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Outdoor parties in London

Forget staying indoors: this summer is about alfresco parties

Who wants to be stuck in a basement or a warehouse when it’s sunny outside? Certainly not Londoners judging by the amount of awesome open-air and terrace parties happening. So head to the great urban outdoors and get stuck in.

London's best outdoor parties

Art of Dark Fifth Birthday

Critics' choice

Studio 338 are opening a full-scale Ibiza-style beach arena this summer, and here’s a great opportunity to check it out: Hoxton label Art of Dark’s fifth birthday, with AOD DJs Praslea and Colin Chiddle on the decks.

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Studio 338 , Greenwich Peninsula Saturday July 2 2016 - Sunday July 3 2016

Grooves London

Critics' choice

Grooves London launch their summer party series, with a 10-hour party at Shapes (May 15) featuring Cocoon’s Anthea and Dutch house and techno DJ Lilith. The Shapes terrace will be deployed for maximum summer party points. That’s followed by a big Hackney Wick party (July 10) with secret special guests – check back for more details.

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A secret Hackney Wick venue , Hackney Wick Sunday July 10 2016

Space Ibiza Beach Party

Critics' choice

Ibiza megaclub Space is due to close after the 2016 season. But if you can’t make it to the White Isle this summer then never fear: luxuriously coiffed resident DJ James Zabiela is bringing the spirit of Space to an SE postcode for this all-day/all-night party.

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Studio 338 , Greenwich Peninsula Saturday July 16 2016 - Sunday July 17 2016

Elrow Beach Party

Critics' choice

Barcelona party experts Elrow have taken the London club scene by storm in the last 12 months, and here they come again for another big one. This time it’s a daytime shindig in Studio 338’s new beach arena, with all Elrow’s usual high-production hi-jinks themed around Barcelona’s traditional Feria de Abril.

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Studio 338 , Greenwich Peninsula Sunday July 31 2016

London's best outdoor venues

Dalston Roof Park

Crane your neck above Café Oto and you might spot this charming roof garden venue, which jumps into action every summer. There’s enough greenery and, er, astroturf on this alfresco oasis to make you forget you’re in Dalston, though you'll soon remember once all the parties, gigs, film screenings and other arty goings-on start. It's even utilised by ace Dalston multi-venue festival Land Of Kings, meaning that you can have fun from way up high while watching the hoi polloi down below.

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The Old Baths and Cr8 Galleries

This huge events space, found at the southern tip of Hackney Marshes, is used for all kinds of cool stuff, but by far the most fun are the parties, which spill into the outdoor space. Mini beaches, BBQs and even ice cream vans are installed, which makes their all-day parties – often from house and disco crews Vertical and Solar – even better. There are also weekly Sunday markets, named The Wick, with vintage fashion stalls, live music, DJs, street food, pop-up tiki bars and much more. If it gets too hot and sunny (chuckle), cool down in the hangar-like indoor room.

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Hackney Wick

Studio 338

If London’s clubs had a ‘my terrace is bigger than yours’ slanging match, Studio 338 would probably win. This vast, covered space hosts all-night parties and daytime raves from established promoters like Krankbrother and Cocoon, and it’s heated, should – gasp – the UK summer let us down. It’s a classy set-up and you’ll feel like you’re in Berlin or Ibiza as you groove.

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Greenwich Peninsula

Prince of Wales

This long-standing Brixton venue (formerly called the Brixton Clubhouse and The Lambeth) boasts one of London’s sweetest party terraces, featuring fantastic views across our fair city. It’s a double-tiered affair, and you can expect to hear sublime funk, disco and house at parties helmed by the Slide, Brixton Boogaloo and Up On The Roof crews. As the nights get later and colder, things move inside to the club, though the venue’s ability to enclose the lower terrace means it can hold outdoor parties even in chillier months. Have that, winter.

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The Paperworks

This Elephant and Castle pop-up proved so appealing last year that it was kept on through winter, and is now gearing up for its second summer run, which will sadly be its last stint. It’s a fantastic space, with plenty of room for dancing or schmoozing, plus bars serving cocktails, and street food on offer, including hip hot dogs from Fleisch Mob. It’s run by some of the Corsica Studios crew, meaning that there are loads of warm-up parties for the club’s top-notch nights like Tief and Trouble Vision.

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Elephant and Castle

Oval Space

This ace Bethnal Green venue has two intimate but excellent terrace spaces that get utilised in summer months. Oval Space’s progressive programming features trusted party providers like Half Baked, Secretsundaze and Mister Sunday leading all-day house and funk events, and the wooden decking and overhead lanterns make it a pretty, as well as on-point, place to dance the day away.

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Bethnal Green

The Roof Gardens

This rooftop members' club features three suitably plush, themed gardens spread over 1.5 acres. Handily, the venue also holds events open to non-members, so that anyone can enjoy lush and luxurious partying from up high, at themed events, live gigs and DJ nights that lean towards house, funk and disco. Remember to break out your glad-rags and dress to impress.

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South Place Hotel

A chance to add some swank to your skank. This high-end City hotel has quickly established itself a great place to party, with a plush seventh-floor terrace that screams ‘buy a cocktail, stand on me, and look sexy’. There’ll be weekly Sunday daytime shindigs, featuring DJs spinning laid-back but upbeat tunes and a Michelin-starred chef grilling the fancies BBQ food you ever did see.

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Great news for the rooftop area atop multi-platform London Fields arts space Netil House: it’s recently been granted a licence to operate as a full-time bar and venue. There’ll be oodles of summer events, including supper clubs, Skyline Cinema, parties, gigs and even hot tub hire. The starting gun is a four-day mini-festival to launch the fun over the bank holiday weekend, and after that you can expect similarly vibrant nightlife taking place over the whole summer.

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South Hackney

Find your sea legs in London

Boat parties

It's that time of year when Londoners start pretending they're in Cannes and begin a season of partying hard on the waves. Find your sea-legs, learn your port from your starboard and hit one of these nautical but nice events.

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By: James Manning