Warm, sunny days in London are precious, and as we move through spring into summer it’s time to get acquainted with the best outdoor restaurants in the capital. Fortunately, London is home to a number of beautiful al fresco dining options, from elaborate rooftop restaurants and flower-filled terraces to tranquil riverside spots. Here’s our edit of the capital’s finest outdoor restaurants to book for your next sun-drenched meal.
London’s best outdoor restaurants
When it comes to outdoor restaurants, you can’t beat a spot of riverside dining. Scott’s made a big splash when it opened up in Richmond in 2022, bringing a heady dose of glamour to this leafy London borough. While the grand two-storey dining room is a sight to behold, those in the know prefer to eat their oysters and Devon crab on the outdoor terrace, which offers stunning views over the river and the verdant riverbanks towards Richmond and Twickenham Bridges. And while this spot is loveliest when the sun shines, the retractable roof and multiple heaters means it can be enjoyed on chillier spring evenings too.
4 Whittaker Avenue, Richmond, London TW9 1TH
The Maine Mayfair
This popular Mayfair spot is always packed with locals, who flock here for the extensive menu of crowd pleasers (think seafood platters, lobster rolls and truffle roast chicken), expertly crafted cocktails and live jazz. They also come here for the pretty al fresco terrace, which is surrounded on all sides by foliage. Housed in the former stables of the original grand house, the terrace provides a tranquil respite from Mayfair’s hustle and bustle. Slide into one of the booths, order a glass of something cold and enjoy this New England take on a traditional British garden.
6 Medici Courtyard, Mayfair, London W1S 1JY
The River Café
Of all the outdoor restaurants in the capital, the River Café has to be one of the dreamiest. Set on the banks of the River Thames in Hammersmith, this Italian spot has been delighting Londoners since it was first opened by Ruth Rogers and the late Rose Grey in 1987. Surrounded by trees and lush foliage, a sun-dappled lunch or dinner here feels like you’ve been transported from W6 to the Amalfi coast. Dishes are always cooked with the finest seasonal ingredients – in spring that means English asparagus with anchovy butter, ravioli with courgette flowers and wild sea bass with Violeta artichokes – and it’s worth keeping your eyes peeled as you never know who you’re going to spot here (Victoria Beckham and Lily Allen are just some of the restaurant’s famous fans).
Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, Hammersmith, London W6 9HA
When Rochelle Canteen was first opened in Shoreditch by Margot Henderson and her chef husband Fergus in 2004, it was credited with redefining the London dining scene thanks to its refreshingly honest approach to produce and its status as a hub for east London’s creative community. They fell in love with the restaurant for its laidback charm, and nowhere is this more apparent than in its outdoor courtyard, which is housed in an enchanting walled garden. Pull up a rickety wooden chair and dive into the menu of seasonal British favourites, from leek and potato soup and clams to poached chicken with spring vegetables.
16 Playground Gardens, Shoreditch, London E2 7FA
No matter what time of year you come, a visit to Petersham Nurseries is always special. Housed in an airy greenhouse filled with jasmine and bougainvillea, it’s a magical spot where the romance is dialled up to another level after the sun sets, when the restaurant is filled with flickering candles and twinkling fairy lights. The menu is full of Italian-inspired, provenance-led dishes, with much of the seasonal produce taken directly from their kitchen garden or Haye Farm in Devon, which is run by Harry Boglione, the son of Petersham’s owners. With a plate of fresh pasta in front of you and a glass of Chianti in your hand, you won’t find a lovelier spot in all of London.
Church Lane, Petersham Road, Richmond, London, TW10 7AB
Jurema at The Mandrake
The award-winning terrace bar and restaurant at the back of the Fitzrovia hotel offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, transporting visitors to an exotic, green oasis. Dotted with wooden cabanas and cosy rattan armchairs, the laid-back terrace features a shack-style bar surrounded by fragrant jasmine and passionflower. Seasonal dishes from the hotel’s South American-inspired restaurant Yopo are available, as well as a selection of bespoke cocktails from the Waeska bar team. One of the largest outdoor terraces in the city, reservations are sure to book up fast.
20-21 Newman Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 1PG
Alto San Carlo
Alto, the Italian restaurant on the Selfridges’ rooftop boasts an iconic location and view, creating a surprisingly secluded and enchanting al fresco spot on one of London’s busiest streets. For summer 2021, the restaurant has been taken over by Dior, which has transformed the space into what feels like the Côte d’Azur. The fashion house’s signature toile de Jouy print adorns the decor and furnishings while a tempting menu of Monsieur Dior’s favourite Italian dishes offers a taste of ‘la dolce vita’ in the heart of the city.
Selfridges, 400 Oxford St, Marylebone, W1A 1AB
Chiltern Firehouse has long understood the romance of alfresco eating and drinking with its superlative courtyard open all year round. It’s a divine spot to reunite over a dozen oysters and champagne. With its roaring outdoor fireplace for cooler evenings, fully rainproof striped awning (essential) and a menu by the brilliant Nuno Mendes, what’s not to love? With a focus on reimagined classics with bold flavours and a healthy twist, the tempting menu also boasts some of the city’s most coveted cocktails, as well as the restaurant’s famed oyster cart and wood oven pizzas. The fact that it’s walk-ins only just makes it even more appealing in these Covid-times.
Chiltern Firehouse, 1 Chiltern Street, Marylebone, W1U 7PA
The outdoor terrace at this West End seafood spot offers the best of both worlds — classic, elegant plates of the highest quality seafood with an unpretentious setting from where you can watch the Covent Garden crowds pass by. The restaurant is famed for its fish pie, but its menu boasts equally tempting seasonal dishes including seared prawns, oysters and roasted cod. Traditional English desserts are also on offer, as well as an impressive wine list that includes some truly rare bottles from the world’s best vintners.
28-32 St Martin’s Court, Covent Garden, WC2N
The Garden at The Corinthia
The central London hotel’s mosaic-lined garden is one of the city’s best kept secrets. Inspired by Mediterranean terraces, the courtyard garden is lined with lemon trees, jasmine and lavender, and offers a menu designed by chef André Garrett of seafood, raw salads and wood-fired pizzas. Between meals, the hotel’s cigar sommelier will offer visitors one of the premium pre-embargo Cuban cigars from the walk-in humidor to round out a decadent lunch or dinner. Blankets are available for when things take a cool turn, and guests can opt to try the signature whisky flights to try a choice of four pairings with their cigar.
Whitehall Place, Whitehall, WC2N 4AL
The acclaimed Mayfair seafood spot is opening an extended terrace this April, where visitors can enjoy caviar, dressed crab and grilled lobster on elegant tables surrounded by little olive trees. Sophisticated seafood dishes range from classics such as lobster thermidor to contemporary takes, including blackened miso salmon and octopus carpaccio, with Head Chef David McCarthy taking to create a seasonal menu that highlights the best of the month’s produce. Champagne — paired with oysters — is the house specialty, but the restaurant boasts an extensive menu of wines and tempting cocktails, too.
20 Mount Street, Mayfair, W1K 2HE
Sea Containers London
With enviable views across the Thames and City of London, Sea Containers’ outdoor terrace is sure to be a popular spot this season. Set on the southbank, the hotel’s restaurant offers a menu of dishes that are meant to be shared, with seasonal treats including crab on sourdough toast and roasted beetroot with homemade ricotta. The restaurant also serves a popular weekend brunch, complete with bottomless Bloody Mary’s and prosecco alongside inventive takes on brunch staples, such as an elevated smoked salmon bagel with a poached egg and ceviche breakfast tacos. Relaxed and , it’s the perfect spot to linger over a glass of wine and small plates while taking in the iconic London views.
Sea Containers London, 20 Upper Ground, South Bank, SE1 9PD
Nobu Hotel London Portman Square
The stylish hotel’s tranquil terrace offers a spacious, Japanese-inspired escape from the bustle of central London. The famed Nobu menu is influenced by Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s years of studying Japanese cuisine in Tokyo and his extensive travels, and here the refined selection of Nobu classics are served alongside an impressive cocktail list with a local twist. Beloved favourites such as the black cod miso and seafood ceviche are offered alongside an extensive assortment of sushi and nigiri. Cocktails are deliciously inventive, from the Ayacucho martini with Macchu Pisco, clear grape juice and apricot brandy liqueur, to the American Breakfast cocktail of Suntory Toki whisky, maple syrup and apricot puree.
22 Portman Square, Marylebone, W1H 7BG
La Goccia at Petersham Nurseries, Covent Garden
Situated in the prettiest courtyard in the West End, with romantic floral installations, oversized terracotta pots and elegant garden tables and chairs, Petersham Nurseries’ second restaurant is a more relaxed spot serving delicious Italian dishes. Aesthetically pleasing and equally tasty, La Goccia’s cicchetti puts the emphasis on seasonality, with most of the ingredients sourced from Petersham’s family farm, Haye Farm. While the savoury plates are the star of the show, the dolci menu is wonderfully indulgent, including tiramisu, dark chocolate mousse and panettone. There’s also an elegant assortment of cocktails, as well as non-alcoholic options such as their homemade hibiscus iced tea.
La Goccia, 1 Floral Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 9DS
The Standard’s quirky first floor bar was one of summer 2020’s hotspots, and the London out-posting of this American hotel looks set to be equally popular this year. With a Seventies design inspired by TFL, the spot is best-known for its burgers, bottomless Sunday Brunch and DJ sets to accompany your meal of American classics. Currently, the menu also includes some options from its temporarily closed sister restaurant Isla, including Croatian fuzi pasta and a ceviche salad. The cocktail list is one of the city’s best, ranging from classic negronis and martinis to exciting concoctions such as the spicy mezcal Hot Daisy and the kombucha-based, alcohol-free HotBucha.
The Standard Hotel, 10 Argyle Street, Kings Cross, WC1H 8EG
Amaranto Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane
The Four Seasons’ famed restaurant includes a terrace that offers a tranquil space in the midst of Mayfair. On top of the menu of modern comfort food created by Executive Chef Henry Brosi, the restaurant’s leafy terrace also offers exclusive ‘from the grill’ options, as well as specialty cocktails created by Bar Manager Ivan Arena. For a romantic outing, try the Dom Pérignon pairing menu, an exclusive offering of champagnes available to order by the glass — perfect for sipping under the stars. The terrace also offers breakfast, with extensive options of continental classics and baked treats to help kick off the day.
Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane, Hamilton Place, Park Lane, Mayfair, W1J 7DR
Allegra at The Stratford
The intimate outdoor dining terrace at Allegra on the 7th floor of the Stratford hotel was specifically designed to be enjoyed year-round, making it a great option, whatever the time of year. Set amongst a meadow of wildflowers, water features and cedar pathways, Allegra has plenty of heating as well as an elegant cantilever roof to shelter you from unexpected weather turns while you enjoy seasonal sharing plates. Much of the produce used is grown on the restaurant’s land at Full Circle Farm in Kent and prepared by Irish head chef Patrick Powell, who previously headed up the kitchen at Chiltern Firehouse alongside Nuno Mendes.
The Stratford, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, 20 International Way, Stratford, E20 1FD
Coppa Club’s riverside igloos which overlook the Thames are perennially popular whatever the season. The restaurant’s menu of unfussy European fare, including fresh pasta, sourdough pizzas and small plates to accompany cocktails, is accompanied by an igloo-specific one with more indulgent dishes and special drinks. With unparalleled views and a stylish interior, the igloos are the perfect spot to take in a riverside sunset. If you’d prefer to enjoy the warm weather without an enclosure, bag a table on the terrace for a memorable riverside reunion.
Coppa Club, 3 Three Quays Walks, Lower Thames Street, Tower Bridge, EC3R 6AH
The Garden at Home House
Following its turn as an Arabian-inspired Winter Lounge, this season the private members club Home House garden will welcome back its Summer Garden Raj Tent. Decorated with twinkling lights and elegant tables, the tent is surrounded by manicured gardens and a patio with more outdoor tables. The drinks menu is suitably decadent, featuring specialty cocktails and fizz from the dedicated Moët & Chandon Champagne Bar. Soak it up with such delights as Three Cheese Macaroni with Black Truffle, the Home House Cheeseburger as well as an assortment of seasonal English summer treats.
Home House, 20 Portman Square, Marylebone, W1H 6LW
A true classic on the seasonal pop-up scene, Dalloway Terrace in Bloomsbury offers Instagram-worthy aesthetics and plenty of literary heritage – the name comes from Bloomsbury set resident Virginia Woolf’s classic character. On April 12, the restaurant will unveil its spring transformation, a nature-inspired installation of corn flowers, daisies and pampas grass created in partnership with master florists McQueens and Belvedere Vodka. A new seasonal menu reflects the idyllic springtime setting, with culinary classics including Pasta Alla Norma and grilled tiger prawns alongside a selection of floral cocktails. Heaters and a retractable roof ensure that visitors can enjoy the pastoral escape in the middle of the city no matter the weather.
Dalloway Terrace, 6-22 Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, WC1B 3NN
Skylight at Tobacco Dock
With impressive 360° vistas of the city’s skyline, Skylight is a perfect spot to reunite with friends over award-winning cocktails and tempting dishes. Following its alpine-inspired winter takeover with igloo pods and apres-ski menu, this spring the rooftop restaurant will embrace the warmer weather with seasonal, fruit-based cocktails and two food menu options — State Side, with American classics of spicy wings and Philly cheese steak sandwiches, and Hikari, a selection of healthy poke bowls.
Skylight, Pennington Street entrance, Wapping, E1W 2SF
The Terrace at Orrery
An institution amongst locals, French restaurant Orrery on Marylebone High Street’s best kept secret is its rooftop terrace that will transport visitors to Provence. Lined with lavender and olive trees, the secluded sanctuary has heaters and coverings for cooler evenings. The Terrace menu features a curated selection of dishes created by Michelin-starred Head Chef Igor Tymchyschyn. A modern spin on classic French dishes, the menu features the likes of wild mushroom risotto and buffalo mozzarella served with poached pear and truffle honey, all of which are best enjoyed with a glass of one of the restaurant’s Lauren Perrier champagnes.
The Terrace at Orrery, 55 Marylebone High Street, Marylebone, W1U 5RB
French restaurant Coq d’Argent’s popular summer terrace returns with its enviable panoramic views of the city and brasserie-style white garden tables and chairs. For cooler evenings, heaters are on hand to keep things comfortable. The menu features all the classic French trappings, from escargots to tarte tatin, with an equally tempting wine list. For weekend indulgences, there’s an extensive brunch menu with a mix of classics and exclusive creations, such as the crab tart, as well as desserts of creme brulee, chocolate fondant and waffles with Chantilly cream.
Lodge d’Argent, No. 1 Poultry, City of London, EC2R 8EJ
Ivy Garden Chelsea
Undisputedly one of the prettiest — and biggest — outdoor terraces in London, the Ivy Chelsea Garden is atmospheric all year round. Featuring a highly Instagrammable cocktail of antique arched mirrors, vintage planters bursting with flowers and foliage and indulgent velvet chairs, the outdoor set-up is all centred around a roaring fire pit to keep things cosy, whatever the weather. Heaven at any time of the day, especially if you’re stopping by with friends to sample its seasonal specials, although the classics — crispy duck salad, seared scallops — are always satisfying. There’s an extensive drinks list to peruse too, covering specialty cocktails, non-alcoholic coolers and an international wine selection.
Ivy Chelsea Garden, 195-197 King’s Road, Chelsea, London SW3 5EQ
Having only opened last summer, this restaurant from Hugh Stanley (nephew of the Earl of Derby) sits in what was formerly The Chelsea Courtyard, just moments from the King’s Road. Inspired by the English country garden, the chic courtyard has been covered by a giant canopy and features outdoor booths fitted with reclaimed timber screens to enable social distancing. Comfortable and bright, with a subtle Meditteranean hint thanks to lemon trees and olive green paint, the tranquil courtyard offers a menu of contemporary British food, while the impressive bar serves classic seasonal cocktails and house specials, such as the Stanley’s elderflower Collins.
Stanley’s, 151 Sydney Street, Chelsea, SW3 6NT
Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill
Michelin star chef Richard Corrigan’s oyster bar and grill – renowned for its sublime British seafood and seasonal game – offers a large covered and heated terrace on Swallow Street where you can still enjoy your shellfish platters even if the weather turns. With a focus on the best British seafood, the menu is famed for its namesake oysters, reportedly shucking over 1,000 a day, but offers a number tempting classics, including lobster bisque, Dover sole and caviar, as well as fish alternatives, such as beef tartare and a Wellington of partridge and grouse.
11-15 Swallow Street, Mayfair, W1B 4DG
Along with a new Executive Chef comes a new seasonal menu at this Chelsea institution. Swedish born Henrik Ritzén’s arrival has heralded a complete redesign of the menu to focus on fresh, ingredient-led, honest cooking, so expect plenty of bold flavours on the outdoor terrace, with heating when necessary. Served up will be the likes of tempura sea bass, king prawn curry and rotisserie chicken, all set against a backdrop of beautiful trees, wildflowers and fragrant herbs.
Bluebird, 350 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5UU
Ham Yard Hotel
Tucked behind Piccadilly Circus, Ham Yard Hotel’s courtyard restaurant is the perfect escape from the bustle of Soho. Spacious and elegant, the tables are dotted around a huge bronze sculpture by Tony Cragg and 30-foot oak trees. Perfect for long lunches or evening drinks and appetizers, the restaurant’s menu boasts seasonal gems alongside signature staples, such as their dry aged beef tartare, wild line caught sea bass and Dorset crab, cherry tomato and parsley linguine. The cocktails are also seasonal, with many featuring homemade syrups and bitters.
Ham Yard Hotel, 1 Ham Yard, Soho, W1D 7DT