The Best Rooftops In London

As soon as the sun shines in the capital, getting up high before the shadows of the city's tallest buildings are cast, blocking out the rays. Nowhere does rooftops quite like London, whether Middle Eastern inspired in the heart of Soho, Japanese food in The City, overlooking the capital's best landmarks, or escaping to Italy without getting on a plane. So you can look at the weather app and book the best seats in the house at one of our favorite rooftops.

Yasmin, Soho

Previously a private members club, Yasmin is the rooftop bar and restaurant from chef Tom Cenci, which sits above the restaurant Nessa from the same team in Soho.

The top floor has an inside bar and small restaurant that's full of mid-century furniture, Seventies-inspired scalloped lampshades and plush velvet barstool. Stepping outside, the terrace's bench seating is stuffed with comfy cushions, parasoles and more Seventies-style cane furniture plus a beige candy striped awnings for shading.

The menu is Middle Eastern inspired, owing to Tom's time living in Istanbul, so expect plenty of meat delicately cooked over smokey charcoal that quite literally melts its so tender. Over order on the bread and hummus, which is the best in town – you won't regret it. When it comes to its house cocktails, expect lots of fruity flavours from watermelon to nectarine, lychee to fig that are just the ticket for sundowners.

The Culpeper, Spitalfields

On Commercial street in East London, owners of The Culpeper were drawn to the pub because of its rooftop potential, something that's often overlooked in cities. They've worked their magic and turned the terrace into a little oasis of a rooftop garden with tables. It's spacious, relaxing and a real gem for long lazy lunches with drinks in the sun. It's also a real sun trap, so pack the suncream if it's bright blue skies.

Surrounding the edge of the terrace are planters full with produce that's used on the menu as well as drink garnishes, where acid green leaves wonderfully contrast the bright orange bench seating. On the menu, veg leads the way in most dishes, and there's some fish and ethically sourced meat in the mix too. Though not certified organic, they follow organic growing practices and don't use chemicals.

Studio Frantzén at Harrods, Knightsbridge

Studio Frantzén takes over the top two floors of the famous department store and is the first Harrods has ever had a rooftop restaurant, so of course they've gone all out. In the kitchen is Swedish chef Bjorn Frantzén who has two other restaurants holding three Michelin stars, which gives a flavour of the level of cooking to expect.

Signature dishes from the Asian-influenced Nordic menu include tartar of tuna and red deer, as well as Sweden vs Japan main – made up of two delicate cooked different types of meat, Japanese Wagyu and Swedish Oxtail that are totally different in texture but equally superb. Keeping with the decadent theme, lobster comes in various ways from a zingy cold-poached salad, a chunky roll, or lightly spiced curry. Cocktails aren't an afterthought either – order the wabi-sabi made with Japanese melon, apple, nettle, and citrus.

Ham Yard Hotel, Soho

Though only open to hotel guests, it's practically worth staying at Ham Yard Hotel to enjoy the rooftop, which is undoubtedly one of Londn's best. And that's largely thanks to the fact it's guests only so it won't be so busy that you can't get a table and sit down.

It's one of the biggest roof terraces in the capital and even a small kitchen garden and it's home to bees hives that make honey for the hotel. Designed to feel like an outside room, hanging above are countless wicker ball lights that come into their element at nightfall and plenty of pots with flowers and greenery everywhere you look. The large comfy wicker chairs and sofas make it feel like an elevated lounge so you'll no doubt want to spend hours there. Its summer pop-up oyster bar makes it even more worthy, as who doesn't want to sip on chilled Champagne or well-shaken cocktails and slurp a few freshly shucked oysters?

Madison, The City

If it's a stellar view you're after, there's no better rooftop to fill the brief in the capital than Madison which arguably has the best view of St Paul's cathedral going. You can get there well before sunset to see it at its best. The bar's so geared up for it being a popular time that it has the time of the sunset on its website. As it's the main attraction, don't be surprised when the weather's good to find queues to the lift to reach the top. The extensive roof terrace is practically always full of people enjoying a chilled glass of rose. Seats aren't bookable, but don't worry if you can't grab a table as there's plenty of standing space too. From Thursday to Sunday there's live music, often with a saxophonist giving real Cafe Mambo Ibiza vibes. If you want to eat, a large restaurant on the rooftop is covered too.

Devonshire, Soho

As the hottest pub and restaurant in town, it's practically a full time job trying to secure a table at The Devonshire in Soho, which was created by publican Oisín Rogers and Flat Iron founder Charlie Carroll who long had the idea of opening a pub together.

Set behind Piccadilly Circus the 18th century pub first opened its doors at the tail-end of 2023, and since then it's made itself even more appealing with its rooftop terrace. Though, keeping with its theme, it's not possible to book a table outside and it's only open in good weather. It runs the same menu as the pub's restaurant downstairs, so think plenty of meat cooked on the wood ember grill along with its famous sizable creel-caught langoustines and fish coming from the south west and Scotland. As the pub's synonyms with a good 'ol pint of Guinness, thanks to its landlord, it wouldn't be a complete visit without ordering one.

Seabird, Southwark

Sitting atop the Hoxton Hotel in Southwark, like the name suggests, Seabird knows a thing or two about seafood. Proving how dedicated it is to the cause is its oyster happy hour. There's a choice of bivalves from Jersey or Scotland, and Seabird has even created a martini which it thinks goes perfectly with them, making it a real date-worthy spot. If you're really pushing the boat out, go for the afternoon sea – a fun take on the traditional afternoon tea. Instead of dainty finger sandwiches and patisseries on a cake stand, it's full of the best fresh seafood. It's another rooftop that easily allows you to feel like you're on holiday with dishes like sea trout ceviche, pan con tomate, Cornish mussels or asparagus paella. Top it off with a frozen aperol spritz and you'll forget you're not in Europe.

Selfridges, Oxford Street

Desperate to feel like you're on the Italian Riviera but you're in London? Then head to Selfridges' rooftop, Alto by San Carlo, an Italian lover's dream right in the centre of the city. With wooden beams over the rooftop, each is adorned with zesty lemons and green leaf foliage, instantly transporting you to Sciliy by just looking at them. What could easily be chintzy elsewhere, Selfridges have easily made chic. The rooftop is vast with plenty of tables draped in white tablecloths and cane woven chairs. Of course, the food's Italian so expect plenty of fresh pasta, seafood and salads, and the mostly Italian wine list is extensive, so you can while away a sunny after or two here.

180 Strand, Soho

The Soho House private members club team always finds great spots inside fabulous buildings for their openings, and this one is no different. 180 Strand is set inside a Brutalist building just off The Strand and a short stroll from Somerset House. Of course, like any SohoHouse, the pool is a real highlight for any roof terrace, which has envious views over the River Thames.

Interiors pay homage to the Seventies time period of the building, with huge spherical glass pendant lighting, parquet flooring, barrel chairs and shag pile rugs. There's also plenty of clashing colours and curved shapes in the furniture. The two bars and restaurant are housed inside, with floor to ceiling windows to make the most of the views.

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