The nights are lasting longer, the sun’s shining brighter and the temperatures are frankly kind of messing with our emotions - but we’re still holding out for a light and breezy summer to enjoy a view with our drink on some of these stunning rooftop London locales. With fantastic views over the city from every angle, you’d be forgiven for forgetting to go back down once the lights have gone out…
The classic clamber not to be missed is up to what is officially one of the biggest public open-air roof terraces in the whole of Europe, the Madison Bar atop the One New Change building just behind St. Paul’s Cathedral. You’re certainly not going to get a better shot of St. Paul’s, and the panoramic vista afforded over the rest of the city is simply breathtaking: from the Shard to the London Eye, cast yours over the beautiful mix of modern and classic that makes up the capital’s modern-day skyline while knocking back a cocktail, glass of wine or celebrating your savviness with champers.
For trip to another land, some green escape and topped off with fantastic views of the capital, look no further than Kensington Roof Gardens above Kensington High Street in West London. Providing 1.5 acres across three themed garden areas up on the 7th floor, you have all the time and space you need to wander around, cocktail in hand, taking in this cosmopolitan corner of the city. From the Babylon terrace to the Spanish Garden (based on the Alhambra in Granada) to the grand Tudor Garden and the English Woodland, you won’t even feel like you’re in the same hemisphere, let alone still in the centre of London.
Take a break from the crowds and the craziness of Oxford Street and pop up to Aqua Spirit, an elegant choice in a city full of decadent spots for cocktail-quaffing and view-indulging. Located above what used to be the Dickens and Jones shop and offering a view over the heart of London, the atmosphere up here is thin on traffic noise and bluster and heavy with the aromas from a high-end, flower-based drinks list: why not try out an Iron Lotus, with vodka, chilli, papaya and blood orange or stick to the classic wine and bubbles list, either way, lean back, look out and sigh inwardly with relaxed contentment.
The highest al fresco dining spot in Europe and likely London’s most spectacular, the terrace of Sushisamba stretches to the vertigo-inducing outer edge of the Salesforce Tower, a full 39 floors up above the Square Mile. Providing an inventive concoction of Peruvian, Japanese and Brazilian cuisine and cocktails, Sushisamba serves up the freshest sashimi, ceviche and churrasco, or stick with the drinks (though that would be a shame) out on the terrace of the Orange Tree, a bar crafted around an actual, enormous tree decorated with fairy lights and a 360 degree views of the City. Two panoramic glass elevators will whisk you up the ear-popping amount of floors, delivering you into the impressive dining area with floor-to-ceiling glass on three sides.
As of the 1st of May, the 5th Floor Terrace of Selfridge’s will be taken over for five months by Vintage Salt, assuming the summer garb previously sported by the Le Chalet ski-themed bar last winter. Bedecked with deck chairs, coloured beach huts, blue and white stripes as far as they can paint them, Vintage Salt will be styled on the relaxed Cornish beachside bars of your holidays, plus a restaurant offering staples such as BBQd meat or Camden Hells-battered fish and chips with incredible views of central London on the side. With a dedicated G&Tea menu, craft beers, cocktails and British bubbles, the order of the eve here, is a solid serving of tongue-in-cheek fun with some honest and stunning skyline-views to wash them down with.
Now you know which way to head (as well as ‘up’) for sunshine-to-sunset cocktails and standing above the rest of London, with Amba Hotel Charing Cross perfectly located for reaching them all.