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A Guide to London’s Best Rooftop Bars and Restaurants

Summertime in London can often be, shall we say, unpredictable. However, this year we’re enjoying some of the hottest months on record – and it looks like the blue skies are here to stay. Ideally, we’d all be relaxing by the pool, cocktail in hand, but luckily the city offers a pretty great alternative.

Rooftop restaurants and bars in London have so much to offer in the summer – namely stunning views and sunshine – and London has one for every occasion. So, to help you find the ideal spot, we have compiled a list of the best places to catch some rays and enjoy great food and drink, all while floating above the city.

The first date spot 

Aviary, 22-25 Finsbury Square, EC2A

Located in the City, this rooftop bar and restaurant is known for its buzzing atmosphere and delectable British fare. If you want to impress on a first date, start with a glass of Laurent Perrier while taking in the view out over Finsbury Square, followed by some Lindisfarne rock oysters to share. If all goes well, you can always head inside the restaurant for a few more delicious courses to linger over.

The birthday spot

Toy Roof, 19-21 Great Marlborough Street, W1F

You can find Toy Roof perched on top of Soho’s Courthouse Hotel. The décor is a mixture of whitewashed wicker and funky graffiti, with cosy sofas and heaters for when its gets a little cooler – plus a small kitchen catering to rooftop revellers. The entire venue can be hired for events and the minimum for reservations is 10, making this the ideal spot for birthdays and other larger scale celebrations.

The after-work spot

Madison, Rooftop Terrace One, New Change, EC4M

While London’s many cosy pubs make the ideal after-work retreat in winter, in summer while the sun is shining, it’s nice to enjoy a few Thursday evening drinks outside. Madison’s Terrace Bar is an excellent choice for this, with its unrivalled view of St. Paul’s iconic dome and a comprehensive cocktail and wine list. Try their refreshing signature spritz made with grapefruit, rosemary, and prosecco.

The drinks-before-dancing spot

Radio Rooftop Bar, Strand, London WC2R

Situated at the top of the fashionable ME London Hotel (handily located on the Strand), Radio boasts fantastic views out over the Thames. This sight is even more impressive at night, with iconic sights like the London Eye and the South Bank twinkling across the water. You can meet friends here for a few choice cocktails and some tapas-style sharing plates before taking the express elevator down and stepping out into the heart of London for a night on the town.

The Saturday night spot

Aqua Spirit, 240 Regent Street, W1B

One for the cocktail connoisseurs, this sophisticated Soho spot serves up drinks that are part refreshment, part work of art. Hovering serenely above the hustle and bustle of Oxford Circus, hours can be whiled away sampling the Japanese bar menu and trying every concoction on the cocktail list. Those who dare can take on The Mexican, made with Don Julio tequila, Ancho Reyes Chile liqueur, apricot, lime, pineapple syrup, absinthe and mescal aroma.

The daytime spot

Alto (by San Carlo) at Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, W1A

Shopping can be stressful, especially on Oxford Street on a hot summer’s day. Fortunately, Selfridges has reopened their rooftop, this time giving it a little Italian flair. Festooned with citrus and hanging blossoms, Alto is an oasis, a port in the storm of London’s (sometimes) overwhelming city centre. Aperol spritzes are served in bowl-like glasses and the menu is full of Italian-inspired fare such as fillet of seabass cooked in black volcanic salt from Mount Etna, truffle and pecorino ravioli, basil and prawn risotto, and Chianina beef from Tuscany. It’s the perfect midday break.

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