London has long had a winter alfresco scene with covered terraces and heated gardens perfect for eating and drinking through the colder months. Now, with current Covid restrictions and concerns, alfresco options where you won’t be soaked in the rain or chilled to the bone are even more popular. Here’s our pick of London’s best...
Where: Hamilton Pl, Park Ln, Mayfair, London W1J 7DR
The terraced garden of this Mayfair hotel has been waterproofed in a very chic way for the winter. Even better they've teamed up with Dom Pérignon for a pairing menu with dishes like Oscietra Caviar and Carlingford Rock Oyster paired with the Champagne by the glass.
Follow on Instagram: @fslondon
Where: 11-15 Swallow St, Mayfair, London W1B 4DG
Richard Corrigan’s oyster palace, just off Piccadilly, has a large covered and heated terrace on Swallow Street where you can enjoy heaped seafood platters. Finish off with a Bentley’s coffee made with Frangelico and Baileys.
Follow on Instagram: @bentleysoysterbar
Where: 10a Northumberland Ave, Westminster, London SW1A 2BD
This hidden away spot is just as lovely in the winter where it’s all open fires, alpaca blankets and hot whisky. The new winter menu includes such warming delights as lobster mac 'n' cheese and Venison ragoût with cheese dumplings. Order a Bombardino – a hot concoction of brandy
Advocaat and whipped cream. - and, if you’re in the mood for lighting up, there’s a cigar sommelier in charge of their walk-in humidor.
Follow on Instagram: @corinthialondon.
Where: 16-22 Great Russell St, Fitzrovia, London WC1B 3NN
Always an Insta-delight, the Bloomsbury heated terrace has just unveiled its new autumn look - which is enchanted woodland themed. There’s a brand-new seasonal food menu, an updated afternoon tea and they’re serving up new Belvedere Vodka cocktails.
Follow on Instagram: @dallowayterrace.
Where: 10 Argyle St, London WC1H 8EG
Tucked in off the Euston Road, the ground floor bar at the London Standard has turned its terrace into a very snug little winter hideaway with a fire pit, fairy lighting and plenty of sheepskin furs to ward off the cold.
Follow on Instagram: @thestandardlondon.
Where: 1 Ham Yard, Soho, London W1D 7DT
Right now the hotel is hosting an Autumn Pop Up throughout October on its Roof Terrace for London Cocktail Week. The covered and heated terrace has plenty of sofas and chairs with warm woollen blankets. So snuggle up and sample seasonal cocktails along with food from the rooftop vegetable garden.
Follow on Instagram: @firmdale_hotels.
Where: 85 Piccadilly, London W1J 7NB
A brand new addition to Hide is their new terrace on Piccadilly featuring heaters, blankets and parasols. It’s the perfect spot for an alfresco business breakfast or dinner with friends - try the tartlet with cep shavings or freshly baked lavender madeleines.
Follow on Instagram: @hide_restaurant
Where: 8 Lancashire Ct, Brook St, Mayfair, London W1S 1EY
The Autumn iteration of Hush's courtyard space sees them join up with Canard Duchêne for 'The Golden Hour' - aiming to transport Londoners to the vineyards of Champagne. The space is covered, floored with astroturf, covered with autumnal leaves and it runs till 20 November before it gets a festive makeover.
Follow on Instagram: @hushmayfair
Where: Duke of Wellington Pl, London SW1X 7TA
The Garden Room is the hotel’s semi-outdoors cigar den where you can also enjoy cocktails, weekend brunch and a light supper.
Follow on Instagram: @the_lanesborough
Where: 252 High Holborn, Holborn, London WC1V 7EN
The Macallan Manor House is the Rosewood's winter covered and heated terrace which will be open through to the end of Spring. Done out like you'd imagine a Scottish whisky estate would look like you can feast on scotch eggs and warming whisky cocktails.
Follow on Instagram: @rosewoodlondon.
Also in Central London
Mortimer House in Fitzrovia have amped up their terrace with a weatherproof awning and heaters while chef Lello has brought in wintry dishes from the Med and the Middle East such as Braised pork cheeks, burnt lettuce, blueberries and crackling.
Opso (Marylebone) - this Greek restaurant now has a covered and heated outside terrace
Where: 29 Penton St, The Angel, London N1 9PX
Arenella is the new autumnal weekend-only alfresco terrace at The Chapel Bar. On offer in the hedge-bordered, heated and covered terrace is a Southern Italian inspired bottomless lunch with free-flowing spritzes and Prosecco.
Follow on Instagram: @the_chapel_bar
Where: 44 Barnsbury St, Islington, London N1 1ER
This popular Islington gastropub have enveloped their lovely back garden with a marquee, added in heating and festooned it with lights, turning it into a wintry Barnsbury idyll. To book the Garden Room specifically, you'll need to call them on 020 7619 0348
Follow on Instagram: @thedrapersarms
Where: 1 Kings Boulevard, Kings Cross, London N1C 4BU
The covered terrace running down the side of this King's Cross restaurant is a little taste of continental winter wonderland. This year's theme is Hansel and Gretel and the area's heated, plus there are blankets and warming dishes like festive goose with dumplings to keep out the cold.
Follow on Instagram: @thegermangym
Where: Coal Drops Yard, London N1C 4DQ
Plaza Pastor at Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross is all alfresco. Its covered, heated terrace outside Casa Pastor, shares the same menu of tacos, tostadas and sharing dishes as the inside restaurant. Get the margaritas in and enjoy a menu which includes seabass ceviche with Cornish-grown serrano chilli.
Follow on Instagram: @tacos_el_pastor
Where: 25 North Rd, Highgate, London N6 4BE
Not content with having bossed it during lockdown, this Highgate gastropub has gone one step further for the winter and erected a huge marquee over its front garden. Strewn with fairy lights, it’s very pretty at night and perfect for anyone who doesn’t fancy eating indoors at the moment.
Follow on Instagram: @theredlionandsun
Where: St Pancras International, Kings Cross, London N1C 4QL
Because this is on an open-ended train platform - this bar actually counts as alfresco, which is very handy. It has 12 private booths which seat up to six so will be very handy if you want to meet up with friends, and the full menu from St Pancras Brasserie is available.
Follow on Instagram: @searcystpancras
Also in North London
Truman's Social Club (Tottenham) has a huge covered and heated beer garden where groups of up to six can meet whilst enjoying street food and drinks.
Where: Arch 25, Old Union Yard Arches, 229 Union Street, London SE1 0LR
The winter terrace at this Southwark restaurant has been constructed entirely from lost and found umbrellas from TFL during the lockdown. It's heated, made all comfy with blankets and cushions, and is now serving up a variety of Discarded Spirits cocktails
Follow on Instagram: @bala_baya
Where: 21 Chestnut Grove, Balham, London SW12 8JB
This South London pub has gone all out with its alfresco option over the winter. They've put up a Narnia wardrobe entrance into the garden which has been turned into an alpine wonderland with two giant heated tipis and fire pits. Food is from the folks at The Rac Shack.
Follow on Instagram: @theregentbalham
Where: 8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL
There are plenty of places to eat alfresco at Borough, from the covered heated terrace space that Elliot’s Ell Fresco occupies on Stoney Street to the various covered street restaurants in the Borough Market Kitchen space like Mei Mei and Tacos Padre.
Follow on Instagram: @boroughmarket
Where: 2 More London Riverside, London SE1 2AP
It's going to be hard to beat the views of the two outdoor pods now open on the terrace at this riverside branch of Gaucho. Every booking gets their own server (and a bottle of Domaine Chandon thrown in) plus speakers to choose their own music.
Follow on Instagram: @gauchogroup
Where: 8 Holyrood St, London SE1 2EL
In a valiant effort to make this Bermondsey street feel like a Mexican barrio, Nine Lives have turned their outside space into a tacos and cocktails spot, teaming up with Tigre Tacos. Serving up lobster tacos and a waste pumpkin cocktail, the space is covered from the rain, with a small fire pit and lanterns everywhere.
Follow on Instagram: @ninelivesbar.
Where: 4-5 London Road, London SE1 6JZ
This Latin American restaurant in Elephant & Castle has a super little courtyard out back, that's been given a winter alfresco treatment complete with powerful infrared heaters (powered by 100% renewable energy), umbrellas and blankets. It's the perfect spot to order one of their cocktails or their amazing sounding pina colada trifle.
Follow on Instagram: @paladarlondon
Where: 36D Shad Thames, London SE1 2YE
There's a distinct Parisian vibe to the winter makeover at this riverside restaurant, where the terrace is covered, heated and liberally supplied with sheepskin throws. Go for broke and try the special Taittinger Champagne menu.
Follow on Instagram: @lepontdelatourldn
Where: 45 Trinity Gardens, Brixton, London SW9 8DR
This Young's pub in Brixton has a pretty amazing looking beer garden which, now that it’s winter, has the stretch tent up for cover and a fire pit lit to make sure it’s still a popular place throughout the colder months. Get rosemary and garlic baked Camembert to share, if you can secure a spot.
Follow on Instagram: @thetrinityarms
Where: 43 Borough Market, London, SE1 9AH
This Borough Market supper spot is tucked in under the arches with loads of heaters, making it a very toasty alfresco spot on a winter night. Here Tomas Lidakevicius (formerly head chef of City Social) and Charlie (a stallholder for 30 years) are serving up dishes made with super seasonal produce.
Follow on Instagram: @turnipsborough.
Where: 137 Lower Marsh, Bishop's, London SE1 7AE
There’s a covered and heated terrace at this shipping container wine bar with all the tables socially distanced. The current menu by Klose & Soan has had an autumnal update with dishes like Middlewhite Porchetta with borlotti beans or slow-cooked and pickled Grezzina courgettes with labneh, chilli & dukkah on there. Get the team at Unwined to pick a perfect wine pairing for you.
Follow on Instagram: @unwinedse1
Where: 72-82 St Thomas St, Bermondsey, London SE1 3QX
London Bridge’s street food spot has food from Baba Gs, Nanny Bills, Sugo & Nik’s Kitchen. The Bramble bar here is fully covered and there’s a large area where tables are protected by a massive stretched tent.
Follow on Instagram: @vinegaryardldn
Also in South London
Bussey Rooftop Bar (Peckham) - with outdoor heaters, blankets, festive special cocktails and pizzas from Share A Slice.
Where: 35 Sclater St, Shoreditch, London E1 6LB
With the addition of their new tier 2 friendly winter terrace, Smokestak is a handy spot to meet up with mates. The terrace is covered with clear roofing sheets, green canvas side enclosure and there are lots of heaters, making it a perfectly snug place to enjoy their brisket buns.
Follow on Instagram: @smokestakUK
Where: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, 20 International Way, London E20 1FD
Given that this entire building was designed to factor in the restaurant, it’s not surprising that the terrace was planned to enjoy year-round use. It’s largely covered by the building's cantilever and they’ve also installed powerful heaters above every table. There are heavy blankets too and a separate terrace menu to enjoy.
Follow on Instagram: @allegrarestaurant
Where: Royal London House, 10th Floor Montcalm, 22-25 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1DX
Enjoy both alfresco and socially distanced dining by hiring one of the igloos out on the ninth floor terrace at this Moorgate spot. Packages start at £50 per person which includes drinks and snacks for two hours.
Follow on Instagram: @aviaryldn
Where: 374 Helmsley Place, London E8 3SB
Tomos Parry's Shoreditch restaurant's residency at Climpson's has been extended for the winter. There's a massive marquee over the whole area, making it suitable for dining out in whatever the weather. Enjoy roasted game rice and Bloody Marys.
Follow on Instagram: @bratrestaurant
Where: 1 Poultry, London EC2R 8EJ
Lodge d'argent is back with a real wintry treat, with heaters and a large canopy covering the whole area. There are two chalets bookable for groups of up to six friends and an alpine-inspired menu with lots of baked cheese and hot toddies.
Follow on Instagram: @coqdargent
Where: 152 Curtain Rd, Hackney, London EC2A 3AT
Out at the back of Tapas Brindisa’s Shoreditch restaurant, there’s a lovely Andalusian-style walled terrace which is heated and covered, making it a perfect spot to enjoy an alfresco tapas feast.
Follow on Instagram: @brindisaspanishfoods
Also in East London
Applebees (Borough and the South Bank) both restaurants have covered and heated terraces
Madison (St Paul's) Up on the rooftop at One New Change, with sweeping views over the cathedral, Madison's Winterland has a combo of bookable lodges and heated seating areas.
Skylight Rooftop (Tobacco Dock) - The rooftop now has a Christmas theme and they'll also be showing movies. Including Die Hard, of course.
Where: Wilton Pl, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RL
The garden terrace at The Berkeley has been transformed into Winter at The Garden featuring five wooden cabins, lit by candlelight and stocked with blankets and heatrs, each seating up to six diners. Expect warming dishes like raclette and a very special hot chocolate being served tableside with a glug of either rum or whisky.
Follow on Instagram: @the_berkeley
Where: 5 Kingdom Street, Paddington Central, London W2 6PY
This rooftop space is turning into Miracle on Kingdom Street- the upstairs floor will be a secret forest with bookable igloos, there's a Chalet Moët for VIP night. The lower floor is more of a Bavarian beer hall - with more bookable lodges, and they've amped the heating up for the winter.
Follow on Instagram: @pergolalondon
Where: 350 King's Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 5UU
The terrace at Bluebird has had a Winter Wonderland overhaul in a team up with Blooming Haus and Taittinger (so you can expect a few new Champagne cocktails). The heated terrace has been decorated with white branches, twinkling fairy lights, and Christmas trees but we think it's the three chalets that most people will have their eyes on.
Follow on Instagram: @bluebirdchelsea
Where: Portobello Dock, 344 Ladbroke Grove, London W10 5BU
Stevie Parle’s extended popup at the old Dock Kitchen site currently basks in great reviews and now has a plethora of options for alfresco dining. There are six pavilions with infrared heaters, plants and 1950s German artwork. Each has room for up to six people, from multiple households as they fall under 'outdoors' restrictions. There is more new outside seating under the building's eaves which also have infrared heaters. And if all that wasn't enough they're also adding a firepit where mulled wine and cider will be made. We also hear there's a floating pontoon dining room coming soon too.
Follow on Instagram: @joy_at_portobello
Where: Railway Arch 190 & Market Yard, Shepherd's Bush Market, London W12 8DF
Just off the Goldhawk Road, this outdoors venue has been covered up and heated for the winter, serving up cocktails, craft beers and piiping hot pizzas. There's rugby on the big screens and the promise of live music and DJs too.
Follow on Instagram: @thehawksnestldn.
Where: 19-21 Lonsdale Rd, Queen's Park, London NW6 6RA
This Queens Park restaurant reopens on 15 October having doubled in size after taking over the adjacent restaurant. In addition to their new dinner menu and bar area, they’ve also expanded their outdoor heated seating area with bespoke parasols for alfresco street dining all year round.
Follow on Instagram: @milkbeachlondon
Where: 151 Sydney St, Chelsea, London SW3 6NT
This new Chelsea restaurant makes the most of its large courtyard garden. There are two large parasols that keep the banquette seating dry and they also have inbuilt heaters to keep you warm and toasty. Weekend brunch sounds particularly good like the buttermilk flatbread with crab and poached egg.
Follow on Instagram: @stanleys_chelsea_
Where: 5 Ladbroke Rd, Notting Hill, London W11 3PA
This Pan-Asian restaurant in Notting Hill has covered up its terrace, making it weather-proof and heated and given it a new winter/Christmas feel too. You'll be able to order the usual menu under a canopy of winter foliage, mistletoe and baubles.
Follow on Instagram: @ulilondon
Also in the west...
Over Under (Earl's Court) - the cafe has installed a new winter (and bookable) terrace
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