Summer has a knack for making a late appearance in London. When it does, you can pretty much guarantee every Londoner will be staking out a verdant oasis at their local watering hole, for the obligatory first beer and barbecue of summer. From bustling backyards with giant football screens to tree lined secret gardens with Alice in Wonderland appeal, our best beer gardens in London guide highlights the crop of the capital’s best beer gardens for a boozy afternoon in the sun.
The Edinboro Castle
57 Mornington Terrace, Camden, NW1 7RU
Set between the bohemian backdrop of Camden Market and verdant Regent’s Park, The Edinboro Castle is one of those convenient halfway pubs in which to lose yourself after a morning of bargain hunting. The cheerful yellow frontage belies none of the real assets of this recently refurbished gastro pub – namely the expansive, family-friendly garden to the rear. With high walls and creeping vines, the efflorescent space is largely cut off from the traffic and bustle of the market town, although it can get pretty rammed in summer when the trendies from Regent’s Park congregate to let their hair down. A series of mini marquees flank either side of the garden, conveniently arranged with café tables and heaters beneath in the event of flash showers. Peppered with local ingredients, the Saturday Brunch Menu offers a tantalising array of stomach lining options, including Eggs Royale with kiln smoked Scottish Salmon, and the Breakfast of Champions – easily enough to feed two!
The Queen’s Head
13 Brook Green, Hammersmith, W6 7BL
If you don’t want to venture too far off the beaten track on a Saturday afternoon, the Queen’s Head at Hammersmith offers a taste of the countryside less than a ten minute tube ride from the bustling heart of the capital.
With low-slung timber beams and roaring coal fires, the cosy gastro pub is every bit the traditional community boozer – with the added bonus of a leafy beer garden to the rear that relatively few people even know about. The vibe here is laid back and unpretentious; think traditional parasols and wooden benches as opposed to sleek rattan furniture and swinging sofas. Being a Fuller’s pub, you’ll almost certainly find a good range of cask ales on offer, and with 25 “world wines” to choose from, it’s a great excuse to stick around and sample the evening menu!
The Grand Union
123 Acre Lane, Brixton, SW2 5UA
If there were a prize for alfresco ambience, Brixton’s Thai inspired Grand Union Bar would surely win hands down. Part of the trendy Grand Union Bars’ chain, the former Victorian boozer has been transformed into an upscale Oriental restaurant bar, and is a pre-eminent stop-off for the young and hip preparing to hit the town. But the real appeal of this quaint canopied building is the beer garden. Aside from cult film screenings, four self-contained tree houses and a diverse fusion menu, it has the capacity to seat 300 patrons, making it one of the largest beer gardens in South West London. Heated seating areas help to combat the chilly breeze on a summer evening, and the beer prices are pretty reasonable too!
11 Princess Road, Regents Park, NW1 8JR
Don’t be fooled by the unassuming green Georgian frontage; this Regent’s Park gem has far more to offer than your average North London watering hole. Framed by young oak saplings, rose bushes and verdant green shrubs, the paved rear courtyard across from the Regent’s Canal is a picturesque walled space with all the charm of an English country garden. Neatly arranged around the flowering rose beds, the four-seater picnic tables offer a great place to relax and imbibe the Albert’s award-winning ales.
The quintessentially English pub grub menu has also been given an overhaul with nouveau offerings that include Barberry Duck Breast with Sweet Potato Purée, Gilled Scottish Salmon with Olive Oil Mash, and Pan Fried Sea Bream Linguini with Crayfish, Chilli and Lemon.
55 Richmond Towpath, TW10 6UX
There are plenty of riverside pubs in London offering passable views of the river, but for a truly bucolic atmosphere, those in the know head out to Richmond-Upon-Thames, less than 15 minutes by train from Waterloo. Set beneath the weeping willows of Richmond’s towpath, the Bavarian Stein’s Bar and Restaurant is a stark contrast to the quintessentially British pubs in the area, offering the chance to sample some of Munich’s finest white Wurst, baked spuds and ales in a beautiful semi-rural setting. The huge outdoor lamps are a welcome source of heat on chilly summer nights, giving the place a real continental ambience.
Rainville Road, Hammersmith, W6 9HA
Situated along a pretty stretch of Thames riverside between the bridges of Hammersmith and Putney, the old Victorian Crabtree has long been a popular haunt for locals after a game at nearby Fulham F.C. Its transformation into a Renaissance gastro pub has put paid to most of the lairy, footy mad regulars of old, however, it’s still a fairly casual boozer and extremely welcoming of families. Draught lagers have been taken up a notch with chilled Sagres and Birra Moretti, but you’ll still find a decent array of ales such as Doom Bar and Deuchars IPA. When summer hits, the timber-decked patio terrace is transformed into an outdoor dining room, replete with swanky rattan furniture and ornamental shrubs. There’s also an extended decking area that flows right down to the riverside – ideal if you just fancy soaking up the sunshine with an ice-cold pint!