London might not have the most reliable weather, but when the sun does come out to play we know how to make the most of it.
And as ways of enjoying the sun go, it’s hard to beat settling into a superb beer garden for the afternoon.
Here are London’s best, shown on the map below and also listed in alphabetical order.
The Albion, Islington
This stylish but understated gem of a pub is a Georgian masterpiece located on a leafy Barnsbury backwater just off Angel’s Upper Street. The pretty walled garden has wisteria-covered wooden pergolas – ideal for an alfresco lunch. It does a great Sunday roast, too.
10 Thornhill Road, N1 1HW; the-albion.co.uk
The Avalon, Balham
A Balham Hill stalwart, the classy Avalon caters for long leisurely lunches and big groups. It boasts a sprawling decked garden perfect for some alfresco sampling of their top pub grub.
16 Balham Hill, SW12 9EB; theavalonlondon.com
The Captain Kidd, Wapping
One of Wapping’s oldest riverside pubs, this local favourite has a whopping outdoor area boasting plenty of seats and spectacular vistas. You can almost smell the sea breeze wafting in, but that might just be the scampi.
108 Wapping High Street, E1W 2NE
The County Arms, Wandsworth
The shady patio garden of this gastropub is spacious enough to make getting a bench a reality, and less busy than many others in the area are on a hot day. Come the weekend you’ll often find a barbecue in action, too.
345 Trinity Road, SW18 3SH; countyarms.co.uk
The Crabtree Tavern, Hammersmith
Sitting on the stretch of river between Hammersmith and Putney bridges, this grandiose Victorian pub has several outdoor spaces, and views across the Thames to Barnes and the London Wetland Centre. Try and grab the seats under the weeping willow and spend a lazy Sunday afternoon watching the rowers breaking a sweat on the water.
Rainville Road, W6 9HA; thecrabtreew6.co.uk
Duke of Edinburgh, Brixton
Tucked away from the main Brixton bustle, this lovely local with a truly enormous (by London standards) garden creates enough atmosphere all of its own. The paved courtyard is wonderfully leafy, and White Men Can’t Jerk are in residence providing excellent jerk chicken and other Caribbean-inspired dishes.
204 Ferndale Road, SW9 8AG; dukeofedinburghpub.com
The Ealing Park Tavern, Ealing
This neighbourhood boozer boasts an impressive outside space kitted out with fake grass, bunting and some colourful furniture plus some covered booths to provide either shelter or shade. The centrepiece is a ping pong table, so watch out for stray balls.
222 South Ealing Road, W5 4RL; ealingparktavern.co.uk
Edinboro Castle, Camden
Afternoons easily slip into long evenings at this lovely little bolthole, tucked away behind Mornington Crescent. It has a good-sized garden covered in welcoming foliage, with the added bonus of a convenient mini-marquee, heaters and fairy lights for when the evening chill descends.
57 Mornington Terrace, NW1 7RU; edinborocastlepub.co.uk
The Faltering Fullback, Finsbury Park
This lively Irish pub may not have the largest beer garden in town, but it might be able to claim the cleverest use of space. When faced with the difficulty of a small yard, the owners took the only option available to them and decided to build upwards. The effect is a cosy, but surprisingly spacious, split-level affair with a range of decking and tables. An early afternoon suntrap just a stone’s throw from Finsbury Park station.
19 Perth Road, N4 3HB; thefullback.co.uk
The Half Moon, Herne Hill
There’s an outdoor bar, barbecue area, a central fire pit and plenty of seating in this Fuller’s pub’s spacious garden - plus a supersized Connect Four and other outdoor games. The food is good, too
10 Half Moon Lane, SE24 9HU; halfmoonhernehill.co.uk
The Junction Tavern, Tufnell Park
The Junction Tavern’s beer garden is all chipped wooden tables and bare-brick walls with a kitchen boasting some superb best grilled meats in north London. Grab a bench, eat a steak and sip on a pint of Junction Ale in the sun.
101 Fortess Road, NW5 1AG; junctiontavern.co.uk
The Magic Garden, Battersea
With fairy lights, plump sofas and a giant teepee all on hand, a visit to this pub is a bit like going to a festival. There are regular live bands, decent pub food and the beer garden is open until midnight.
231 Battersea Park Road, SW11 4LG; magicgardenpub.co.uk
People’s Park Tavern, Victoria Park
The sprawling garden at this leafy venue is filled with brightly-coloured tables, and even some small huts for sitting in if you can manage to nab one. There’s good gastropub grub on offer, while the People’s Pints — pulled straight from the pub’s in-house micro-brewery — are a highlight for beer fans.
360 Victoria Park Road, E9 7BT; peoplesparktavern.pub
Pub on the Park, Hackney
This east London local boasts what has to be one of the most conveniently placed beer gardens in the capital. Sitting just inside London Fields, Pub on the Park’s tree-lined garden spills out onto the park, with punters not short of grassy space on which to spread out and relax. While it can get very busy when the sun visits, the festival atmosphere makes it a great bet for a chilled-out afternoon.
19 Martello Street, E8 3PE; pubonthepark.com
The Ship, Wandsworth
This busy pub makes the most of its glorious riverside location, with space to sit and drink in the sun on all sides. There’s good food, great burgers and plenty of beer from pub owners Young’s and beyond, while on the sunniest days you’ll find an outdoor grill and extra alfresco bar to help keep up with demand.
41 Jews Row, SW18 1TB; theship.co.uk
The Sun, Camberwell
Set on Coldharbour LAne between Brixton and Camberwell, this pub boasts a big selection of beers, an impressive selection of food and – best of all – a lovely big beer garden for eating and drinking in.
61-63 Coldharbour Lane, SE5 9NS; suncamberwell.com
The White Horse, Parsons Green
Sitting on the corner of Parsons Green Road, the garden of this buzzing Fulham local is well positioned for sitting and watching the world go by – hence its popularity with the well-heeled residents who gave it its ‘Sloaney Pony’ nickname. It is also renowned for its superb range of 150 bottled and 20 draft beers.
1-3 Parson’s Green, SW6 4UL; whitehorsesw6.com
The Windsor Castle, Notting Hill
This Holland Park venue has a real rustic charm and a huge heated beer garden – ideal if the sun proves elusive. Inside its all wood and cosy, candle-lit alcoves, outside the ivy-clad garden creates a peaceful idyll for whiling away those long summer evenings.
114 Campden Hill Road, W8 7AR, thewindsorcastlekensington.co.uk