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.
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.
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 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.
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 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 RESTAURANT
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.