Rooftop bars have become synonymous with summer fun in the city. A place to unwind with a drink in hand. But many of these bars have become overrun with loudmouths and loud music. Not in London. The city’s top summer destinations are decidedly less boorish than their stateside counterparts. London’s garden bars/restaurants are tranquil yet offer plenty of space to grab a drink or a bite. The Manual picked our favorites.
Classic French fare gets top billing at Coq D’Argent, a rooftop garden bar in the Square Mile area of London. The gardens offer a spectacular view of London and are a pleasing respite from the cacophony below. Large round boulders blanket the well manicured lawn. Order duck confit and a classic cocktail as you watch the sunset over the city.
The Goring Gardens
High Tea is quintessentially English and what better way to enjoy the pasttime than in one of the prettiest hotel gardens in London. The Goring, best known for having Kate Middleton as a guest the night before the royal nuptials, just launched the “The Seasons” Summer Afternoon Tea. Guests can choose from 21 teas as well as scones and tea cakes, the latter inspired by London milliner, Gina Foster. The gardens, complete with head gardener and ducks, are one of the largest private hotel gardens in London and have hosted many a distinguished guest, including Queen Elizabeth.
Kensington Roof Gardens
Situated atop the former Derry and Toms Department store, Kensington Roof Gardens offers tranquility amid lush vegetation. The gardens, once the largest roof gardens in England, are a thrill to behold, especially during the day, when the crowds are at a minimum. The flamingoes are a well known sight but its the Moorish-style section of the gardens, based on the Alhambra in Granada, Spain, that captivate. Guests can walk among the 30 different tree species while sipping cocktails.
Queen Elizabeth Roof Garden Bar & Café
Situated at the Southbank Centre along the Thames, the Queen Elizabeth Roof Garden Bar & Café has long been a hidden oasis in the city. Designed by the Eden Project, the spot provides panoramic views of London as well as numerous fruit trees, wildflowers and herbs, such as lilacs and cow parsley. A small bar serves drinks and light fare such as salads and sandwiches. Midday is the best time to go but for people watching, head there after work.
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