With fool's spring behind us, and proper spring in full swing, the whiff of outdoor dining season is finally in the air.

London is one of the greatest cities in the world, a place where destinations abound and it’s hard to find a minute to be bored. But, it is a city still almost painfully built for winter weather, despite the fact that every year summer continues to prove that it offers us at least 3.5 sunny days.

All jokes aside, there is nothing better than pulling up a seat outdoors and enjoying your meal in the heat of the midday sun, or under the last, lingering rays as it sets. London is a joyous city to watch go by, and it’s at its best in the summer, when the trees are full, the sky is blue and the pavements seem to be thrumming with an almost tangible energy. Even the slightest hint of sun seems to pull Londoners from their burrows, leaving no patch of grass, park bench or restaurant terrace empty.

When it comes to finding these terraces though, well, that can be a little more difficult. As a city that seems to continuously be thoroughly underprepared for the sun, it is often just your local pub or watering hole that has a capacious outside space, one that is probably packed full of your neighbours like sardines in a tin can as soon as the clouds pass. If you fancy sitting down for a meal in the sun, your options can run a little thin.

Never fear, though, we’re here to run you through our pick of the best places to dine outdoors in London – no wobbly sidewalk table to be seen. Everywhere on this list has a sizable, dedicated outdoor dining space that will have you slipping away into that holiday feeling – cold beverage mandatory.

29 of the best outdoor restaurants and terraces in London

Toklas

1 Surrey Street, WC2R 2ND

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Located just off the strand and yet hidden from passersby and prying eyes thanks to its upstairs position and quiet side-street locale, Toklas is quickly establishing itself as a classic among the ever-competitive London dining scene. Owned by the founders of Frieze the restaurant is, unsurprisingly, an impeccable space, understatedly stylish and delicately playful in the best possible way, but it's the food that really makes the restaurant stand out. The kitchen is helmed by Yohei Furuhashi whose CV includes nine years at The River Cafe and stints at Petersham Nurseries and Dinings SW3, so expect a Mediterranean-leaning menu that pulls inspiration from the seasons. Visit on a sunny day to nab a table on the restaurant's plant-fringed 3000-square-foot terrace. 

toklaslondon.com

Llama Inn

1 Willow Street, EC2A 4BH

Hoping the English weather behaves, we're gearing up for a summer spent al fresco on Llama Inn's outdoor terrace atop the Hoxton Hotel. Having opened its doors last September 2023, this is Llama Inn's first summer in the city and promises the same lip-smacking Peruvian food as Juan Correa and chef Erik Ramirez's acclaimed NYC original. Seating up to 50 across squidgy sofas and banquettes, the terrace promises uninterrupted views of the city skyline and replenished vitamin D levels from its nifty south-facing position. On the menu is Peruvian food that's practically made for sunny days – expect to chow down on braised leeks with aji gazpacho, whole seabass cooked in a banana leaf, of course, plenty of ceviche. 

llamainnlondon.com

Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill

11-15 Swallow Street, W1B 4DG

Is there anything more likely to lull you into a false sense of holiday mode than a seafood feast al fresco? We think not. Sitting outside with a cold glass of white and a plate of crustaceans in front of you at Bentley’s Oyster Bar is about as close as you can get to a holiday state of mind in the middle of the city. The staff will probably talk you into staying for at least two more drinks before you head off, and why not let them? Go on, you deserve it.

bentleys.org

Sager + Wilde Paradise Row

250 Paradise Row, E2 9LE

Arguably one of London’s largest outdoor dining spaces, the terrace at Sager + Wilde on Paradise Row is best during the day when the sun hits it at a perfect angle. Separated from the round and surrounding venues by a range of potted plants, it gives the effect of lounging in some Tuscan corner, if you can ignore the sirens and horns of Cambridge Heath Road and the chatter from other fairweather revellers. Sitting here, looking out at the gardens with a glass of natural wine and a plate of pasta is almost as good as it can possibly get in the heart of the city.

sagerandwilde.com

Hoppers

Unit 3, 4 Pancras Sq, N1C 4AG

Making the most of their canal-side locale, Hoppers King's Cross open up their terrace in the summer months. Featuring a concise menu, special cocktails and DJ set ups, the palm tree-lined space has the effect of feeling a million miles away from the hordes at King's Cross outside. This year they've partnered up with neighbouring Two Tribes Brewery to produce the limited edition Metroland Colombo Session IPA. 

hopperslondon.com

Parrillan

Coal Drops Yard, Stable Street, N1C 4AB

Anything the Hart Group does tends to turn to gold, and Parrillan is no exception. Focusing on fire-based cooking (the name comes from the Spanish word for grill, parrilla), the restaurant occupies an upper level at Coal Drops Yard in Kings Cross, with an enormous outdoor space perfect for soaking up the sun. The food seems designed for long, languorous al fresco meals, with a Spanish focus that will transfer you right to the country’s golden shores.

parrillan.co.uk

The River Cafe

Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, W6 9HA

It would be hard to find a restaurant in London more synonymous with outdoor dining than The River Cafe. Sitting on the banks of the River Thames in Hammersmith, it’s a restaurant that has as much outdoor space as it does in, and is perfectly suited to long Italian lunches under the sun. Although, it might be one to visit on pay day when the bank account is feeling flush – these are west London prices after all.

rivercafe.co.uk

Luca

88 St John Street, EC1M 4EH

Luca serves up some of the city’s best Italian food. Quietly holding its own in Clerkenwell amongst a frenzy of new openings and closings and the neverending cycle that is the restaurant industry, it is a restaurant that has more than earned its moniker as one of London’s classic eateries. Experienced guests will know that it hides a little secret inside its unassuming frontage – no, not the Tardis-like space, but rather, the dinky internal courtyard, a glass-roofed cobblestone space rife with foliage that makes you feel like you could be hidden in the backstreets of Florence.

luca.restaurant

Towpath

42 De Beauvoir Crescent, N1 5SB

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Ah, Towpath. Appearing along the Regent’s Canal like an oasis on the desert, it’s the kind of place that has to be seen to be believed, and dined at to be understood. A ramshackle set up quite literally operating out of a hole in the wall, Towpath is a prime example of how simplicity can be key to a good meal. Famed for its low-fuss, highly delicious meals, it’s a cafe that punches way above its weight. Whether you stumble upon it while strolling the towpath or seek it out on purpose, you’re likely to have one of the best meals in recent memory.

towpathlondon.com

Dovetale

1 Dover Yard, W1J 8NE

We’d easily head down to Dovetale simply for its knickerbocker glory trolly (yep, you heard us right), so it’s welcome news it also flaunts a covered outdoor terrace to repose in during summer months. A hidey-hole from the thrum of Mayfair, this serene nook is complete with plenty of cushions to sink into while you tuck into a menu rustled up by two Michelin-starred Chef Tom Sellers that includes the must-order British wagyu beef tartare with beef fat chips. Even better, if the English weather doesn’t play ball (which is far too often), you can cosy up next to the outdoor stone fireplace whilst enjoying a summer spritz. Toasty.

1hotels.com

Ombra

1 Vyner Street, E2 9DG

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In our humble opinion, pasta is proof there is a god. If we could eat penne for every meal, we absolutely would. Breakfast bucatini anyone? Enter Ombra, Hackney's favourite Italian restaurant, pastificio and alimentari, which, for those of you who don't speak Italian, quite literally translates to pasta factory. Making full use of its riverfront location on the south side of Regents Canal, Ombra marries British produce with Mediterranean charm and will have room for more than 30 diners on its terrace. 

ombrabar.restaurant

Crispin

Pavilion on The Corner, White's Row, E1 7NF

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Sometimes when we're feeling hungry, or sad, or a bit of both, we head to Crispin's Instagram account. Scrolling through the feed of vibrant small plates and sourdough pizzas, chilled glasses of wine and baked goods reminds us that there's good in the world; there's delicious food out there to be eaten; and happier times were here before, and will be again. So it makes sense that one of our first ports of call when it's sunny would be the Spitalfields restaurant, to sit on the terrace and actually shove these elegant dishes right in our face. 

crispinlondon.com

Pastaio

19 Ganton Street, W1F 9BN

London's outdoor restaurants | Pastaio Ganton Street

Let us guess: you're looking for a bookable alfresco space at a centrally located restaurant with reliably good, please-all food (including catering to various dietary requirements) that gives you seriously good bang for your buck. There's probably nowhere that fits the bill as well as Pastaio Soho, where you can hoover up 30 egg-yolk tagliolini pasta with five grams of fresh white truffle, or velvety agnoli folded over a gamey filling of pheasant, rabbit and pork. There's antipasti if pasta isn't quite going to cut it, plus prosecco slushies – seriously, don't knock 'em till you've tried 'em.

pastaio.co.uk

Smoking Goat

64 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JJ

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Smoking Goat gets its name from its unique mix of smoking and barbecuing techniques infused with Thai cooking. A 60-seater heated and covered terrace is the place to be in the coming months, made all the more tantalising thanks to a selection of new Northern Thai dishes: carnivores can expect aged mutton laab muang or prik laab of chicken, while those looking for fish should opt for the mouth-numbingly spicy and garlicky clam som tum, using critters locally sourced from Cornwall.

smokinggoatbar.com

Isla at The Standard

10 Argyle Street, NW1 2ST

You wouldn’t typically set your coordinates to Kings Cross when scouting out a secluded dining terrace, but the one at Isla at The Standard ticks that box. Wood-clad and encircled by high-reaching greenery, it’s the perfect refuge for an al-fresco supper in the city. Even better, if you head down before 22 June, you can get your hands on award-winning chef and cookbook author Ixta Belfrage's menu takeover featuring her iconic king prawn lasagne with habanero oil alongside other lip-smacking morsels like the guava roasted duck tacos, sticky rice stuffed aubergines and a cashew choco taco.

standardhotels.com

Smokestak

35 Sclater Street, E1 6LB

London's outdoor restaurants | Smokestak

Why sweat over a hot barbecue when someone is willing to do it for you? As the name suggests everything at Smokestak is either barbecued or smoked, and quite frankly, it all looks smoking hot. Think brisket and pickled chilli buns, 30-day dry-aged beef, crispy ox cheek and coal-roasted aubergine, amongst other finger-lickin' treats. These BBQ masters always have some terrace action on the go and now, it's covered and heated too, and even has space for walk-ins.

smokestak.co.uk

Petersham Nurseries

Richmond and Covent Garden

Step aside Kew Gardens, Petersham Nurseries is Richmond's favourite floral and fauna scene. Famous for its focus on provenance and seasonality, it's so bloody lovely that it's gone on to become an entire lifestyle brand – hence its second site in Covent Garden with a cafe, teahouse, wine merchants, florist, delicatessen and sun-dappled flower-draped (of course) courtyard. If the heated, jasmine and bougainvillea festooned pergola in Richmond [pictured] seems a little bit too far away, make La Goccia in Covent Garden your go-to aperitivo spot this summer. 

petershamnurseries.com

The Culpeper 

40 Commercial Street, E1 6LP

There’s nothing worse than getting hit with a surprise spell of glorious British weather and finding out that every sun-soaked terrace is fully booked. Thankfully, you can rely on the Culpeper rooftop terrace, which is walk-in only, offers some of the best views in east London, and opens in May, just in time for the rays. Sip on garden-grown cocktails, fill your cheeks with devourable snacks, and photosynthesise among the surrounding plants. 

theculpeper.com

Allegra

The Stratford, 20 International Way, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, E20 1FD

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There's not much we'd go to Stratford for, but chef Patrick Powell's pistachio choux filled with chicken liver parfait might just do it – especially when eaten on the rooftop terrace of his restaurant, Allegra. Come to think of it, Cornish plaice, coco bean and salt cod caldo verde would also do the trick, and so would the plum mille-feuille with almond ice cream. The menus are ever-changing, depending on the season, but no matter what's being served, Powell's cooking is worth getting on the train for (besides, it's only three stops from Liverpool Street, so it's really not that far).

allegra-restaurant.com

Brat at Climpson's Arch

374 Helmsley Place, E8 3SB

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The opening of Brat at Climpson's Arch in 2020 made sense. The restaurant had outgrown its upstairs Shoreditch home and needed a second venue to cater to the never-ending demand for bookings. The fact it's a predominantly outside space definitely doesn't hurt, either. Found on a side road just behind London Fields, the new location is a smoke-filled wonderland that does a pretty good job of whisking you out of the city, even if just for a moment. The larger space and open-air style make it perfect for parking up and stuffing your face with whole crab with hay butter, wood-fired breads and roasted game rice.

bratrestaurant.com/climpsons-arch

Riverhouse Restaurant at Bingham Riverhouse

61-63 Petersham Road, TW10 6UT

Sometimes all it takes is heading to Zone 4 to scout out a terrace with a view. The aptly named Riverhouse Restaurant in Richmond serves soothing vistas of the Thames from its outdoor terrace, with a food offering as tasty as the surroundings. Award-winning executive chef Vanessa Marx helms the kitchen, serving up crowd-pleasing classics like Brixham fish market catch with samphire, steak with café de Paris butter, and apple tarte tatin with plenty of tonka bean ice cream.

binghamriverhouse.com

Westerns Laundry

34 Drayton Park, N5 1PB

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Westerns Laundry is the stuff foodie dreams are made of. How do we know? Because we've tried it. The ever-changing menu has a focus on British ingredients, specifically seafood, and a wine list packed full of interesting drops. But the courtyard is the real draw here, especially in the warmer months. Perched at the front of the restaurant, it is festooned with fairy lights for the perfect summer evening ambience. 

westernslaundry.com

Tacos Padre

The Borough Market Kitchen Padre, Winchester Walk, Jubilee Place, SE1 9AG

Tier 2 terraces for group dining London: Tacos Padre

Was there ever a better meal to be eaten with friends than tacos? These moreish morsels are perfectly designed for grazing and slowly drinking margaritas for hours – especially when you're eating at taqueria Tacos Padre, where tacos are anything but fast food. Such care is taken over every bite that they actually ask you to have patience while they create your meal. Sure, we'll wait for beef short-rib suadero tacos with aged beef fat and morita salsa, but it definitely won't take us long to eat them...

tacospadre.com

Rochelle Canteen

16 Playground Gardens, E2 7FA

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Rochelle Canteen's courtyard has got to be one of London's worst-kept secrets. And here's another not-secret-secret for you: it's now covered, which means you can keep eating their pecorino, girolle and onion tart, and rabbit liver, lardo and and radish salad no matter the weather.

arnoldandhenderson.com

Seabird at The Hoxton

40 Blackfriars Road, SE1 8PB

If there ever were a space to escape the humdrum of daily life without, you know, actually being able to escape, the terrace at Seabird is it. Perched atop The Hoxton's Southwark outpost, the sun-drenched space is practically begging for a chilled glass of wine on a summer's day. We truly cannot think of a place more perfect to raise a toast to the longer days and lingering sun. Spanish-Portuguese-inspired small plates add to the holiday vibes: octopus in a brioche roll, razor clams and London's longest list of oysters will transport you to a land far, far away.

seabirdlondon.com

The Laundry

374 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8PL

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Brixton restaurant The Laundry is owned by New Zealand wine doyenne Mel Brown, so expect some fairly decent beverages to go along with your wonderful food. Luckily for diners, the restaurant also has a capacious month to take advantage of on sunny days. Soft and fluffy blankets, patio heaters, Antipodean-inspired food and, yes, plenty of gorgeous wines make this a hard act to beat.

thelaundrybrixton.com

Scott's

20 Mount Street, W1K 2HE

The terrace at Scott's with Perrier-Jouët

With a history spanning more than 150 years, Scott's is a modern relic that's remained a cornerstone of Mayfair drinking and dining for generations. Holing up in its comfy dining room for a long, boozy lunch is always a good idea, but it's lao got an ace up its sleeve in the form of a beautifully decked-out terrace. The outside space, decked out in sumptuous yellow flowers, offers a menu of the restaurant's standard-bearing seafood, fish and game.

scotts-restaurant.com

Yasmin

1 Warwick Street, W1B 5LR

Like your terraces wrap-around? Head to the sixth floor of 1 Warwick to the newly opened Yasmin to get your fill. The secluded 64-cover terrace serves up sundowner cocktails and Middle Eastern sharing plates devised by executive chef Tom Cenci, who oversees the kitchen at 1 Warwick’s ground floor restaurant, Nessa. Head down solo or with a group of up to 20 pals and digest the birdseye view of Soho while you plough through baklava ice-cream sandwiches, lamb rump skewers and islak buns.

yasminsoho.com

Crispin @ Studio Voltaire

1A Nelsons Row, SW4 7JR

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The Clapham restaurant scene is having a bit of a moment, and Crispin @ Studio Voltaire is another addition to the pack. It shares the same ethos as its older siblings Crispin, Bar Crispin, and Bistro Freddie, focusing on small and predominantly independent producers and growers, with a menu curated by head chef Michael Miles who previously earned his stripes at Manteca. Head down in the sunshine to the neat outdoor drinking garden and dining terrace and knock back pet nats and tangles of homemade tagliolini at a dangerous speed.

crispinlondon.com