The biggest and best pub and beer gardens in London

A place in the sun: drink up the sunshine in one of London’s top beer gardens   (Shutterstock / DavideAngelini)
A place in the sun: drink up the sunshine in one of London’s top beer gardens (Shutterstock / DavideAngelini)

A pint in the sun is a precious thing; the sunlight trickling through the beer, the gentle snorts of laughter, the sound of crisp packets being torn open for sharing.

London’s pub scene still heaves with glorious spots to drink in, though it’s little surprise that outside space is still a tricky find in some parts of town. That said, when the sun comes out, even the most gloomy local seems to find some chairs and a lager-branded canvas barrier to pop-up a makeshift terrace.

But while these will do in a thirsty pinch, some places go a little further. From picturesque riverside terraces to lively neighbourhood boozers, here are some of our favourite pub gardens across London.

Pub on the Park

A favourite with bigger groups, there are fantastic views of London Fields to be had from this smart pub garden, which is always buzzing. If it seems a little busy, grab a takeaway pint and head into the nearby park.

19 Martello St, E8 3PE,

The Albion

This handsome, wisteria-covered pub is worth a visit whatever the weather, with a series of small, connected rooms inside, and a country-pub feel. The food is good, the beer’s well-kept and there’s a cocktail list that’s half-decent, too. Out the front is a small strip of outside seating, that often gets the waning evening sun and quickly fills up. At the back, the space is huge, with rows of park-style benches under parasols and, in some cases, vines and willows.

10 Thornhill Road, N1 1HW,

The Sun of Camberwell

This pub boasts a big selection of beers, an impressive food menu and – best of all – a lovely big beer garden, which they’ve covered to see off the unpredictable British summer weather. Brixton and surrounds is spoiled for choice for boozers, and this is one of the best.

Coldharbour Lane, SE5 9NS,

People’s Park Tavern

One of the biggest and leafiest pub gardens in east London (with plenty of pretty bunting to boot). Be sure to try one of the craft beers from its on-site microbrewery.

360 Victoria Park Road, E9 7BT,

The Red Lion

As well as being one of the nicest boozers in east London, with plenty of great stuff on offer from the kitchen and a good selection of real ales, this smart pub opens up out the back with a spacious courtyard. They’ll open with covers, too, in case of rain.

640 High Road Leytonstone, E11 3AA,

The Crown and Greyhound

Not far from Dulwich Hamlet’s stadium at Champion Hill, the Crown and Greyhound is a sweeping, lively pub stocked well with craft beers and ales and jazzy cocktails. The terrace is sizeable, and decent pub grub is available on it as well as inside. A good pub to watch the football, too.

73 Dulwich Village, SE21 7BJ,

Big Penny Social

“Food, drink and fun times for everyone” runs the simplistic albeit accurate tagline for this place. While inside it’s known for live music, club vibes and plenty of entertainment, outside the space is massive too, and kept to simply being a cracking beer garden, among the biggest in east London. The whole place has room for 1,400, so nabbing a table somewhere shouldn’t prove too tricky.

1 Priestley Way, Walthamstow, E17 6AL,

The Leyton Star

Enter this characterful local favourite and you’ll see a lovely central bar, with a decent space for drinking and dining. Out the back, things come alive, with a surprisingly spacious paved beer garden with plenty of benches and places to sit out in the sun.

116 High Road Leyton, E15 2BX,

The Duke of Edinburgh

Tucked away from the main Brixton bustle, this lovely local with a truly enormous garden creates practically rattles with atmosphere. The paved courtyard is wonderfully leafy, and White Men Can’t Jerk are still in residence providing, you guessed it, finely done jerk chicken and other Caribbean-inspired dishes.

204 Ferndale Road, SW9 8AG;

The White Horse

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,

The Hope and Anchor

Brixton clearly is full to bursting with top beer gardens, and the Hope and Anchor is no exception. This one is a beautiful spot – the hanging flowers and fairy-lights see to that – and has a reputation as one for a Prosecco-fuelled party. The outdoor cabins help when the heavens open.

123 Acre Lane, SW2 5UA,

The Crabtree Tavern

Sitting on the stretch of river between Hammersmith and Putney bridges, this grand 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. A personal favourite.

Rainville Road, W6 9HA,

The White Swan

It’s one of the most idyllic places in London, and one of our favourite pubs in the capital. The outdoor veranda and sitting areas feel like a different world to the busy city, and they’re some of the best places to spend a summer afternoon. You’ll probably be lucky to get a spot, though.

Riverside, Twickenham, TW1 3DN,

The White Hart

Another gem in the Antic pub chain roster – same owners as the Sun of Camberwell, above – The White Hart is an unsung favourite in Stoke Newington. The massive pub garden is a sun-trap packed with inviting tables. And the food here is decent.

69 Stoke Newington High Street, N16 8EL,

The Prince

It’s probably one of the most versatile venues in the city: the Prince’s pretty dining room can be transformed into a huge beer garden with a retractable roof at this popular spot in Earl’s Court. Expect it to be packed.

14 Lillie Road, SW6 1TT,

Anchor Bankside

Found right in the middle of one of the most tourist-friendly areas of London, this pub on Bankside – a few minutes from Borough Market and the Globe – is blessed with plenty of space outside the front. Ideal for a pint or two right by the Thames and walk-ins are welcome.

34 Park St, SE1 9EF,

The Duke of Hamilton

Found a short walk in the direction of the heath from Hampstead station, this charming pub is one to make a trip for in north west London. The front garden has a limit of 25 people and the back garden has a capacity of 40, so bookings are advised though walk-ins are permitted if there’s room. There’s an awning in case of bad weather.

23-25 New End, NW3 1JD,

The Eagle

This Shepherd’s Bush pub is all about the snazzy garden, which makes for one of the best outdoor pub spaces in west London. It’s huge, with plenty of comfy chairs and its own bar, and the entire space is covered and filled with heaters.

215 Askew Road, W12 9AZ,

The Canonbury Tavern

Historic Islington pub the Canonbury is worth a visit all year round, but the garden helps it come into its own in the summer. It was also one of the pubs frequented by George Orwell, who wrote parts of 1984 while sitting in the garden back in the Forties.

21 Canonbury Place, N1 2NS,

The Avalon

A Balham Hill stalwart, the Avalon caters for long leisurely lunches and big groups and is family friendly to boot. It boasts not one but three outdoor spaces, made up of a courtyard, a terrace, and a beautiful main garden. A local favourite for good reason. Rowdy(ish) later on.

16 Balham Hill, SW12 9EB,

Edinboro Castle

Afternoons easily slip into long evenings at this lovely little bolt hole, 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,

Tir Na NOg

 (Flickr/Ewan Munro)
(Flickr/Ewan Munro)

This Irish pub in Wandsworth — absolutely not the posh side — a classic south London bolt hole filled with live music, sports and warm hospitality. The lovely little garden out the back isn’t large but it is glorious. A place to while away afternoons.

107 Garratt Lane, SW18 4DW,

Perry Hill Pub

This family friendly boozer in south east London boasts an enormous walled beer garden, part leafy and calming, part decking, some areas covered, else open to the elements. It’s an excellent place for a pint and super affordable bar snacks; otherwise, the main menu brings brilliant classics, from ham, egg and chips to hot smoked salmon. On Mondays and Tuesday, £10 hotdogs.

78 - 80 Perry Hill, SE6 4EY,