14 of the UK’s most stylish restaurant terraces to see you through summer socialising

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Photo credit: VEERLE EVENS
Photo credit: VEERLE EVENS

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...

Photo credit: Beaverbrook
Photo credit: Beaverbrook

The Garden House at Beaverbrook

Surrey

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. beaverbrook.co.uk

Photo credit: The Standard
Photo credit: The Standard

Decimiño at The Standard

London

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. standardhotels.com/london

Photo credit: VEERLE EVENS
Photo credit: VEERLE EVENS

Culpeper

London

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. theculpeper.com/rooftop


Photo credit: Robin Ball
Photo credit: 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. thehutcolwell.co.uk

Photo credit: One Hundred Shoreditch
Photo credit: One Hundred Shoreditch

One Hundred Shoreditch

London

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... onehundredshoreditch.com

Photo credit: The Mandrake
Photo credit: The Mandrake

Jurema at The Mandrake

London

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. themandrake.com

Photo credit: La Goccia
Photo credit: 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. lagoccia.co.uk

Photo credit: Greg Funnell
Photo credit: Greg Funnell

Parrillan

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. parrillan.co.uk

Photo credit: 20 Stories
Photo credit: 20 Stories

20 Stories

Manchester

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. 20stories.co.uk

Photo credit: Rocksalt
Photo credit: Rocksalt

Rocksalt

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. rocksaltfolkestone.co.uk

Photo credit: The Hoxton
Photo credit: The Hoxton

Seabird

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. seabirdlondon.com

Photo credit: 197 Chiswick Fire Station
Photo credit: 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. no197chiswickfirestation.co.uk

Photo credit: Issho
Photo credit: Issho

Issho

Leeds

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. issho-restaurant.com

Photo credit: Ingrid Rasmussen
Photo credit: Ingrid Rasmussen

Gold

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. goldnottinghill.com

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