Unique things to do in London: Rooftop Living
As far as uniquely London experiences go, you can't beat savouring the sunshine on a rooftop - be it for a cocktail, or an open air movie experience.
Here's a list of our favourite rooftops across London, and the best ways to engage in some of the unmissable sights and sounds of London.
Aviary: Undoubtedly one of the most stylish rooftop bars in the city, Aviary is located on top of the Montcalm Royal London House Hotel. Head here for panoramic views of the city's skyline, a vibrant crowd, sumptuous interiors and lots of plush seating spaces in the outdoor terrace space. The cocktails are expertly crafted and beautifully presented - try the Knickerbocker or the Honey Rider for seriously fruity summer vibes. There's also a lengthy wine, beer and champagne list. If you're in the mood for some nibbles after, there's a food menu so no need to depart for dinner.
Worried about the temperature dropping at night? The outdoor terrace is fully heated and they also provide cosy blankets to snuggle under. And if you want to stay somewhere close by, take a look at Second Wind.
Radio Rooftop: Situated atop the 10th floor of the ME London hotel in the Strand, Radio Rooftop Bar offers stunning city views from the heart of London. Prepare to queue as it can get extremely busy, with staff often having to turn people away at the door. If you get a spot you'll be transported straight up in an express lift dedicated to the popular rooftop bar. Relax in the outdoor space to house beats as you sip on cocktails from the extensive drinks menu, alongside a diverse crowd of people. There's a food menu of tapas sized plates available until 11pm, perfect for sharing. They also serve a rooftop brunch until 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.
It's worth noting that the rooftop is only open for hotel guests after 11, so you might need to move the party elsewhere. If you want a place to stay that's local, why not check out Strand Me?
Madison: It's likely you've already seen a friend post an Instagram picture of themselves at Madison rooftop bar. With a breathtaking view of St Paul's Cathedral dome directly opposite, it's easy to see why this is one of the most Instagrammed places in London. Situated on top of the One New Change shopping centre, a glass lift takes you up to Madison, where you find yourself in a rooftop bar with a generous amount of outdoors space (considering its central city location). The view of the dome is majestic, particularly when it's lit up against the night sky. Drinks wise, you'll have lots of choice with a list of classic and contemporary cocktails as well as spirits and wine. Food wise, they offer bar snacks outside and a more extensive a la carte menu inside. But we'd stick to enjoying the view over drinks here and heading for dinner elsewhere.
With a great view across the river, you won't want to walk for - take a look at Garlick Hill.
Rumpus Room: When it comes to rooftop bars in London, it doesn't get much more glamorous than this. The Rumpus Room is situated on the 12th floor of the Mondrian Hotel on Southbank, offering stunning riverside views outside and an air of sophistication within. The interior design is inspired by a luxurious cruise ship, with velvet seating, gold tabletops and lush greenery. You can admire the city's skyline even when inside through the floor to ceiling windows. The outdoor terrace is perfect for al fresco drinks and dining, but can get a little crowded on summer evenings.
Close by to the Mondrian, you'll find the luxury rental, The Maiden Lane.
SUSHISAMBA: Take a panoramic glass lift up to the 38th and 39th floors of the Heron Tower to experience SUSHISAMBA, a Peruvian, Brazilian and Japanese fusion rooftop restaurant. You'll immediately be blown away by the striking design, with the dramatic orange tree, grid of hanging lights, and stylish monochrome flooring. Though you get great views from the inside with the floor to ceiling windows, head to the outdoor terrace spaces to really feast your eyes on the London skyline. SUSHISAMBA is often full of the post-work City crowd, as well as people celebrating special occasions and visitors looking to appreciate the city from a high vantage point. And the food? It's pricey but well prepared. Other than the standard sushi selection, there are a number of small fusion plates to choose from. They also have a list of inventive cocktails such as the Padron Pepper and Tom Yam if you feel like veering away from the classics.
Aqua London: Looking for a post-shopping dinner option with great city views? Aqua London in Regent Street is situated in the heart of the shopping mecca in London. It is essentially two restaurants under one roof - you can decide between Aqua Kyoto if you feel like Japanese food or Aqua Nueva if you fancy Spanish cuisine. Both restaurants offer intimate and stylish interiors, as well as outdoor terrace spaces offering views over London. The bottomless brunch option at Aqua Kyoto is worth checking out on weekends here.
Boundary Shoreditch: Perched on top of the Boundary Project, you'll find a rooftop restaurant and bar offering breathtaking views of the city (especially at night). The Boundary includes a boutique hotel, restaurant, cafe and deli within the building. You could easily spend a few hours lounging over drinks and dinner in the al fresco dining spaces on the rooftop. There's an extensive drinks list, with beautifully mixed cocktails and sangria on offer. A pergola was installed over some of the dining tables a few years ago, meaning you can enjoy this rooftop all through the year. They even have an open fire and blankets to keep you warm when it gets chilly outside. Food wise, there are plenty of great Mediterranean seafood and grilled meat and fish options to feast on all day here.
SUMMER EVENTS ON ROOFTOPS
Skylight Bar, Tobacco Dock: This summer pop-up launched on 3rd May and will be around until mid-September. The Skylight Bar offers you a spot to play petanque and croquet along with drinks on top of the Tobacco Dock warehouse in Wapping. It's set across three floor and there are also street food stalls (try the halloumi fries) to keep you going alongside summery cocktails, wine and spirits.
Pergola Paddington: From April until October, you can retreat to this oasis in the centre of the city to enjoy food, music and drinks on a London rooftop garden. Pergola Paddington was a massive success last year, and has returned this year due to popular demand. It's the perfect spot to indulge in some great food and drinks during long summer evenings, with 5 self-service restaurants and 2 bars set over two floors. Most of the ground floor is covered so head upstairs to enjoy city views. It's worth booking before you go, especially if you've got your eye on one of the 7 giant daybeds.
Rooftop Film Club: Looking for a fun outdoor cinema experience in the city? Well, you're in luck as the Rooftop Film Club is holding showings across rooftops in Shoreditch, Stratford and Peckham this year. You can peruse the list of screenings online to find a mix of classic film favourites alongside the latest releases such as Black Panther and Ladybird. Settle into one of the comfy deck chairs and enjoy a great film with the backdrop of London's skyline. Snacks, drinks, cosy blankets and wireless headphone are also on offer.