As the bright lights of the festive season fade it can be hard to tempt yourself out of your cosy little duvet cave. It’s cold out there! It’s grey. Your bed is warm and welcoming – we get it. But there is a romantic side to this city in the winter. When the dark nights draw in and the wind chills whip up, there are innumerable bars and restaurants to take refuge in, warming your cockles with deep maroon glasses of red wine and spritely pints of stout. Even better, as we pass the worst of the winter months, are the heated, blanket-laden outdoor terraces that help reacquaint you with the outside world.
From the top of The Hoxton in Southwark with 360 degree views of the city to streetside setups perfect for people watching, the city is awash with space-heatered hideouts. We’ve picked our favourite of the bunch here.
The best winter terraces in London
Midland Grand Dining Room Rémy Martin winter terrace
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Road, NW1 2AR
Few locations in London are more dripping in old world glamour than the Midland Grand Dining Room, located in the gothic stalwart that is the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. Adjacent to the eponymous train station, the hotel and its restaurant embrace the style of a bygone era when locomotive travel was king, with all of the luxurious trimmings that came with it. The winter terrace in collaboration with Rémy Martin only leans into this reputation, serving up a series of warming cognac cocktails alongside a classic drinks menu from bar manager Jack Porter and a concise iteration of the main restaurant menu.
28-32 St Martin's Court, WC2N 4AL
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If anything was going to tempt us out of the house in the depths of winter it would be the J. Sheekey fish pie. Creamy, packed full of some of the best seafood in the British isles and topped with delicately piped, buttery mashed potato and then grilled until golden, it is the ultimate indulgence. Head to the restaurant’s iconic cherry red heated terrace to pair your pie with a side order of people watching. It’s a duo that’s sure to reignite your love for London.
Snowbird at Seabird
14th Floor, South Bank, 40 Blackfriars Road, SE1 8NY
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Seabird inarguably occupies one of the best positions in London. Perched atop The Hoxton hotel in Southwark, it benefits from almost uninterrupted views of the city thanks to its towering heights in an area lacking in skyscrapers, and the breezy design and capacious open air terrace makes it a veritable suntrap. Open air, though, is perhaps not what you’re after in the depths of the February freeze, so, in steps Snowbird. Yep, as you may have guessed from the moniker, this is Seabird redesigned and renamed for the joys of winter. Expect warming seafood dishes, wintry tipples and views galore.
Double Standard at The Standard
Ground Floor, The Standard, 10 Argyle Street, WC1H 8EG
Something of an in-the-know hideaway in the heart of King’s Cross, Double Standard is the wonderful bar located on the ground floor of the ultra-cool Standard hotel. While most thirsty guests head up the iconic external red pill elevator to reach Decimo and Sweeties at the top of the building, those looking for a drink a little closer to the ground scoot through the lobby to Double Standard. The terrace is a haven among the hustle and bustle of to-ing and fro-ing train travellers outside, and for the wintertime they’ve transformed it with a crackling fire, rugs galore and fairy lights to give the dark evenings a romantic feel.
Acme Fire Cult
Abbot Street, London E8 3DP
It seems almost amazing that Acme Fire Cult only opened in the Spring of 2022, given how quickly it has cemented itself as one of the capital’s best places to eat. Set on the same car park that houses 40FT brewery and The Dusty Knuckle, what was once a sad spread of tarmac is now one of the most exciting culinary patches of land in London. It also means Acme Fire Cult occupies a meagre indoor space, with much of the seating being in the terrace area – which is heated and well-stocked with shearling rugs to keep diners warm in the winter months – if the smoke from the barbeque isn’t keeping things warm enough, that is.