Make the most of al fresco London at these fantastic outdoor dining destinations across the city
Summer is finally upon us and with the long days and glorious weather (fingers crossed) comes the perfect excuse for long, languorous dinners outdoors. In the spirit of summer, Corinthia London has been welcoming guests to its brand new Garden Lounge, an The Garden Lounge at Corinthia London exclusive outdoor area serving food, refreshments and a special cigar menu. Decorated with gold, cream and terracotta mosaics and dotted with terrarium plants, this is an idyllic setting for summer evenings. But for when you fancy venturing beyond the bounds of the hotel, we’ve found the best places to make the most of al fresco London. From post-shopping venues like Vintage Salt to museum spaces like the Serpentine Bar & Kitchen and Gallery Mess, these are our favourite outdoor dining destinations in London.
Set far above the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street, up on the rooftop of Selfridges, Vintage Salt is an oasis of calm in the heart of the city. Conjuring the Cornish seaside with light seasonal salads, grills and that most British of aperitifs, the classic G&T, all served up with some stunning skyline views, this might be just what the doctor ordered after an afternoon of shopping.
With one of the loftiest locations in London, SUSHISAMBA offers the highest outdoor dining terraces in Europe. Perched up on the 38th and 39th floors of the Heron Tower in Bishopsgate, the views here are jaw dropping, sweeping out over the city in all directions. Book a table on the 39th floor to enjoy a delicate blend of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine served up in an open-top dining space, crisscrossed with bamboo and strung with fairy lights.
From one rooftop to another. One of the very best places to experience al fresco London, The Roof Gardens in Kensington offers beautiful themed gardens and a flock of resident flamingos, as well as contemporary British cuisine and fresh seafood on the terrace at Babylon restaurant.
You’d never doubt your London location with a view that encompasses St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London and the Bank of England, but the fine French fare at Coq d’Argent might briefly trick you into believing you were across the channel. A welcome retreat above the busy London streets, the leafy rooftop terrace at Coq d’Argent is a great choice for sunny summer days.
An eternally popular spot for outdoor dining in London, Tom’s Kitchen Terrace sits right on the banks of the Thames, just outside Somerset House. Sip expertly made cocktails, snack on delicious small plates and drink in some of the best views in London along both sides of the river. Open from May until October, this annual pop-up has become a favourite feature of al fresco London.
The Ivy Chelsea Garden serves British food and refreshing cocktails all day – a rallying cry for those looking for a sophisticated outdoor space in which to while away an afternoon. Brunch and afternoon tea in particular are sensational here, best enjoyed in the open air and softly scented by the fragrance of the nearby orangery.
Al fresco London is treat enough when the weather allows, but throw in a beautiful lakefront restaurant and we’d wager you might never leave. Serpentine Bar & Kitchen is perfectly placed on the edge of Hyde Park’s Serpentine Lake, and offers some of the best informal outdoor dining in the city. Order from a family-friendly menu of wood-fired pizzas and British classics like fish and chips, or visit the pop-up BBQ and Gin bar.
Missing even a minute of the long-awaited summer sunshine in London feels wrong somehow – even when there is world-class art on offer. But at Gallery Mess, thanks to their incredible art collection and bright, breezy outdoor dining and drinking space, you don’t have to choose. And if it starts to rain, just pop into the Saatchi Gallery proper – admission is free for the exhibitions.