Discover London’s hidden restaurant courtyards and secret dining terraces

Many central London restaurants put a few tables and chairs outside when the temperature rises, but don’t be fooled: you could end up sharing your dinner with traffic fumes, two metres from the gutter. To alfresco like a Londoner, pick one of these pretty, tucked-away restaurant courtyards. 

The Bistro courtyard at Bleeding Heart bistro Farringdon london alfresco
The Bistro courtyard at Bleeding Heart, Farringdon
This district is mainly frequented by office workers, so Bleeding Heart’s only open from Monday to Saturday. You can’t book a table for the courtyard, but if you either make a booking for The Bistro or just arrive on the day, Bleeding Heart will sit you outside once there is room.
EC1N 8SJ | [email protected] | 020-7242 2056/8238 

Kenwood house Hampstead Heath north london
The Brewhouse at Kenwood, Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath is vast, so this is a great location for a summery day. Kenwood is a beautiful house that dates back to the early 1600s and The Brewhouse has a great dining courtyard. Read about the Hampstead Heath Bathing Ponds in our guide to outdoor swimming in London.
Hampstead Lane, NW3 7JR 

Flat Iron Square, London Bridge
There are several terrace dining options in this tucked-away area beneath London Bridge’s rumbling railway lines, but we particularly like Bar Douro’s summery, Portuguese menu – read our Bar Douro restaurant review here.
Arch 35b, Flat Iron Square, Union St, SE1 1TD | 020-7378 0524

Gallery Mess alfresco Saatchi Gallery Chelsea london restaurant café cafe
Gallery Mess at Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea
This restaurant, café and bar has a grand setting, which includes a terrace that overlooks The Green.
Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Rd, SW3 4RY | 020-7730 8135 

Hoxton Square Shoreditch Hackney London alfresco
Hoxton Square, Shoreditch
This large space is quite close to Old Street Station, but feels like a world away from the traffic-clogged roundabout. The square is surrounded by restaurants and bars, many with terraces.
N1 6NU 

Kingly Court dining courtyard Soho carnaby london alfresco
Kingly Court, Soho
This busy courtyard is incredibly central but very easy to miss. You can enter from Kingly Street, Carnaby Street or Beak Street and there are three levels of great restaurants and bars.
W1F 7FD 

Nyetimber Secret Garden dining courtyard at Holborn Dining Room London restaurants John Carey
Nyetimber Secret Garden at Holborn Dining Room, Holborn
This semi-covered dining space is only open during the summer (to 29 Sep 2019), because it’s situated within a quiet courtyard at the centre of the Rosewood London hotel. This fancy option is a good choice for a special occasion.
252 High Holborn, WC1V 7EN | [email protected] | 020-3747 8633 

Pop Brixton shipping container courtyard south london Hannah Miles
Pop Brixton
Constructed from old shipping containers that are stacked around a central seating area, there isn’t much nature to see in this part of Brixton but there are plenty of food and drink options, as well as a youthful party atmosphere.
49 Brixton Station Rd, SW9 8PQ 

The Terrace at St Ermin’s Hotel, Westminster
This spot is a real find, in a quiet area where you might not think to look. It’s conveniently located near St James’s Park and the terrace is shielded from the outside world by the rest of the building. It’s all covered by a gazebo too, so you won’t need to worry about the weather.
2 Caxton St, SW1H 0QW | 020-7222 7888


Check out our list of London’s best rooftop bars here

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