The Best Outdoor Venues in London This Summer

With 500 seats and 40 vendors, theres a lot to enjoy at Mercato Metropolitano, near Elephant and Castle just south of the river
With 500 seats and 40 vendors, there's a lot to enjoy at Mercato Metropolitano, near Elephant and Castle just south of the river | Courtesy of Mercato Metropolitano

Editorial Manager

Londoners love their outdoor spaces. You can swim, run or hike if you know where to go, but this year, we think most people are going to be happy going out and catching up with friends. To cater for this, a number of venues have created open-air options perfect for the summer. If you are having a holiday at home, or visiting London for a short stay, here are our picks of the open-air bars, restaurants and beer gardens to try in the coming months.

With Covid-19 restrictions slowly easing, al-fresco options in London are popping up everywhere. Rooftop bars and beer gardens have traditionally been our go-to outdoor haunts, but there has been a recent shift towards proper outdoor dining. You can go for a lavish meal, a cheeky drink or even watch a movie at the venues below. You can even catch a big-screen sporting event while topping up your vitamin D.

Vauxhall Food and Beer Garden

One of south London’s biggest outdoor brunch venues, Vauxhall Food and Beer Garden is putting on a spectacular show this summer. Sports fans will be able to enjoy a summer of football and more under the famous railway arches in Vauxhall, but the entertainment doesn’t end here. Drag bingo and comedy shows have been scheduled throughout the next few months in a location known for boozy fun.

Here’s a cracking find in London Bridge that spills out into Holyrood Street and turns it into a Mexican oasis. The original Tigre Tacos truck is parked up serving tacos and tostadas, and the Nine Lives cocktail bar on wheels will be serving drinks. Not many people know about this one yet, so you might be one of the first.

Mr Fogg’s Secret Garden

Another takeover is occurring in Mayfair, where the ever-elusive Mr Fogg is setting up operations just outside his permanent residence. The secret garden is a Victorian paradise, with plenty of calming features to help transport you away from the busy streets nearby. The venue can seat more than 100 guests at a time, and if you do visit, don’t miss the speciality cocktails on the menu.

Paradise Soho

One of the best things about London at the moment is seeing al-fresco dining really take off. Soho has turned many of its streets into a vast network of inviting outdoor food courts, and people are flocking from all over the city to eat here. Head chef Malin de Silva may only have a small terrace to play with, but his modern Sri Lankan menu and summer cocktails are some of the best you will find in the heart of London.


This casual spot has a mouth-watering seasonal menu with sustainability at the forefront. An inside-out take on a classic British gastropub, Publiq is situated directly opposite Hyde Park, perfect if you feel like spending the day lounging in the sun – you can order the cocktails and alcoholic slushies from Publiq to enjoy in the park.

The Birds

British pub gardens are special places. They are cosy retreats in winter, when the hardy few huddle around underpowered outdoor heaters to stay warm, but they really come into their own in summer. This east London favourite is best known for its unmistakeable Alfred Hitchcock theme – the iconic director was born a stone’s throw away – but it’s the quaint garden that is the real star.

Dinings SW3

Fancy delicious small plates in affluent west London? Check out Dinings SW3, a modern Japanese restaurant in a quiet mews that many Londoners have heard of but not many have been able to visit. The courtyard space gives it a unique homely quality and the food is prepared by executive chef Masaki Sugisaki, who combines his Japanese upbringing and the considerable time he’s spent in the UK to create some incredible dishes.

Mercato Metropolitano

There’s a lot to take in at the Elephant and Castle Mercato Metropolitano venue, but luckily, there’s also a lot of space to play with. One of the newest additions is an on-site microbrewery, which goes nicely with the Jim and Tonic gin distillery also located on the premises. Finding venues with enough seats to accommodate everyone who wanted to socialise outdoors has been a major problem since lockdown restrictions were lifted, but when you have 500 seats and 40 vendors, it seems there’s plenty going on here to keep everyone satisfied.

Sea Containers London x Laurent-Perrier

Already a popular spot on the South Bank, this hotel-restaurant has a refreshing summer menu and a cool British concept. You feel as if you’re settling down for an extravagant feast in an English countryside cafe – until the sights and sounds of the Thames remind you where you are. Enjoy a glass of Laurent-Perrier safe in the knowledge that the plants around you have been sustainably sourced and will be looked after when the season is over.

Smoking Goat

Quite how the team here have managed to squeeze an outdoor dining space into what was one of London’s hardest-to-book restaurants is perplexing, but apparently they’ve done it just in time for summer. The covered terrace is a charming al-fresco spot, and increases the capacity and thus your chances of getting a seat. We don’t really need to tell you about the food – there’s a reason why Smoking Goat is regarded by many Londoners as the best restaurant in town.

Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article