The 15 Best Pub Gardens In London guide image


The 15 Best Pub Gardens In London

There’s no better place to spend a summer’s day (or night) than in one of London’s 192,000 beer gardens.

London has an absurd amount of pubs. Boozers, gastropubs, ‘spoons, Irish pubs, chain ones, pubs for locals, pubs for tourists, train station pubs, pubs where they put roast potatoes on the bar. But this guide isn’t about every type of pub in London. It’s about the ones with the best outdoor spaces. These are pubs to come to when the sun is shining, pints of lager are shimmering, and the priority to drink, laugh, and be merry outside is everyone’s number one priority.



The Castle

The Castle is one of those new-ish pubs that feels like it could be anywhere in the UK. Its fittings are shiny and an Aperol spritz-branded goblet seems to accompany every multi-coloured pleather chair. That said, the Tooting pub is a certified spot come summer. The garden is enormous—perfect for leaning in the sun for a post-work drink, or hunkering down in one of their many covered huts that can be pre-booked for parties big, small, and massive. 

The Railway Tavern is a place for drinking, eating, spilling, and repeating. The Tulse Hill spot has everything for an all-day and all-night stint. If the weather’s nice, head to the sprawling pub garden with long benches, shady corners, and fairy light-strewn huts for surprise downpours. Inside the colourful pub, a disco ball sets the tone. Settle in with decent Indian-inspired vegan snacks like moreish naan pizza that make good soaker-uppers, and roll on through to 2am when DJs hit the decks. 

The maze-like pub garden at the back of The Herne Tavern is one we’d happily get lost in. The foliage and winding flowers appear wild and overgrown, but actually create secret nooks and clever screens if your pub crew have important matters to discuss (i.e. your turbulent love life). If there are downpours, there’s a big canopy to shelter under, or the inside—all deep brown woods and stained-glass windows—is just as charming.

One of the greatest and most underrated miracles of the everyday is walking into a packed pub garden at the exact moment a table gets up to leave. What could have been an hour of twitchy drinking and intensely staring at people having a good time, suddenly turns into instantaneous joy and comfort. This is what we’ve felt at The Landor in Clapham, and it’s made all the better by the fact that it’s home to one of those big, done-up, evening-engulfing pub gardens. It’s benches, booths, and trees galore here. The kind of space you arrive charmingly at around midday and with the potential air of disgrace come last orders.

If you’re partial to crackling fires and Shakespearian energy when you have a drink, head to The Mayflower. The ancient Rotherhithe pub is named after the Mayflower ship that set off from here to Cape Cod back in 1620. Given its location on the Thames and its history, it’s a boozer that’s as loved by Londoners as it is by visiting tourists. Its outdoor deck is a killer spot to get a drink while looking out onto the Thames' lapping waters.


If a meal with a view at The River Café feels (understandably) out of budget, then wander down the Thames Path for a pint and a scotch egg at The Crabtree instead. The Fulham pub is one of west London’s places to be during peak summer. Its Thames-side terrace looks out onto lapping water and, though this isn’t a Scampi Fries kind of pub, you can snack on beef dripping chips which very much do the job of soaking up. If fish and chips with a view is what you’re after, then head to the upstairs terrace. There are a load of suntrap tables to happily drink the day away in.

If you’re floating around High Street Kensington or Portobello Road looking for an escape from the crowds, The Windsor Castle is your sanctuary. This west London pub is all polished oak, low ceilings, and nooks and crannies that are longing for pints of Guinness on a winter’s night. Summer suits this boozer as well. Go outside from the Antiques Roadshow interior and you’ll find a tarted-up garden ready for every eventuality—a giant canopy for protection, cushioned booths to pile into, and a little outside bar for when things really ramp up.

The Kensington favourite is always spilling out onto the street and after a couple of drinks it’s very easy to see why. The front garden of this pub—adorned with kaleidoscopic flower baskets and frequented by west London’s finest (drinkers)—is a space that’s very easy to get comfortable in. Seating is socially organised—big square benches that mean a conversation with a stranger is, shockingly, not out of the question—and there are couple of old benches out front for strategic loitering and cigarette ‘borrowing’.


A favourite among Arsenal fans win, loss, or draw, The Bank (as it’s fondly known by regulars) is also home to one of north London’s most bubbling pub gardens. The Highbury boozer’s backyard—packed with benches, fairy lights, and the occasional bemused Yard Sale delivery driver—feels like a party on a summer evening—especially when three points are involved. Friends pile in and Beavertown flows and, if the weather goes unexpectedly south, there are a load of covered booths too.

The Faltering Fullback’s garden looks like an M.C. Escher print made after he’d been on the Stellas. This is simultaneously one the best and worst outdoor spaces to drink in London. Best because the Finsbury Park spot has loads of different areas, tables, and hidey-holes for groups big or small looking to settle in for a few drinks and a pad Thai from the kitchen. Worst because, well, multiple steps aren’t the ideal environment if you’ve been there for an entire afternoon.

Getting to hang out in a spacious garden in Highgate Village would usually cost you seven figures and/or a serious charge for breaking and entering. Thankfully, you can head to The Flask’s spacious front garden instead. This ye olde pub was acquired by Fuller’s a while back and they’ve given it a little bit of TLC while retaining its village-y, watch-your-head interior. The food is pleasant gastropub stuff—think sizable and well-fried fish and chips and crowd-pleasing sticky toffee pudding—and that’s all you really need if you’re planning to pitch up all day in one of north London’s most-loved suntraps.

The Albion has one of those pub gardens that you can easily stay in until late. It’s big, wisteria-filled, and has a lot of seating options. You’ll have competition though, this place is an N1 destination when the sun comes out. Yes, it gets busy and it’s sometimes filled with a slightly Made In Chelsea-feeling crowd, but the outside space is excellent and so is the drink selection. The food is decent too—just stick to the classics and just don’t bother with the more ‘creative’ dishes. If the back garden is rammed, they have a fair amount of space out front as well.


If you’re after a big, mazy pub garden that can fit everyone you’ve ever known, plus their partners, along with a bloke called Oscar who’s attached himself to you at the bar—then The Crooked Billet fits the bill. The Clapton pub is a place where many long nights start (or prematurely end) thanks to its enormous booths, tables, benches, and everything setup. Come a flash of sunshine this place is ground zero for many a mullet and pair of Salomons. That said, it’s also great for families and buggies given the space inside and out.

Once upon a time The Chesham Arms’ beautiful, homely garden was something of a secret. You could wander into this neighbourhood Homerton boozer, walk down the stairs of the little terrace, and choose from one of the 20-or-so benches that sit on the lawn, catching the sun like an IPA-fuelled version of the Garden of Eden. These days, it’s a little bit more of a bunfight. But that doesn’t take away from the fact it’s still one of east London’s most good-looking and good-natured outdoor spaces. Even better is that you can get Yard Sale direct here. So plan for an evening of laughing, chatting, and eating pizza that’s larger than most one-bedroom flats.

The Scolt Head is the local that every person dreams they had, unless you live in De Beauvoir of course, in which case it’s the local you’ve got. Lucky you. This is a properly good pub that’s always full of families, fellas, and friends. The front garden is surrounded by trees which makes it feel more like a country pub than one in the capital. The food is classic and very well done—it’s a pâté, pies, and eton mess kind of a situation—and will ensure you’ll more than likely spend the day if you nab a table outside.

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photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

The 15 Best Pub Gardens In London guide image