When the sun shines upon London, it's time to hit the rooftops. The city is peppered with romantic rooftop bars that offer stunning views, so sit down and enjoy a cool margarita or glass of wine. Gaze at the London skyline, and let time and worry slide away.
1. Sky Garden
Ever heard of a green oasis in the sky? At 155 meters above the ground, London's Sky Garden makes this a reality. At the top of the building known as the 'Walkie Talkie,’ the sky-garden offers a jaw-dropping view of London's skyline. The Sky Pod Bar on the 35th floor is perfect for sharing cocktails, while the Darwin Brasserie cooks up a storm on the 36th floor; most of its cocktails are rum-based and absolutely delicious. The top floor hosts the Fenchurch Seafood Bar and Grill, which specialises in seafood. If dinner and drinks are far from your mind, floors 35 through 37 house the Sky Garden; while there's no entry fee, a booking must be made in advance on their website, as it's very popular. Address: 20, Fenchurch Street, EC3M 3BY.
2. Radio Rooftop Bar
A dedicated express lift whooshes you up to this bar on the 10th floor of the ME London Hotel. Sitting here, you can spot some of the city's iconic attractions, including Tower Bridge, St. Paul's Cathedral, Tate Modern, Somerset House, Southbank, and the London Eye. Gaze upon the Houses of Parliament and the theatre district of Covent Garden from up here, while sipping on a cocktail of your choice (we recommend the charmingly named Thames River Iced Me). Arrive after midday and the waiters will entice you with a top quality Spanish menu, starring creative tapas such as fried courgette flowers stuffed with ricotta. Pay special attention to how you dress, though: no sportswear allowed in here. Address: 336-337, Strand, WC2R 1HA.
3. Bird of Smithfield
Up on the roof of this Georgian townhouse, time slows down and beautiful views of the centuries-old Smithfield Market stretch out before you. This was the first place in England to serve British-farmed caviar. The terrace has a cheerful décor, which lets you feel like you are sipping cocktails in a real garden. There is even a lawn, speckled with orange trees, flowers, and bird cages, letting you relax in a summery and refreshing environment. Address: 26, Smithfield Street, EC1A 9LB.
Located in London's trendy Shoreditch, the Boundary rooftop sits atop a Victorian building that also houses a hotel and a restaurant. The wildly popular rooftop lounge is open all year. Thanks to its top-notch location, it is also a hot spot for film and television shoots. When the weather is balmy, the space is doubled to let you enjoy the cool breeze. And in the cold months, the heating keeps you cosy. It serves snack food and Mediterranean low-fat, high-flavour dishes. Celebrating a special occasion? You can have the Boundary terrace to yourself; they host private events galore. Address: 2-4, Boundary Street, E2 7DD.
5. Aqua Spirit
This cool cocktail bar with a sky-high setting gives you a view of almost all the shops on Regent and Oxford Street. Relax and window-shop while knocking back a drink. Moody sunsets complement the dark tones of the outdoor terrace, while the chic interior thrums with lively conversation. On weekends, DJs provide evening entertainment, with house, disco, or soulful funk. Some of the cocktails are inspired by Japan, such as the Last Samurai, made with Tanqueray, lemon, cocoa, and cherry. The quality of products, décor, and location won it the ‘Pub of the Year’ title at the London Lifestyle Awards. Address: 240, Regent Street, W1B 3BR.
Nestled in the heart of London's Upper Street, Vivo's terrace has a relaxing atmosphere, offering an instant escape from the typical hustle and bustle of the city. Italian delicacies composed of the freshest ingredients are served along with a wide selection of wines, cocktails, and spirits. The décor has a natural aesthetic, accented with the warmth of wood and plants. Even London's whimsical rain won’t ruin your party, since the roof can be extended or retracted when necessary. Vivo's huge success has allowed the owners to expand its terrace and accommodate rising demand. Don't miss out. Address: 57-58, Upper Street, Islington, N1 ONY.
Located on the 38th floor of the famous Heron Tower, Sushisamba is London's highest rooftop bar; the cityscape you see from here will take your breath away. The restaurant has an open terrace where you can indulge in a few drinks before dinner. A beautifully lit tree, representing the union between heaven and earth, serves as the restaurant's leitmotif. Offering an interesting mix of Japanese, Brazilian, and Peruvian cuisine, Sushisamba is easily one of the classiest places in the entire city. Address: Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate.
8. GONG Bar
London's highest bar is also its most sought after. The Shard, London's finest commercial centre is home to the Shangri-la Hotel (starting at the 34th floor). On the 52nd floor is the GONG bar, decorated like a traditional Western boudoir. High on the London skyline, this destination bar gives you one of the best views money can buy. Perfect for sunset cocktails and late-night drinks, it offers three intimate areas; a cocktail bar, champagne bar and an infinity pool. Relax and soak up the stunning cityscape.
Plan your holiday with some of the most desirable destinations in the UK here.