It’s probably fair to say that demand for al fresco dining is at an all-time high. While the great booking frenzy may now be behind us, the best restaurants with outdoor dining spaces have enduring appeal that will see out the summer. From waterside terraces to sunny courtyards and rooftop destinations, our list offers a little more than those tables hastily arranged outside your local...

beaverbrook garden house restaurant terraces

The Garden House at Beaverbrook


      On a balmy summer’s evening there’s no better place to be than the Garden House Restaurant’s terrace at Beaverbrook, the grand country house hotel in the Surrey Hills that was once the home of press baron Lord Beaverbrook. Your toughest decision will be deciding between a table overlooking the wildflower meadow or one facing the Mr McGregor-ish kitchen garden. The immaculate vegetable beds and beautiful greenhouse (the envy of every gardener that visits) supply much of the produce that goes into the seasonal, Mediterranean-style menu.

      the standard london decimino rooftop
      The Standard

      Decimiño at The Standard


      Summer in the city is best enjoyed from an elevated position with a cold drink in hand. With that in mind, The Standard London’s executive chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias is putting a bright red taco truck on its rooftop. He is known for his exceptional Spanish-Mexican food at the hotel’s 10th floor restaurant, Decimo, so expect Decimiño (child of Decimo) to deliver delicious tacos and refried beans plus Mango Margaritas alongside spectacular views of the neo-gothic tower of St Pancras opposite, Centre Point and beyond.

      culpeper regen rooftop



      Culpeper is a lush pocket of green among the chimney pots overlooking the City of London’s skyscrapers. This summer it becomes the ‘Regen Rooftop’ with a £35 lunchtime set menu showcasing the produce of farmers and suppliers who follow regenerative farming practices such as The Ethical Butcher and The Good Earth Grower. The drinks list will have a sustainable focus too with Biodynamic winemakers, Sacred Spirits and Absolute’s carbon neutral range. Dishes will be cooked over coals in the rooftop kitchen, while fruit, flowers, herbs and vegetables grown on the spot by head gardener Jack Astbury contributes add a hyperlocal flavour to the menu.

      best restaurants with outdoor dining
      Robin Ball

      The Hut at Colwell Bay

      Isle of Wight

      Don’t be fooled by the name – this waterfront spot is no dinky beach shack. Perhaps the sense of formality would jar with the simple pleasures on offer… fish tacos, lobster and chips, a west-facing terrace perfect for evening sun. Getting to this tip of the island is part of the fun – shuttle yourself across from Lymington on the mainland and they’ll take you ashore by tender.

      one hundred shoreditch rooftop
      One Hundred Shoreditch

      One Hundred Shoreditch


          Panoramic views across East London, a retro pink-tinted Palm Springs aesthetic and a menu that’s pure Americana with snacks like devilled eggs, tacos and a soft shell crab burger make One Hundred Shoreditch’s playful rooftop terrace a foolproof choice for a fun night. That’s before you even get to the signature Margaritas, martinis and the DJ playing Latin dance music...

          jurema terrace at the mandrake hotel
          The Mandrake

          Jurema at The Mandrake


              Enjoy a lazy Sunday brunch under a fragrant canopy of jasmine and passionflower at the Mandrake’s first-floor terrace, Jurema. Served from 12 until 4pm, the eclectic menu features dishes including mushroom and kale tacos, buttermilk fried chicken and brioche French toast, with DJ Karen Lopez providing a suitably chilled soundtrack for a relaxed weekend afternoon in the sun.

              best restaurants with outdoor dining
              La Goccia

              La Goccia

              Covent Garden, London

              Richmond’s Petersham Nurseries is well versed in the art of outdoor dining, its great glasshouse seating guests beneath bougainvillea, jasmine and a thick canopy of trailing vines. Opened in 2018, the airy courtyard at Covent Garden sister site La Goccia has a similarly sylvan feel, with sinuous chairs and ferns spilling from terracotta pots. The effect is irresistibly Italianate – just the spot for antipasti and an aperitivo or two.

              best restaurants with outdoor dining
              Greg Funnell


              King’s Cross, London

              Shaded by olive trees and bedecked in cheerful striped green and red cushions, this expansive outdoor restaurant seems transplanted straight from the Mediterranean – save for the unmistakably urban Gasholders complex next door. Here, diners are trusted to wield mini tabletop parilla – Spanish grills – to char prawns, chicken wings and lamb pintxos with precision. The unusual prospect of a DIY dinner is but one of several reasons to swing by a sensationally regenerated King’s Cross.

              best restaurants with outdoor dining
              20 Stories

              20 Stories


              There are no points for guessing the inspiration behind the name of this rooftop bar and restaurant, which crowns glass monolith No.1 Spinningfields in Manchester’s buzzy business district. Wholly open to the elements, its large terrace features mature trees that scale the full two storeys, plus glass dining pods, firepits and secluded corners with sleek sofas. Book a table for sunset and you’ll be well rewarded.

              best restaurants with outdoor terraces


              Folkestone, Kent

              Kent-bound day trippers tend to peel off for Whitstable, Margate and Deal before southerly Folkestone, but the port town deserves a share of the spotlight. Opened a decade ago on the pretty harbour, Rocksalt is still the best spot for a languorous lunch, with its timber terrace cantilevered over the sea. While much of the menu is devoted to locally caught seafood, it also showcases seasonal Kentish produce.

              best restaurants with outdoor dining
              The Hoxton


              Southwark, London

              Hotels have something of a head start when it comes to the sort of space needed for outdoor dining. The Hoxton’s Southwark outpost, which arrived two years ago after a trio of stateside openings, has certainly made the most of its elevated position, launching restaurant Seabird on the 14th floor. Its rattan furniture and rows of palm trees are paired with concrete and brickwork in a nod to the neighbourhood’s industrial heritage. Book a table on the terrace for startling views over central London.

              best restaurants with outdoor dining
              197 Chiswick Fire Station

              No 197 Chiswick Fire Station

              Chiswick, London

              Hit a spell of balmy weather in the whitewashed walled garden of this all-day spot and you could almost believe you’re in the Balearics. In reality, it’s W4 – a leafy corner of the capital made all the more appealing by its arrival four years ago. The menu is well set up for summer, with sharing plates and charcuterie boards alongside bowls of pasta and brunch dishes. Cocktails are classic with a twist, with some served by the jug.

              best restaurants with outdoor dining



              The contemporary sofas on the terrace of this chic Japanese restaurant are the kind you want to sink into – louche and low-slung – while a central location makes it a great spot to get your bearings. Alongside artful small plates, there are genuinely inventive cocktails that lean on delicate floral notes like peach, lychee, kumquat and shisho, as well as sake and Japanese whiskies. Clock the views across to the historic Kirkgate Market as you sip.

              best restaurants with outdoor dining
              Ingrid Rasmussen


              Notting Hill, London

              Launching less than a year before the first lockdown, this west London restaurant never got a fair outing on the capital’s fickle food scene. Now, with al fresco dining more desirable than ever, its transportive garden room – all lush palms and pink plaster walls – seems almost prescient. The retractable roof offers an insurance policy against the equally fickle British weather.

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