In Depth

13 best beer gardens in London

Ten of the best places in London to grab a pint on a hot day

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From gardens on the river to refurbished car parks, here are ten of the best beer gardens in London for revellers to bask in the summer heat: 

The Albion, Islington

This North London boozer describes itself as “a Georgian gem left over from a time when Islington was fields and farmland”. Covered in wisteria and potted plants, the beer garden has a whimsical, fairy-tale-like feel to it.

The Wood House, Sydenham

The former home of Joseph Paxton, the architect who designed the Crystal Palace, The Wood House is so large it nearly soabs two postcodes. There’s a plethora of food if you get hungry during your night out, and you can book a table in one of the pub's giant bird boxes.

The Half Moon, Herne Hill

Formerly a music venue, The Half Moon is now a luxurious hotel with an upmarket restaurant - but don’t worry, it is far from stiff or formal, with a bustling beer garden and, on warmer days, an outdoor kitchen. The garden is delightful, filled with bike racks, a firepit, a separate outdoor bar and a barbecue shack. Welsh poet Dylan Thomas drank here, possibly finding the inspiration for Under Milk Wood while “standing in the pub doorway and looking across the street to the sign for Milkwood Road”, writes The Guardian.

The Castle, Tooting

This garden, on the site of a former car park, has various outdoor seating areas including cabana-style huts (or, as the pub would have it, “mini-castles”)  and outdoor heating on demand. There is even a Burger Shack on site to meet all your cravings, promising “the most chin dribbling burgers in South West London”.

The Dolphin, Sydenham

The Independent  calls this garden a “modernist masterpiece” for its elegant box hedging and hidden corners. The garden alone warrants a visit, especially when the pub stages live performance - previous gigs include live theatre and a string quartet.

The Canonbury, Islington

George Orwell wrote part of 1984 in The Canonbury’s pub garden, or so the pub likes to claim. Gas Holder writes that the enormous seating space could “house half of Islington, not to mention willowy trees and flowerbeds in bloom”. Additionally, the menu is extensive and swanky, with dishes like duck breast and salmon tartare.

The Faltering Fullback, Finsbury Park

This beer garden is genuinely that - a full-on garden, complete with decking and luscious greenery, spread over four levels replete with nooks and crannies to find a getaway to enjoy your drink on a hot summer day.

The Gun, Docklands

If you’re looking to enjoy the cooling breeze of the River Thames in the hot weather, head for a riverside beer garden like The Gun. The East End boozer, located on the tip of the Isle of Dogs, plays host to summer barbecues as well as a more rarefied sit-down dining menu.

The City Barge, Strand on the Green, Chiswick

Another great riverside option, The City Barge has recently been refurbished and boasts a garden with riverside views. The food menu is lengthy and appealing, with pub grub mixed in with slightly more ambitious dishes, such as the “mille-feuille of white and green asparagus with morel beurre blanc” and a surprisingly extensive wine list to boot.

The White Swan, Twickenham

Frequented by the likes of Keira Knightley, Johnny Depp and Keeley Hawes, The White Swan is one of London’s best-kept secrets. Tucked away near Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, the 17th-century inn may be a bit of a trek for central city-dwellers, but it is a true hidden gem, with a garden right on the river.

Avalon, Balham

The more gardens the merrier, right? Avalon has three outdoor seating settings available, with terraces on the front and the side as well as a massive garden in the back. Sit out in the sun, or secluded in a shady booth to enjoy a stoned baked pizza or Josper-grilled meats while sipping a summer cocktail.

The Prince, West Kensington

Pub meets food hall at this 850 seat, street-wide beer garden. The founders of The Prince took over four old buildings on Lillie Rd in South West London and converted them into four separate restaurants and three bars with one massive shared garden. The whole thing is covered and heated, but pergolas covered in greenery and flowers maintain the outdoorsy feel and add to the cute aesthetic.

People’s Park Tavern, South Hackney

This hacienda-style garden’s atmosphere makes it feel like you’re “drinking in the park, but without having to periodically wander around looking for a loo,” says Time Out .

The perfect place for serious beer-lovers, they have their own on-site microbrewery and a tap room stocked with 70 brands from around the world. The mini park has an outdoor kitchen and DJs on the weekend, creating ideal summer vibes.

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