London Alfresco Dining, or the Best Terrasses to Enjoy Summer

Hurray!!! With summer just around the corner, time has come to enjoy a meal in those too rarely used lovely terraces and gardens. Here, Emyr Thomas, founder of concierge and lifestyle management company Bon Vivant, gives us his selection of London’s best alfresco dining options.

Tom’s Terrace at Somerset House The River Terrace Cafe at Somerset House has been taken over by Tom Aikens for the summer, with an informal menu, including mini burgers and triple cooked chips, to accompany the evening drinks and splendid views of the Thames. The Admiralty Restaurant will also be transformed into Tom’s Kitchen at Somerset House, serving signature dishes from Tom’s Kitchen in Chelsea. Somerset House, The Strand, WC2 (Charing Cross, Blackfriars)

River Café, Hammersmith Widely regarded as London’s best Italian restaurant with great pedigree in the kitchen that has produced many successful alumni and imitations, the River Café creates an unforgettable dining experience, thanks to a minimalist, sleek design and a light colour scheme that blend effortlessly with the riverside setting. Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, W6 (Hammersmith Broadway)

Odette’s, Primrose Hill Odette’s has been a Primrose Hill institution for decades, but is now under the reign of Bryn Williams, winner of the Great British Menu television series. The mood is dark and seductive in the downstairs restaurant and the tables that open out on to the streets of Primrose Hill are ideal for an alfresco lunch. 130 Regent’s Park Road, NW1 (Chalk Farm)

The Ledbury, Notting Hill The Ledbury, with its Notting Hill location and neighbourhood restaurant feel, had been quietly making its mark on London’s dining scene until its second Michelin star catapulted it into the mainstream earlier this year. As expected, Brett Graham’s cooking is now in huge demand, but as the terrace does not accept reservations, it’s a great way to skip the long wait list and try one of London’s best restaurants whilst enjoying the sun. 127 Ledbury Road, W11 (Westbourne Park, Ladbroke Grove)

The Albion, Islington The Albion is a traditional English country pub in the heart of London, with the main attraction being its garden.The French windows in the restaurant area open onto a terrace of over 450 sq metres, which can seat over 120 people for dining and drinking surrounded by herb beds, fruit trees and an original Georgian walled garden. In the summer months, the outdoor barbeque is a real draw, as well as the whole roast suckling pig for 10 to share. 10 Thornhill Road, N1 (Angel, Highbury & Islington)

The Engineer, Primrose Hill A Primrose Hill institution, the Engineer can do little wrong for the regulars who flock there for favourites such as miso-marinated sea bass with bok choi. Despite the ample dining space, the bar area is on the small side, but there is respite in the form of a back garden, which is an ideal spot for long summer lunches. 65 Gloucester Avenue, NW1 (Chalk Farm, Camden Town)

Rooftop at the Boundary, Shoreditch One of the latest ventures from Prescott & Conran, the rooftop restaurant at the boundary, a 48-seat grill, has 360° views of London and includes a designer garden, a large bar, an open fireplace and luxury blankets for the chillier evenings. Entrance on Redchurch Street, 2-4 Boundary Street, E2 (Shoreditch High Street, Liverpool Street, Old Street)

Le Pont de La Tour, Tower Bridge Le Pont de la Tour has a beautiful riverside setting from which to enjoy its modern French menu, with a focus on seafood, and vast wine list. The outside terrace is very popular in the summer as it has a superb view of Tower Bridge. Butlers Wharf Building, 36 Shad Thames, SE1 (Tower Hill, London Bridge)

The Gun, Docklands With a beautiful riverside setting and a large decked terrace to embrace the British summer, The Gun is one of the best dining experience in the Docklands offering a great British pub menu. In the summer, be sure to visit A Grelha at The Gun, an al fresco Portuguese BBQ of fresh fish and meats on the decked terrace.27 Coldharbour Docklands London E14 (Canary Wharf)

Bleeding Heart, Clerkenwell With a rustic look to match its location and history, the Bleeding Heart offers traditional French fare in a welcoming and intimate setting, but the real attraction in the summer is the large terrace, which brings a bit of Paris to the streets of Farringdon. Bleeding Heart Yard, off Greville Street, EC1 (Farringdon)

For further information on Bon Vivant, visit their website at