The best London places to eat out alfresco

25th July 2019

Too hot to cook? We feel ya. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of great alfresco dining spots in the capital (you just need to be in the know to find the best ones). We’ve gone to the trouble of picking London’s top outdoor cafés so you can eat out alfresco in this not-very-British heatwave.

Towpath Café, Regents Canal

towpath cafe

Sat idyllically on Regents Canal, Towpath Café is the perfect place to watch the world go by. Opened by American-Italian food writer, Lori De Mori, and with a menu designed by chef Laura Jackson, Towpath Cafe is a force to be reckoned with. Think perfect-yolked fried eggs, chicken congée, and Turkish eggs for breakfast and an all-day menu of rustic plates (we recommend ordering several and sharing) from confit wet garlic with goat’s curd and toast, braised cuttlefish and friggitelli peppers, to the creamiest fresh mint ice cream and gooey chocolate brownies. It’s good food done right. 42 De Beauvoir Cres, N1 5SB

The Lido Café, Brockwell Lido 

Brockwell Lido

Photo: Joe Stenson

A poolside terrace, a weekend brunch menu and two separate menus for smoothies and cocktails, we’d forgive you for thinking you’d jetted off on holiday. Try the sharing pan of fresh-baked cinnamon buns with labneh frosting. Yeah, we’re drooling too. To top it off, the eggs and chicken are free-range, their Longhorn beef is aged for at least 35 days and their pork is gorgeous Gloucester Old Spot. Glorious. This treasure is hidden in Brockwell Park. The closest entrance is Herne Hill. Brockwell Lido, Dulwich Rd, SE24 0PA

Pavilion, Victoria Park

pavillion cafe

Sitting on the Grove Road side of the West Boating Lake, Victoria Park’s Pavilion sure knows how to do bread. From a great sourdough to cinnamon buns flavoured with cinnamon, turmeric or cardamon, straight from their sister bakeries on Broadway Market and Columbia Road, you can’t go wrong. The Sri Lankan inspiration give their dishes an edge that sets them apart. We recommend taking a seat outside and ordering the dahl, lemon-flavoured coconut sambal served in a hopper. Incredible flavours, incredible food. It’s super popular though (for good reason!), so head down early to grab yourself a spot overlooking the pond! Victoria Park, Old Ford Rd, E9 7DE

Dalloway Terrace, Bloomsbury

Ok, so this one is technically more of a room-with-retractable-roof than alfresco, but it’s so nice we just had to squeeze it in. Head over to Dalloway Terrace in Bloomsbury from breakfast, brunch or afternoon tea in the heart of London’s literary centre. Head Pastry Chef, Chris Dodd, has pulled together an afternoon tea that pays homage to the bees and everything they give to our environment. Aptly named Honey Bee Afternoon Tea, you can expect honey-roasted ham and English mustard mayo sandwiches, and scones served with clotted cream, raw honey, and homemade jam. As delicious on the taste buds as it is delightful on the eyes. 16-22 Great Russell St, Fitzrovia, WC1B 3NN

Look Mum No Hands!, Old Street

Love bikes? Good coffee? Delicious food? Beer?! Then Look Mum No Hands! is the Old Street spot that you should head to. With a bike workshop and five mechanics on hand (seriously, they’ll fix any bike – road bikes, Bromptons, cargo bikes, MTBs, hybrids…you get the idea) every day and a cafe serving up great bites to eat. Going for breakfast? Chow down on the çılbır (Turkish eggs with yoghurt). For lunch, bite into the teriyaki-glazed tofu burger. And make sure you take a look at the beers on their four rotating taps. Always from a UK or London based brewery. 49 Old St, London EC1V 9HX

Barbecuing this weekend? These are the London parks you can barbecue in. 

Heading out for a picnic? Check out the Farmdrop deli for some delicious bits and bites.

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