London: Outdoor venues

11 Jul 2016 by BusinessTraveller

Business Traveller suggests al fresco dining spots in which to enjoy the London summer

The Ivy Chelsea Garden

The capital is a great place to be when the sun’s out – so where should you head to enjoy it? Tucked away at the back of this chi chi restaurant, the front of which is covered in colourful faux flowers, is a tranquil English country garden where you can sit by a fountain surrounded by wisteria, roses and twisting ivy.

Sip on a signature Ivy Collection gin with Fever Tree tonic as you peruse the à la carte menu, which lists British classics such as fish and chips (£14.50) and shepherd’s pie (£13.50). Opened in April last year, the Ivy Chelsea Garden is, like the Ivy Market Grill in Covent Garden, the Ivy Café Marylebone and the Ivy Kensington Brasserie, a more affordable sibling to the original Ivy.

  • Open 8am-11pm Mon-Thurs, until 11.30pm Fri-Sat, 9am-10.30pm Sun
  • 197 King’s Road; tel +44 (0)20 3301 0300
  • theivychelseagarden.com
Ivy Chelsea Garden

Number Sixteen

Another verdant enclave is the Orangery terrace at the back of Number Sixteen hotel, part of Firmdale Hotels, in South Kensington. French doors open out from the cosy restaurant, with wrought-iron garden furniture laid out in neat rows and in corners under trees.

The service can be a bit laid-back but the food is fresh and delicious; beautifully presented but not fussy. Try the creamy smoked aubergine risotto (£16) or the pan-fried sea bream with brown shrimps and samphire (£19). A special Sipsmith Summer Cup cocktail is being served for the season.

  • Open 12pm-10pm Mon-Fri, from 12.30pm weekends
  • 16 Sumner Place; tel +44(0)2036422038
  • firmdalehotels.com
Le Pont de la Tour

Le Pont de la Tour

Fabulous views of Tower Bridge can be had from the riverside terrace of the elegant French restaurant. Occupying a lengthy stretch of Shad Thames, it’s a leisurely setting for drinks, away from the footfall of the South Bank.

Until the end of August, the terrace has a St Tropez theme – light dishes on the menu include San Daniele ham with pesto and garden leaves (£12.50) and asparagus hollandaise (£11). Next door, fellow D&D London restaurant Cantina del Ponte is hosting a limoncello pop-up bar in partnership with Pococello and Fever Tree.

  • Open for lunch 12pm-2.30pm (3pm Sat-Sun), dinner 6pm-10.30pm (9.30pm Sun). Pont Tropez plates served 4pm-5.30pm.
  • 36d Shad Thames; tel +44 (0)20 7403 8403
  • lepontdelatour.co.uk


The London Marriott Park Lane’s roof terrace is accessed via an inconspicuous black door on Oxford Street. Four flights lead up to an industrial-chic space semi-covered by a huge tarpaulin and filled with reclaimed school tables, desk chairs and swings overlooking the shopping thoroughfare. Hearty options on the Mexican-themed sharing menu include smashed crab on tortilla chips (£8) and fried chicken with kimchi mayonnaise tacos (£8 for two). Cocktails are served in ring-pull cans and jars – try Uncle Wray’s Slushie Rum Punch (£9). Expect a queue on sunny days. Over the road, Selfridges and John Lewis are also running summer rooftop pop-ups.

  • Open until mid-September 12pm-10pm Mon-Fri, 10am-10pm Sat-Sun. 535
  • Oxford Street
  • notch.com

The Lighterman

The impressive redevelopment of King’s Cross (see the Four-Hour Guide in our March 2016 issue) means there are now several options for outdoor drinking and dining, but for a prime spot on Regent’s Canal, head for the Lighterman.

Open since March, the smart three-floor bar and restaurant has not one but three al fresco options – a terrace on Granary Square, another canalside, and a part-covered balcony. The modern British menu includes flavoursome flatbreads, burgers, salads and fish dishes – try the generous salt-baked beets, watercress, feta and red wine dressing (£8) or the roasted cod, celeriac purée, fennel salad and pumpkin seeds (£17). Team with a long cocktail, a crisp white or a cold beer.

  • Open 8am-11.30pm (9am Sat-Sun, until 12am Fri-Sat, 10.30pm Sun). Canalside bar from 5pm Tues-Thurs, 12pm Fri, 11am Sat-Sun.
  • 3 Granary Square; tel +44 (0)20 3846 3400
  • thelighterman.co.uk

Tom’s Kitchen HMS Belfast

Soak up the riverside vibe at Tom Aikens’ new opening. Launched in March, it occupies an excellent Bankside spot on the quayside of HMS Belfast. Downstairs is a deli, while the upper deck houses a 58-seat part-covered bar with a wraparound terrace, perfect for enjoying a drink while taking in some of London’s finest landmarks.

Cool down with a refreshing Black Pearl cocktail (blackberry-infused Beefeater gin, lemon juice, sugar and Chambord liqueur on crushed ice; £9.50), or share a chilled bottle of rosé (Ceppaiano Rosato, £22.50) and some excellent charcuterie (meat board £21, cheeses £18).

Pergola on the roof London

Pergola on the Roof

This pop-up is located on the roof of the former BBC Television Centre car park, and features both a huge open-air terrace and equally spacious covered section with 400 seats. There are day beds, boules pitches and trees lit up with LED lights, while the pergola is festooned with climbing flowers.

Gourmet burgers and tasty small plates (£6-£13) such as garlic scallops served in the shell come from four restaurant kitchens – Rabbit, LeCoq, Patty and Bun, and Salt Yard. There is a “roaming drinks trolley”, plus a bar in the centre where you can order bottles of rosé on ice.

  • Open until August 29, 6pm-11pm Wed-Fri, 12pm-11pm Sat, until 9.30pm Sun.
  • Television Centre, Wood Lane
  • pergolaontheroof.co.uk

Santa Monica at Skylounge

The Doubletree by Hilton Tower of London has given its 12th-floor rooftop Skylounge a Californian theme (until September 30). Views of the Gherkin and the Shard remain the main attraction, but plush lounge seating, surfboards and patches of sand create a laid-back, boho setting for drinks.

Graphics of the Santa Monica coastline and Route 66 add to the theme, along with a California-inspired menu that includes frozen raspberry margaritas (£8.50) and pineapple mimosas (£8), plus light bites such as salmon maki rolls (£10), octopus skewers (£9) and fish tacos (£10).

Jumeirah Lowndes hotel

Tucked away in Belgravia, Jumeirah Lowndes’ sizeable terrace has teamed up with Bombay Sapphire for the season. Summery “ginspired” cocktails include the Dorothy Parker (with Martini Blanco, pineapple juice, lemon juice and grenadine; £10), and a barbecue menu is also on offer. Accommodating 74 people, the terrace has comfy rattan seating, umbrellas and heaters. Nearby sister hotel the Jumeirah Carlton Tower has turned the small but private outdoor area of its Rib Room into a Bacardi terrace with Cuban cocktails and, Wednesday to Saturday, Latin music.

Loading comments...

Search Flight

See a whole year of Reward Seat Availability on one page at SeatSpy.com

Business Traveller UK September 2023 edition
Business Traveller UK September 2023 edition
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below