Top 5 Bars with the Best Views of London
When mixing sightseeing with a bit of relaxation or simply as a local wanting to take in the best views of your city, selecting the right bar as your watering hole will depend on the view you’re looking for.
In London, the variety is endless, mostly with rooftop and riverside pubs, bars and entertainment spots offering anything from casual to the extremes of elegance in wining and dining.
There are also the best of greenspace bar experiences, as well as those in very exclusive gardens and then with a little ingenuity; you will find combinations of rooftop, garden and river views.
Perhaps the most talked about drink with a view is the radio rooftop bar, whose fame spans as far as Tokyo and New York and has made it into all the best of the travel guides ever published is the Radio Rooftop bar, with arguably qualifying as one of the top three rooftop bars in the capital. Viewing the city at night from this is utterly breathtaking, and you can see far across the river on a clear day. While it is a worth a visit it is prudent to remember that his bar caters for the classy patron and therefore your attire should reflect this. Also, remember that here are automatic service charges included in the bill.
On the 31st level of the Shard, you will find a spectacular wining and dining experience, literally in the clouds. With a three storey atrium bar, and amongst the best views in the city from its restaurant, Aqua competes on a par with Radio. With similar dress codes – even in the hot summer absolutely no shorts or flip flops, this wonderful skyscraper space offers an escape from the madding crowd below. The bar has an open entry policy and takes no reservations but will of course only accept patrons to capacity. So, if you’re after a good spot with a good view of the city – be sure to get there early.
While the first two venues mentioned above exude an exclusive aura, Franks bar is a truly comfortable, casual relaxed environment with a young hip vibe about it. Of course, it’s a seasonal place because of it's location – The very top a multi-storey car park south of the Thames. Exceptionally popular with the young upwardly mobile and bohemian arty types, the fusion of clientele is exceptional. The provision of space is completely functional, and the environment is clearly no frills. It is evident that every summer when Franks reopens to the public, its popularity has grown exponentially and the crowds keep coming not only for the hospitality but also for the views. Keep a watch on their website for the next open season because regardless of your preferences this is one place you should visit at least once.
The Kensington Roof Gardens are probably the most exquisite rooftop gardens you will find anywhere. What’s more they are open free to the public; however, it is advisable to call ahead as they are from time to time booked out for private hire in their entirety. The gardens overlooking Kensington high street offer one of the finest views across central London and of course across Kensington and Kensington gardens as well. This venue hosts the famous Babylon restaurant, and there are opportunities to relax on comfortable sofas, in the dining room or even out in the gardens with all sorts of corners and spaces to explore. You can also join the garden club for as little as £25. Places as well kept as these gardens with the same historical significance and so openly accessible are few and far between.
The Ship in Wandsworth is an extremely popular well-placed location for some of the best river views in the city. Frequented by tourists and locals alike, they have a full bar offering a variety of ales, and their summer barbeques have their loyal clientele returning every year. An opportunity to view the river from the south bank also means that this lovely stop off point can be part of a day trip to see the city. It has a very comfortable casual atmosphere, and the outside area has had it listed in the London’s beer gardens list, several times in a row.
Whether you are looking for a bird’s eye view from the rooftops, of skyscrapers, in high tech buildings, or listed classic rooftop gardens to the modern functional styles of the entrepreneurial young, or even the ground level river and garden views, London has some of the best views to offer whether you’re out for a quiet drink or celebrating as a group.