Best London restaurants for al fresco dining

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British summers may be unpredictable, but Londoners love nothing more than dining al fresco... here's our pick of the best London restaurants with outdoor space   

If you’re travelling to London this summer the city’s thriving restaurant scene will leave you spoiled for choice, with more than 60 venues and counting holding at least one coveted Michelin star. And for a country not blessed with reliably good weather, the capital boasts a surprising number of al fresco dining options. But fear not - this is England, after all, and most establishments are prepared for the occasional downpour with heaters and blankets on hand for chillier days. To help you choose, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite courtyard, terrace and rooftop restaurants so you can make the most of the great British summer time. Be sure to pack a sweater and sunscreen, just in case, and book ahead to avoid disappointment. When the sun does come out, the Brits descend en masse to any venue with outdoor space! 

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1. Stanley's Chelsea

Inspired by quintessential English countryside retreat, Stanley's models itself as a secret garden in the heart of Chelsea. Its thoughtful menu caters to meat eaters and vegetarians alike, focussing on fresh, seasonal produce prepared with precision and flair. Come for coffee or lunch and dogs are welcome, too!
Address: 151 Sydney Street, Chelsea, London, SW3 6NT
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Pantechnicon Japanese & Nordic restaurant London

2. Pantechnicon 

Fashionable Motcomb Street in Belgravia is home to this five-story Nordic-Japanese food and retail arcade. Granted, it’s an usual concept, but it's a worthwhile addition to your London address book. The ground floor plays host to the UK’s first Café Kitsuné serving exquisite Tokyo-style coffee, but the jewel in Pantechnicon’s crown is the third-floor Roof Garden restaurant, showcasing seasonal Nordic small plates in a glorious garden setting designed by Finnish horticulturalist Taina Suonio.  
Address: 19 Motcomb Street, London, SW1X 8LB
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3. Toklas, Temple

A mere stones throw from the Strand, this stylishly simple restaurant is mercifully shielded from London traffic and exudes an air of quiet calm. Menu-wise, seafood takes centre stage with a delightful Mediterranean twist to liven things up, although do leave room for dessert...
Address: 1 Surrey Street, London., WC2R 2ND
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The Petersham Floral Court / Covent Garden

4. La Goccia, Petersham Nurseries- Covent Garden 

The Covent Garden outpost of the original Petersham Nurseries in Richmond is set within a Grade-II listed building in the bustling heart of London. La Goccia is decked out to evoke the idyllic Tuscan countryside (as much as one can in central London!), and the Italian-based al la carte menu is unashamedly seasonal, using organic produce from the Richmond nursery and Devon farm.
Address: 2 Floral Court, London, WC2E 9FB
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Dalloway Terrace, Bloomsbury Hotel, London

5. Dalloway Terrace, Bloomsbury Hotel

Part of the Bloomsbury Hotel, this secluded bloom-filled terrace is one of London's most Instagrammable restaurants. The all-day menu is quintessentially English shot through with international flavors, or try the delightful afternoon tea. A great option for casual dining in a tranquil setting, and the retractable roof and heaters ensure it’s weatherproof! 
Address: 16-22 Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3NN
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Bluebird restaurant Chelsea, London

6. Bluebird Cafe & Courtyard

This perennially popular eatery is a Chelsea institution, serving up modern European dishes with a side order of people watching in its spacious courtyard off the King’s Road. On sunny days, the atmosphere is hard to beat, while the solid - if not overly-adventurous menu - caters to all tastes. Separate menus for brunch and roast dinners are also available. London’s quintessential place to see and be seen. 
Address: 350 King's Road, London, SW3 5UU
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7. Sushi Samba - Covent Garden

Noted for its 'living canopy' ceiling, Sushi Samba Covent Garden is just as impressive as it's Heron Tower big sister, with a menu which skilfully blends Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian flavors. It's illustrious location, perched atop the Grade II-listed Market Building, makes it the perfect spot to while away an hour or two with friends while indulging in a little people watching...
Address: 35 The Market Building, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8RF
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8. The Maine, Mayfair

Those in search of a quiet haven in central London should make a beeline to The Maine. Tucked away in a restored Georgian townhouse with exquisite period features, expect delicious fresh seafood, among other tasty morsels, with a side helping of old world elegance. 
Address: Unit 6, Medici Courtyard, Back Entrance of 20 Hanover Square, London, W1S 1JY
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Le Pont de la Tour / London

9. Le Pont de la Tour

Top-notch French cooking and a photogenic location next to London’s iconic Tower Bridge - it’s easy to see why Le Pont de la Tour has retained its place as a stylish go-to destination on the capital's restaurant scene. The a la carte menu is a treat, but the good-value set menu is an excellent option for those who favor a lighter meal on the coveted terrace with views of the bridge. 
Address: 36D Shad Thames, London, SE1 2YE
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The Courtyard, Ham Yard Restaurant, London

10. The Courtyard, Ham Yard Restaurant (Ham Yard Hotel, Soho)

The heated tree-lined courtyard at the Ham Yard Restaurant is an oasis of calm in the heart of Soho, serving a seasonal British menu in elegant surroundings. In addition to the award-winning afternoon tea and a la carte options, pre-theater and set menus are also available and offer excellent value. The courtyard is lovely, but be sure to venture inside for to appreciate the eclectic interiors by renowned designer Kit Kemp - it’s a treat to behold! Read more   

11. The Ivy Chelsea Garden

One of London's loveliest garden restaurants, The Ivy Chelsea Garden is perennially popular and has a retractable roof for when the Great British weather lets us down. Go for the beautifully designed landscapes by Ginkgo Gardens and stay for its mouthwatering steaks and salmon with truffle hollandaise. Booking essential during the summer months. 
Address: 195-197 King's Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 5EQ
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12. The Orangery at Number Sixteen, South Kensington

This delightful al fresco courtyard is an oasis in the city, with tasteful french-style bistro furniture and manicured hedges set around a koi-filled pond. Owned by Firmdale Group, the same company behind Kit Kemp's Ham Yard Hotel, it takes its queues from it's bigger, bolder sister but is ultimately more restrained and laid-back. Perfect for long lunches and brunches with friends. 
Address: 16 Sumner Place, South Kensington, London, SW7 3EG
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- Visit our London listings for even more restaurant ideas