) the Ivy Group brought in an award-winning designer to create the space at their King's Road restaurant. There's a covered upper terrace and a cosy firepit when the weather's not all that, but really it's just an evergreen dream out here.
Where: 16 Sumner Place, London SW7 3EG
What: Boutique hotel in Chelsea.
USP: The tree-filled garden at the back of this South Kensington hotel (part of the Firmdale group) is a super place to enjoy afternoon tea, or a sundowner.
Where: 55 Exhibition Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2PN
What: Polish cuisine in Kensington
USP: It's hard to think of a more pleasant way to spend a summer's evening than downing ice-cold shots of vodka under the billowing canopy of Ognisko's terrace, looking out over Prince's Gardens, while pondering what kind of pelmeni to have
Where: Thames Wharf, Rainville Rd, Hammersmith, London W6 9HA
What: One of London's best with truly next-level Italian food
USP: As long as you don't think about the bill, sitting out on the banks of the Thames enjoying super Italian food here really is a case of life doesn't get much better than this.
Where: Circus West Village, Battersea Power Station, London SW8 5BN
What: Italian by the Thames
USP: Enjoy cracking riverside views at Francesco Mazzei's outpost at Battersea Power Station and watch out for weekend yoga and brunch sessions.
Where: The Lido Cafe, Dulwich Road, London SE24 0PA
What: Poolside Modern British with a focus on vegetarian and vegan.
USP: There aren't many (if any) other spaces in London that you can sit out by a pool and drink negronis with your smashed avo and eggs for brunch.
Where: Lakeside Cafe, Battersea Park, London SW11 4NJ
What: Battersea park cafe run by well-seasoned restaurateurs
USP: This park cafe punches way above its weight - the owners here are ex-Petersham Nurseries and Spring with Skye Gyngell, via stints at Chez Panisse and more. With beautiful views over the Thames, this is a top spot for a steak sarnie or squash salad.
Where: 38 Wimbledon Hill Road, London SW19 7PA
What: Independent Italian restaurant in Wimbledon
USP: When you're not spotting the world's top tennis stars enjoying dinner during the tennis championships the garden at this longstanding neighbourhood restaurant is just lovely. There's a retractable roof if the weather's iffy and when the lights go on at nighttime it's quite magical.
Where: 4 The Polygon Clapham, London SW4 0JG
What: Seasonal menus in Clapham
USP: Adam Byatt's Clapham restaurant is a neighbourhood favourite and, come summer, tables looking out towards the common are the perfect spot to try his Michelin-starred, seasonal food.
Where: Stable St, Kings Cross, London N1C 4DQ
What: King's Cross restaurant collection
USP: Many of the restaurants at Coal Drops Yard have great outside spaces, including the Hicce terrace and The Drop wine bar, but a few specifically stick out. There's the first-floor grill-it-yourself Parrillan, part of Barrafina, and Plaza Pastor, the all-outside section of Casa Pastor for some great Mexican food. And margaritas, of course. Also look for the first-floor terrace at Coal House, which is a perfect spot for a drink.
Where: 106 Camden Passage, The Angel, London N1 8EG
What: Longstanding Islington spot.
USP: The narrow frontage of this Camden Passage restaurant gives no hint of what's to be found at the back. One of London's great garden restaurant spaces, part of it's laid out in patio but there are also mature gardens too. It's popular as a wedding space though, so check ahead to see if it's booked out.
Where: 3 Granary Square, London N1C 4BH
What: Pub with plenty of outside space on Granary Square
USP: Apparently one of the most profitable spots in KX and it's not hard to see why - the first floor has a wrap-around terrace, the ground floor pub has a lovely terrace overlooking Granary Square and there's a canalside bar terrace too.
Where: 42 Gloucester Ave, London NW1 8JD
What: Contemporary food in Primrose Hill. Plus martinis.
USP: The sunken garden area at Nadra's Primrose Hill restaurant is totally protected from any nasty draughts. Perfect for trying one of the 30+ martinis on their Martini Bar menu.
Where: 63–69 Canonbury Rd, London N1 2DG
What: Smoked and grilled food in Islington
USP: In London's least green borough, the pretty garden squeezed into an intersection between two roads at an Islington BBQ restaurant is super popular come summer.
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