David Drury

A View From Above: 10 London Rooftop Bars And Restaurants

Who doesn’t love a great view? And even better if there’s good food and/or classic cocktails to go with it. As you take a break from sightseeing for refreshment and relaxation, let your Blue Badge Tourist Guide help you seek out the most stunning vistas across London.  With an ever-increasing number of steel and glass skyscrapers heading for the heavens in the financial district, the area known as the City of London is a great place to start.

Sky Garden Restaurant in London. Photo Credit: © rhubarb, Sky Garden.

Sky Garden Restaurant in London. Photo Credit: © rhubarb, Sky Garden.


Sky Garden
Address: 1 Sky Garden Walk, London, EC3M 8AF
Almost reaching must-do status now on a visit to the capital, London’s highest public garden offers wonderful views both inside and out, and it’s free. It also has a number of bars and two very good restaurants, Fenchurch and Darwin.

Duck and Waffle/Sushi Samba
Address: 110 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4AY
Two more great restaurants, along with a central bar area, and seating both indoors and out. Also, the ride in the glass elevator up the City of London’s tallest building is quite a rush.

The Garden at 120
Address: 120 Fenchurch Street, London, EC3M 5BA
The new kid on the block and despite being the lowest (in terms of elevation) of the three, it is arguably the best space from a landscaping point of view. As yet comparatively undiscovered and a huge outdoor space with a restaurant below (14 Hills) showcasing the best in British produce served with Gallic flair from its French chef.

If you’d prefer a little retail therapy first, head for the shopping mecca of Oxford Street, where two of its most famous department stores have rooftop offerings.

Alto by San Carlo
Address: Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, London, W1A 1AB
Set high above the hustle and bustle, escape the city and enjoy drinks at the bar on the alfresco sun terrace, in a stunning Italian garden setting, or dinner in the restaurant – whatever the weather.

John Lewis Roof Garden
Address: 300 Oxford Street, London, W1C 1DX
Currently a Winter Carnival for the festive period (with a curling rink!), this large outdoor space changes with the seasons and has a wide variety of different foods, experiences, and entertainment on offer.

Sports enthusiasts may want to venture east to London’s Stratford area and first enjoy a visit to the sprawling Queen Elizabeth Park – home to the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Roof East
Address: Floors 7 & 8 Stratford Multi Storey Car Park, Great Eastern Way, London, E15 1XE
Another seasonal opener with crazy golf, retro arcade games, and Virtual Reality foosball! Street food and drinks are standard.

If you’d like to do a rooftop bar crawl once the sun is back out then head to London’s hippest hangout (and the 11th coolest neighbourhood in the world, according to travel guide Time Out).
Peckham SE15 has rooftops galore, from the achingly cool Franks Cafe to the more sophisticated wine bar terrace of Forza Wine.

Franks Cafe
Address: 10th Floor Multi-Storey Car Park, 95a Rye Lane, SE15 4TG (Summer Only)
Franks has been welcoming London’s coolest young crowd for over a decade, and you may need to get in line for this hipster hot spot at peak times. If it’s too busy, you can head down below to the equally trendy Peckham Levels (open year-round) with a wide range of drinks and an international selection of street food catering for everyone from vegans to diehard carnivores.

Bussey Building Rooftop
Address: 133 Rye Lane London, SE15 4SL (Summer only)
Generally less busy and with a higher vantage point than Franks, the Bussey also hosts a rooftop cinema, though the sensational views may distract you from the movie!

Forza Wine
Address: 133 Rye Ln, Peckham, London SE15 4ST
Right alongside the main Bussey Building but with a very different vibe, FW has indoor seating and a large outdoor terrace from which you can enjoy its extensive wine selection and a rather delicious selection of Italian tapas.

How about a bit of live music or cabaret to add to your evening? Just a short stroll from the other Peckham bars above is:

The CLF Art Lounge
Address: 4a Station Way, SE15 4RX
A long-term popup until 2021 (when the area will be regenerated) and sponsored by Hennessy (Cognac). This is a surprisingly salubrious lounge given the unassuming door you enter opposite Peckham Rye station. You can enjoy various live performances in a very laidback atmosphere and dine on Caribbean food if you’re feeling hungry.

Hopefully, this taster of just a few of the great rooftops London has to offer has whetted your appetite. Why not book a tour with a Blue Badge Tourist Guide and incorporate them into your day of sightseeing around this great city to add the proverbial cherry on top of your day.

David Drury

I LOVE London. I have travelled far and wide and believe wholeheartedly London is one of the GREAT cities. If you agree or need convincing let me show you around. I was born and grew up in Yorkshire but have lived in London since 1990 so have seen it…

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