London’s Best Winter Terraces and Rooftop Bars
Us Londoners love braving the harsh winter weather on a festive terrace – with the help of cosy blankets, piles of fur and lots of hot boozy cocktails, of course! From a Finnish rooftop sauna, to a Nutcracker themed forest bar, here are 17 of our favourites…
Huge terrace in West London
We were extremely excited when Pergola rooftop launched in Paddington this summer, so we’re pleased to hear the roof is back for the festive season, totally winter-proofed with blankets galore and revamped with dark woods and festive greenery. The whole place will be fully heated, with seven day beds to lounge on, and – this is epic- you can book a looooong table (space for up to 199 people) for free! That’s the Christmas party sorted. There’ll be all sorts of tasty food stalls from the likes of Tonkotsu and Patty & Bun, plus two bars serving up lots of boozy stuff.
Open until 23rd December.
Pergola, 5 Kingdom Street, W2 6PY
Oxford Street hideaway
New summer rooftop bar Sisu has been completely reincarnated into Woody Bear, a winter hideaway on Oxford Street, which you’ll find hidden away up an unassuming stairway near Marble Arch. Up here you can tuck into boozy eggnog, hot gin punch and lots of gooey melted cheese, whilst looking down on the hectic Christmas shoppers below and feeling pretty chuffed that you’ve already done all of yours on Amazon.
Woody Bear, 535 Oxford Street, W1C 2QW
The Trafalgar St. James
Top views of Trafalgar Square
With a front row seat of Trafalgar Square, this recently revamped rooftop bar is a great way to spend a winter’s evening, with blankets and heater to keep you all cosy while taking in those epic skyline views.
The Trafalgar St. James, 2 Spring Gardens, SW1A 2TS
Finnish Rooftop Sauna at Queen Elizabeth Roof Terrace
Heat up in style!
This year, Helsinki named the sauna as its cultural act of the year, and, forever a victim of FOMO, us Londoners just had to get in on the action, claiming one for our own and putting it on a rooftop. Find it at the Queen Elizabeth Roof Terrace on the South Bank, with stunning views of The Thames – totally worth checking out whether or not you’re getting in on the sweaty Finnish action.
Queen Elizabeth Roof Terrace, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX
Head to the Arctic
The city sky-high bar is once again pimping itself up for the festive season, this year with an Arctic inspiration. There’ll be two igloo tents on terraces, along with twinkling lights, furs and snowy décor. And to complete the experience, there’ll be an Aurora Borealis Cube, which will be fitted in the lift entrance area so you can step inside for a simulated experience of the Northern Lights. Might as well cancel that trip to Iceland, ‘cos they’ve got it all here!
Open from 12th November to 28th February 2018.
Coq D’Argent, 1 Poultry, EC2R 8EJ
Bluebird’s terrace in Chelsea is being given a magical makeover this winter, transformed into E. T. A. Hoffmann’s magical Christmas tale The Nutcracker. Follow the trail into the woods and discover toys, trinkets and fir trees galore – not to mention the occasional ballet performance! There’s a festive afternoon tea, too, with turkey sandwiches, mince pies and Christmas cake.
Open from the end of November until January 2018.
Bluebird, 350 King’s Road, SW3 5UU
Ham Yard Hotel
Hot Gin Roof returns
We’ve also had a tip off that Piccadilly’s Ham Yard Hotel is again teaming up with Sipsmith for the winter season to bring back the very popular Hot Gin Roof in the beginning of 2018. Last winter there were lots of boozy steaming cocktails on offer, like the Hot Negroni and the Reverse Martini (a warm version of the classic, served up with a deep fried olive). As big gin fans, we’re expecting more delicious stuff to come this time round. So far that’s all the info we could squeeze out of them, but we’ll keep you posted.
Open January 2018.
Ham Yard Hotel, 1 Ham Yard, W1D 7DT
LCC Bethnal Green
Party al fresco
Tucked under the arches at Paradise Row in Bethnal Green is one of London Cocktail Club’s renowned party places. The large outside area is heated during the winter, with cushioned leather seats to keep it all cosy. This laid back party bar also does a winning happy hour, with £5 cocktails until 8pm, Tuesday to Saturday. Just what you need when saving for all those Christmas presents.
LCC Bethnal Green, Arch 253, Paradise Row, E2 9LE
Secret haven in Central London
Away from the bustle of Oxford Street is a little fairytale called Dalloway Terrace, with tumbling plants and covered in sparkling fairy lights. Snuggle up with your hottie under a fur rug and sip on literature-inspired cocktails – it’s got romance written all over it.
Dalloway Terrace, 16–22 Great Russell Street, WC1B 3NN
A Nordic autumn
Nestled in Victoria is an overgrown forest, as this Nordic and French-inspired restaurant transforms itself for the autumnal months. They’ve gone all out on the décor, with dried Chinese lantern flowers, mini pumpkins and hidden birdcages, tangled amongst golden and amber leaves and a beautiful foliage wall (your Instagram feed will be rockin’). Finnish Head Chef Helena has created a feasting game menu, along with dishes and foraged cocktails inspired by the season’s harvest.
Open throughout November 2017.
Aster Høst, 150 Victoria Street, SW1E 5LB
The Ivy Chelsea Garden
Romantic sprawling garden
Hidden out the back at The Ivy in Chelsea is this enchanting terrace, orangery and garden.Cuddle up under the sheltered pergola and drink a milky hot chocolate in romantic candlelight.
The Ivy Chelsea Garden, 195–197 King’s Road, SW3 5EQ
Roof East and Queens ft. Sliders
Competition on the ice
Open now in both locations.
Roof East, 45a Broadway, E15 1XD
Queens, 17 Queensway, W2 4QP
The newest addition to this Spanish restaurant family is Camino Shoreditch. With each venue focusing on a different region, the latest is all about the Northern Spain-inspired dishes. Our favourite thing about the new place is the outside terrace, with a rain cover and heated up in winter, which we’re sure will be as warm as Castile y León on a summer’s day.
Camino Shoreditch, 2 Curtain Road, EC2A 3BL
The Sipping Room
Igloos in the City
If you can’t or won’t go full-on al fresco during the British winter, then huddle up inside a giant outdoor igloo at the terrace at Sipping Room on West India Quay, while the city skyscrapers loom above you. With space for up to eight, your private snow globe comes complete with an electric heater and sheepskin throws, plus hot water bottles and Aran jumpers. Expect tons of festive cocktails, like the Mistletoe Spritz with Courvoisier VSOP, prosecco, cranberry bitters and orange zest. Plus there’ll be canapés and classic Christmassy sharing plates, like pigs in blankets, stilton and walnut tarts. If you don’t want to shell out for the igloos, you can also soak in the city lights the budget way, outside with a rug!
Igloos like these get snapped up quick in this city, so book yours on [email protected] or call 020 3907 0320.
The Sipping Room, 16 Hertsmere Road, West India Quay, E14 4AX
Italian cocktails in Mayfair
The bar lays claim to having the largest heated terrace in Mayfair, a relaxing spot on Savile Row where you can peep over the smartly preened hedge and watch the world stroll by. With a big soft spot for Italian inspired cocktails, we’re a huge fan of the drinks menu, and for the winter months there’s some added specials with more of an international inspiration, like the Kiss Me Santa, with coconut rum, crème de banane, caramel, pineapple juice, double cream, cherries and Angostura.
Sartoria, 20 Savile Row W1S 3PR
Enchanted fairytale terrace
Located in King’s Cross, this winter terrace is the perfect place to meet pals from all corners of the city. It’s taking on an Enchanted Winter Terrace theme this year, inspired by German fairy tales created by the Grimm Brothers and decorated with wooden huts, fairy lights, winter throws, cushions (you probably get the idea by now). Look out for nods to magical tales from your childhood, such as Rapunzel, Hänsel und Gretel, Rotkäppchen (Little Red Riding Hood) and Rumpelstilzchen (Rumpelstiltskin), The cocktail menu will also mimic a fairy tale book, with eight fairy tale-themed cocktails.
Open from 6th December until 28th February.
German Gymnasium, 1 King’s Boulevard, N1C 4BU
Sipsmith are also popping up in Charlotte’s W5 in Ealing, where you can tuck into warming cocktails like the winter sloe gin, a modern take on the classic mulled wine. There’ll also be roasted chestnuts, fir trees and – yes, you guessed it – fairy lights and lots of blankets.
Charlotte’s W5, The Old Stable Block, Dickens Yard, Longfield Avenue, W5 2UQ