Alfresco London. Ahh yes, the British summer, it’s always a hot topic of conversation across London and despite the weather’s unpredictable behaviour, and the weatherman’s knack for erroneous forecasts, London still loves nothing more than the chance to embrace the spring and summer months as best we can. Alfresco restaurants, summer BBQs, pubs with beer gardens, kids play areas, riverside terraces, roof gardens, hidden courtyards, romantic views and plenty of picnic bench action; London has the lot. The hardest part is deciding exactly what kind of alfresco fun you need and where to get it. With the help of this Top 10 guide to the best pubs and restaurants for outside dining and dri
Kings Cross / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: British
This bar and restaurant not only sits in Kings Place - home of live music, comedy and theatre - but it also has a beautiful sun terrace at the edge of the calm waters of the Regent's Canal. Due to the nature of the restaurant's location, all-day sunshine is guaranteed (as long as the sun comes out). The wine list is extensive, and offered primarily by the glass or carafe; whilst the cocktail menu strongly favours gin that includes a vast range of some of the best distils. When dining, meat lovers will appreciate the provenance of the beef and lamb from a farm in Scotland that only supplies this restaurant. Look out for giant Jenga and chess too.
City of London / Restaurant / Cuisine: Italian
The pocket of real estate between St Paul's Cathedral and Bank tube station is synonymous with banking and finance and general fiscal high brow stuff. Yet, if the summer sun is shining brightly and the skies above are painted blue, the pretty courtyard at this secret Italian restaurant will be filled with romance and love and faces of glee (business lunches are also welcome though). Book a table for a midday lunch and you'll hit the sweet spot for alfresco sun-worshipping. A timeless slice of Tuscany in an otherwise fast-paced environment. Best place in the City of London for afternoon bliss. Make sure you order the warm octopus carpaccio with fine beans to start.
Shoreditch / Bar / Cuisine: International
Tuck into seafood, grilled meats and Mediterranean sharing platters while looking out over the East London skyline at Shoreditch's Boundary Rooftop. Sit back and take in the views with a cocktail in hand from the open-air rooftop garden, and cosy up under a blanket near the open fireplace on a chilly evening. Should the weather start to turn, the heated "orangery", filled with the fresh scent of its citrus and mimosa trees, lets you enjoy the views under the shelter of its clear roofing.
Canary Wharf / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: British
A beautiful pub just outside the London Docklands. It is possible to dine open air in the heated, enclosed riverside terrace at any time of the year, or in the Gin Garden from May to September. The venue is so spectacular that it is definitely an excellent location for weddings, family events and corporate events. The food is brilliant, a very interesting twist on the traditional British options with reference to Italian, Greek, Spanish and North American cuisine. This pub offers a very posh option to an evening of bar drinks al fresco or a Sunday brunch and lunch.
St James / Restaurant / Cuisine: French
Boulestin in St James's has a stunning Georgian courtyard (pictured above) that can be accessed via floor to ceiling doors that open off the main dining room. The space has original street gas lamps, white table cloth and large umbrellas to create the perfect outdoor setting. Boulestin's courtyard is the perfect backdrop against which to enjoy an array of light, summery dishes created by head chef Andrew Woodford, whether it's the signature oeuf en gelée, the artichoke salad, with fennel, tomatoes, preserved lemons and capers or the roasted cod with lentils & salsa verde.
City of London / Restaurant / Cuisine: International
Vertigo sufferers look away now. There aren't many restaurants in the UK much higher than this (we believe there is only one) so impressive views across London's skyline are assured. Plus, this Japanese-Peruvian-Brazilian restaurant on the 38th and 39th floors of the Heron Tower in the City of London boasts not one but TWO alfresco roof terraces. Any restaurant that requires diners to take a lift and has its own indoor tree must be worth splashing out for. Truly remarkable views.
Kings Cross / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Modern British
The Lighterman, sits along the banks of the Regent's Canal serving breakfast, lunch and dinner from a classically modern menu including Sunday Roasts, healthy breakfasts and Mediterranean flatbreads. The pub and dining room designed by Stirling prize-winning architects, Stanton Williams, whose eye for aesthetics have created beautiful dining areas, continuously thinks of the outside. Sit canalside just below the ground floor or head up to the first floor dining room for outside balcony seating overlooking the water fountain installation.
The Ivy Chelsea Garden
Chelsea / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Modern European
Sister to the Central London restaurant, The Ivy Chelsea Garden on the King's Road is an enchanting haven from the bustling London streets. Wisteria, climbing roses, pergolas, fountains and Lloyd Loom furniture makes this place a beautiful choice for a weekend brunch or leisurely lunch. Try either the dedicated Brunch Waffle menu or choose from the a la carte that is as pretty as the surroundings with dishes like burrata and sliced peaches with Nocellara olives, smoked almonds, pesto and picked mint.
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