One of the best hidden places for a cocktail in London has got to be at the gorgeous Corinthia hotel. Their super-stylish, newly opened courtyard is tucked away from the noise and traffic and is filled with 100-year-old Japanese maple trees, as well as under-floor heating and fireplaces for when the summer evenings turn cold. On the menu, they’ve got some impressive new cocktails to try out, from the Bloom Clover Club to the Vesper Martini. Alternatively, you could always go for the indulgent bespoke champagne afternoon tea. It’s our new favourite hangout...
Read our full review of the Corinthia Hotel London
From one serene, discreet alfresco drinking spot to another - the lush green gardens of the Hempel. The smart Zen gardens are all manicured lawns and topiary hedges and set back from the towering Georgian townhouses that the Hempel occupies. The terrace bar has its own expert mixologist who will shake you up any combination of cocktail you want. The best bit of all is just how relaxed it feels. From first dates and catch-ups with friends, to hiring out the whole place for an upmarket summer garden party, it's a place that’s well worth checking out this summer.
Address: 31-35 Craven Hill Gardens, W2 3EA
For a bit of laid-back alfresco drinking along the canal in East London, the newly opened Ombra hits the spot. It’s a lovely place for an early evening drink after a cycle ride along the canal. We’ll be plumping for one of their range of decent Italian wines and crossing our fingers for a little bit of sunshine...
Address: 1 Vyner Street, Bethnal Green, E2 9DG
Royal Festival Hall
While throngs of crowds flock to the outdoor bar on the ground level of the Royal Festival Hall, few know that there’s a much more private bar just a few floors above. You can take the lift up, step outside onto the terrace, and take in the seriously impressive views. We love it at night when the Hungerford Bridge, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye are all lit up. If you want to fall in love with London all over again, then this is the place to do it.
Address: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX
If sweeping views of the entire city are more your style, then you’re going to need to head a little higher up. Cue the brilliant rooftop bar at Aqua. Slap-bang in the centre of town, just a stone’s throw from the flagship Topshop, Aqua is sleek, chic and very well groomed. There are comfy white chairs, slate tiles on the walls, and a very good drinks menu. lt's the perfect place to watch the sun set from, while Cafe del Mar DJ sets and regular house music complete the 'Ibiza in the City' feel.
Address: Silver House, 35 Beak Street, W1F 9SX
Like our pick of the best alfresco drinking spots in London but looking for more outdoor drinking inspiration? Check out our pick of rooftop bars in London. Or see our selection of the best London pub gardens.