Filed under: pubs, restaurant, Restaurants & Bars, top-feature
Ten top places to drink al fresco in London
The weather is still a bit flaky, with thunderstorms one moment and bright sun the next, but it’s getting warm enough to want to go for a drink somewhere you can sit outside… so here are my top ten suggestions, both alcoholic and non.
- Kensington Roof Gardens, (map) high above Kensington High Street and the old Derry & Toms department store. Alas, not somewhere you can just drop in – you’ll need to use the website to book a dinner or lunch in this luxurious environment, though the gardens are open to the public when the roof gardens aren’t hosting private events. An amazing view, marvellous plants, and they’ve even got flamingos – definitely worth a visit.
- The White Horse, Parson’s Green [map] is an amazing pub with a fine selection of real ales and Belgian beers. It also has loads of outside seating and even, sometimes, a barbecue. One warning though; don’t ever organise a pub crawl with the White Horse as your first stop. You just won’t get to any of the other pubs.
- Tate Britain (map) has a caff that, in fine weather, puts tables out on the lawn. So you can eat and drink al fresco once you’ve done your dose of culture… or the other way around… or just give the culture a miss and go straight for the delicious frappé.
- The Prospect of Whitby [map] is a fine Wapping pub that has both outdoor seating in the garden and an upper balcony where you can take the Thames-side air. It can get a bit touristy, but it’s a good destination for a little walk along the shore or through the old warehouses of Wapping, and serves real ale.
- The Orangery, (map) Kensington Gardens, where you can enjoy afternoon tea in the marvellous Hawksmoor building, from 3 till 6 in the afternoon. It’s not quite outside… but then again, since it’s a huge glass-sided building, it might as well be. And you can take a stroll in the park afterwards.
- Stein’s Bavarian Beergarden, Richmond – a real German-style beergarden on the riverside [map] with lovely views towards Richmond Bridge and shaded by trees. And real German beers – Erdinger (both regular and dunkel weissbier) and Paulaner. Also typical of a German beer garden in that there’s a limited selection of the house beers – rather than the beer-ticker’s delight of ten to fifteen draught beers that my next selection offers.
- There’s nothing nicer on a hot day than the cool breeze blowing off the water, and you can experience this right in the middle of London if you visit the Serpentine Bar in Hyde Park (map). The bar is by the waterside, with plenty of outdoor seating, and they’ve even got Cornish brewer Sharp’s real ale, as well as an enjoyable wine list or the possibility of a snappy cold G&T. The attached restaurant serves from breakfast onwards, if you’re peckish.
- The Lock Tavern, Camden (map) has a rooftop terrace with a buzzy vibe – from goths to rock chicks, street fashion to designer. Great place to spend the afternoon and early evening hanging out – but gets very busy later and at weekends.
- The Lawn at Fulham Palace (map). Have afternoon tea at a Bishop’s Palace and brag to all your friends about it! Oliver Peyton runs the Lawn restaurant which would happily provide you with breakfast, lunch or dinner, but let’s face it, tea is what you’re after – with scones, Peyton & Byrne jams and Jersey clotted cream.
- The Market Porter, (map) Borough market. I’m going to break the rules for one of my favourites. It’s an inside-only pub but it’s such a good pub, I’ve got to put it here for any of you heading South of the River. Oh, you can’t drink outside? Tough. It’s still the best pub on the South Bank in my humble opinion.
Of course if none of these suggestions suit, you can take the real Londoner’s course of action. Make yourself a picnic – or buy a ready-made one from Pret a Manger or Fortnum & Mason, depending on your tastes and budget – and head for one of the city’s numerous parks, heaths, and public gardens to enjoy it!
Photo by This Particular Greg on flickr
ASummer @ Kensington Roof Gardens99 Kensington High Street, London W8 5SA, United KingdomView Details and Book
BThe White Horse1-3 Parsons Green, London, SW6 4ULView Details and Book
CTate ModernBankside, London, SE1 9TGView Details and Book
DProspect Of Whitby57 Wapping Wall London, E1W 3SH, UKView Details and Book
EThe OrangeryPalace Avenue, Kensington and Chelsea, UK W8 4, United KingdomView Details and Book
FSteins55 Petersham Road, Richmond, Greater London TW106UT, United KingdomView Details and Book
GSerpentine Bar & KitchenSerpentine Road, London W2 2UH, United KingdomView Details and Book
HThe Lock Tavern35 Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AJView Details and Book
IFulham PalaceHammersmith, London SW6 6, United KingdomView Details and Book
JThe Market Porter9 Stoney Street, London SE1 9AA, United KingdomView Details and Book