Wrap up warm and head to a rooftop or terrace bar and restaurant in London this winter.
The evenings may be getting shorter, but a rooftop bar or terrace is still one of our favourite places to be. Swap a summer dress for a cashmere scarf, a glass of rosé for a hot cocktail and a pink sunset for twinkling fairy lights, and you’re ready to feel full-on festive.
Thanks to seasonal installations and festive makeovers, sky-high venues reign supreme all year round – and come winter there are some absolute crackers in the capital.
To help you find the right bar for you, we’ve handpicked the most magical rooftops and terraces in the city. From a seasonally changing canopy of flowers (which is currently rust-coloured) to a cosy to a pop-up ice rink, and fairy-lit igloos.
Laduree x Moët & Chandon terrace
Two iconic French brands have come together in the centre of London, with the Laduree x Moët & Chandon terrace which sits in the heart of Covent Garden’s piazza.
Here, you’re invited to sit in a prime spot for people watching and listen to the performers that often populate this square, while sipping on some of the most luxurious champagne in the world.
It’s worth noting that, after parking yourself among Laduree’s picturesqueue pistachio green outdoor set-up, the macaron store is just seconds away. Browse rows of pastel-hued treats after a glass of the fizzy stuff - délicieuse.
On the menu, as well as ordering dishes such as lobster and creamy desserts and pastries, you can try the pop-up’s limited-edition cocktails the Belvedere Ginger Spritz and Moët Champagne Julep.
This terrace was much loved over the summer months and will be staying for Christmas, too, making it the perfect stop off after some shopping at the nearby market and boutiques.
London Secret Garden's winter domes
This winter, exploring London Secret Garden’s cosy domes is an absolute must. Not only can you book you and your friends in for dinner and enjoy an evening under the stars, but any big music fans out there will be thrilled to know each one is named after a different icon.
From George Michael to Prince, the domes each have their own theme, which we love. You can book a dome any day of the week, from 12noon to 10pm.
The Dalloway Terrace in Bloomsbury is famed for its seasonally changing decor that reflects the colours and blooms from winter to summer.
Right now it’s looking gloriously autumnal, with golden leaves carefully positioned together to create the most Instagrammable background we could imagine. Soon, though, it will be changing things up for its its winter makeover which features frost-dusted pine cones, glowy lighting and cosy throws (perfect for snuggling up in).
If you visit the Dalloway Terrace, though, don’t just go for a drink – the food is pretty spectacular too. Think the freshest of fish, such as grilled organic salmon and tiger prawns, alongside winter warmers including wild mushroom risotto and warm artichoke salad.
Aviary’s Rooftop Igloos
Aviary’s rooftop igloos, with their panoramic views of London from the top of luxury hotel, Montcalm Royal, are always a festive fave.
This year Aviary’s winter makeover is in partnership with Tanqueray No. Ten. For the chillier months guests will be able to treat themselves to exclusive premium gin cocktails garnished beautifully with citrus fruits and botanicals.
Continuing the citrus theme, the new igloos are adorned with fabulous foliage, sofas, chaise lounges, heaters and dangling lights for a magical winter rooftop experience.
If you book a dining igloo you’ll get the choice of the a la carte menu, which includes dishes such as duck breast, grilled duck hearts, carrot and bok choi and dark chocolate delice, peanut brittle and raspberry sorbet.
Igloos can accommodate up to six people, so it’s a special place to get together for a night under the stars.
Note: booking is essential.
If you’re in need of a central city escape, this opulent restaurant ought to do the trick. You’ll find the lift to Coq d’Argent slap bang in the middle of Bank, but as soon as you walk out of those retracting doors and onto the open air terrace, you’ll forget the hustle and bustle of London instantly.
With attentive staff and an impressive wine menu, this French eatery is a haven from spring to winter.
If you want to skate yourself silly, then East London rooftop Skylight is the place.
Located a short walk from Shadwell Station, the uber cool bar and (temporary) ice rink sits among the Tabacco Docks in a converted car park, with incredible views of the London skyline.
The multi-levelled space has lots of outdoors benches and cosy seats for those wishing to sip seasonal cocktails and mulled wine under the stars. When things get chillier you can wander down to the enclosed area, where your cockles will be well and truly warmed with a selection of street food vendors.
With the Pall Mall and Buckingham Palace on one side, and the historic Trafalgar Square and National Gallery on the other, you couldn’t be in more of prime London spot than at The Rooftop at Trafalgar St James. This hotel has it all: from the baby-blue marble bar downstairs to the super slick suites and, of course, the reason we’re all here, the atmospheric rooftop bar and restaurant.
The views from this sky-high space show off the bright lights of some of the city’s most loved tourist attractions and landmarks, and with both alfresco and covered seating you can choose how close to the action you want to be.
The hotel is known for crafting exceptional cocktails as well as having a respected wine list, complimented by its selection of small plates.
Images: Courtesy of venues