Best-of Guides Greater London

The Best London Restaurants for Outdoor Dining

8 Restaurants
“Summer's lease hath all too short a date.” Yes, the UK may not be known for its warm weather, but when the sun does begin to peak out from behind the clouds, Brits are flocking outside quicker than you can say 'alfresco dining'. Luckily for Londoners, the capital's restaurants are well-equipped with gorgeous outdoor areas that are perfect for those hot summer days. From hidden courtyards to riverside spots, here are a few of our favourites.
Updated on 19 April 2024
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
66 Knightsbridge, Hyde Park and Knightsbridge, SW1X 7LA London
££££ · Traditional British

Although you’ll miss watching the chefs in action through the glass wall of the kitchen, sitting outdoors overlooking the neatly manicured lawn of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel does come with plenty of benefits too. You might, for example, catch a glimpse of the horses and riders of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment on South Carriage Drive: one could say a thoroughly British view to match the re-imagined historical British dishes.

Le Pont de la Tour
36d Shad Thames, Butlers Wharf, Southwark, SE1 2YE London
£££ · French

A table overlooking Tower Bridge, the most iconic of all the London bridges, must be one of the most glorious riverside locations in the city. The late Sir Terence Conran certainly recognised a good thing when he opened his Butler’s Wharf gastrodome back in 1991. The famous ‘plateau de fruits de mer’ and a bottle of chilled white Burgundy surely make the perfect alfresco afternoon.

Maria G's
Coe House, 2-4 Warwick Lane, Kensington, W14 8FN London
££ · Italian

From Robin Gill, the man behind many a trendy London restaurant, comes this stylish neighbourhood Italian with a garden terrace that’s perfect for the summer months. There’s something that just feels right about dining alfresco when pizzas, pastas and a negroni or two are on the cards. So head through the smart, brasserie-style restaurant and cocktail bar, out the bi-fold doors and take your seat under a parasol – on a warmer day, you can almost imagine you’re in Italy.

Petersham Nurseries Café
Church Lane, Richmond-Upon-Thames, TW10 7AG London
£££ · Modern Cuisine

If your idea of dining alfresco is being surrounded by scented flowering blooms, glasshouses and garden objets d’arts, then Petersham Nurseries Café is the place for you. It is a gloriously rustic environment, and pleasingly without pretence, but at the same time rather chic too. This ‘natural’ setting suits the wholesome and unfussy Italian-influenced cooking, which revolves around the seasons and often incorporates their own home-grown produce – an approach which has contributed to the restaurant being awarded a Michelin Green Star. Add in something from their well-curated Italian wine list and you’ll seen feel like you’re on your holidays.

Ritz Restaurant
150 Piccadilly, St James’s, W1J 9BR London
££££ · Modern British

When they have one of the most opulent dining rooms of any London hotel, one might wonder why anyone would wish to sit outdoors. However, that same air of luxury pervades through to the smart terrace overlooking Green Park; start with a pre or post lunch cocktail in the Ritz Garden which is situated below. Luxury really is all around – and that includes the sumptuous ingredients on the menu.

River Café
Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, Hammersmith & Fulham, W6 9HA London
££££ · Italian

Ruth Rogers and the late Rose Gray can surely never have imagined what an iconic place The River Café would become; securing a reservation – and that all important seat on one of London’s most sought-after terraces – requires some forward planning. Once seated, kick off with a glass of Prosecco and enjoy the daily changing Italian-inspired menu – leaving room, of course, for the famous Chocolate Nemesis.

151 Sydney Street, Chelsea, SW3 6NT London
££ · Modern British

Slightly hidden from view and not to be confused with the Chelsea Gardener next door, this delightful and ‘secret’ restaurant allows for dining in a lean-to orangery or an English Garden style courtyard. Named after the Owner, Hugh Stanley, the dishes here are almost as colourful as the floral decorations and come with a welcome lightness; the cocktails are quite a feature too.

4 The Polygon, Lambeth, SW4 0JG London
£££ · Modern Cuisine

As part of a regeneration project for Clapham Old Town, a spacious piazza was created right outside Trinity – and they were quick to see its potential. Smart canopies and mature planters give the space identity and, close by, Clapham Common awaits for anyone in need of a post-prandial amble. Chef Adam Byatt and his team have created the perfect neighbourhood restaurant, with a menu of modern classics alongside a great wine list.