London's Best Winter Terraces

Baby it's cold outside - snuggle up under the fairy lights

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Clos Maggiore, Covent Garden

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It's hard to argue with the 'London's Most Romantic Restaurant' award handed to Clos Maggiore by Harden's Restaurant Guide. In the summer, the glass conservatory is festooned with blossom and in good weather,  its fully-retractable roof allows for the full al fresco experience. Winter is equally captivating, as the conservatory is warmed by a roaring log fire, and lit by flickering  candles . Expect the best of contemporary French cuisine and a winter-warming collection of rare brandies and cognacs.

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3 King Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 8JD; 020 7379 9696; closmaggiore.com; Mon-Sat Midday-2.30pm and 5pm-11pm, Sunday Midday-2.30pm and 5pm-10pm


Boundary Rooftop Bar & Grill, Shoreditch


This old Victorian warehouse  has been lovingly converted into restaurants, bars, hotel, and a British food store, but the big draw here is the beautiful rooftop space. With a weatherproof pergola, a canopy of grape-producing vines, working herb and kitchen gardens and two 100-year-old olive trees, it's pretty special.


2-4 Boundary Street, Shoreditch, London E2 7DD; 020 7729 1051;  Open Everyday 10-11:30pm


Ski Terrace, Courthouse Hotel Soho


Sip mulled wine on this festive ski terrace with views over  Liberty and the Regent Street Christmas decorations. It may be a bit breezy up there, but just snuggle under the faux-fur blankets by the twinkling fairy lights, lanterns and outdoor heaters.

Courthouse Hotel, 19-21 Great Marlborough St, London W1F 7HL; 020 7297 5538; courthousehotel.com; Tue-Sun 15.00-22.30 (weather permitting)


Kensington Roof Gardens, Kensington

If you're after scenic al fresco drinking, Kensington Roof Gardens is hard to beat, so it's good news that the Babylon restaurant has opened its winter terrace again. The view of London's skyline is spectacular and you won't be cold once you're wrapped in a blanket, sipping a hot cocktail and nibbling on cheese and freshly baked bread. 

6th Floor, The Roof Gardens, 99 Kensington High Street, W8 5SA; 020 7937 7994; .roofgardens.virgin.com; Babylon is open until February 2014Babylon Winter Terrace Menu is available Wednesday – Friday from 12:00 - 15:00 and Tuesday – Saturday 18:30 – 23:00.


Radio Rooftop Bar, ME London Hotel


The Radio Rooftop Bar is one of the most scenic in the capital. Up on the tenth floor of the hotel, you get twinkly night-time views over  St Paul's, The Shard, the Gherkin and the London Eye. 

336-337 The Strand, WC2R 1HA; 0207 395 3400; melia.com; Mon-Weds Midday-1am, Thurs-Sat Midday-3am, Sun Midday-Midnight


Golden Bee, Shoreditch

A rooftop terrace with a glittering city view is always a good thing and, this season, the Golden Bee has outdone itself, transforming the space into a light-filled winter wonderland. Wrap up warm, take your glass of fizz upstairs and huddle by the flickering fire pits.

Singer Street, EC1V 9DD; 0207 253 1110; goldenbee.co.uk; Tues-Thurs 5pm-late, Fri 5pm-3am, Sat 5pm 3.30pm, Sun and Mon closed. Rooftop closes at 11pm


The Parlour, Canary Wharf

Set in the Park Pavilion on Canada square, The Parlour serves food and drink all day long and hosts live music at night. You can get your outdoor kicks all year round on the huge terrace, sheltered by giant umbrellas and warmed with fire pits, heaters and woollen blankets. The outdoor bar whisks up the best winter cocktails, including  hot butter and lavender rum punch, hot winter cosmos, winter cobblers, ginger mulled wine and hot spiced ciders.

The Park Pavillion, 40 Canada Square Park, E14 5FW; 0845 468 0100; theparlourbar.co.uk; Mon-Weds 8am-11pm, Thurs, Fri 8am-late, Sat 9am-Midnight, Sun 9am-7pm


Windsor Castle, Kensington

A not-very-well-kept secret, the Windsor Castle's garden is a magical place for an outdoor drink on a chilly evening. A covered arbour strung with fairy lights and heated by lamps provides semi-cover. During December, a custom-made marquee is installed so you can eat outside even with a large party.

114 Campden Hill Rd, London, W8 7AR; 020 7243 8797; thewindsorcastlekensington.co.uk; Open Mon-Sat Midday-11pm, Sun Midday-10.30pm


Queen of Hoxton, Shoreditch

As has become its tradition, the Queen of Hoxton has pulled out all the stops for its winter terrace.  This year, the theme is Grimm's fairy tales, with a heated wigwam and lanterns to light the cosy space. An open-flame grill sizzles up fairy-tale food, and delicious drinks  (at only £6 /  £7),   include The Golden Apple (hot gingerbread & apple toddy),   The Big Bad Buttered Rum  (the Queen's famous hot buttered rum) and Egg Snog – their version of the festive classic.  

1-5 Curtain Rd, EC2A 3JX; 020 7422 0958; queenofhoxton.com; 4pm till 10pm Monday – Saturday  (closed Sundays)


The Wheatsheaf, Borough Market

The Victorian Wheatsheaf has recently been given a new look which includes a covered, heated terrace featuring a converted VW campervan that serves up whiskey ribs, burgers and steaks. If you're waiting for a train from London Bridge, this is your spot, as a screen showing live departure information will keep you updated as you eat and drink.

6 Stoney St, London, SE1 9AA; 020 7940 3880; wheatsheafborough.co.uk; Open Sun Midday-11pm, Mon, Tues 9am-11pm, Weds-Sat 9am-midnight

With all of these, to be sure of a space, book in advance