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An outdoor terrace? In winter? In the UK? After the trials and tribulations of being forced to eat outside during the pandemic, the thought of shivering through another night on the town might not seem like your idea of fun. But hear us out, because, with plenty of experience now under their belts, London’s top hospitality venues are stepping up to the challenge of creating cosy chalets and heated rooftops that make for a memorable date night or perfect festive spot for dinner with friends. Here’s our guide to London’s best winter terraces and bars for 2021…

Central London

Dalloway Terrace, Bloomsbury

dalloway terrace winter

Since opening in 2017, Dalloway Terrace’s seasonally changing terrace has become an Instagram staple, adjoined to The Bloomsbury hotel. The restaurant, which is named after Bloomsbury local Virginia Woolf’s best-known character, has been transformed into a sparkling winter wonderland, with seasonal foliage and twinkling lights. Seasonal fare includes a cheese fondue for two or sample from the decadent Afternoon Tea and cocktail menus. Don’t fancy cooking your own Christmas dinner this year? Dalloway Terrace will be open on Christmas Day too.

16-22 Great Russell Street, WC1B 3NN,

The Terrace at The Beaumont, Mayfair

the beaumont terrace

Image: Cristian Barnett

Following an extensive refurbishment love the past few years, Mayfair’s glamorous Beaumont hotel has reopened its chic terrace, serving drinks and snacks from its adjoining 1920s-inspired Le Magritte bar. Settle into cosy rattan chain amid the lush greenery and sample signature serves, such as the Son of Man (gin, pineau des charentes, yellow chartreuse and rosemary syrup), alongside morsels from head chef Ben Boeynaems upscale comfort food menu.

Brown Hart Gardens, W1K 6TF,

Hush, Mayfair

hush marylebone terrace

Tucked away on a quiet courtyard in the heart of Mayfair, Hush’s year-round terrace is possibly one of the best-kept secrets in London fine dining (although, if you’ve ever tried to get a table on a balmy summer lunchtime, you may dispute this). Every few months the terrace gets a seasonal makeover and for winter 2022 the theme is Into The Woods. Created in partnership with Sly Dog Rum, expect fiery foliage, vintage trinkets and creative cocktails, including the powerful Wolfpack Punch (rum, mango chilli cordial, strawberry, lime, chilli liqueur, soda and absinthe).

No.8 Lancashire Court, W1S 1EY,

Kitchen at Holmes, Marylebone

kitchen at holmes winter terrace

Not content with just offering fine Mediterranean-influenced dining and top-notch drinks in its gorgeous rooftop setting, Kitchen at Holmes will be bringing back its hugely popular secret cinema for 2022. Launching on 17 November, cosy up in Alpine-style chalets with a glass of champagne to catch Christmas classics including The Holiday, Love Actually and It’s A Wonderful Life.

108 Baker Street, W1U 6LJ,

Aqua Kyoto, Soho

aqua kyoto terrace

Opting to take the colours of autumn through the colder months, Aqua Kyoto’s seasonal terrace has been designed to make the most of winter’s golden hour with silk maple leaves and an abundance of fairy lights. On the menu are a host of warming new cocktails, including the Geisha, a blend of sake, vodka, lychee and rose (recommended to pair with the restaurant’s signature lunch bento box). Fancy lingering over a more decadent meal? A four-course lunch menu promises treats including Koji chicken, miso salmon and rock shrimp tempura.

240 Regent Street, W1B 3BR,

Corinthia London, Embankment

Not heading to the slopes this Christmas? Corinthia London’s alpine-themed Winter Garden should help fill the après-ski-shaped hole in your life. Open now, the hotel’s al fresco restaurant, The Garden, has been redecorated for the winter season with alpaca blankets, glittering snow globes and two roaring fireplaces to keep you warm. Guests can enjoy a winter menu by André Garret of tarte flambée, beef cheek bourguignon and baked spätzle, as well as a selection of hot chocolates and warming spiced cocktails.

Whitehall Place, SW1A 2BD,

Four Seasons Park Lane, Mayfair

four seasons park lane winter terrace

The year-round terrace at the Four Seasons hotel on Park Lane will be home to one of London’s best Christmas trees this year, making it the perfect spot for indulging in some festive cheer. The menu, similarly, has undergone a transformation, with comforting classics such as veal Milanese, beetroot risotto and roast baby chicken added to the terrace’s usual menu of crowd-pleasing grills, steaks and salads.

Hamilton Place, W1J 7DR,

Lilly’s, Covent Garden

lillys covent garden

Like your mulled wine to come with a side of people-watching? Allow us to point you in the direction of Lilly’s. Located in the heart of the Covent Garden piazza, this highly indulgent restaurant from former Claridge’s pastry chef Kimberley Lin is the perfect spot for tucking into Gruyere fondue and a seasonal tipple while watching the world go by. When Christmas rolls around be sure to order a Sleigh Ride: cognac, Cointreau, orange juice, cranberry juice and champagne.

3 Henrietta Street, WC2E 8LU,

God’s Garden, Marylebone

god's garden terrace marylebone

Opening in the sheltered grounds of the gorgeous One Marylebone Church this November, God’s Garden is aptly entered via the greenhouse of Floward’s florists, revealing a hidden courtyard resplendent with an abundance of greenery and Persian-style tents. As well as a core menu of cocktails and winter serves from the Moët Hennessy bar, alongside an impressive food offering, there will be apres ski brunch parties, Sunday feasts, and live music every weekend.

1 Marylebone Road, NW1 4AQ,

Willows on the Roof, Oxford Street

willows on the roof

High above the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street, Willows on the Rooftop offers a moment of respite from its perch on top of John Lewis. Created by the Night Tales team, with a food and drink offering from Giz’n’Green, it offers chalet-style cabins and igloo pods, as well as heated terrace seating and a number of private areas available for hire. Head here to refuel during your Christmas shopping spree with jerk chicken wraps, wings and soul food from Raps alongside a cocktail or two.

300 Oxford Street, W1C 1DX,

West London

The Berkeley, Knightsbridge

the berkeley winter terrace

Offering what promises to be London’s most romantic winter date spot, you’ll have to book fast to secure a table in one of The Berkeley’s five cosy cabins. Decked out in festive wreaths, lanterns, candles and fairy lights, snuggle up under a blanket while tucking into a menu of hearty alpine-inspired fare, including a ‘cook-your-own’ raclette grill, oxtail soup with Gruyère croûte and apple tarte tatin.

Wilton Place, SW1X 7RL,

South London

Flat Iron Square, Borough

flat iron square winter terrace

Southwark’s popular Flat Iron Square eating and drinking venue has transformed into a Scandi-inspired winter garden for 2022. Limited-edition winter cocktails will be in hot demand, while the main square will offer DJs on Saturday nights, live music from Das Brass and screenings of all the World Cup matches alongside an eclectic range of foodie options from Good Slice, Streat Arepas, Lil’Watan, Gamekeeper and more. For those after something a little more intimate, a number of heated booths will be available to pre-book for private celebrations.

Flat Iron Square, SE1 1TD,

North London

Isla at The Standard, King’s Cross

isla the standard winter terrace

If you haven’t visited one of The Standard’s chic restaurants yet, where have you been? Riding the wave of interest brought to King’s Cross with the opening of Coal Drops Yard, The Standard opened in 2019 bringing with it the chic rooftop Decimo restaurant and laidback Mediterannean eatery Isla. The latter is also home to a seriously stylish al fresco terrace which, come winter, is decked out with blankets and a centerpiece open fire. The seasonal menu follows suit with warming all-day fare perfect for a group get-together or cosy date night.

10 Argyle Street, WC1H 8EG,

East London

Luca, Clerkenwell

luca terrace

With a magnificent outdoor fireplace, a retractable roof and the option to hire the entire space as a private dining room, the winter terrace at Luca in Clerkenwell is undoubtedly one of the best in the capital. The epitome of shabby chic, with exposed brick walls and a mosaic floor, food by Robert Chambers (formerly of Locanda Locatelli and The Ledbury) is equally stylish. Think upscale Italian classics such as parmesan fries, monkfish crudo and Cornish crab taglierini.

88 St John Street, EC1M 4EH,

Coq d’Argent, Bank

cog d'argent winter lodge

Didn’t manage to get a spot at The Berkeley? Head, instead, to the City’s Coq d’Argent which has restyled itself as Lodge d’Argent for the winter season, offering a series of alpine chalets available for exclusive use. A menu of bespoke cocktails, including a salted caramel espresso martini and Smoky Barrel whisky concoction, will be served alongside indulgent alpine bar snacks, such as charcuterie, pomme frites, chocolate fondant and cheese boards.

1 Poultry, EC2R 8EJ,

Enchanted Terrace Forest at The Happenstance, St Paul’s

Decked out in enormous ferns and vibrant fabrics, The Happenstance may not be able to guarantee warm weather but it will feel like a slice of winter sun. Food, meanwhile, is of the classic comforting pub variety while the real stars of the show are the cocktails. New seasonal serves include the Apple Punch (gin, fresh apple juice, winter spices, sugar and lemon) and the Winter Negroni (gin, Aperol and Scared vermouth).

10 Paternoster Square, EC4M 7DX,

Acme Fire Cult, Dalston

acme fire cult terrace

Image: Steve Ryan

There are hip East London restaurants and then there’s Acme Fire Cult. A collaboration between chefs Andrew Clark and Daniel Watkins and the 40FT Brewery in Dalston, it centres open-fire cooking with a focus on vegetables. As we said, it’s pretty hipster. Happily, the food is great (don’t miss the aubergine steak with sourdough mole) and its winter terrace features some classics – sheepskin rugs, twinkling fairy lights and enough heaters to ensure no one is left out in the cold. Those not a fan of beer will also be pleased to see a concise cocktail menu and a wine list by Half Cut Market-founder Holly Willcocks.

The Bootyard, Abbot Street, E8 3DP,

Read more: The best cocktail bars in London

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