Al Fresco London – Top 10

If you enjoy a little rooftop tipple, lunch on the terrace, a pavement side cuppa, the breeze in your hair with a nice G’n’T, this post is for you.

Not a traditional top 10, because they’re not in order of preference. Mostly because each place is pretty different, so it’s not fair to compare them.

Each spot deserves a spot on your “To Do” list, and all for very different reasons.

The bank holiday is upon us! So let’s get started, shall we?

1. Aqua Kyoto




Smack bang in the middle of London, just off Oxford Street.


Cracking place for cocktails if you find yourself in central London. I’ve been on many a date here, and it remains a firm favourite. You get a great view of Regent Street, the cocktails are excellent and you can get a good lick of sunshine while you’re there.


A bit fancy, I doubt they allow ripped jeans. Girls can get away with anything from work attire to a full on cocktail dress and heels. Chaps probably need a shirt, cotton jacket wouldn’t go amiss.

Website (Don’t bother to book.)

2. The Boundary




East. Just off Liverpool St.


Roof terrace that’ll knock your socks off. Exceptionally good food, great drinks, fairy lights, fragrant herb garden. Book dinner in the restaurant and start with drinks and nibbles outside. You’ll love it.

Also bookable for private events, which would be rather dreamy.


Smart casual.

Website. (Priority is given to hotel guests and dinner bookings, so worth giving them a buzz.)

3. The Ivy Garden



The Kings Road, Chelsea.


The holy trinity: eating, people watching, drinking.

Great food, great cocktails. Good for lunch in the sun, or sit by one of the outdoor fireplaces at dusk.


Gents – red trousers, obvs.

Ladies- anything goes. Jeans and a crisp white shirt. Summer dress. Shorts. Leave the towering heels and bandage dress at home, it’s more laid back that that.

Website (Booking recommended, essential at peak times.)

4. The Ship




Wandsworth. West London, just south of the river.


A boozy weekend with a big group of friends. Loud, busy, laid back! If you want to let your hair down, get boozed and snog a banker in a rugby shirt, this one’s for you.


Super, super casual.

Website (Just turn up. Don’t drive.)

5. Chiltern Firehouse



Marylebone, Central London.


White marble tables, leafy shade, simple food, great cocktails (ask for the Jammy Devil with gin), cheeky little sun trap, the best people watching in town.

A bit unreasonably pricey, but really can’t be beaten for location, staff and surroundings.


Smarten up a bit. Men will want a jacket in the evenings.

Website (Make sure you book.)

6. Sushi Samba




Liverpool Street, East.


Cocktails in the stars. The best view of London you could ask for. Very good sushi. Magical for a date, but works for friends or business meetings too.


A bit fancy. Dress + heels, shirt and jacket.

Website (Book!)

7. The Rosewood Courtyard

Bombay Terrace at Rosewood London 1200x586



Holborn, Central.


A blue + white oasis in bustling central London. The courtyard of an unbelievably beautiful hotel, perfect for cocktails and nibbles. Not especially sunny, but gloriously breezy when it all gets a bit muggy.


No ripped jeans or trainers.

Website (Book for peak times.)

8. River Cafe




Hammersmith, West.


Wonderful Italian restaurant by the river. A favourite for all London mum’s birthdays as far as I can tell! Great, simple, seasonal food, good wine list, nice drop of sunshine. A winner all round.


Smart casual.

Website (Make sure you book.)

9. Kensington Roof Gardens






Oasis in West London. Green, lush, way above the bustling streets and wonderfully sunny. Great for drinks, I’ve never had the food but hear good things.

A bit of a chameleon, it works as everything from a cocktail terrace, to a wedding venue, weekend nightclub and dinner spot.


Smart casual, fancy on weekend evenings.

Website (Don’t book for drinks, but anything else get in touch.)

10. Bonnie Gull



Exmouth Market, East-ish.


I wrote a post last summer about this place. Brilliant seafood and a set up that’ll make you feel like you’re in Cornwall. Have a seafood feast (yes fish ‘n’ chips counts as seafood!), wash it down with crisp white wine and finish off with soft serve ice-cream.

Properly dreamy.


Whatever you want, very casual.

Website. (Book ahead.)

There we go! My Top 10 London venue for eating and drinking outside.

A bit of a different Londoner post, but I hope one you’ll find handy! Feel free to Pin away to your London Pinterest boards, or follow mine here.

Now let’s keep our fingers crossed for a spot of sunshine!

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  • I’m glad you’ve done a post like this!
    I don’t spend much time in London but love reading about it on your blog, only problem is that when the time comes to venture into the city there’s too many recommendations on your blog to give them all a go! xo

  • Tal

    The Holborn one is such a winner, I love it!

    Huge PRIMARK Haul May 2015 + Try on!

  • Jeannie C

    Al fresco dining! Something I must hung down in sydney!

  • Amy

    These are brilliant! I’m heading to London at the end of this Year! Granted, it may be slightly cold, but I’d love any other recommendations you have on places you to have to go! I only have a 24 Hour layover so I’d love your help! 🙂

  • Wow! These places are amazing! Makes me want to move to London even more now! Thank you for sharing these fabulous places.

    – The Southern Adventurer

  • Karliah White

    I do hope we get some lovely sunshine for tomorrow; plans include Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings for brunch and then The Ivy Chelsea Gardens for the afternoon X

  • Such a perfect post now that the weather has been turning around, all the outdoor seating options. Now I’m hunting for similar places in my town.

  • Thanks for the tips, Rosie! They all look beautiful – I’m so looking forward to being able to spend evenings in London outside with a nice cocktail in hand. Ahhh summer!

    Lauren xx | The Lifestyle Diaries

  • Ceri

    Love this! I do like a good round-up post 🙂

    Aqua Nuevo/Kyoto is great, I love the terrace there, although the last time I went it started raining so we had to hot foot it inside!

    October Eleven

  • So many great places to choose from! I can (surprisingly) remember a very happy drunken night at Aqua Kyoto. Oh how I miss London. Always a special place in my heart.


  • Emma and Emily

    Perfect post for this weekend! Hopefully the weather holds up..

    Emily x

  • Wow, all of these places look so amazing! Great list!


  • You always know just how to make me pine for summer in London… feel like hopping over the pond and making one of these lists for New York? (I’m a local but far too lazy 😉 and don’t have the knack for finding spots like this!) Thanks for the dose of British sunshine x

  • Oh my goodness, all of these places look absolutely stunning! Saving this for my next trip to London (although I may have to start saving now)!

    Tessa at Bramble & Thorn

  • Char

    You should definitely try the rooftop pool and spa at the Berkeley Hotel ! It is AMAZING !!! 😀
    Awesome views of Hyde Park, amaze treatments and yummy food and drinks !

  • AH! Thank you so much for posting this! Im celebrating my first birthday in london in just 2 short weeks and want to do something outdoorish for drinks! This list is perfection! x

  • I’ve never been to London, but this post really makes me want to go. Definitely need to save this for when I get the chance to visit 🙂

  • Livia S.

    Amazing post! Thanks for sharing 😀

  • Rachel

    Could you make a post about what you’d do with a weekend in London? I’ve done all the tourist sights before, but I’m in for a weekend with my best friend, so we want to do it right.

  • All of these locations are gorgeous – the rooftops ones especially, the view of London is incredible!

    Lauren x

    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Food Beauty

  • I’ve bookmarked this one! Would love to see more posts like this.

    Petite Side of Style

  • I’m obsessed with this post! I have the biggest affinity for outdoor eating spots – especially if it includes a rooftop!! Loved the comment about the “Holy Trinity” because it’s so true – what could be better than those three combined??

  • Lucy Birchall

    Perfect post – I’ve needed something like this for quite some time. Now I’ve got a great handful of places to think about the next time I’m in the city – thank you!

    She’s So Lucy

  • I must checkout the Rosewood hotel al fresco area, since it is a stone throw’s from my apartment…

  • i’m obsessed with the Al Fresco’s near Liverpool Street 🙂

    Georgia || Georgia Nicolaou Blog

  • Rozz watkins

    Love this post! Rooftop bars are amazing! how I want to be you! Should hold a meet up soon! xxx

  • Places look amazing, great photos

    Alisha xx

  • I love posts like this! Recommendations from The Londoner are what turned me on to your blog in the first place. Of course, Custard pics are what keep me coming back for more…

  • ninegrandstudent

    The Ship appears to be quite local to the flat I’ll be renting this summer – whoop! x

    NINEGRANDSTUDENT: A Student Lifestyle Blog

  • Great post, just what I needed! xx

  • Nikki Hillan

    I need to try out The Boundary and Kensington Roof Gardens!


  • Love all your food reviews and suggestions! This is the ultimate list 🙂
    Cant wait to actually try some of them!

    X, Carina
    Running White Horses | Fashion + Travel

  • Fab round up. Love so many of these. I’d add The Wolseley for brunch or afternoon tea, The Ledbury, Tom’s Kitchen and when it reopens, no doubt The Ivy will be back to its best with a more modern look.

  • Just realised this is al fresco spots only. This is what happens when you read posts at 1am!

  • They all look incredible! I’ll have to try them whenever I get to London.


  • This is very helpful. Thanks for sharing!

  • Vicki

    great post! I went to Bonnie Gull when hubby and i came over from Australia last summer – the evenings are pretty quiet when its early in summer. The food is divine – Oh my Lord I cant wait to come back and have their food (another trip needed!!). Burger and Lobster is also absolutely fantastic 🙂

  • Ana Simões

    Amazing tips, Rosie. Bookmarking it for the next stop in town ;))

  • Some of our favourite places on here.Nothing beats a cocktail in the sun.

  • Loved this, though I’d put an astrix next to Aqua. Yes it is lovely up there, but in the evenings you can be waiting up to half an hour between ordering your drink (which takes about the same amount of time) and it being given to you at the bar. Only reason I won’t be going there again!

    ADORE The Boundary.

  • Oh these places looks AH-MAZING!! *adding to the bucket list*

    Diana xx |

  • So glad summer is just around the corner! I will be checking out some of these when I’m next in town!

  • Obviously, I have bookmarked this post! I am obsessed with London and discovering new places to love is always exciting! Can’t wait for my next visit!

    x Nina

    P.S. Hope you will come over to enter a $500 Gift Card Giveaway from

  • These sound amazing, I have added a few to my list, thank you!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  • Def trying these places out when I’m in London!

  • Thanks for this post Rosie, it would be great for you to do more of this type of post – great for us non-Londoners. I’ll be trying some of your recommends on my future London trips.

    Hugs Adele xoxo

  • The Rosewood Courtyard is my favorite based on looks alone. Great list!

  • I’m also a big fan of the terrace at Harrods – some great sunshine to be had there. And Vista at The Trafalgar. The last time I was there, the food was excellent.

  • Thanks so much for putting together this great list! I’m headed to London the end of this month and will be adding one or two of these places to my list. Here’s hoping there will be lots of sunshine during my visit.

  • really like the selection of places, must visit one once it gets a little bit warmer here!


  • Before The Big Day

    Love this post – another favourite is the rooftop at Shoreditch House, but you have to snag a member to get in! x

  • Excellent post!! I am going to London at the end of the month for about two weeks and will definitely try as many of these places as possible. I will be going to the Polo in the Park event, are you going again this year? Would be really fun to meet up there 🙂 check out my latest post in anticipation of the event:

  • Ahhhh always running around London and always forget what beautiful places are around. Must put these on my list. x

  • Bit late to the commenting game on this one, but I’d love to see a similar style post for nights out with girls, groups of friends, etc.! When people come visit I always “Uhmm and ahhh” when it comes to planning nights that don’t involve sweatpants & bottles of wine on my couch 😉