Aside from the obvious regular exercise, regular sleep, and regular sex advice to combat this cycle of stressful behaviour, we also recommend buying a stress ball, attending a session of hot Bikram yoga, and involving yourself in a constant supply of healthy eating and responsible drinking, preferably in the sun.
As summer approaches, carrying with it the European Football Championships, the Olympic Games, the Queen's Jubilee, and, most importantly, the summer sun, it is time, fellow Londoners, to get (semi) naked, chuck on a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses, and head out into the sunshine to replenish those important vitamin D levels.
We've already published lists for the best alfresco restaurants in London and the best alfresco roof terraces and roof gardens in London, so you'd be forgiven for thinking that we'd covered all areas of outdoor drinking and dining. However, we have fastidiously uncovered a host of lesser known, near-secret alfresco dining options for you to utilise in your pursuit of a less-stressful, sun-worshipping lifestyle.
Courtyard at 51 (pictured above) is a swanky spot for peaceful, alfresco dinners, late cocktails and schmoozing. Throughout the week it is open from 6-11pm, with the exception of some nights when live opera and West End classics are performed in the secluded space. Hidden round the corner from Buckingham Palace, Courtyard at 51 also boasts foliage, an ornate Victorian fountain, a Rémy Martin Cognac & Cigar Terrace (opening at the end of June), and a large, posh BBQ serving Middle Eastern delights. The drinks list is stocked with many North African wines and shisha pipes are also available for a near-perfect taste of the exotic.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Art Deco building is positioned in the heart of London's West End and is home to one of London's hidden urban terraces, as part of the Restaurant at The RIBA. The restaurant, located in the magnificent Florence Hall, opens out onto a sunny terrace ideal for spring and summer al fresco dining. Visitors can enjoy fresh, creative and seasonal dishes in a modern and sophisticated atmosphere, and the chef's specialities include chilled pea & mint soup, and chargrilled loin of yellow fin tuna served with potato gallette, roasted courgette and balsamic jus vinaigrette. Designed by Dan Pearson Studios, the terrace offers diners an enticing, sociable space for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea as well as dinner on warmer Tuesdays evenings. (To book, call 020 7631 0467 or email firstname.lastname@example.org).
A Grelha at The Gun near Canary Wharf offers a BBQ menu plucked straight from the Algarve along with sweeping views of across the river Thames from the south facing decked terrace. Fresh fish, bought daily from Billingsgate Market, is the focus at this alfresco terrace. The rustic cataplana seafood stew is a must, coupled with a Portuguese wine. The alfresco grill re-opens on Wednesday 23rd May 20112 at the award-winning Docklands pub, The Gun.
Primrose Hill, further into north London, is home to Odette's restaurant which has a quaint little walled garden that is, thankfully, no-smoking. Comfortable cushioned banquettes rest along red brick walls which are complemented by ornate cast iron chairs and white cloth-covered tables. What makes this garden wonderful is the feeling of being far away from London. That, plus chef Bryn Williams' delicious cuisine.
Recent Alfresco, Rooftops and Riverside Articles
- 8 Great London Restaurants, Bars & Cafes Next To Water (29 Jul 15)
- 5 Winter Alfresco Bars & Restaurants in London (12 Nov 13)
- 6 Hidden Riverbank Alfresco Terraces In London (17 Jun 13)
- Where To Celebrate National BBQ Week (28 May 12)
- Picnics & Parks: What Summer In London Was Made For (25 May 12)