Best alfresco dining in London

Rooftop terrace restaurant with chairs and tables set out or dining, with London skyline in distance.
Dine alfresco style on Seabird's rooftop terrace © Image courtesy of Ennismore.
Take in some fresh air and fresh flavours at one of London's best alfresco restaurants.

London is currently subject to high (tier 2) level restrictions. 

Support the city by continuing to safely visit London’s COVID-secure pubs, restaurants, shops and leisure venues.

You can continue to socialise outdoors following the “rule of six”. However, you must not meet indoors with people outside of your household or bubble.

Take a look at the latest coronavirus guidelines and travel advice for London.

When the weather's fine, spend a leisurely lunch or relaxed dinner at one of London's many outdoor eating places.

From rooftop terraces and riverside balconies to hidden courtyards and outside restaurants in parks, there are plenty of places to eat outdoors in London. Some even stay open during winter, when blankets and heaters make for cosy spots.

When visiting London’s alfresco restaurants, you can expect to see safety measures in place, including widely spaced tables, queuing systems, table service, handwashing stations and contactless payments. Check the venue is open first before heading out.

You'll also start to see the “We’re Good to Go” industry standard mark. This is to ensure the restaurants you visit are adhering to government and public health guidance.

All pubs, bars and restaurants are required to close at 10pm and will operate a table service only. You must also wear a face covering in these venues, unless you're seated.

Take a look at this pick of the best outdoor restaurants London has to offer. Just remember to stay safe, responsible and follow social distancing guidelines while out and about.

Best London rooftops

Seabird

Head up to the 14th floor of The Hoxton's Southwark hotel and gaze out at the stunning views from Seabird, a seafood restaurant with one of London's longest oyster lists. Enjoy the selection of sea-to-table offerings and choose a refreshing beverage from the extensive drinks menu.

Coq d'Argent

Enjoy views over the City of London from a different perspective at Coq d'Argent and its penthouse on top of No. 1 Poultry. The venue's stylish roof terrace and beautifully manicured gardens make it an ideal upmarket alfresco destination. Once you've taken a few photos, choose from a menu of classic French dishes with contemporary flavours.

Sushisamba

From Sushisamba's terrace, which is perched on the 39th floor of 110 Bishopsgate, you'll be able to see London landmarks for miles around as you sample fusion cuisine combining flavours from Japan, Brazil and Peru. This restaurant has some of the best views in London.

Boundary Rooftop

Boundary Rooftop boasts a large rooftop terrace, with an outdoor bar, a grill restaurant, and a designer garden with grape-producing vines. With 360-degree views over Canary Wharf, The Gherkin and the rooftops of East London, the terrace also has a weatherproof pergola, allowing it to stay open all year.  

London outdoor restaurants 

Bleeding Heart Bistro

Soak up the sun as if you were in the South of France at Bleeding Heart Bistro in Farringdon. Choose from a range of rustic French classics and daily specials to enjoy in the large courtyard, alongside a selection from the wine list – from predominantly French wineries, of course.

Mercato Metropolitano

Venture around the corner from Oxford Street to Brown Hart Gardens on Duke Street and pop into The MM Caffe, from the creators of Mercato Metropolitano. You can also find the hip food markets in Elephant & Castle – complete with a micro-brewery and a huge outside area – and St. Mark's Mayfair, with Mercato Ilford and MM Factory both coming soon. 

The Courtyard Terrace at Rosewood London

Unwind with a cocktail and delights from the grill or seafood counter at The Courtyard Terrace. This alfresco extension of Holborn Dining Room in Covent Garden can be found in the serene Edwardian inner courtyard of Rosewood London, and is the perfect spot for an intimate open-air dinner. 

Dalloway Terrace

Settle down for all-day, seasonal specials surrounded by flowers and foliage at Bloomsbury hangout Dalloway Terrace. A haven for Instagrammers due to the stunning seasonal displays on its outdoor terrace, this modern British restaurant is an alfresco hotspot year-round, thanks to blankets, furs and heaters during the cooler months. 

London waterside restaurants 

The Summerhouse

Feast on fish and chips, fresh mains or summer salads at The Summerhouse in Little Venicewest London. Eat alfresco on the banks of the canal in this nautical-themed restaurant, washing the seasonal food down with rosé wines, refreshing cocktails and jugs of Pimm's.

River Cafe

Taste some of the most authentic Michelin-starred Italian food in London at River Cafe. The menu at this Hammersmith eatery changes daily, but don't miss the here-to-stay decadent chocolate nemesis cake. For a real taste of the Mediterranean, visit during the summer months and sit outside in this pretty riverside garden restaurant in London.

Wahaca Southbank

Tuck in to award-winning Mexican street food as you watch the boats sail past on the river Thames. Find Wahaca's South Bank joint housed in recycled shipping containers set up on two overhanging levels next to the Southbank Centre

Serpentine Bar & Kitchen

Watch the world go by from the banks of the Serpentine in Hyde Park at Serpentine Bar & Kitchen. Sit out on the waterside terrace and enjoy an outdoor brunch, wood-fired pizza and British classics such as fish and chips. A pop-up barbecue and gin bar open during the summer months; while there's also a selection of lighter bites, from sandwiches to ice creams.

Alfresco restaurants in London by area

Canary Wharf

Enjoy modern British fare with views across the river to The O2 at Scoff & Banter, snack on dim sum at Royal China or tuck into tasty Argentinean steaks at Gaucho. Whether you dine riverside or dockside, this Docklands area is the perfect spot for fresh-air-loving foodies.

Heddon Street

Explore peaceful Heddon Street in London's West End. This pedestrianised foodie hub is home to a wide variety of outdoor restaurants, including Gordon Ramsay's Heddon Street Kitchen, authentic Japanese Sakagura, and cosy Italian Piccolino. You can also tuck into North African cuisine at Momo, and dine among the palms and olive trees. 

The partial pedestrianisation of 17 streets across Soho has been extended until the end of October, so be sure to check out the alfresco dining scene in the district. 

Kingly Court

Get a bite to eat from one of Kingly Court’s eateries and sit in its charming courtyard off Carnaby Street. Among the eclectic foodie venues with outdoor seating are The Good EggShoryu Carnaby and Whyte & Brown, so you can enjoy everything from ramen to British classics.

Shad Thames

Relax at Shad Thamesan idyllic outdoor dining destination near London Bridge with a riverside location and fantastic views of Tower Bridge. Choose from fine French food at Le Pont de la Tour; roasts and classic British dishes at Butler's Wharf Chop House, or pub fare at All Bar One.

St Christopher's Place

Head just off Oxford Street and you'll find an eclectic mix of bars, restaurants and coffee shops at St Christopher's Place's. The area boasts one of London's largest concentrations of pavement dining. Enjoy cakes, pastries and savouries at Euphorium, ramen at Bone Daddies or Turkish fare at Sofra

St Martin's Courtyard

Relax and refuel after a day of shopping in the West End. Seek out this open-air courtyard in Covent Garden, which offers a range of outdoor dining options, including lively Bill's Restaurant, Indian street food gem Dishoom, Thai eatery Sudathai and Mexican Cantina Laredo

Wembley Park

Head to Wembley Park in north-west London for some alfresco foodie fun in the shadows of the iconic Wembley Stadium. Dine outdoors while tucking into food from Boxpark Wembley – the largest Boxpark pop-up mall in London – and some of the area's most popular restaurants, including Bread Ahead, Pasta Remoli, Big Moe’s and more.

King's Cross

Dine amongst former Victorian coal sheds at the iconic Coal Drops Yard, with a range of outdoor dining options for social distancing in restaurants. Gaze over views of Regent's Canal on the terrace at Parrillan, or watch the sun set in the outside area of Hicce.

Sample the seasonal menu and enjoy panoramic canal views at The Lighterman on Granary Square, or head to Lewis Cubitt Square to try the Italian fare at the new Lina in Piazza alfresco area, part of Lina Stores, which is open subject to good weather.

West India Quay

Find the perfect table beside the waterside at West India Quay, an alfresco dining hub near Canary Wharf. Get a table outside at Browns Brasserie & Bar, indulge at Pizza Pilgrims, or try an Arabic mixed grill at Temple Lounge. Enjoy modern British food and premium rums at the Museum of London Docklands' Rum & Sugar restaurant, or sit on the terrace at Manhattan Grill where you can sample fresh fish from nearby Billingsgate Fish Market.

Find out what's open and when as lockdown restrictions begin to ease in London.

The Eat Out to Help Out Scheme officially ended on 31 August. However, you can still eat out for less at selected restaurants across the city, which offer similar deals and special discounts.