We have teamed up with DesignMyNight to bring us the best roofs and terraces in London for these important family gatherings. While major wedding ceremonies may still be on hold, you can soon be celebrating with loved ones at these outdoor London hotspots.
Words from Leighanne Bent
10 of the best rooftops and patios for family reunions
Your cousin is two hours late; Your father-in-law questions your other half about the Crystal Palace game. and when the bill hits you wonder who the hell ordered 10 hunter bombs. Family reunions are far from boring and while you are probably still waiting for your cousin David to come for the final meeting, there is no comparable time to start planning your next shindig.
Let’s get down to business. Pergola Olympia isn’t where you’d want to bring your nan, but it’s a hell of a brilliant place to book for those knee-high occasions with the fun side of the family. Experience the sunset at this botanical beauty in the sky as you move through the various self-service restaurants and bars. If you’re here on a Wednesday night, get the most out of the bottomless G & Ts for £ 25 a pop.
Your last family portrait was taken in 2012 and you had bangs that haunt you to this day? Keyword sea bird. Sitting nicely at the Hoxton Hotel in Southwark, they’re sure to provide the backdrop for your next family vacation (minus the uneven edges). This open-air area looks less like London than New York, with green palm trees and sweeping views of the city. As for the food in this tropical paradise? It’s all about fresh seafood.
If talking to all of your female relatives is on the agenda, there is only one place for it and that is Dalloway Terrace. This outdoor terrace changes appearance with the seasons, from autumn to summer, and the setting is perfect for intimate gatherings. We recommend putting afternoon tea on your agenda. However, if this doesn’t spoil your taste buds, the all-day menu will grab your attention.
The recurring problem at a family reunion? The site. Avoid your loved ones moaning by reserving a table at The Lighterman. This gem is within walking distance of King’s Cross station and with connecting trains from almost everywhere (including Hogwarts) there is no room for comment that is too far away. The canal bar and restaurant have a spectacular Sunday roast menu, pitchers of seasonal cocktails for just £ 30, and an outdoor deck with soothing views of the water.
A restaurant worth leaving dry land for? Barge East is a floating restaurant in Hackney and hands down one of the coolest restaurants in East London. Hop aboard the 114-year-old barge with the Famalam and take advantage of your unique seats by booking in advance. The captain’s cabin offers space for up to 10 people. If you’re a big old bunch, the top deck can accommodate groups of up to 26 people with breathtaking views of the water. As for the menu? They have everything from juicy and bottomless brunch to homely Sunday roasts.
601 Queen’s Road
A great evening with the family, not your jam? 601 Queen’s Road is a fantastic daytime restaurant in Wimbledon with a brightly lit wraparound terrace ideal for small al fresco gatherings. They have a weekend menu of brunch favorites with the option to add bottomless prosecco, mojitos, mimosas and soft drinks. Eating out with some vegans? They have a full menu for plant-based dishes and a drinks menu for anything G&T related.
Is your family a wild bunch? Do not worry. If there’s one thing anywhere that keeps them watered and occupied, it’s Skylight. This roof in Wapping used to be an old parking lot, but has been completely redesigned over the years. A number of lawn games have been brought to the skies in the summer, and pop-up igloos and ice skating are offered in the winter. The view of London is something else too: it shows the city’s most famous buildings right before your eyes.
Rounding up the family for a demanding day or night may only happen once in a blue moon for some. So why not let the next one count? Skylark is a New York City rooftop restaurant in Paddington with lots of personality and is sure to please the most awkward of relatives. Cocktails are their specialty and they have a special pizza menu when you order one too many pornstar martinis when you inevitably argue about them those embarrassing childhood stories.
Victoria Aviation Club
If your family has a competitive series they will love Flight Club. In this activity bar, the kings of interactive social darts, you and your family will snap selfies, split into teams, and battle for eternal glory. There are many games to choose from and they have huge trophy cocktails if you want to rub yourself in that you are the champion after the last arrow is thrown. In the losing team? You can drown your worries in peace in your garden with an outdoor exhibition center.
When we say the driver has everything We think it has everything. With a penthouse, a lounge bar, a gastro pub and a roof terrace, it is a dream when it comes to family celebrations. Better yet, you can rent out the outside space for larger celebrations where it’s worth having the space all to yourself. Once again, this hidden gem is not far from King’s Cross, which means it’s easy to get to if you knock out the tube.
For more information on rooftop bars in London and across the UK, visit DesignMyNight.com. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook. @DesignMyNight.