Almost alfresco - our pick of London's restaurants with covered courtyards and conservatories

We’ve scoured London for places where, but for the lack of rain splashing on your plate or getting frostbite over your starters, you could be eating outdoors. So here’s our list of restaurants with retractable roofs, much like Wimbledon, as well as covered courtyards and conservatories.

Central and West London

Somerset House, New Wing, Lancaster Place, London WC2R 1LA

Where: By Waterloo Bridge

Almost Alfresco feature: Skye Gyngell's new restaurant features a beautiful covered courtyard space called The Atrium complete with potted trees - very romantic for the evening but also a lovely bright spot for lunch on a sunny day.

Find out more about Spring

Terrace Grill & Bar at Le MeridienTerrace Grill & Bar at Le Meridien
21 Piccadilly, London W1J 0BH

Where: Just off Piccadilly Circus

Almost Alfresco feature: This central London spot’s had a major facelift and faces out over the teaming tourists on Piccadilly. So you can watch others dashing about in the rain as you tuck into your food or work your way through the Gin Bar list.

Find out more about Terrace Grill & Bar at Le Meridien

Clos MaggioreClos Maggiore
3 King Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 8JD

Where: Covent Garden

Almost Alfresco feature: The Conservatory room here has a fully retractable glass roof when the weather is good but a flick of the switch gives you Centre Court-style protection.

Find out more about Clos Maggiore

wallace intThe Wallace Restaurant
Hertford House, Manchester Square, London W1U

Where: Inside Hertford House, Marylebone

Almost Alfresco feature: Set in the majestic covered courtyard of Hertford House and dotted with trees and sculptures, this Oliver Peyton restaurant bills itself as offering “al fresco dining in a sublime setting protected from both the elements and the bustle of the West End”.

Find out more about The Wallace Restaurant

112 Draycott Avenue, SW3 3AE

Where: South Kensington

Almost Alfresco feature: Given a makeover recently this Kensington stalwart is a light, bright space. Alternatively, sit by the front when the concertina doors are all pulled back and you’re practically eating at a pavement table.

Find out more about Daphne's

Aubaine MayfairAubaine Mayfair
31 Dover Street, London W1S 4ND

Where: Mayfair

Almost Alfresco feature: This Dover Street spot has a lovely covered terrace at the back, you’d never know was there, which seats up to 25 and is filled with pot plants, so it looks like a proper garden room.

Find out more about Aubaine Mayfair

The River CafeThe River Cafe
Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, London W6 9HA

Where: Hammersmith

Almost Alfresco feature: Snag a table either close to the windows (or under the covered part of the terrace) and gaze out towards the river over your meal to take your mind off your, almost assuredly, massive bill.

Find out more about the River Cafe


Wright Brothers Soho

Wright Brothers Soho
13 Kingly Street and G7/G8 Kingly Court, Carnaby, London W1B 5PW

Where: Soho, close to Carnaby Street

Almost Alfresco feature: It’s actually open to the elements in part, but if you pick the right table outside in the courtyard you’re covered from all but the most persistent rain.

Find out more about Wright Brothers Soho

admiral codrington picture by eatlikeagirlThe Admiral Codrington
4th Flr, Canada Place London E14 5ER

Where: South Kensington

Almost Alfresco feature: The dining room at the back of the pub is not only home to one of the finest burgers in town, but a cunning glass retractable roof which can be opened up to make the most of any sunshine.

Find out more about The Admiral Codrington



East London

blixen 250Blixen
65A Brushfield Street, London E1 6AA

Where: Spitalfields

Almost Alfresco feature: Set within the cavernous Spitalfields Market the garden is covered from the elements but still has the feel of an outside garden filled with plants, cacti and flowers. Enjoy the all day menu, but this is particularly great brunch.

Find out more about Blixen

bournegreenhouseBourne and Hollingsworth
42 Northampton Road, London EC1R 0HU

Where: Clerkenwell

Almost Alfresco feature: Head for The Greenhouse section of this cavernous building with its cane furniture and hanging baskets to try chef Alex Visciano's crab salad or cod tempura.

Find out more about Bourne and Hollinsgworth Buildings

Le Coq d’ArgentLe Coq d’Argent
No.1 Poultry London EC2R 8EJ

Where: Right next to Bank station

Almost Alfresco feature: The heated, covered terrace up on the roof at 1 Poultry means you can eat outdoors here whatever the weather. And, should the weather be unseasonably good, there’s a second terrace by the restaurant for sunny days.

Find out more about Le Coq d’Argent

115 Chancery Lane. London WC2A 1PP

Where: Chancery Lane, near High Holborn

Almost Alfresco feature: By rights this Provencal restaurant tucked away off Chancery Lane should be dark and gloomy, but its greenhouse glass roof turns it into a perfect lunchtime spot for local lawyers.

Find out more about Cigalon

Cinnamon KitchenCinnamon Kitchen
9 7 Boundary Street, London, E2 7JEDevonshire Square, London EC2M 4WY

Where: The City

Almost Alfresco feature: The terrace at Vivek Singh’s City restaurant looks just like an outdoors spot, but it’s actually in Devonshire Terrace so you’re protected from the London rain by an almost-invisible glass roof.

Find out more about Cinnamon Kitchen


dishoomverandahDishoom Shoreditch
7 Boundary Street, London, E2 7JE

Where: Shoreditch

Almost Alfresco feature: The enclosed verandah at Dishoom takes over the whole of the courtyard. But once the clear walls are retracted and the canopy removed you're almost entirely alfresco.

Find out more about Dishoom Shoreditch


4th Flr, Canada Place London E14 5ER

Where: Canary Wharf

Almost Alfresco feature: This D&D restaurant has two terraces which are open to the elements at the side, but covered so unless the rain’s horizontal (always entirely possible) you’ll be safe from a bit of a drizzle eating here.

Find out more about Plateau


South London

wheatsheafThe Wheatsheaf
24 Southwark St, City of London, SE1 1TY

Where: Borough Market

Almost Alfresco feature: The heated (and covered) terrace - for when the weather turns cold - has a couple of real selling points. The first is the live departure board from London Bridge – very handy when deliberating having ‘just one more’ before catching that last train home. The second is the converted VW campervan serving up whiskey ribs, burgers and steaks..

Find out more about The Wheatsheaf

The Blueprint CafeThe Blueprint Cafe
Design Museum London SE1 2YD

Where: Shad Thames, near Tower Bridge

Almost Alfresco feature: Jeremy Lee may have moved on, but Head Chef Martyn Moody is now in charge of the kitchen. Enjoy his sharing dishes close to the terrace where the glass roof and floor to ceiling windows give you cracking views over the river.

Find out more about The Blueprint Cafe

Petersham NurseriesPetersham Nurseries
Church Lane, Off Petersham Road, Richmond, Surrey TW10 7AG

Where: Richmond, in meadows by the Thames

Almost Alfresco feature: With dirt floors and the occasional raindrop making its way through the glasshouse roof, you practically are eating outdoors.

Find out more about Petersham Nurseries. And read our recent Test Drive.

The Floral Hall, Stoney Street, London SE1 1TL

Where: Borough Market

Almost Alfresco feature: The upper part of the dining room here in the Floral Hall enjoys views clear across to St Pauls and over the market. (Interesting fact – this part of the building had previously been part of the Opera House in Covent Garden and was brought here following the Opera House redevelopment).

Find out more about Roast

North London


106 Islington High Street, London N1 8EG

Where: Islington

Almost Alfresco feature: The beautiful garden room, rather than the food which is perfectly fine, is the main draw to this longstanding Islington restaurant. If the weather’s good eat in the garden, if not, there’s loads of room under the conservatory roof.

Find out more about Frederick's


89 Regent's Park Road, London NW1 8UY

Where: Primrose Hill

Almost Alfresco feature: The back part of the restaurant is glass-roofed and full of hanging baskets in an attempt to recreate that Greek tavern feel. A couple of bottles of Retsina down and you could almost believe it.

Find out more about Lemonia

Photo of The Admiral Codrington courtesy of Eatlikeagirl.