Words by Jane Ryan
Sunshine in London is a much valued affair. Usually the city's attire is made up of cardigans and jackets,stockings and jeans. But on those rare gorgeous days when the parks are filled at lunch and everyone has jumped at the annual chance to wear their sunglasses there is only one place to be - on a rooftop bar with a cocktail in hand.
OXO TOWER BAR
Address:8th Floor, Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, SE1 9PH
Tel: +44 (0)20 7803 3888
Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-11pm; Sun noon-10.30pm
Up on 8th floor the bar is accessed by an express elevator from the 1st floor. Windows and the outside terrace beyond offer spectacular views over London, the Thames and St. Paul's Cathedral. With its louvered ceiling incorporating blue neon lights, the interior design is modern with a long white curvy Corian bar being the main feature. Tub chairs and low tables have uninterrupted views of the river.
For the full review click here.
Address: Double Tree Hilton Hotel7 Pepys Street, London EC3N 4AF, UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 7709 1000
Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-2am; Sun 11am-1am
Despite only reaching the lofty heights of the twelfth floor, Skylounge, as the name hints, has stunning views over the Tower of London, Tower Bridge and the Thames to the south and across to St Paul's Cathedral in the west.
Taking over the entire top floor the venue flows off a long hallway into the glass-walled bar and lounge area. The decor is sleek and modern. The real gem of this venue, however, is the outdoor terrace, although beware the under-18s before 6pm. Providing a relaxed open-air setting, both the north and south terraces offer panoramic vistas as well as an extensive menu of bottled beers, wines and BBQ snacks.
You'll have to deal with a baying City crowd but that aside, the atmosphere is jovial and, let's be honest, it's the view we came for.
Radio at me hotel
Address: ME Hotel, Aldwych, 336-337 Strand, London, WC2R 0EZ
Tel: +44 (0)20 7395 3440
Hours: Mon-Wed 11am-1am; Thurs-Sat 11am-3am; Sun 11am-10.30pm
St. Paul's, Tower Bridge, the Shard, the South Bank, London Eye, Big Ben: it's all about the view at Radio. Sure, it's luxurious, with a striking contemporary design, but the dual vista and the views of some of the capital's most iconic landmarks from a centrally located West End location are what you'll really come for. The heated terrace features plush seating and is sure to be one of the most in-demand rooftop spaces in London this summer.
For the full review click here.
Address: Heron Tower, (Nr Liverpool St Station), 110 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4AY
Tel: +44 (0)203 640 7330
Hours: Sun 11:30am-midnight; Mon-Wed 11:30am-1am; Thu 11:30am-2am; Fri-Sat 11:30am-3am
Whilst the two indoor bars offer stunning views themselves, the outdoor terraces that flank the restaurant are the real gem of the venue. Nestled under the beautiful orange tree the bar offers views across to skyscrapers like the Shard and the Gherkin.
Queen of Hoxton
Address:1-5 Curtain Rd, Shoreditch,EC2A 3JX
Tel: 020 7422 0958
Hours: Mon - Wed 5pm - 12am; Thurs - Sat 5pm - 2am; Sun 12pm - 12am.
Much more relaxed than any of the city bars this roof terrace is huge and chilled. Still boasting amazing views of the city but from the comfort of a deck chair and blanket they offer a variety of drinks, including early cheap Pimm's, and food.
Address:Golden Bee Singer St, Shoreditch, EC1V 9DD
Tel: 0207 253 1110
Hours: Tues - Thurs 4pm - Late; Fri 4pm - 3am; Sat 5pm-3:30am
Located near Old Street this bar is a bit over the top on decor - plush velvet curtains and shinny surfaces make it feel more like an underground nightclub. But the terrace itself is lovely, with a small bar, couches, heating and views over east London.
Address: 5th Floor, 30 Argyll Street, W1F 7EB.
Hours: Mon - Sat 12pm - 12am
Tel: 020 7478 0540
With stunning views over Soho and Mayfair it's easy to see why this bar becomes rammed with the glitzy west-end fashionistas. If you happen to be caught out by the rain the venue also offers a cava bar and a cocktail lounge inside.
Vista at the Trafalgar
Address: The Trafalgar, 2 Spring Gardens, Trafalgar Square, London SW1A 2TS
Tel: +44 (0)20 7870 2900
Hours:Mon - Sat 12.00pm - Midnight; Sun 12.00pm - 23.00pm
The perfect spot to enjoy Trafalgar Square without the tourists. With stunning views over Westminster and the embankment, this is a much underrated bar that's never as busy as you'd expect.