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Food + Drink

London's best al fresco dining

The weather in London is finally warming up, the skies are lighter for longer and we all want to be outside, soaking in as much of that glorious sunshine as we possibly can. What better way to enjoy this than securing a table at the best al fresco dining spots in London – so grab the girls and book a table at any of these restaurants for those good vibes and great food.

As the sun comes out, bars and restaurants get busier and there’s a buzz in the air. We come out of hibernation and become social butterflies again…

Dalloway Terrace, Bloomsbury

This spot is an instagrammers dream, the al fresco dining space is always covered in seasonal decor from flowers and pretty pastels in the Spring, to cosy fabrics and ivy in the Winter. Quintessential British at its finest. They’re open for breakfast, brunch and afternoon tea – delightful. Situated in Bloomsbury, the heart of London’s literary scene the al fresco dining area takes notes from the books and creates an ambience straight from some of the best novels written. The Honeybee afternoon tea focuses on the ecological effect they have on the planet, so you can eat, drink, learn and let the terrace take whisk you away. Dalloway Terrace can be tricky to get into so be sure to plan your visit here in advance.

Coppa Club, Tower Bridge

You probably saw the igloos along the Thames during the cold, winter months… cosy and warm. But they’ve transformed these cold igloos into a paradise pods in the midst of the city. While there is al fresco dining along the outside of Coppa Club, you want to book a night in one of the pods. A day in the sun or a night under the stars, the clear pod offer a full view of the surrounds while it feels like you’ve stepped into an elegantly designed beach paradise. The menu doesn’t lack here offering a delicious brunch selection or if you’re heading later in the day order some share plates, some cocktails and settle in for a perfect paradise afternoon.

Sushi Samba, Bishopsgate

One of London’s hottest sushi restaurants, and for good reason. The food is expertly crafted by the chefs and the cocktails are matched perfectly. Oh and the view is amazing… offering up a spectacular 360 degree view of the city. The space is set over two floors and it brings the outside in with its floor to ceiling windows, bamboo roof and an indoor orange tree sculpture bringing life the skyline of one of the world’s busiest cities. Sushi Samba is definitely a date night spot, go up early grab a few cocktails on the outdoor terrace and watch the sunset and the night sky come to life then head inside and devour all the sushi… or as much as you can.

No. 197 Chiswick Fire Station

While this one isn’t up in the clouds amongst the city skyline, it is in picturesque Chiswick, one of London’s prettiest areas, and a real neighbourhood joint. A local bar and restaurant that is well designed with a contemporary feel and offers a beautiful courtyard to enjoy those warmer months in anytime day or night. They invite you to lose yourself for a couple of hours, serving up sharing plates to enjoy with friends over a drink or two. Or come by early on the weekends for a long breakfast, brunch or a classic Sunday roast. If you ask me, this is the perfect place for a relaxed Sunday afternoon – good vibes, Bloody Mary in hand, fresh air and sunshine, oh that glorious sunshine.

The Ivy Chelsea Garden

The Ivy in Chelsea is more an institution. If you haven’t been to an Ivy yet, well… it is time you do. While yes, you might spot a cast member or two from ‘reality’ tv show Made in Chelsea you can rest assured that the place itself is not just for show. Step into this bright, lush garden, perfectly placed plants, flowers and large floral armchairs to sink into while you sip on a mimosa and treat yourself to afternoon tea with scones with jam and cream or if you’re looking for something more, they’re food menu offers modern British comfort food and international cuisine selections. And from May through till the beginning of July they have partnered with British designer, Jenny Peckham, to create a floral installation that will feature peonies, English garden roses and lemon mimosas in celebration of the famous Chelsea Flower Show – if there was any time to visit this glorious al fresco dining area.. It would be now.

Pergola on the Roof, Paddington

Open for its second season after such a successful opening in 2017 Pergola Paddington is back for the summer! On the rooftop, overlooking the city with daybeds, canteen style seating, 2 bars, 5 restaurants and a completely open aired space. Definitely a more relaxed dining space, with restaurants like Patty&Bun and DF/Mexico serving up street style delicious foods it is still one of the best spots to go al fresco this season. While it is open air there are partial coverings of lattice and vines and strings of fairy lights to keep it romantic and fun. Great food, yummy cocktails and a lovely spot to go with pals.

Petersham Nurseries, Covent Garden

Welcome to floral court… In the heart of busy Covent Garden lies Petersham Nurseries Floral Court. An elegant outdoor courtyard which connects the florist, the deli and the cellar – and only when the weather clears up and starts to warm do they bring out the tables from the restaurant and offer their dining al fresco. Combining both British and Italian elegance the courtyard is an oasis of calm, connecting you to nature and a beautiful place to sit outside, stay for a while and enjoy the weather – while it lasts. From pastries to pasta or indulge in a cheese board with a bottle of wine from the cellar. Pretend it’s your own backyard, sit back, relax and enjoy.

For more ideas, have a look at our roundup of the best bars in West London.

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