We’ve teamed up with DesignMyNight to provide us with the best rooftops and terraces in London for those all-important family gatherings. While big wedding ceremonies may still be on hold, soon you can celebrate with your nearest and dearest at these outdoor London hotspots.
Words by Leighanne Bent
10 of the Best Rooftops and Terraces For Family Get Togethers
Your cousin is two hours late; your father-in-law is quizzing your other half on the Crystal Palace game; and when the bill arrives you’re wondering who the hell ordered 10 Jägerbombs. Family get-togethers are far from boring and although you’re still probably waiting on your cousin David to arrive at the last gathering, there’s no time like the present to start planning your next shindig.
Let’s cut to the chase. Pergola Olympia is not somewhere you want to bring your nan but it is a bloody brilliant spot to book for those knees-up occasions with the fun side of the family. Catch the sunset at this botanical beauty in the sky as you make your way around the various self-serve restaurants and bars. If you happen to find yourself here on a Wednesday evening, make sure you make the most of their bottomless G&Ts for £25 a pop.
Your last family portrait was taken in 2012 and you had bangs that – to this day – still haunt you? Cue Seabird. Sitting pretty atop The Hoxton Hotel in Southwark, it’s sure to provide you all with the backdrop to your next family snap together (minus the uneven fringe). This open-air alfresco space is less like London and more like New York with leafy palm trees and sweeping city vistas. As for the food at this tropical paradise? It’s all about fresh seafood.
If a catch-up with all your female relatives is on the agenda, there’s only one place for it, and that’s Dalloway Terrace. This alfresco terrace changes its look with the seasons, from autumn right through to the summer, and the setting is perfect for intimate gatherings. We recommend adding their afternoon tea to your agenda but if that’s not tickling your tastebuds, the all-day menu is sure to grab your attention.
The recurring issue when having a family get-together? The location. Avoid the moans from your loved ones by booking a table at The Lighterman. This gem is only a few minutes’ stroll from King’s Cross station and with connecting trains from just about everywhere (including Hogwarts), there’s no room for ‘that’s too far away’ comments. The canal-side bar and restaurant has a spectacular Sunday roast menu, jugs of seasonal cocktails for as little as £30 and an alfresco terrace with calming views of the water.
A dining spot that’s worth stepping off dry land for? Barge East is a floating restaurant in Hackney and is hands-down one of the coolest places to eat in East London. Jump aboard the 114-year-old barge with the famalam and make the most of their unique spaces by booking ahead. The Captain’s Cabin seats up to 10 people and if you’re a big old bunch, the top deck – which has stunning waterside views – seats groups of up to 26. As for the menu? They have everything from boozy and bottomless brunch to homely Sunday roasts.
A big night out with the family not your kinda jam? 601 Queen’s Road is a fantastic daytime restaurant in Wimbledon with a fairy light-lit wrap around terrace that’s ideal for small gatherings outdoors. They have a weekend menu boasting brunch favourites with the option to add on bottomless prosecco, mojitos, mimosas and soft drinks too. Dining with some vegans? They have a full menu for plant-based dishes and a drinks menu for all things G&T.
Your family’s a wild bunch? Not to worry. If there’s anywhere to keep them watered and occupied, it’s Skylight. This rooftop in Wapping used to be an old car park but it’s had a major facelift over the years, bringing a series of lawn games to the skies during summer and pop-up igloos and ice skating come winter. The views of London are something else too, laying out the city’s most iconic buildings right in front of your very eyes.
Rounding up the family for a sophisticated day or night out might only happen once in a blue moon for some, so why not make the next one count. Skylark is a rooftop restaurant in Paddington with plenty of NYC personality and is sure to please the fussiest of relatives. Cocktails are their specialty and they have a dedicated pizza menu if you order one too many Pornstars Martinis when inevitably discussing those embarrassing childhood stories.
If your family has a competitive streak, they’re sure to love Flight Club. The kings of interactive social darts, this activity bar will see you and your family taking selfies, splitting into teams and battling it out for eternal glory. There’s lots of games to choose from and they have huge sharing trophy cocktails if you’d like to rub it in that you’re the champions after the final dart has been thrown. On the losing team? You can drown your sorrows in peace in their alfresco fairground-themed garden.
When we say The Driver has it all, we mean it has it all. Boasting a penthouse, saloon bar, gastro pub and roof terrace, it’s a dream when it comes to family gatherings. Better again, you can hire out their outdoor space for those bigger celebrations where it’s worth having the place all to yourselves. Once again, this hidden gem isn’t far from King’s Cross meaning it’s easy peasy to get to once you tap out of the tube.
For more info on rooftop bars in London and across the UK, visit DesignMyNight.com and follow them on Instagram and Facebook; @DesignMyNight.