From lavender-trimmed terraces with river views to hidden sun-trap courtyards, we’ve rounded up some of London’s best outdoor spots to secure a place at as the UK slowly emerges from lockdown

Chiltern Firehouse


The leafy, red-brick courtyard at the Chiltern Firehouse has a Parisian feel with its monochrome awning and oyster cart (there all year round). The menu changes weekly to make the most of the summer’s seasonal offerings, from traffic light tomatoes on sourdough with burrata to scrummy asparagus. Their fruits de mer platters accompanied by a glass of crisp white wine are unbeatable on a hot day, and on balmy summer evenings the fairy lights are magical. They don’t take bookings, so get in there as early as you can.





If we could dream up the perfect summer terrace, this would probably be it. The newly revamped Annabel’s has a beautiful space decked out with hundreds of flower pots, lemon trees and chintz cushions, making it the most Instagrammable terrace in town. It’s worth mentioning – it’s members only.


The Hari


This new garden terrace lights up like a Christmas tree at night. During the day, it’s a proper sun trap and the ideal spot for a punchy Hari Mule. And you don’t need to worry about the British weather – there’s a retractable roof just in case things turn chilly.


Roka Canary Wharf


There’s a jungle feel to the terrace at Roka Canary Wharf, overlooking the green space of Canada Square.




The Mount Street fish shop, where Kelly Hoppen and the Michael Caines are regulars, continues to turn heads and pull the crowds. The service is top notch and the food, even better. Oysters, langoustines, lobster, Dover sole and turbot are the way to go, everything beautifully presented. In previous years, Victoria Beckham has been behind the styling of the terrace, working alongside floral designer Flora Starkey to create a look inspired by the beautiful white garden at Sissinghurst Castle. Come here for the fish and the undeniably vertiginous glamour.


The Courtyard Garden at the Sanderson


The Sanderson’s tranquil, Japanese-inspired Courtyard Garden is one of London’s best-kept secrets. Go there for dinner and cocktails – good, old-fashioned American food done really well, and inventive drinks. Our favourite is the Tonton, which comes with a side of bright-green Perrier-Jouët sorbet.


The Garden at Blakes


Matthew Williamson designed the courtyard garden at Blakes, and as you’d expect it’s a riot of colour and whimsy, with graphic murals, a tumbling flower wall and an enormous gold birdcage at one end. The ideal spot for drinking martinis.


The River Café


The wonderful thing about the River Café is that it keeps on doing what it has always done: bringing you the best Italian food in a beautiful setting. Sit in its pretty riverside garden and admire the fresh herbs and salads, which will no doubt end up on a plate.


Saint Jacques



One of London’s unsung heroes, this lovely small restaurant just off St James’s Street opens up a divine hidden courtyard every summer, where joie de vivre reigns supreme. Expect French fine dining (with classic dishes like duck Foie Gras terrine and coq au vin) and a long, lazy wine-fuelled lunch.


The Ivy Chelsea Garden


The Ivy Chelsea Garden is going full throttle. Three large, buzzy dining rooms lead towards the garden at the rear, which, on a summer evening, is heady with the scent of roses, and tinkly with the splash of the fountains.


Dalloway Terrace


It’s a strange position to be in as a restaurant reviewer when you love a place so much that you loathe to recommend it to people because you want to keep it all to yourself. Such is the case with Dalloway Terrace, a not-so-secret gem hidden in Bloomsbury, and named after one of the literary neighbourhood’s most famous characters, Mrs Dalloway from Virginia Woolf’s The Hours. Hanging flowers and fairy lights adorn the raised alfresco terrace, transporting you from London to the city of love, with the associated round marble tables, French patio style furniture and candle-lit glass lanterns completing the Parisian fantasy. Inspired by the décor combined with the balmy summer evening weather, we opted for seafood to start, and also took the opportunity to try the restaurant’s most famous dish: its brown Guinness bread. The seared scallops with cauliflower puree came served Venus-like in shells and melted in the mouth, while the Dorset crab on the aforementioned toast did not disappoint. While most guests opt for the rich dark bread daubed in homemade butter, we rather liked it smothered in salty tendrils of crab meat, too. For our mains, we chose the daily special of herb crusted hake with samphire (which took us to the south of France) and the beef fillet served rare (back to Paris), accompanied with Tenderstem broccoli and truffle fries (seen at all good restaurants). Criminally, we didn’t have room for dessert (we were still nursing our £85 bottle of Rijoa reserve) but that only means we’ll be back in due course…

Menu The chicest al fresco dining spots in London to book from 12 April Lifestyle Magazine Published by GEORGE FEENEY ╒══╗Back

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