Best Summer Beer Gardens In London

Front facade of the Albion, a Georgian pub in Thornhill Road, Islington
Front facade of the Albion, a Georgian pub in Thornhill Road, Islington | © Chris Lawrence / Alamy Stock Photo
Chloe Kerr

What better way to spend a sun-soaked afternoon than sipping a drink with friends in one of the capital’s best beer gardens?

1. People’s Park Tavern

Pub, European, Pub Grub

Formerly known as The Britannia, this huge 19th-century establishment is your quintessential village pub, boasting a ‘hacienda garden’ at the back complete with wooden cabanas. If the garden isn’t big enough for you, the Tavern is right beside the beautiful Victoria Park. This pub hosts many DJs at the weekends and they even brew their own beers.

2. The Canonbury Tavern

Gastropub, Pub, Bar, British, European

Canonbury Tavern public house or pub, Canonbury, London Borough of Islington
© Pat Tuson / Alamy Stock Photo

While this pub is firmly rooted in London’s history as a favourite haunt of George Orwell (and provided inspiration for his essay ‘Moon Under Water’), it is now the epitome of cool British minimalism, and not your standard period fare. Its walled garden is the perfect place to lounge on gorgeous rattan sofas with a chilled beer in hand (served at an outdoor bar). There is also a substantial menu with a smart twist on traditional pub food.

3. Anchor Bankside

Pub, Bar, Restaurant, British

The Anchor Bankside Pub London Southbank. Historic pub, a tavern has stood here for over 800 years, the current building dates from 1676. Greene King.
© Robert Evans / Alamy Stock Photo

Nestled beside Shakespeare’s Globe and the River Thames is the quaint 800-year-old pub, the Anchor Bankside. With an illustrious history, including several refurbishments and rebuilds (one after the Great Fire of London), this tavern has been described as ‘Bankside’s oldest surviving tavern’ in the book Secret Bankside: Walks in the Outlaw Borough, and Tom Cruise had a pint here in Mission Impossible. If this wasn’t reason enough to pay a visit to The Anchor, it also has a spectacular beer garden on the roof overlooking St Paul’s Cathedral.

4. Queen Elizabeth Roof Garden Bar and Café

Bar, Pub Grub

Yellow staircase at the Southbank centre, London
© Sam Barnes / Alamy Stock Photo
Designed by the Eden Project, this roof garden is a real oasis of calm among the hustle and bustle of the Southbank. With sparkling riverside views, a café, and a plethora of trees and flowers, this may be one of London’s best-kept secrets. Open from 10 am to 10 pm serving a range of food and drinks, it’s definitely worth checking out.

5. The Albion

Pub, British

A Georgian gem hidden in Islington, known for its shared menus and summer BBQs. It is oozing with Ole English charm, featuring cascading wisteria, open fires, and a stunning walled garden. The traffic of Upper Street is just out of earshot so it is the perfect place to while away an evening.

6. Water Poet

Pub, Bar, Pub Grub

This East End boozer pulls off the ‘scruffy bohemian trendy bar’ look with aplomb. Snuggled in Spitalfields, this unassuming pub boasts a wonderful beer garden, which is a perfect sun-trap. With its quirky décor, famous Sunday roast and Saturday barbecues, it’s no wonder this place is popular with locals, city workers and market-goers.

7. The Ship

Gastropub, Pub, Restaurant, British

People drinking in the beer garden of The Ship pub, Wandsworth, South London
© Cath Harries / Alamy Stock Photo

Founded in 1786 and supplying fine ales and wines ever since, The Ship is a real gem on the banks of the Thames by Wandsworth Bridge. Unfortunately it isn’t an actual ship, but its extensive outdoor area makes up for that with a bar, pergola, heated booths and BBQ. While the pub has great food and a buzzing atmosphere, the real pleasure is the view of the river as the sun begins to set.

8. The Magic Garden

Bar, Pub, Pub Grub

If fairy lights, squishy sofas, giant teepees, live music and amazing twisted apple martinis sound like your kind of thing, then The Magic Garden is the place for you. Voted into Harpers Bazaar’s London’s Best Beer Gardens 2014, this bohemian paradise is a truly magical place to spend an evening. Like a modern-day Narnia hidden away in Battersea, you will fall in love with its charms, 2-4-1 cocktails, and home-cooked food. Live music is performed on weeknights and a live DJ performs on weekends.

9. The Crate Brewery

Brewery

Formerly a print factory, CRATE is Hackney Wick’s first craft brewery and pizzeria. It has become a firm favourite with locals and it’s not hard to see why, with its extensive canal-side alfresco dining and drinking area. Serving some of their own CRATE beers and award-winning pizza, it is the perfect place for post-work drinks with friends or to spend a weekend afternoon. Also, the interior has been made up with reclaimed materials, sourced by the CRATE’s owners and operators, all of whom are Hackney locals.

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