London's best fountainside cafés

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A snack, a drink and a paddle - fountains make alfresco refreshments all the more refreshing, whether you get wet yourself or just watch others splashing about. Here's Time Out's guide to the best cafés with fountains in London

  • London's best fountainside cafés

    Somerset House Simon Leigh

    • Central Bar at Southbank Centre

      Queen Elizabeth Hall, SE1 8XX (020 7960 4200/www.southbankcentre.co.uk)

      Artist Jeppe Hein’s playful fountain on Festival Terrace is shooting skywards for the fourth year running. It’s a fun diversion to watch children and adults frolicking, caged in by walls of water. Head to Central Bar along the terrace or up to the green rooftop garden of Elizabeth Hall, which overlooks the fountain. Nearby, under Hungerford Bridge, Pitt Cue Co serves meaty feasts of Southern US soul food.

  • Courtyard Café at Royal Academy of Arts

    Burlington House, W1J 0BD (020 7300 8000/www.royalacademy.org.uk)

    The scenic courtyard at the Royal Academy is a haven from Piccadilly. Grab a sandwich from the café kiosk during weekdays and cool aching feet in one of the 12 fountains bubbling up from the granite. On Fridays and Saturdays, a bar is open until 10pm.

  • Gallery Mess at Duke of York Square

    Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Rd, SW3 4SQ (020 7730 8135/www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk)

    Thin streams of water spurt from the ground in this square off the King’s Road. For a cultured lunch, the Saatchi Gallery Mess Café/Bar has a terrace overlooking the old parade ground. Buy self-assembly snacks at the weekly Saturday market. Read more

  • Strada at More London Place

    2 More London Place, Tooley St, SE1 2JP (020 7403 8321/www.strada.co.uk)

    The river backdrop of this new development, featuring Tower Bridge and City Hall, make this fountain look like a film set. The cacophony of revelry as five banks of fountains shoot skyward, and bathers rush to the highest group of spouts, adds to the surreal holiday feel on a sunny afternoon. Strada pizzeria has the best seats overlooking the whole terrace and watery spectacle – and you can just have a coffee and snack. Read more

  • Tom’s Deli at Somerset House

    Strand, WC2R 1LA (7845 4600/www.somersethouse.org.uk)

    Fifty-five fountain jets play to their own orchestrated pattern soaking the unwary. Check when they’ll be on during the busy summer season of events and seek sustenance from Tom Aikens’ deli either inside Somerset House or outside with seats in the courtyard.

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