London's best riverside restaurants and pubs

Jump to: Central North  South  |  East West 

From elegant gardens running down to the Thames, to restaurants actually floating on the canal, we pick some of London's loveliest waterside gems to dine at.


Central London

Forza Wine at the NT

National Theatre, Upper Ground London SE1 9PX

Forza Wine'a South Bank outpost has a great view across the river from its pretty extensive (and partly covered) terrace on the top floor of the NT. It's the perfect place to come for Italian small plates and natural wines (not to mention frozen cocktails). And if that's not enough, they've also taken over the next terrace down for more riverside action with Forza Taps


Le Pont de La Tour

Le Pont de La Tour

36D Shad Thames, London SE1 2YE

One of the more famous riverside restaurants in London, this institution has had a series of head chefs over recent years, but one thing that hasn't changed is one of the most spectacular views of the Thames. You can usually rely on there being a good platter of fruits de mer to enjoy alongside the river views. 


London best riverside restaurants - Emilia’s Crafted Pasta

Emilia’s Crafted Pasta

C3, Ivory House St Katharine Dock

If you fancy a harbourside lunch, but haven’t got time to head to the seaside, then hop over to this fresh pasta joint on St Katharine Dock where you can watch yachts and pleasure cruises sliding in and out of dock while you eat.


High Timber

High Timber

8 High Timber Street, London EC4V 3PA

Once you've found this Thameside restaurant, hidden away off the north elevation of the Millennium Bridge, you'll consider yourself pretty lucky. Settle down with a glass of Jordan Chardonnay - the restaurant is owned by the winery - this is a good place to watch the sun go down. There's a distinct South African focus to the menu  - with plenty of grilled meats and homemade biltong. 


hithe and seek riverside bar london

Also in Central London

Hithe + Seek (pictured above) is a City wine bar with floor-to-ceiling views over the ancient Queenhithe dock and across to The Globe theatre.

The restaurant at Sea Containers London opens out onto the South Bank for the kind of riverside view any visitor to London would love. 

The Ivy Tower Bridge has a lovely riverside setting, but if you manage to get into their private dining room upstairs, the views of the river are wonderful. 



North London

London best riverside restaurants


172 Shepherdess Walk, London N1 7JL

This former Dutch barge has become an excellent restaurant, moored canalside in Islington. Run by brothers Lorcan and Fin Spiteri, you can expect to enjoy a seasonal negroni or margarita alongside genre-defying small dishes. As well as the boat itself, there's also a riverside terrace and they've also got Bruno's - a second boat alongside which is run as a cocktail bar. 


London best riverside restaurants hawley wharf camden

Hawley Wharf

1 Dockray Place, London NW1 8QH

This canalside part of Camden Market (soon to become the latest Boxpark) runs across two great halls packed with street food traders. The space is covered by a roof, but open to the elements at the side. There are numerous spots to sit at with your food and gaze across the canal. Our top picks? Flip & Sear for wagyu burgers, Three Uncles for Cantonese roast meats and Khaao Karachi's naan melts.


The Lighterman

The Lighterman

3 Granary Square, London, N1C 4BH

Taking up a large part of King's Cross's Granary Square this restaurant was named after the Victorian Lightermen who worked on flat-bottomed barges, known as “Lighters” here on the Regent's Canal. This three-floored restaurant makes the most of its position with terraces galore. It's a broad modern British/European menu.




90 York Way, Kings Cross, London N1 9AG

If farm-to-table is your thing, then this King's Cross restaurant is the perfect spot for you - all their beef and lamb comes direct from their own farm in Northumbria. Their waterside setting is pretty impressive too, there's a massive wraparound terrace overlooking the Regents Canal.


Also in North London 

The Narrowboat - as the name suggests, this Young's pub is perched overlooking the Regent's Canal with two handy terraces for alfresco dining and drinking.



South London



The Coaling Jetty, Battersea Power Station Pier, London SW8 4NR

At the time of writing, this is actually just about to open but it seems very likely to be a huge hit in Battersea. This is the covered riverside location for  Arcade Food Hall just beside Battersea Power Station. As well as multiple bars, you can also get food from some of their biggest Battersea hits, including Solis (chicken and steak) and Bao.  


London best riverside restaurants - Enderby House

Enderby House

23 Telegraph Ave, London SE10 0TH

This riverside pub, located just before the Thames twists up around the Greenwich Peninsula, has taken over an old Grade II listed wharf building. There is a riverside and roof terrace with superb views over the river. Enjoy a pint and a Devon crab spring roll in the sunshine.

More about Enderby House


1665 Brasserie

1665 Brasserie

Hampton Ct Rd, Molesey, East Molesey KT8 9BN

This boutique hotel, right opposite Hampton Court, boasts several restaurants and bars, but the one you need to know about is their riverside brasserie with a lovely terrace overlooking the river. It's covered during the winter and spring but you can also get a great view of the river from the main restaurant. Anglo's Mark Jarvis is behind the menu here and there's also a Whispering Angel riverside terrace for summertime drinking.


Bingham Riverhouse

Bingham Riverhouse

61-63 Petersham Rd, Richmond TW10 6UT

Head way out west to Richmond and you can find one of the best waterside spots in London at the idyllic Bingham. Expect a low-waste, sustainable-focused menu to match the view in their recently redesigned restaurant with new chef Vanessa Marx having recently taken over the kitchen. 


Pear Tree Cafe

Pear Tree Cafe

Lakeside Cafe, Battersea Park, London SW11 4NJ

With an ex-Petersham Nurseries/Spring restaurant team on board, this is several steps above your average park cafe. It's also very popular for private events. The menu changes regularly but you can always rely on great BBQ burgers and sourdough pizzas here.

More about Pear Tree Cafe



Rick Stein Barnes

Tideway Yard, 125 Mortlake High Street, Barnes, London, SW14 8SN

South London may be a long way from Cornwall, but Rick Stein swapped seaside for riverside with his only London restaurant. There's a wonderful view over the Thames here - the spot to covet is the central section with the tables by the window. As you can imagine from a Rick Stein restaurant, there's a strong focus on seafood. The Indonesian fish curry is amazing - pair that with a lovely glass of wine chosen by Rick's son Charlie.


Trafalgar Tavern

Trafalgar Tavern

Park Row, Greenwich Peninsula, London SE10 9NW

This Victorian pub is a super place to bookend any riverside walk around Greenwich. The menu roams around Europe so while you can order Greenwich whitebait, there's also a n'duja Scotch egg with aioli and burrata salad among the many options. 




East London

London best riverside restaurants

Cafe Cecilia

Canal Place, 32 Andrews Rd, London E8 4RL

As its address suggests, the wonderful Cafe Cecilia is across the road from the Regent’s Canal. But while it’s not quite perched on the water, you can still see canal boats from your table so it deserves a spot in this guide. Sit gazing out onto the canal while eating Max Rocha's amazing deep-fried bread and butter pudding. 


London best riverside restaurants

Hawksmoor Wood Wharf

1 Water St, London E14 5GX

Hawksmoor don’t do things by halves and their entry onto the Canary Wharf dining scene saw them take on a brand new floating pontoon on the wharf. Surrounded by water, the place has been cramming city folk in since day one to enjoy their great steaks and the odd Shaky Pete too.




Unit 7 Queen's Yard, Hackney Wick, London E9 5EN

The canalside terrace at this East London brewery is always busy, and no wonder when the pizzas (and the beer, obviously) are this good. You could go for the usual margarita, but why would you when there are options like courgette, feta, red onion and gremolata or Middle Eastern lamb? 


best riverside restaurants london

Goodman Canary Wharf

3 S Quay Square, London E14 9RU

Overlooking the South Dock in the heart of Canary Wharf, this popular steak house makes the most of its water frontage with a large covered terrace which is the perfect place for fizz and oysters while you work out what cut of steak you're going to have for your mains.


London best riverside restaurants - The Gun

The Gun

27 Coldharbour, London E14 9NS

This Grade II listed Fullers pub has a to-die-for riverside setting right across from The O2 - terrace tables are obviously a premium. Food-wise there's a strong focus on British-sourced produce from the Laverstoke Park Farm milk in the ice cream to the Cobble Lane Cured meat boards for sharing.



Bread Street Kitchen Limehouse

44 Narrow St, Limehouse, London E14 8DP

Formerly known as The Narrow, Gordon Ramsay riverside restaurant has a cracking spot here in the Docklands. If you're not lucky enough to secure a spot on the actual terrace, the conservatory restaurant also has a retractable roof. As for food, expect a range of dishes from roasted cod to chickpea and aubergine tikka masala as well as Gordon's beef Wellington. 




One Vyner Street, London E2 9DG

Perched on the south side of the Regents Canal as Mare Street crosses over it, Ombra is what would happen if you plonked a Venetian bacaro down in East London. The food marries British produce with Italian recipes. There's usually a good set lunch deal with a wide range of cicchetti and antipasti. (Photo by Rebecca Dickson)


Pavilion Bakery

Pavilion Bakery

Victoria Park, Old Ford Rd, London E9 7DE

There are now four Pavilion Bakeries (including one in Cornwall) but this is the original and the best one for an urban waterside experience with its beautiful terrace overlooking the West Boating Lake in Victoria Park. Their alfresco terrace is the place to be, come summer. 



Towpath Cafe

42 De Beauvoir Cres, De Beauvoir Town, London N1 5SB

This little cafe down on the canal in Hackney is one of London's best waterside spots. Run by Laura Jackson and Lori de Mori the food is always seasonal and delicious and, because there's no booking, landing a table here feels very much like winning in life.


best waterside restaurants london

Also in East London 

The Princess of Wales - this Clapton gastropub serves out thoughtful food with a nice pub garden overlooking the River Lea. Arrive in a dinghy and they'll deliver pints to your flotation device.

Royal China Westferry Circus - the Royal China group boasts that this waterside restaurant in Canary Wharf has "perhaps the best view of any Chinese restaurant in London". 



West London

The River Cafe Cafe

The River Cafe Cafe

Thames Wharf, Rainville Rd, Hammersmith, London W6 9HA

The original River Cafe is a great option for riverside dining, but can be one you'll want to save up a bit for. But now Ruth Rogers' riverside restaurant has a next-door (actual) cafe which is a much more affordable way to try their food. They'll have pastries and cakes as well as some of the main restaurant's signature dishes, like the infamous Chocolate Nemesis cake. 


Sam's Waterside

Sam's Waterside

3 Kingham Avenue, Brentford TW8 8GP

Sam Harrison's latest opening sees him taking a waterside location in the new Brentford Project Development. This time, he's on the dockside by the river Brent (with an outside terrace). There's a broader menu than the riverside restaurant, so while there are seafood dishes, you'll also find steaks, and his chilli cheese & bacon smash burger.


The Watermans Arms

The Watermans Arms

375 Lonsdale Rd, London SW13 9PY

This Barnes restaurant has had a relatively recent revamp and is now run by Joe Grossmann who happens to be the founder of Patty & Bun. In the kitchen is Sam Andrews who has put together a menu with delights like friggitelli peppers with scamorza and walnut. You'll get a glimpse of the river from the restaurant, but ideally you'll want a table on the first-floor terrace which has amazing views.


London best riverside restaurants - The Cheese Barge

The Cheese Barge

Sheldon Square, Paddington Central, London W2 6HY

Another case of a restaurant that’s actually on the water, the Cheese Bar team have transformed this boat into a restaurant where every table has views out onto the water. The name explains the premise - it’s a full-on dairy zone here with cheese in just about every possible way, from fried cheese curds to cheese toasties and lots more besides.


Bondi Green

Bondi Green

1-2 Canalside Walk, Paddington, London W2 1DG

Daisy Green has quite a few riverside options and this is one of their biggest restaurants. Bondi Green boasts an extensive, heated terrace at Paddington Central making it quite the draw. Brunch is particularly good here, which is down to their in-house patisserie.


Darcy and May Green

Darcy and May Green

Grand Union Canal Sheldon Square, London, London W2 6DS

Not so much waterside as actually on the water, these two barges, designed by British pop artist Peter Blake, form the floating restaurant from the Daisy Green people, parked out at Paddington. There's an Australian/Pan Pacific feel to the menu, and if you're after an Aussie brunch on the canal, this is always a good place to come to. 


The Prince Regent

The Grand Duchess and The Prince Regent

Sheldon Square, London W2 6PY

Why eat by the water, when you can eat ON the water? The London Shell Co has two options in Paddington. The Grad Duchess is on a permanent mooring while The Prince Regent will actually take you on a tour of the canal. Both serve up an excellent seafood menu while a strong sparkling wine list includes a great English own-label one that you definitely should try. 


best riverside restaurants london - Peggy Jean

Peggy Jean

The Boat, Bridge Boat House, Riverside, Richmond TW9 1TH

Part of the Daisy Green empire, this permanently moored boat is topped with hot pink umbrellas on its sun deck making it hard to miss on the riverfront at Richmond. A former barge belonging to Jesus College in Oxford it's now a great place to enjoy a BBQ or boozy brunch.


Sam’s Riverside

Sam’s Riverside

1 Crisp Rd, Hammersmith, London W6 9DN

Making full use of its riverfront location by Hammersmith Bridge, this restaurant also has a large terrace with room for more than 30 diners and there are also geat views of the river from inside the restaurant. They're serving up a strong seafood menu with oyster platters, fruits de mer and Cornish hake with sorrel beurre blanc.


best riverside restaurants london - Scott's Richmond

Scott's Richmond

4 Whittaker Ave, Richmond TW9 1TH

Riverside sibling to the glamorous Mayfair original, this seafood restaurant boasts a great riverside frontage with dining rooms on two floors overlooking the river. Of course, the place you really want to be, come the good weather, is a table out on their gorgeous first-floor terrace.


 best waterside restaurants london - Summerhouse Little Venice

Summerhouse Little Venice

Opposite 60 Blomfield Road, London W9 2PA

Run by the folks behind local Waterway restaurant in Little Venice, this canal-fronting cafe began life as a summer pop-up but now runs all year round. Seafood is the thing here (naturally) so lobster with potato salad, watercress and aioli or half a dozen oysters should do the trick. 


The Old Ship

Also in West London

The Old Ship in Hammersmith has a decent-sized terrace right on the riverside and serves up a good brunch.

Cottons at St Georges Wharf has a super spot by the Thames, allowing you to knock back one of their super daiquiris as the sun sets.




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