The ultimate guide to the best beer gardens in London
London's beer gardens are like gold dust when the sun comes out. Although the usual London etiquette involves huddling on pavements or on the streets outside a pub, all anyone really wants is a good old fashioned wooden bench to rest your pint (and legs) on. So to help you out, we've compiled a list of pubs with large, leafy gardens heaving with trestle-tables, hidden courtyards, and terraces in north, south, east, west and central London. Looking for more summertime spots? Find rooftop bars in London or pubs and bars by the river.
1. The Albion - Islington
Need to know: Hard to believe that a few roads off the busy drag of Upper Street is an English country garden. With wisteria-wound pergolas and wooden garden furniture, it’s a bit of a surprise not to find someone looking to make up a croquet six. This charming and surprisingly large garden (it's in a conservation area) gets very busy at the weekend - but there are seats out the front too if you can't find a space out the back.
Website and TwitterOpening times: Mon to Sat:11am to 11pm, Sun: till 10.30pm. Garden closes at 10pm each nightGetting there: 10 Thornhill Road, Islington, London N1 1HW, Nearest Tube: Angel or Highbury & Islington
2. The Edinboro Castle - Camden
Need to know: This pub has a surprisingly roomy outdoor space for cramped Camden. With extra long trestle tables and room for 300 people, this is ideal for big groups in need of a place for post-work drinks. They usually have speciality beers and guest ales on tap, along with barbecues and hog roasts when the weather gets warmer.
3. The Faltering Fullback - Finsbury Park
Need to know: Labyrinth-like with lots of seating on multiple levels, this pub really lives up to the “secret garden” tag. Serving delicious Thai food along with a good range of beers; the wonderful exotic smell wafting into the garden adds to the sensory overload. They don’t do table reservations so if you want to bag the best spot, you know what you have to do. WebsiteOpening times: Mon-Thur: 12pm-11pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-midnight, Sun 12pm-10.30pmGetting there: 19 Perth Road, Finsbury Park, London, N4 3HB, Nearest tube: Finsbury Park
4. The Junction Tavern - Tufnell Park
Need to know: This chilled out, shabby-chic outdoor space has plenty of tables to settle down at, and it's also a firm favourite with foodies and drink purists. Serving incredible seasonal food, and with equal attention given to the drinks selection (including the exclusively brewed Junction Ale), this is a pub which delivers on flavour as well as outdoor fun.
5. The Stag - Hampstead
Need to know: This large and hidden Hampstead beer garden has picnic tables and private cabanas which seat 15 people and can be booked. Live music and a barbecue gets fired up in the warmer months, plus it's only a ten minute walk from the heath. It has a huge range of beers and ciders, both bottled and draft, and while it may be a little on the pricey side (we did say it was in Hampstead); this is still a really nice place to relax in the summer.
6. White Hart - Stoke Newington
Need to know: This is a proper pub with a truly massive beer garden. It's got a good range of beers and ale, and has just undergone a bit of a spruce up (including its pub menu). Although it gets busy at the weekends, pop in for a post-work drink and you should be able to grab a great spot at one of the trestle tables.
7. The Alwyne Castle - Highbury
Need to know: With a capacity of 300, this is on the large side of beer gardens, and even has its own bar outside in the warmer months. There's a variety of seating outdoors and they're open a bit earlier on a Sunday - so make the most of an alfresco brunch. Website and TwitterOpening times: Sun-Wed: 12pm-11pm, Thur-Fri: 12pm-12am, Sat: 10pm-12am Getting there: 83 St. Pauls Road, Highbury, London, Greater London Nearest Tube: Highbury & Islington or Canonbury
8. The Gipsy Moth - Greenwich
Need to know: With one of the best views in Greenwich, the garden is popular with groups of friends, families, and locals. Their Sunday roasts are brilliant, and they've got beers from around the world.
9. The Ship - Wandsworth
Need to know: The Ship consistently tops the lists of London's best beer gardens. Plus, their Sunday roast and artisan cooking competitions are legendary - annual Scotch Egg Challenge, anyone? Our advice - grab a jugful of Sipsmiths’ Summer Cup (gin-based and laden with fresh fruit) and head to the garden, especially on “Ship Sundays” where you can drink to the sound of a live band or DJ. It gets busy from midday, so the early birds catch the best seats.
Website and Twitter Opening times: Sun-Wed: 11am-11pm, Thurs-Sat: 11am-12amGetting there: The Ship, 41 Jews Row, Wandsworth, London. SW18 1TB, Nearest Tube: Wandsworth Junction (Overground) or shortish walk from Clapham Junction.
10. The Magic Garden - Battersea
Need to know: Home to a mini-music festival every weekend, this beer garden is the place to enjoy the best sounds of the summer in South London. Over in their fairy-lit tent, you can sit among the candles, drink a cold one and listen to the live bands and DJs on their brilliant sound system. Don't worry if the weather is a little wet or cold, they have blankets and even mini hot water bottles to keep things cosy on their comfy sofas. Website and TwitterOpening times: Sun-Thurs: 10.30am to 12am, Fri-Sat: 10.30am to 2amGetting there: 231 Battersea Park Road, London, SW11 4LG , Nearest Tube: Battersea Park or Queenstown Road (Overground)
11. The Old Brewery - Greenwich
Need to know: This large beer garden is tucked away inside The Old Naval College in Greenwich. It's definitely one for the beer connoisseurs - they've got an onsite micro-brewery curating unique, limited edition beers from the award-winning Meantime Brewery Company. The beer is even used in the food on their seasonal menu. With plenty of seating (with umbrellas, should you wish to dodge the sun or rain) your only issue will be choosing which drink to start with.
12. The Rye - Peckham
Need to know: There's plenty of trestle tables in this vast beer garden to sit and enjoy the sunshine. They also have a large sunken terrace with further seating between the pub and the garden.When the weather is good, they often hold a Sunday barbecue. Website and TwitterOpening times: Mon-Thur: 12pm-11pm, Fri-Sat: 12pm to 1am, Sun: 12pm-10.30pmGetting there: 31 Peckham Rye, London, SE15 3NX, Nearest Tube: Nunhead or Peckham Rye (Overground)
13. Grand Union - Brixton
Need to know: This recently refurbished “pleasure garden” has a lovely bright colour scheme, and is a surprisingly large space to enjoy a cocktail or three. You can hire the Thai “tree huts” for a little bit of privacy, or opt for the seating areas surrounding fire pits in the evening. They also have a big screen, so if you're looking for a venue to watch the big sporting events, this could well be the place.
14. The Sun - Clapham
Need to know: If you're heading to Clapham Common for a picnic, you might want to take the after party here. Literally across the road from the park, but off the main street, this is a local favourite. It has plenty of tables, and with this being Britain, plenty of heaters and parasols if the warm weather takes a hike. WebsiteOpening times: Mon-Wed: 12pm-11pm, Thur: 12pm-12am, Fri:12pm-1am, Sat: 11am-1am, Sun: 11am-11pmGetting there: 47 Old Town, Clapham, London, SW4 0JL, Nearest Tube: Clapham Common
15. Station Hotel - Hither Green
Need to know: This large and bright courtyard-style garden has had a major refresh, along with the pub, making it popular with locals (especially the commuters, as it's only 30 seconds walk from the train station). Along with plenty of seating, along with some cool beach huts, this place has five real ales on tap, lagers and a cracking lunch and dinner menu.
WebsiteOpening times: Mon-Sat: 12pm-11pm, Sun: 12pm-10.30pm Getting there: The Station Hotel, 14 Staplehurst Road, Hither Green, London, SE13 5NB. Nearest Tube: Hither Green (Overground)
16. The George Inn - Borough
Need to know: More a courtyard than a beer garden, this is the perfect place to visit if you love a little bit of history with your drinks. A stones-throw away from Borough Market, this pub has the last remaining galleried coaching inn (dating back to the 17th century) and even gets a mention in Charles Dicken’s Little Dorrit. WebsiteOpening times: Mon-Sat:11am-11pm, Sun: 12pm-10.30pmGetting there: 77 Borough High Street, London, SE1 1NH, Nearest Tube: London Bridge
17. Plume of Feathers – Greenwich
Need to know: Greenwich's oldest pub in Greenwich (1691), has a surprisingly spacious garden at the back. Right next to the Royal Park and the National Maritime Museum, this is a great place to come and enjoy a pint after a bit of sightseeing. It also a cosy pub, as it has a candlelit restaurant and open fire for when its chilly. Opening times: Sun-Thur: 12pm to 11pm, Fri-Sat: 11am to 12amGetting there: 19 Park Vista, Greenwich, SE10 9LZ, Nearest Tube: Cutty Sark (DLR)Website and Twitter
18. Crown and Shuttle - Shoreditch
Need to know: With its own food truck, coupled with mismatched furniture and a look that could be described as industrial crossed with a French courtyard, this is a beer garden like no other in London. The crowd? Well, it’s Shoreditch, so expect the an varied mix of bankers and cool kids and everyone in between.
19. Old George - Bethnal Green
Need to know: The recently refurbished Old George has one of the biggest beer gardens in East London hidden behind its 1703 frontage. This proper pub gives a nod to its East End roots with a new weekly menu, which delivers traditional pub classics to your outdoor table. The garden has also had some love and attention of late.
20. The Chesham Arms – Hackney
This Victorian pub has a lovely beer garden at the back which opens when the weather gets warmer. A real community pub, you'll find a great range of real ales to sup in the great outdoors. Website and Twitter Opening times: Mon-Thur: 4pm-11pm; Fri-Sun: 12pm-11pm Getting there: 15 Mehetabel Road, Hackney E9 6DU, Nearest Tube: Hackney Central or Homerton
21. People’s Park Tavern - Hackney
Need to know: This is the only place in East London where you can enjoy a great big garden with beers brewed on site, and it's slap bang next to lovely Victoria Park to boot. Food wise, expect BBQ style in the summer along with the traditional year round pub fare. Either grab a spot in one of the wooden beach huts or find a funky coloured trestle table, and be at one with nature while you sip your carefully crafted People’s pint.
22. The Captain Kidd - Wapping
Need to know: Perhaps more of an outdoor terrace than a beer garden, this is a Sam Smith’s pub so expect brilliantly cheap prices and range of beers from their own brewery. The pub looks pretty small on the outside, so it's a surprise to find the lovely outdoor area overlooking the Thames with views of Tower Bridge and Docklands. Popular with the locals and post-work drinkers during the week, expect a nice casual atmosphere. Website Getting there: 108 Wapping High Street, London, Nearest tube: Wapping
23. The Water Poet - Spitalfields
Need to know: This large pub makes the most out of its beer garden, with trestle tables and large screens to show the bigger sporting events. The foods pretty good here, with the Sunday roasts drawing the crowds - and if the garden is too busy - this pub is massive so you'll find a corner to hang out in whatever the weather.
Website and TwitterOpening times: Mon-Fri: 11am-11pm; Sat: 12pm-11pm, Sun: 12pm-10.30pm Getting there: 9-11 Folgate Street, Spitalfields, London, E1 6BX. Nearest Tube: Liverpool Street or Shoreditch High Street
24. The Crooked Billet - Clapton
Need to know: The garden is so big here, come the summer months they have their own food truck in the garden - The Bird Flipper. At night the garden is festooned with lights, and you can choose between booths or traditional trestles if you want to take a load off. Website and TwitterOpening times: Mon-Thur: 4pm to 11pm; Fri-Sat: 12pm-12am, Sun: 12pm-11pm Getting there: 84 Upper Clapton Rd, London, E5 9JP, Nearest Tube: Clapton
25. Aeronaut - Ealing *currently closed for rebuilding*
Need to know: Unfortunately The Aeronaut is currently closed for rebuilding works, but it's worth keeping an eye on progress as this pub's really something else, including a fully kitted out circus, in-house brewery, kitchen and a garden as well as their flagship Acton Amber Ale.
26. The Jam Tree - Chelsea
Need to know: One of Chelsea’s finest outdoor drinking spots. Famous for their cocktails featuring jam, especially the Jam Mojito (raspberry jam instead of sugar) and the Wham Bam Thank you Jam (topped with raspberries filled with Popping Candy). It has a dedicated bar and BBQ (food available Thurs/ Friday evening and all day weekends: think pulled pork and quality burgers), along with their guest Hog Roast on special occasions. There's even heaters for the evening.
27. The Eagle - Shepherd's Bush
Need to know: This stunning garden has a bit of a "village fete" feel about it. With colourful deckchairs and bean bags dotted about the place, along with the standard garden furniture and the not so standard (beach huts), this is a little slice of country life. The beer garden has its own bar and barbecue, making it the perfect spot to lay back and relax in the sun. Website and Twitter Opening times: Mon-Thur:11am-11pm,Fri-Sat:11am-12pm, Sun: 12pm-10.30pmGetting there: 215b Askew Road, Shepherd's Bush, London, W12 9AZ, Nearest Tube: Ravenscourt Park
28. The Windsor Castle - Notting Hill
Need to know: Situated nicely between Kensington and Notting Hill, this beer garden was originally only for the ostlers and coachman who had little choice in taking their drinks in the “alfresco fashion”. It’s clearly had a clean up since then without losing too much character. It has heated areas outside, and foliage-filled pergolas, making it a great outdoor space whatever the weather. Expect great food and a range of craft beers in this large and historical beer garden.
29. Aragon House - Parson's Green
Need to know: The original dower house on the site where the pub stands was gifted to Catherine of Aragon by her husband Henry VIII in the 16th Century. Since then the site has changed hands more times than Henry changed wives, however thanks to its extensive wine and cocktail list you can still have a right royal time. It gets very busy, particularly as they have big screens for sporting events in the pub, and as you can't reserve tables you need to get in early to bag the best spot. Opening times: Closed Mon, Tues: 5pm-11pm, Wed-Fri: 12pm–11pm, Sat: 11am–11pm, Sun:11am–10pm. The garden opes at 12pm: Closing time at manager's discretionGetting there: 247 New Kings Road, Parsons Green, SW6 4XG, Nearest Tube: Parson's Green
30. Mall Tavern - Notting Hill
Need to know: This walled garden might not be the largest, but is certainly one of the most stylish. With true gastro-pub status - they serve up English classics - you can even eat at the sunny "Kitchen Table" which has lots of windows so you feel like you're sitting outside. Their range of beer is international and they have a great wine list.
WebsiteOpening times: Mon-Sat: noon-12am, Sun: 12pm-11pmGetting there: 71-73 Palace Gardens Terrace, Notting Hill, London, W8 4RU. Nearest Tube: Notting Hill Gate
31. The Fence - Farringdon
Need to know: This pub is only open during the week in the narrow streets of Farringdon. They've got Master Cellarman status, so you can bet on the beer tasting great and with a seasonal food menu, this is perfect for a long lunch with colleagues.
32. The Union Bar and Grill - Great Portland Street
Need to know: Tucked away from the busy Euston Road and surrounded by swanky tall glass buildings, this is a brilliant bar with a large back terrace and trestle tables out front. Pretty chilled during the weekend and at the start of the week, it really gets busy on a Thursday and Friday, so get there early (we're talking 4-5pm) if you want to bag a prime spot outside. They have an extensive wine and beer list and some great sharing tapas options.
WebsiteOpening times:Getting there: 11 Triton Street, London, NW1 3BF. Nearest Tube: Great Portland Street
33. The Enterprise - Holborn
Need to know: This restored Victorian pub has also recently revamped their beer garden, which is a delightful surprise at the back. One of Holborn's best-kept secrets; you can enjoy a mezze with friends in the garden or try some home-cooking with locally-sourced ingredients for lunch.A wide range of beers and ciders make this a favourite destination for those seeking some time out from the rat race. Website and TwitterOpening times: Mon-Wed: noon-11pm, Thur-Sat: noon-12amGetting there: 38 Red Lion Street, Holborn, London, WC1R 4PN. Nearest Tube: Holborn
34. Crown Tavern - Clerkenwell
Need to know: On Clerkenwell Green, this pub is a firm favourite with the local office workers, thanks in part to its spacious outdoor area on the green. The pub is brimming with history; Lenin and Stalin once held a meeting there, and the green was also the setting for Oliver Twist's famous pickpocketing scene. They've also got Pimms on tap. The food is pretty good as well, especially their famous Sunday roasts.
35. Punch and Judy - Covent Garden
Need to know: This maybe a bit more balcony than beer garden, but most locals and tourists know this historic pub. You can either sit and drink with the tourists or watch them from above as they enjoy modern street performances (the listed building is named after the puppet shows which used to take place in the piazza). Full of character, this is a proper pub which everyone has to visit at least once. WebsiteOpening times: Mon-Sat: 10am-11pm, Sun: 12pm-10:30pmGetting there: 40 The Market, Covent Garden Piazza, London, WC2E 8RF. Nearest tube: Covent Garden
Let us know your thoughts on our beer garden selection by leaving a comment below. Have we missed off one of your favourites? If so, we'd love to hear about it. If you're looking for more places to have a sunshine drink, our list of the best rooftop bars in London should do the trick. Or head down to the Thames and drink a beer in one of London's riverside pubs, or find even more things to do in summer. We've even put together a list of dog friendly places if you're taking your pet out for a summer stroll. And don't forget to check out the weather forecast before you go.