The Orangery at Number Sixteen, South Kensington
Best For Afternoon Tea
Part of Firmdale Hotels, Number Sixteen is a stone’s throw from South Kensington’s museums and the Old Brompton Road, yet its tucked-away, tree-filled terrace feels miles from the centre of London. An extension of its main restaurant – The Orangery – the garden is bursting with mulberry trees, blooming hydrangeas and a koi pond. The perfect spot for a sundowner after a day of culture, enjoy a glass of bubbles with dishes like lobster and avocado cocktail or courgette and fennel salad with lemon, broad beans and mint, or book in for its signature afternoon tea.
16 Sumner Place, SW7 3EG
Toklas, Covent Garden
Best For An Italian Aperitivo
The first restaurant from Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover, founders of the Frieze Art Fair, the raised terrace at Toklas is tucked away from the Strand and the definition of a lush oasis thanks to endless pots of herbs, flowers and aromatics. The veg-focused menu features courgette fritti, tomato and mozzarella arancini, boquerones with kumquat, and its signature bakery buns stuffed with pork tonnato; summer vegetables with Romanesco; and mackerel escabeche. Drinks-wise, order the limoncello spritz, made with Toklas’ homemade iteration of the iconic lemon-spiked liqueur.
1 Surrey Street, WC2R 2ND
The Campaner, Chelsea
Best For Tapas
Tucked away in Chelsea Barracks, The Campaner is one of the newest outdoor spots in the capital. Its spacious terrace, which boasts direct views of the Grade II-listed Garrison Chapel, is the perfect spot to enjoy the all-day menu. With a nod to its Spanish heritage (it’s headed up by two of Barcelona’s leading restauranteurs) expect everything from eggs with jamon and pastries through to charcoal, oven-cooked specials and rice dishes to share, as well as charcuterie and cheese plates. The drinks menu – featuring an impressive line-up of Spanish wines, sherries and beers – also gets our vote.
Chelsea Barracks, 1 Garrison Square, SW1W 8BG
Best For A Treat
Bacchanalia – the brainchild of Annabel’s and The Ivy Owner Richard Caring – has quickly become a modern classic since opening last year, and its new terrace is set to be a popular spot. Using the finest seasonal ingredients with flavours of the Mediterranean, the new menu features light options like Caesar salad with Amalfi lemon and linguine zucchini with feta, lemon and mint, as well as heartier dishes like lamb souvlaki with yoghurt and cucumber; mortadella flatbread; and a risotto nero to share, made with Dorset crab and fresh chili.
1-3 Mount Street, W1K 3NA
8 at The Londoner, Leicester Square
Best For Cocktails
The Londoner’s rooftop izakaya bar offers innovative cocktails and modern Japanese cuisine with panoramic views over Leicester Square. The drinks menu has been curated by The Londoner’s mixologists – top picks include the lychee rose martini, the matcha martini and the Kyoto, with gin, fresh grape, Lillet Blanc, yuzu bitters and green apple. Alongside your drinks, feast on small plates such as Shichimi sea salt edamame; wagyu with gorgonzola dolce cream; baby chicken roasted with lemon and miso butter; and grilled padron peppers with miso.
38 Leicester Square, WC2H 7DX
Nobu Shoreditch Bar & Terrace, Shoreditch
Best For Post-Work Drinks
Nobu’s new outdoor terrace features stylish interiors, Japanese artwork and a curated cocktail menu. The highlight is the sunken garden terrace with comfortable seating, providing the perfect spot to soak up the summer sun. The cocktail menu is one of the best around – try the yuzu and apple martini and the stingless bee margarita – and snack on a variety of Nobu dishes, including sashimi, sushi rolls and monaka, a rice crispbread topped with tuna, salmon or avocado. DJs will play live in-house every evening from Wednesday to Saturday.
10-50 Willow Street, EC2A 4BH
Studio Frantzén, Knightsbridge
Best For The Views
Studio Frantzén – located on the fifth floor of Harrods – is the first London restaurant for world-renowned chef Bjorn Frantzén, who holds three Michelin stars across his two restaurants. This is the first time Harrods has ever used its rooftop as a terrace, and Studio Frantzén won’t disappoint if you’re looking for an alfresco spot for a special occasion. The menu blends elements of Nordic and Asian cuisine – think poached lobster with pink peppercorns and vanilla; tartar of tuna and red deer with wasabi cream and warm ginger butter; baby monkfish with brown butter and chives; and cannon of lamb with truffle jus, yuzu and saffron.
87-135 Brompton Road, SW1X 7XL
Best For Seasonal Produce
Set back from the King’s Road, Stanley’s entrance is through a floral archway flanked by olive trees and tiered shrub planting. It leads into a flagstone courtyard inspired by an English country garden. The menu focuses on seasonal produce showcasing the best of British ingredients. Dishes include whipped cod’s roe with spring crudites; British burrata with courgette, peas, pesto and salted lemon; West Country spring lamb with asparagus; and Atlantic cod with artichokes, sea vegetables and a wild garlic emulsion. Be sure to save room for the rhubarb Eton mess with brown sugar custard.
151 Sydney Street, SW3 5UE
Best For A Relaxed Vibe
Pantechnicon’s roof garden on Motcomb Street provides great views over Belgravia. With an open terrace, striking glass roof and interwoven botanicals, the rooftop is a beautifully bright space to dine or drink in, whatever the weather, while the Sachi summer terrace is open for lunch and dinner, serving light Japanese dishes. New for this year is the rosé courtyard, serving up a taste of Saint-Tropez with wines from Château Minuty, cocktails and light bites.
19 Motcomb Street, SW1X 8LB
Native at Browns, Mayfair
Best For Zero-Waste Food
Fashion destination Browns is now home to Native at Browns. Its courtyard is the place to head for ‘garden bites’ and a selection of natural wine. The full menu begins with playful snacks made from ingredients that would ordinarily go to waste, such as fish trim toast with apple hoisin sauce and fermented potato waffle with chicken liver parfait and strawberry. To follow, feast on brown crab and heritage grain risotto, apple salsa and barley cracker; and Chalk Stream trout and seaweed beurre blanc. Be sure to order a glass of Rathfinny sparkling wine straight from the Sussex vineyard and check out the new Rathfinny garden menu, too.
39 Brook Street, Mayfair, W1K 4AH
Best For Private Dining
This much-loved restaurant in the heart of Clerkenwell is home to a secluded, foliage-filled terrace, surrounded by olive trees and jasmine. Whether filled with sunshine during the day or warmed by the open fire in the evening, it’s a lovely spot. The terrace is covered by a retractable roof, making it fit for evening dining year-round – it seats up to 20 people for walk-ins or private dining.
88 St John Street, Clerkenwell, EC1M 4EH
Dalloway Terrace, Fitzrovia
Best For A Botanical Brunch
Thanks to an indoor/outdoor concept with retractable roof and walls, guests can enjoy the Dalloway Terrace year-round. It’s freshly decorated each season: this year, it’s been transformed with floral installations by Wild at Heart that capture the essence of a beautiful summer’s day in an English garden. Food is available throughout the day, but the brunch menu isn’t to be missed – a two or three-course affair that features dishes such as a healthy banana split with coconut yoghurt; smoked haddock hash with poached egg and saffron mayo; buttermilk pancakes with crispy bacon; and lobster mac and cheese.
16-22 Great Russell Street, Fitzrovia, WC1B 3NN
Milk Beach, Queen’s Park
Best For A Lazy Saturday
On a private mews of Lonsdale Road, Milk Beach features a large outdoor heated seating area with parasols for European-style street dining. The menu draws inspiration from the diverse cultures that make up modern, coastal Australian cuisine, with highlights including banana bread with espresso cream cheese; Greek yoghurt hotcakes with lemon curd; eggs benedict with overnight cooked pulled ham hock and spinach; and salmon royale on St John’s sourdough.
19 Lonsdale Road, Queen’s Park, NW6 6RA
Mama Shelter, Shoreditch
Best For Drinks With Friends
Mama Shelter’s outdoor bar offers a chic, heated spot for drinkers and diners. In the centre of the hotel, the space comprises an open roof and terrace-style seating that’s the perfect spot to catch up with friends. Its popular all-day menu features dishes like chorizo doughnuts, pulled beef bao, southern fried chicken burgers, fish and chips and truffle fries. The weekend bottomless brunch and Sunday roast are also popular in the summer months.
437 Hackney Road, Hackney, E2 8PP
La Poule Au Pot, Belgravia
Best For Date Night
With the French flag flying overhead, a table outside La Poule au Pot feels more like dining in a French town as opposed to halfway between Sloane Square and Victoria. Its charming outdoor terrace is the perfect spot in which to enjoy its table d’hôte menu, which includes two dishes for £36.50 and three dishes for £41.50. Expect a variety of traditional French specialities like onion soup, quiche, cassoulet, coq au vin and steak frites. A list of specials will also be available, as well as an extensive wine list.
231 Ebury Street, Belgravia, SW1W 8UT
Petersham Nurseries, Covent Garden
Best For A Shady Spot
With plenty of outdoor and open-plan space, Petersham Nurseries’ Italian restaurant La Goccia can host diners indoors or al fresco in the secluded central courtyard. Surrounded by lemon trees and lit up in the evening by bulbs and candlelight, the garden will transport guests to an Italian courtyard where they can sip limoncello spritzes and Campari and sodas. Chairs and tables from the courtyard spill out onto King Street, welcoming locals and visitors alike to stop and have a scoop of homemade sorbet, ice cream or granita.
Floral Court, Covent Garden, WC2E 9FB
South Place Hotel, Moorgate
Best Urban Sanctuary
There’s not one but two pretty terraces within this City hotel. The first is part of its Michelin-starred seafood restaurant Angler, where pre-dinner G&Ts are a must (a retractable roof and blankets make an appearance if the weather turns). In the very centre of the hotel, you’ll find its secret courtyard. The surprise oasis is filled with waterfalls and palm trees, and specialises in champagne, cocktails and cigars.
3 South Place, Moorgate, EC2M 2AF
The Ivy Chelsea Garden, Chelsea
Best For All-Day Dining
This west London outpost of the Covent Garden original is a close match for its legendary older sibling. In a sprawling Edwardian building right on the King’s Road, it’s busy and buzzy. Colourful, maximalist interiors add a sense of occasion to even a snatched lunch, but you should clear your calendar to make the most of the pretty garden out back. The menus are reassuringly familiar, featuring the iconic shepherd’s pie alongside lighter alternatives including juices and healthier salads.
197 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5EQ
Dinings SW3, Chelsea
Best For Asian Cuisine
This popular mews restaurant fuses Japanese and European cuisines. Exec chef Masaki Sugisaki and his team have developed a style of sushi and sashimi that changes with the seasons, using the freshest seafood from Cornish day boats. They can also draw on a Josper oven to create a range of sumiyaki dishes. Alongside the main space there is a sushi counter, a kurabu (mezzanine area seating up to 24) and a beautifully secluded outdoor courtyard space.
Lennox Gardens Mews, Chelsea, SW3 2JH
Gunpowder, Tower Bridge
Best For Bold Flavours
Gunpowder has its own terrace overlooking Tower Bridge. At this Indian spot, guests can expect likes of Kawari soft shell crab; Konkani butter garlic mussels; grilled summer pumpkin with toasted coconut; tandoori plaice with samphire pakora; and whole beef rib in Kerala pepper sauce. It's also a great spot for drinks and nibbles in the sun, afternoon tea and pre-theatre dining.
4 Duchess Walk, Tower Bridge, SE1 2SD
Parrillan, King’s Cross
Best All-Weather Option
Parrillan’s large, partially covered terrace is the ideal spot for outdoor gatherings. A wooden pergola structure conceals the glass covering above, keeping the space warm and dry year-round, while giving the impression you’re in a Mediterranean clime. For cooler evenings, sheepskin throws will keep you cosy, too. The menu includes a selection of para picar – including pan con tomate, escalivada and anchovies de l’escala – and guests can cook their own ingredients on the parrilla grills, including red prawns, chicken skewers and beef sirloin with Romanesco sauce.
Stable Street, King’s Cross, N1C 4PW
The Standard, King’s Cross
Best For An Interesting Wine List
The Standard hotel has a number of al fresco spaces. The beautiful sun-soaked garden terrace is the spot to know for refreshing cocktails, bao buns and panoramic views of London’s skyline. There’s also Isla, an indoor-outdoor garden oasis that has a retractable weather-proofed awning. A good spot for breakfast meetings or lounging al-fresco, the seasonal menu features light dishes like sourdough flatbreads, poke bowls, superfood salads, and bigger mains like pasta with cime di rapa and Cornish lamb with smoked aubergine and mint dressing, alongside a minimal-intervention wine list.
10 Argyle Street, King’s Cross, WC1H 8EG
Wild By Tart, Belgravia
Best For Sharing Plates
Tucked away in Pimlico’s Eccleston Yards, Wild by Tart was founded by friends Lucy Carr-Ellison and Jemima Jones, who built a name for themselves as caterers to the fashion industry. On its 24-seat terrace, guests can enjoy a relaxed menu (many of the dishes are designed for sharing), which focus on big flavours and sustainably sourced ingredients. Menus change weekly, but it’s often a variation on a theme – be sure to start with a portion of the olive oil-drenched focaccia and seasonal arancini and save room for the cookie skillet for pudding.
3-4 Eccleston Yards, Belgravia, SW1W 9AZ