Five of the Best London Pub Gardens

The summer, it's fair to say, hasn't really got into its swing yet. As soon as the rain stops, though, this is where you’ll find the ELLE team – at one of our pick of the best London pub gardens...


The Stag, Hampstead; Stacey Duguid – Executive Fashion Editor, ELLE

The Stag has everything a girl could need: a good wine list, fantastic food that goes above and beyond the usual pub grub, cosy interiors for winter, and in the summer months, possibly the best pub garden in London. It's a circular space with a gravel floor, tables round the edges, mirrors on the walls, pretty plants and some seating in the middle. The music is fantastic and they do barbecues in the summer. The crowd is a mix of Camden cool and Hampstead walkers, and the staff are always super-friendly, even giving our dog a biscuit on arrival.


67 Fleet Road, NW3; Tel: 020 7722 2646;

The Palm Tree, Bow; Alannah Sparks – Acting Fashion Editor,

I love the Palm Tree in Bow. It’s an antiquated pub which looks like it hasn’t been done up since before the radio was invented. Luckily it doesn’t need the radio, because every weekend they’ve got live music as provided by the local crooners of Bow. In summer, everyone spills outside and drinks from plastic cups on the canal bankside – it’s not a pub garden per se, but it is a great outdoor space to kick back with a drink and watch the barges and bicyclists going by.


127 Grove Road E3; Tel: 020 8980 2918.

The Albion, Islington; Laura Davies – Sub-editor, ELLE

Tucked away off north London's bustling Upper Street is Barnsbury’s boozer of choice for those in the know, The Albion. You can choose from perching on the wooden benches at the front of the Victorian pub, covered in dramatic foliage, or the wonderland of a garden to the back, draped in lavender flowers – there's always a place to relax al fresco in style. It's far enough away from Islington's heart to be calm and peaceful (not a siren to be heard – this is the posh part of north London, remember), but Barnsbury’s beautiful people fill it with a buzzing vibe. Try the 28-day aged Galloway rump steak with a large glass of The Albion house red or wait for the summer months to taste the sizzling barbecue, incomplete without a dangerously moreish Albion mojito.

10 Thornhill Road, Islington, London N1; Tel: 020 7607 7450;

The Harlequin, Clerkenwell; Ben Cooper – Online Travel Editor,

The Harlequin is a tiny pub with a tiny garden. In fact, ‘garden’ might even be overstretching it – it’s more of a yard (albeit one that they've just given a bright new lick of paint and filled with plants). What’s its secret? That it’s a secret, basically. A lovely little neighbourhood pub hidden away down a side street round the back of Sadler’s Wells, outside of the times when there’s something on at the theatre it’s mystifyingly uncrowded. If there are no seats out back, you can perch yourself on a bench (with room for all of about three people) at the front of the pub – it’s the perfect place to sit at dusk and catch the last of the sun before it dips below the houses in front.

27 Arlington Way, EC1;

The Magic Garden, Battersea; Patricia Campbell – Commercial Editor,

I’m willing to overlook the odd wobbly bench and weed-ridden flagstone in return for a generous portion of character. Which is why The Magic Garden in Battersea is currently my go-to spot for alfresco boozing. Wander around the back of this quirky London pub and you're hit by a Narnia-esque oasis of exotic plants and murals, and, best of all, a giant tipi tent stuffed with bohemian cushions, throws and twinkling fairy lights. The boutique festival vibe is further enhanced by the roster of bands and DJs on offer, peddling anything from gentle acoustic sessions to energetic Balearic beats.


231 Battersea Park Road, SW11; Tel: 020 7622 4844;

And Five More of the Best Pub Gardens in London…

The Guildford Arms, Greenwich; Ivy Storvik – Chief Sub-Editor/Production Editor, ELLE

The Guildford Arms has a sunken garden tucked away in a quiet neighbourhood, with lovely, well-kept grass, gorgeous flowers and plenty of tables and chairs in the sun and shade. Oh, and the food is pretty good, too: owner Guy Awford is the chef-proprietor of well-regarded local restaurant Inside.

55 Guildford Grove, Greenwich, SE10; Tel: 020 8691 6293;

The Engineer, Primrose Hill; Emily Cronin – News Editor,

Ivy-covered and with a secret garden feel, this upscale Primrose Hill pub boasts one of the prettiest gardens around. It’s a perfect venue for the clinking of Pimm’s-filled glasses or working through a bottle of wine with beautifully cooked steak frites.

65 Gloucester Avenue, London, NW1; Tel: 020 7483 1890;

The Lock Tavern, Camden; Seamus Duff – Entertainment Editor, ELLE

My favourite London pub garden is at The Lock Tavern on Chalk Farm Road in Camden. A bit of a hangout for music-lovers, musicians and their significant others, the reasonably sized beer garden has a relaxed friendly vibe with good tables for groups to gather around, a canopy to keep off the inevitable summer rain and, dare I say it, romantic lighting for when the sun goes down.

35 Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1; Tel: 020 7482 7163;

The Britannia, Victoria Park; Sara D'Souza – Online Travel Assistant,

With its spot-on location right on the edge of a leafy corner of Victoria Park, the pub garden at the 19th-century Britannia is the perfect place to while away a lazy, sunny Sunday afternoon. With 17 tables, the garden is spacious, so there isn’t the usual fight for a seat, and it’s the ideal place for listening to the live music they often put on during the week. It’s big enough for groups of friends, yet easy enough to find a cosy corner for a romantic date. They also serve up some damn good food, and if the British summertime evenings get too cold, you can always bring a nice glass of wine (or one of the local ales) inside and curl up on one of the battered Chesterfields.

360 Victoria Park Road, E9; Tel: 020 8533 0040;

The Scarsdale Tavern, Kensington; Sophie Gridley – Junior Sub-Editor, ELLE

It may not be huge, and it sits street-side, but my prize for quaintest pub garden in London has to go to Scarsdale Tavern's terrace. Secreted away behind High Street Kensington and standing opposite a pretty, shaded, enclosed square (private, but it provides a leafy backdrop) there's a faintly Parisian feel to the surroundings, though the classic street lamps and English pub feel keep you rooted in London. Perfect for date nights, it's small enough to feel intimate, so sip something cold and soak up the surroundings.

23a St Edwardes Square, W8; Tel: 020 7937 1811;

Like our pick of the best London pub gardens, but looking for somewhere with a roof over your head? Check out our pick of best London gastro pubs. Or see a few more of the ELLE team’s favourite hangouts in London.

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