If you take a look out of the window and peek to the left, nope, behind that tree, little to the left, yep there you go - that's a patch of blue sky. And you know what that means? SUMMER'S HERE! There's obviously nothing better to do in the summer months than spend lazy afternoons outside eating, drinking and milling about with friends. Need inspiration as to where to conduct these alfresco activities? Don't worry we've thought of that - here's our pick of the top 10 restaurants with outside eating areas. Enjoy!
57 Mornington Terrace, London NW1 7R U
Take a stroll over Regent’s Park and you may stumble upon the Edinboro Castle. Subtly hidden away from the chaotic ambiance of Camden High Street, this beer garden boasts seating for over 300 Pimm’s lovers, complete with an outdoor bar, BBQ and hog roast during the summer months. Twinkling fairy lights draped from the surrounding trees and table heaters make this spot ideal for sharing a crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc on a relaxed August evening. Traditional, deliciously handmade pub food complements the vibrant atmosphere, making this is one of London’s most popular places to be when the sunshine finally arrives.
The Beckford Arms
Fonthill Gifford, Tisbury, Wiltshire SP3 6PX
A stylish meets old-fashioned country pub which caters for all needs during the summertime. The Beckford Arms in Wiltshire is only 20 minutes from Stonehenge and provides a stunning outdoor area where you can be accompanied by an ice bucket of champagne on the terrace, or recline in a hammock under the shade of the trees. Nearby, along the one-acre gardens are two exquisitely decorated lodges at only £150 per night if you fancy staying for a little longer (or enjoy one too many glasses of chardonnay).
16B New Street, London EC2M 4TR
Every Brit longs to vacate to the seaside the moment we see a glimmer of hope in our overcast skyline. However for most of us, office errands and the immense probability that the heat wave will be gone in a fleeting moment stops us from participating in such adventures. Luckily for the city girls and boys, Fish Market offers a superior catch of the day (dripping in melted butter, of course) than any seaside fishing town. The al fresco seaside-themed terrace is where you can enjoy juicy lobster and a glass of sparkling Prosecco every Saturday for £16.50, remarkably tasty as well as purse friendly.
Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY
The renowned Sushisamba from NYC has made its move over to the UK. If you want to experience fine quality sushi from stunning heights over the city, then taking the lift to the 39th floor of the Heron Tower is an absolute must. When the sun’s setting, you won’t be able to keep Instagram in your pocket. The wraparound terrace is exotic and glitzy, with views stretching as far as Tower Bridge and the Olympic stadium. As for the sushi, attention to detail is immaculate and the Sea Bass Miso is a favourite of the New York branch.
Fanny’s Farm Shop
Markedge Lane, Merstham, Surrey RH1 3AW
Set in the heart of Surrey, venture into the hilly landscape for an indulgent clotted cream tea whilst sitting in a tree house at Fanny’s Farm. The family-run business has become a treasure of the local community, specialising in scrumptious homemade cakes, marmalade, smoked sausages and artisanal cheese, which are all produce from the quaint little farm itself. The location is unspoiled; perfect for a picturesque stroll in the sun while the charming tree house, seating ten people, delightfully satisfies an afternoon appetite.
Stanmer Park, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 9QA
A high-grade listed mansion, set on the rolling landscapes of the Sussex Downs, Stanmer House is a magnificent place to bask in some afternoon sun. Manicured lawns surround the converted restaurant in an oasis of Stanmer Park’s beautiful woodland. A popular venue for flamboyant weddings and functions, the fine-dining lunch and dinner menu do not disappoint. At a 10 minute drive from Brighton city centre, it would be daft not to take an evening stroll along the promenade of Brighton’s pebbled beach too.
Radio Rooftop Bar at ME Hotel
ME Hotel, 336-337 The Strand, London WC2R 1HA
If you’re looking for somewhere exclusive and swanky with a Manhattan meets Hong Kong feel, then look no further than London’s Radio Rooftop bar on the 10th floor of the ME Hotel. Think margaritas at sundown, furry throws and plush white cushions. The 180 degree view is breath taking; captivating scenes from Big Ben to St Pauls, while the party goers can feel like a celebrity till 3am, 7 days a week.
The Varsity Hotel & Spa
Thompson's Lane, Cambridge CB5 8AQ
A tour of Cambridge from the top of The Varsity Hotel & Spa, this hidden gem has a highly sophisticated vibe. Take a leisurely gaze across the rooftops of the celebrated university with a zesty, ice-filled glass of gin and tonic in hand (the favoured beverage here, darling). Cambridge has an air of intellectualism, so go with the flow and recline on the romantic sofas with a good book until the sun sets.
The Lido Café
Brockwell Park, Dulwich Road, London SE24 0PA
The Luna Cinema is soon to be placing an outdoor screen overlooking the reflective water of The Lido Café’s renowned 1920’s swimming pool. Jaws will be shown on Wednesday 24th of July and Napoleon Dynamite on the 28th of August, tickets at £12.50 each. The Lido Café’s award-winning menu of modern English dishes, with a European leaning, will be providing barbeque food under the summer night’s sky for film watchers to enjoy. Look out for other unique outdoor cinema destinations around the country such as Kew Gardens, Lulworth Castle and Hampton Court Palace. Tickets must be booked well in advance!
The Cornerhouse, Forman St, Nottingham NG1 4AA
Saltwater is Nottingham’s high-class bar with an impressive cocktail list and delicious appetisers (half price during week days – must try the vegetable platter!) When the sun comes out it’s the only place to be in the city, while large canopies and heat lamps makes it an elite outdoor space when the night grows cold. A lazy daytime mojito on the remarkably designed terrace makes for a perfect date and the prices are surprisingly pleasant for the upmarket appearance.
By Rosie Baker-Williams