There’s nothing quite like enjoying a cocktail with a view, and the capital is home to some of the finest high altitude drinking spots. But just because summer is over doesn’t mean outdoor dining is off the cards – on the contrary, many of London’s finest al fresco bars have been given wintry makeovers, with heated Alpine halls and cosy cabins the perfect place to indulge in a warming cocktail and take in the city’s glittering skyline. Here we’ve rounded up the best winter roof terraces in London.
Magical Winter Roof Terraces in London
Following the sell-out success of their quintessentially British beach huts this summer, the Berkeley has reimagined its perennially-popular terrace for the winter with the new arrival of five cosy winter cabins. Seating up to eight diners, each festive hut will be decked with wreaths and filled with lanterns and flickering candles, while surrounding fir trees and fairy lights add to the festive atmosphere. There’ll be thick blankets and heaters to keep the cold at bay, as well as a menu of warming Alpine-inspired comfort food, including hearty oxtail soup, veal schnitzel and an authentic raclette grill where you can cook your own Wagyu beef or lobster.
Wilton Place, Belgravia, London SW1
This award-winning garden in the sky has become one of the city’s most legendary drinking and dining spots, ever since it first opened at the top of No 1 Poultry over two decades ago. Now due to popular demand their Lodge D’Argent pop-up is back for another winter season, making it the ideal festive spot to take in the city’s skyline. Partnering with Hennessy on a brand new cocktail list of winter warmers, the terrace has been given a French Alps-style makeover, with cosy chalets strewn with fairy lights available for hire and a special alpine menu to boot.
1 Poultry, City of London, EC2
The terrace at the Bloomsbury Hotel has garnered a cult following for its Instagram-worthy transformations, which has seen it turned into a bougainvillea-filled lemon grove and a Narnia-esque wonderland in the past. This season they’ve teamed up with British perfumier Miller Harris and Telmont Champagne to create an autumnal floral hideaway featuring rich reds and deep purples, which will give way to a winter oasis as the seasons change. The cocktail menu has been given a refresh, too, with names inspired by Miller Harris scents – like the Rose Silence, which is made with The Botanist Islay dry gin, Muyu Jasmine Verte, Telmont Grande Reserve Brut, freshly squeezed lemon and egg white.
The Bloomsbury Hotel, 16-22 Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1
This winter, Radio Rooftop has made the most of its dual aspect north and south-facing terraces by launching a special themed experience: Fire and Ice. The north-facing Ice terrace has been transformed into a Nordic-style winter hideaway, with cosy cabins filled with faux fur throws and Icelandic-cool pine decking accompanied by Grey Goose vodka cocktails and a Nordic smorgasbord of Scandinavian cured meats, smoked salmon and Danish cheese. The south-facing Fire terrace, meanwhile, looks to Latin America, with its chicly designed Haciendas filled with Agave plants. The tipple of choice here is Patrón Tequila, with specially created cocktails including a Mole Mulata boozy hot chocolate.
336-337 Strand, Westminster, London, WC2
Overlooking the Thames at Tower Bridge, Coppa Club’s heated riverside terrace and igloos have become some of the most popular spots in the city to book a festive catch-up with friends. This winter they’ve partnered with Champagne Laurent-Perrier, so you can drink pink fizz and feast on a selection of Christmas-inspired European dishes – from kiln smoked sea trout paté and roasted celeriac soup to a full spread of roast turkey, gravy and pigs in blankets – all served under a canopy of flickering lanterns.
3 Three Quays Walks, Lower Thames Street, Tower Bridge, London EC3
While it might seem unusual to find a Scottish grove of trees in the heart of Holborn, it’s all part of the Rosewood Hotel’s latest courtyard pop-up, which has been taken over by Macallan whisky this winter. A replica of a country manor house has been recreated on the outdoor terrace, with woven tartan blankets and cosy cushions to sink into as you immerse yourself in an authentic Scottish winter (minus the sub-zero temperatures). There are special Macallan cocktails to try, as well as a series of whisky tasting events held throughout the winter, all served alongside warming dishes like hand raised pork pies and lamb rump with Cornish new potatoes.
252 High Holborn, Holborn, London WC1
Skylight is going all out with its festive offering this year, with several different experiences available to book. Start off with a spin on their high-altitude ice rink – the only rooftop skating spot in Europe – before warming up with drinks under their outdoor heated pergola, which offers impressive 360-degree vistas of the city’s skyline. Sip on mulled wine in the hygge-inspired Après Ski Lodge, before moving on to the canalside igloo village, which sits on the picturesque cobbled lanes of Tobacco Dock. Grab a drink at their secret speakeasy bar, Off-Piste, before ending the night in their Festive Cinema, which will be screening holiday classics like Elf and Home Alone alongside movie-themed cocktails.
Pennington Street, Wapping, London E1
This award-winning rooftop is best known for its jaw-dropping views – you’ve never seen St Paul’s this close up – but it’s also garnered a name for itself thanks to its popular terraces, famed for their in-house DJs and live acoustic music nights. The terrace has just been given an autumn makeover, complete with heaters, warm blankets and crisp autumn foliage, and the cocktail list has had a wintry revamp courtesy of the bar’s partnership with Sauvelle Vodka – order the decadent Gold Digger, which is made with molten gold, Sauvelle vodka, lychee and Chambord.
One New Change, City of London, London EC4
One of summer’s most popular al fresco spots, Pergola Paddington has been given a full winter makeover this season, with the rooftop transformed into an urban winter forest, complete with snow-dusted pine trees and twinkling fairy lights. Snuggle under a blanket on the rooftop, escape the chill in their heated Alpine Hall or cosy up in one of their Christmas Chalets, which can house up to nine people. Expect winter tipples like hot Bourbon toddies and mulled wine, seasonal feasts of cheese fondue and candy cane s’mores and plenty of festive singalongs to help keep the cold at bay.
4 Kingdom Street, Paddington, London, W2
Situated ten floors up at the top of Finsbury Square’s Montcalm Hotel, bordering the City and Shoreditch, this rooftop bar really comes into its own in the winter, when its igloos become one of the most sought-after drinking spots in the capital. Boasting some of London’s most impressive panoramic views, the dazzling glass-walled domes can be booked for private dining or drinks parties, and come with cosy blankets and cushions – perfect for settling in for a night of warming cocktails and a seasonal three-course menu.
Montcalm Hotel, 22-25 Finsbury Square, Finsbury, London, EC2