London's best beer gardens

Our pick of the city's best pubs with outdoor spaces – perfect for summery, sun-soaked supping

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  1. North
  2. South
  3. East
  4. West

We've rounded London's best beer gardens, some included for their bucolic atmosphere and fine foliage, some for their summery drinks or irresistible barbecue food, some for their riverside locations – and even a couple for their water features. We’ve organised them by compass points (North, South, East and West), or for a quick and easy overview, check out London's best beer gardens – ‘the map’.


Best beer gardens in North London

Canonbury

A regular haunt of local resident George Orwell (who moved to 27b Canonbury Square in 1944), this was one of three pubs to provide him with inspiration for ‘Moon Under Water’, an essay on the criteria for the perfect London watering hole. But don’t come here expecting a period pub – inside and out, it’s now a study in modern Brit minimalism. In the walled garden, you can lounge on designer rattan sofas, all dark weaves and tight angles, while sipping a chilled draft Peroni from the outdoor bar (which also serves cold bottled beers plus a handful of wines and spirits). Need to silence a hunger? The full length of the smart menu (pork and pistachio terrine; lamb burgers; venison casserole) is available to eat in the glorious outdoors.

  1. 21 Canonbury Place, N1 2NS
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The Albion

Halfway between Upper Street and the Caledonian Road, this Georgian boozer has an olde-worlde English charm entirely in keeping with its name. It’s far enough from the main thoroughfares to ensure there’s barely a whisper of traffic noise to be heard at the wooden tables in the walled beer garden, with its trees and colourful flowers. Beer-drinkers usually have a few options on draught, there’s a short list of summery cocktails, and the quality wine list complements a menu speckled with British ingredients.

  1. 10 Thornhill Road, N1 1HW
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Alwyne Castle

There’s plenty of space for alfresco quaffing in an enormous front garden that spills down the sides of this friendly pub. You can sop up the booze with summer barbecues (weather permitting), as well as upmarket gastro-grub from the indoor kitchen. Looking out on to a main Islington artery, the garden remains inescapably ‘urban’, though a recent facelift has seen a verdant injection of new foliage. What’s more, there’s plenty of capacity (the garden can hold 300), around a dozen lagers plus a few ciders and ales on tap (including a regularly-changing guest ale).

  1. 83 St Paul's Road, N1 2LY
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Earl of Essex

On a summer’s day, head to the walled rear garden of this Islington pub and bask in the evening sun. The original design had neo-classical leanings, seen in the Roman-style flooring (big paving slabs interspersed with smaller stones) and collection of stone pots. But nowadays, the pots are planted with hops, there’s bunting overhead, a hodge-podge of picnic tables and wooden furniture, and a vibe that’s friendly and informal. The main menu does a good line in posh sarnies and proper pub grub or you’ll sometimes find a laid-back barbecue on offer. Just not on Sundays, when the hugely popular roast is what’s on everyone’s mind.

  1. 25 Danbury Street, N1 8LE
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The Edinboro Castle

The rather small interior of this lively Camden institution gives way to a fair-sized outdoor area, with high walls and an array of foliage giving it a real garden feel despite being hemmed in by a busy road and a railway line. If the weather’s dreary, you can grab one of the cosy side tables with their heaters, or shelter under the convenient mini-marquee and admire the fairy lights. The garden can get rammed with Regent’s Park-goers and cool Camden types when the sun shines, especially if there’s a barbecue or hog roast on, which leads to our only grumble – sometimes the service fails to keep up with the crowds.

  1. 57 Mornington Terrace , NW1 7RU
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Faltering Fullback

While there are definitely bigger beer gardens to be found in the capital, the outdoor space at this well-loved, ivy-covered local is certainly one of the cleverest. Faced with the difficulty of only having a small yard, the owners built upwards – creating a tiered village from decking, with room on the various split levels for several tables. It’s an early afternoon suntrap in which to sip a cold lager, from a mainstream bar that includes the likes of Amstel, Heineken and Leffe. In keeping with the exotic-themed surrounds, the cooking (from the indoor kitchen, served in the evening only) is of the Thai street food variety: think stir-fries, curries and noodles.

  1. 19 Perth Rd, N4 3HB
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Garden Gate

On the edge of Hampstead Heath just twenty yards down from the train station, the Garden Gate is a lively local with a lovely big garden that’s well endowed with greenery. Should, heaven forbid, it ever get chilly, shelter can be sought under an extended undercover area – heated and furnished too – that hosts weekend barbecues through the summer and the occasional hog roast. Ask for cask and you’ll be offered the choice of London Pride and four ales changed at least weekly.

  1. 14 South End Road, NW3 2QE
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Junction Tavern

Regular visits prove the Junction Tavern to be a reliable source of good (sometimes outstanding) gastropub food at extremely reasonable prices. In fine weather, the secluded paved garden, with its dozen-odd picnic tables, makes a wonderful place to enjoy the full run of the a la carte. In 2013, it was taken over by Kentish Town local and experienced publican Ben McDonald.

  1. 101 Fortess Road, NW5 1AG
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Stag

Nowadays, the Stag attracts a young, laid-back crowd, drawn to the large selection of decent ales (around half a dozen of which are on tap) and spacious rear garden, with its leafy displays, outdoor heaters and covered areas – all of which offer table service, so there’s no need to queue at the bar. Eight Ibiza-esque private cabanas around the periphery of the garden (which can be booked in advance) further enhance the holiday vibe, as does accoustic music (check their website for exact times). The barbecue menu (usually available on Friday evenings and weekends from noon) might include grilled chicken, lamb burgers, sausage hot dogs, although there’s no venison – the deer connection ends with the name.

  1. 67 Fleet Road, NW3 2QU
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White Hart

In chillier weather, this spacious Stokey boozer – owned by quirky pub group Antic – should appeal to fans of Trivial Pursuit’s orange wedge (that’s ‘Sport and Leisure’, in case you’d forgotten), given that it offers everything from football on the telly to old-school pinball machines and a large pool table. Come summer though, the garden becomes the space for ‘leisure’, with two tiers (one patio, one lawned) offering ample space for locals to recline, relax and refresh themselves (from the outdoor bar, which comes stocked with cold bottles and sometimes one on-tap beer).

  1. 69 Stoke Newington High St, N16 8EL
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London's best beer gardens mapped

  1. North
  2. South
  3. East
  4. West

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Users say

22 comments
Chris G
Chris G

Having been to a number of the pubs on the list, I would urge anyone in deep zone 4 SE to check out the Bridge House, right next to Penge West on the overground and by an entrance to Crystal Palace park.


It has a 2-tier split level open air garden which is awesome for the summer. Plenty of big dogs to stroke and a wide range of ales on tap. Crackin food too as it goes.


IMHO this boozer is a hidden gem. 

MiruPotop
MiruPotop

New Cross House in New Cross, SE14.

iainh
iainh

Now London's most overcrowded beer gardens.

ginglesnuff
ginglesnuff

How is the crown and shuttle not on here?!

Andy H
Andy H

Some good boozers. That said I have no idea how the County Arms in Wandsworth got onto the list. It's basically a pretty mediocre pub - with particularly poor food - that has simply been tarted up. There are several better places in the area.

David E
David E

Anywhere central...? A hidden oasis that I have overlooked...?

What about the White Rabbit in Stoke Newington?? It would be more appropriate to call it a cocktail garden but still, so much outdoor space that feels like we're in Wonderland, sipping some "drink me" beverage. Loving it.

Joseph Campbell
Joseph Campbell

Genuinely need to make a visit to the Duke of Edinburgh in Brixton. Off the busy high street, one would walk past in a hurry from the outside but once you go in you see a nice indoors, however it is the beer garden in the back that really impresses. Always busy on the weekends and the BBQ also provides amazing food for those that get hungry.

Kathy
Kathy

I'm shocked Gypsy Moth at Cutty Sark, Maritime Greenwich hasnt been mentioned, most scenic beer garden you can get with the contrast of the old repaired cutty sark boat looming next to the bench's and canary wharf in the background, The sunset on a lazy sunday evening is AMAZING!!

Dave
Dave

Avoid that 'Avalon' place in Balham. Not a place for a quiet drink in an over manufactured garden. The clientele are also very up themselves.

Peeb Rewer
Peeb Rewer

Dulwich Wood House has got to be up there. Walk through Sydenham Woods on a summers eve. What's the problem with you guys never getting further south than Brixton?

Jo
Jo

The Marlborough in Richmond and The Ship in Wandsworth have great beer gardens!

johnson
johnson

was just about to say the garden and grill but topbanana beat me to it! ah well, I'll say it again!

Dean
Dean

Henry.J.Bean on Kings road has a massive secluded garden at the back that's well worth the try,

Milo
Milo

Missed a few around south and west London. the Ship by Wandsworth Bridge is an absolute gem, over looking the Thames, a popular spott on a sunny evening. the food is pretty decent too. The Castle Pub, Battersea High Street, possibly my all time favorite garden. (may have since closed down actually) Ye old White heart in Barnes, again, over looking the Thames, the garden is very basic, put the location is absolutely superb.

topbanana
topbanana

The Garden Bar & Grill, near Latimer Road tube, is outstanding (used to be called The Station)

Sharon
Sharon

In SE London, The Station in Hither Green has a great and very large beer garden (and all brand new - completely reopened last year). And for East Londoners the Red Lion in Leytonstone has a surprising amount of space out the back.

Howard
Howard

Worrabout the Freemason's Arms on Downshire Hill in Hampstead?

Cathy
Cathy

I think the 'Dulwich Wood House' should also have been included in the South list, near Crystal Palace. It has a FAB beer garden. We go there quite a lot, especially in the summer.. Quite big ,so can accommodate lots of people, and in a nice location. Great food and drinks also. This is there link: http://www.youngs.co.uk/pub-detail.asp?PubID=395&image=1