After four long months, and what actually seems like forever, the UK has emerged from lockdown. The shops are open, which means visits to your favourite stores are on the cards. But perhaps more excitingly, we can meet up and socialise outdoors at rooftop bars and garden terraces again. And it's come just in time for the warmer months.
But which rooftop bars and garden terraces should you visit first? It's been so long that we'd forgive you for forgetting where to go, what to do and even how to socialise. But worry not, because we've put this guide together to ease you out of lockdown and straight to the best rooftop bars and garden terraces in London.
Rotunda, King's Cross
Let's start with a lovely outdoor terrace located just behind King's Cross. You can't go wrong with choosing Rotunda as your first evening out after lockdown. It sits on the bank of Regent's Canal, giving you first-hand views of the boats and ducks while you sip back on a Pinot Grigio or one of Rotunda's signature cocktails.
Address: 90 York Way, London N1 9AG
Madera at Treehouse London, Marylebone
After opening its doors shortly before the first lockdown, Treehouse London is practically brand new – and who doesn't love a visit to a shiny new place to grab a bevy or two? Head over to Marylebone and up to the rooftop bar and restaurant to sample delicious Mexican themed dishes and some refreshing Margaritas with a friend or two.
Address: 14-15 Langham Pl, Marylebone, London W1B 2QS
The Queen of Hoxton, Shoreditch
Featured on our previous list of rooftop bars and gardens, the Queen of Hoxton makes another appearance thanks to it being one of the best places to hang out in East London in the summer. Expect chilled vibes and thirst-quenching cocktails at this popular Shoreditch hotspot. Get up to the rooftop and enjoy great views of London while sipping back on some drinks.
Address: 1 Curtain Rd, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3JX
Skylight at London Tobacco Docks, Wapping
Skylight is reopening as we come out of lockdown with a special week-long celebration. The rooftop bar will have socially distanced table services for groups of six, so you and friends can meet up for a drink or two… or three. It's located right by the River Thames, which means you'll have great views of London while you catch up with mates and enjoy the food and drink on offer.
Address: Tobacco Dock, Pennington St entrance, St Katharine's & Wapping, London E1W 2SF
The Garden at The Berkeley, Knightsbridge
If you're looking for something fancy after emerging from lockdown, then get yourself to The Garden. This upmarket Knightsbridge spot has long been a popular fixture of the London summer scene, and this year won't disappoint. There are retro seaside classics on the menu, including grilled lobster and freshly shucked oysters. And of course, you can expect a range of great drinks, from wines to cocktails and everything in between.
Address: The Berkeley, Wilton Pl, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RL
Golden Gai, Soho
The West End neighbourhood of Soho has most certainly suffered during lockdown. A place full of buzz just isn't the same without the crowds. Fortunately, outdoors bars reopening means you can head back into the heart of London, starting with Golden Gai. It opened just days before December's Tier 4 lockdown, so it's like new. This miniature 50-seater terrace bar has cross-cultural twist cocktails and scrumptious bar snacks with Japanese accompaniments. What more could you ask for?
Address: 16A D'Arblay St, Soho, London W1F 8EA
Another relatively new bar, Seabird opened in late 2019 and is a fine addition to the bars and restaurants in Hoxton. It's part of the Southwark hotel, and you can sit back and soak up the impressive views that make the most of its Thames-side location. The outdoor area is where it's at, and there's a great seafood menu and revitalising drinks to sample.
Address: 14th Floor, 40 Blackfriars Rd, South Bank, London SE1 8NY
The Albion, Islington
This Georgian pub has an extensive garden where you can go for a few drinks right in the heart of Islington. The Albion sits just off Islington's vibrant Upper Street and has a lovely garden bar out back where you can enjoy top-notch pub grub, fantastic ales and other drinks, including wines and spirits.
Address: 10 Thornhill Rd, Islington, London N1 1HW
The Chapel Bar Terrace, Islington
Another Islington gem, The Chapel Bar Terrace is located near the historic Chapel Market and features a lovely terrace that's also heated, so you don't need to worry when the temperature drops. Sit outside and sip away on a glass of wine while nibbling on Mediterranean bites.
Address: 29 Penton St, The Angel, London N1 9PX
Allegra at The Stratford, Stratford
Allegra is an intimate dining terrace located on the seventh floor at the Stratford hotel, and it was specifically designed to be enjoyed no matter the weather. Sink into your seat amongst a meadow of wildflowers, water features and cedar pathways while you exhaust the drinks menu after four long months in hibernation. There are also seasonal sharing plates just in case you work up an appetite during your visit to Allegra in East London's Stratford.
Address: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, 20 International Way, London E20 1FD
Mercato Metropolitano, Elephant & Castle
Experience 15,000 square foot (along with a 500-seater garden) at Mercato Metropolitano, London's largest outdoor beer garden. Located in Elephant & Castle, this South London gem is full of plants, bamboo and trees, as well as a variety of food vendors serving up some seriously delicious treats. Head to the on-site microbrewery from German Kraft and sample authentic beers or try the urban gin from sustainable distiller, Jim and Tonic.
Address: 42 Newington Causeway, London SE1 6DR
Coq d'Argent, The City
A London favourite, Coq d'Argent is a restaurant and brasserie with a heated rooftop garden serving all-day French grub. But we're sure it's the cocktails served in the evening that will pique your interest at this chic spot in the heart of The City. Choose from a range of options or order from the wine list as you enjoy a few drinks with your crew while taking in some spectacular London views.
Address: 1 Poultry, London EC2R 8EJ.
Radio Rooftop Bar, The Strand
Prepare yourself for some more great views atop of the 10th floor of ME London, where you can spend some time at Radio Rooftop Bar. Skyscrapers and cocktails are on the agenda here, and we can't think of many better ways to enjoy the capital's cityscape while drinking and snacking away.
Address: 336-337 Strand, London WC2R 1HA
Mama Shelter London
Set in the heart of East London, Mama Shelter offers a garden bar that's perfect for a few drinks after lockdown. The open roof and terrace-style space are just what you need for sipping away on classy cocktails while telling your mates lockdown stories. There's also a menu that includes a selection of kebabs, just in case you get peckish.
Address: 437 Hackney Rd, London E2 8PP
Ivy Garden, Chelsea
As one of London's largest outdoor terraces, there's plenty of space at the Ivy Garden for a socially distanced get together. The only problem is that you might spend more time taking Instagramable pictures of the interior with its mirrors, vintage planters and velvet chairs than you do catching up with friends at this iconic bar on Chelsea's King's Road.
Address: 195, 197 King's Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 5EQ
Best rooftop bars and garden terraces in London
Where will you head to after lockdown? One of the rooftop and garden terraces on our list or is there somewhere you've already got in mind? Fortunately, Londoners have plenty of choices when it comes to a bar where you can catch up with friends, and the options on our list are an excellent place to start your first post-lockdown adventure.