The Best Winter Beer Gardens in London

The Albion pub and garden in North London has plenty of outdoor seating, and is a great choice for drinks this winter
The Albion pub and garden in North London has plenty of outdoor seating, and is a great choice for drinks this winter | © roger parkes / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Cassam Looch
Social Editor18 October 2020

Whatever happens for the rest of the year, it seems likely that the traditional cosy drink inside with friends will be off the agenda. Thankfully, there are a number of pub gardens, trendy bar rooftops and outdoor spaces in London to help you pass the time this winter. Here’s our pick of the best.

Four Thieves

Cocktail Bar, Gastropub, Pub, Pub Grub, $$$
Map View
Four Thieves Pub Garden in Battersea - London UK
© M.Sobreira / Alamy Stock Photo

There’s something of the cosy fireplace experience at the Four Thieves, even under the outside canopies in the garden. The warm glow from the heaters might not be a perfect replacement for a roaring log fire, but they serve their purpose on chilly autumnal evenings in London. You’ll find a good mix of cocktails, beers and snacks on offer here too, to keep everyone in your group happy.

The Prince

Gastropub, British, $$$
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If you’re looking for a great spot with food and drink, then the Prince in West Brompton is hard to beat. The venue has a fair claim to being the largest beer garden in London (in fact it calls itself a street), but many people still don’t know it exists. Four enticing restaurants serve the space, and three bars, so come prepared to spend a bit of time here – even if the original plan was to stop off for a quick one.

Boxpark Shoreditch

Shopping Mall
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Street food in Shoreditch on roof of the container shops of Boxpark.
© Scott Hortop Travel / Alamy Stock Photo
Boxpark in Shoreditch has become such a habitual part of the landscape in east London that it’s sometimes easy to overlook. In the summer you’ll find sporting events televised to large audiences, but not many people know that the same is also true in winter. The great thing about this venue is that you can easily settle in for a whole day (and night) as there are a number of great food options onsite. Similar offerings now exist in Croydon and Wembley, but we think the charm of the original is best.

The Rising Sun

Gastropub, British, $$$
Map View

A more authentic British pub experience can be found at the Rising Sun in Richmond. The leafy suburb in the south of the city is popular with Londoners looking to explore its vast green spaces, and there’s nothing better than popping into this enticing pub for a few drinks before heading home. This is a family-friendly space too, so expect more homely surroundings than some of the other bars on our list.

Madison Rooftop

Bar, Restaurant, Fusion, $$$
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Madison bar and tapas restaurant at One New Change rooftop terrace in the City of London, EC4 England.
© Jason Bryan / Alamy Stock Photo

This popular rooftop venue in the city has a large following on social media, with influencers competing against one another to get the best sunset selfie with St Paul’s in the background. The outdoor space really does offer one of the best views of London, and you don’t have to be an influencer to appreciate that. The venue has a number of reassuring Covid-19 safety measures in place, and the tables are distanced enough that you’ll always feel relaxed in your group of up to six people.

The Castle

Pub, Pub Grub, $$$
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Turning an old car park into a lavish beer garden has proven a masterstroke of forward-thinking at the Castle in south London. The colourful cabins in the yard are the new place to be seen in Tooting, and some of them even have in-built fireplaces. Don’t worry if you don’t bag one of the prime locations though – the rest of the terrace is heated in winter too.

The Albion

Gastropub, Pub Grub, British, $$$
Map View
The Albion pub and garden 10 Thornhill Rd, London N1. Image shot 08/2012. Exact date unknown.
© roger parkes / Alamy Stock Photo

Nestled in a quiet part of Islington, the Albion is an old-school boozer elevated to a lofty status thanks to its incredible outdoor space. The interior isn’t shabby by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s the exterior that brings this place to life. You can often see the lights and hear the customers from the surrounding streets, and and it’s inviting enough to make you want to join them for the evening.

The Leyton Star

Pub, Pub Grub
Map View

Something of a hidden gem (not even the locals know about) is the beer garden at the back of the Leyton Star in east London. This part of the city is often overlooked in favour of trendier spots like Dalston, Shoreditch and Hackney, but if you venture a little further out of the centre you’ll find great places like this. The Star has a series of wooden booths and benches which give it the appearance of being smaller than it actually is, and it’s even got a private karaoke room. Come here for great ambience, a cosy feel, and some very bold wallpaper.


Restaurant, European, Contemporary, Seafood, $$$
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Bluebird Restaurant Courtyard, Kings Road, Chelsea, London
© Peter Scholey / Alamy Stock Photo

As seen in popular millennial TV series Made in Chelsea this venue ramps up the glam factor while serving up some of the best food and drink in west London. Don’t let its bougie reputation put you off; this is a welcoming place to catch up with friends. It might be a stretch to call this a classic beer garden, but variety is the spice of life, and you can do some celeb-spotting while drinking a luxurious hot chocolate.

Pub on the Park

Pub, British, $$$
Map View

You could make a compelling case for this hybrid pub and park as the perfect place to be this winter, and we couldn’t really disagree. In the summer, this venue is buzzing with the sound of televised sporting events and the smells of barbecues wafting over from London Fields. In the winter, however, you’ll be more inclined to find a quiet spot, grab a blanket and hang out with your mates, on the edge of a lovely big green space.

Venues are constantly updating their Covid-19 procedures, so please check availability in advance of your visit. Most venues listed above require prior booking.

These recommendations were updated on October 18, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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