Queen Elizabeth Roof Garden Bar & Café

  • Restaurants
42 Love It
South Bank

'Contentment!' came a slightly exasperated voice, from around the next purple-painted olive tree planter overflowing with vermillion flowers. 'Contentment!!' 'CONTENTMENT!!!' The mysterious diner may have been struggling to get their point across, but there's no such confusion for most people having lunch or sipping drinks in this rooftop allotment-cum-woodland-cum-wildflower meadow. At sunny lunchtimes, you'd be hard put to find a prettier setting for a sandwich in central London – it's all tangles of nasturtiums, pergolas dripping with lilacs, boldly sprouting cabbages and an actual garden shed. Make sure you follow the walkway at the back all the way around the corner, to commune with the thickets of full-sized birch trees.

Food and drink come from a smart wooden bar area run by Company of Cooks. Don't hold out for a full meal or a fry-up, but the short menu of light salads, sandwiches, cakes and snacks suits the civilised, slightly otherworldly vibe (there's no smoking, and a cap on crowds). A salad of trout, fennel and radish came in a pre-packaged box but the ingredients were perfect – spanking fresh and at just the right temperature, brought to life by a squeeze of lemon. For a sundowner, things like wild strawberry bellinis or passion fruit mojitos available by the jug sound extremely promising. 

And did we mention the view, across rooftops and the sparkling river? And that the volunteer gardeners are part of a charity that promotes gardening as therapy? Oh fine, we'll be quiet. Just – as you leave, trail your palm across the handy thicket of rosemary planted by the head of the sunshine-yellow stairway, and take the garden scent out into the world with you. Contentment, indeed.


Venue name: Queen Elizabeth Roof Garden Bar & Café
Address: Queen Elizabeth Hall
Southbank Centre
Cross street: Belvedere Road
Opening hours: Open 10am-10pm daily
Transport: Tube: Waterloo tube/rail
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Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening
Lucy C

If you've been there, you'll know that this is a haven of peace - native wildflowers, birch trees, birds, butterflies fruits and vegetables - waiting just above the concrete jungle of the Southbank. If you haven't, where have you been?! Do yourself a favour and get up there as soon as you can! It's shut right now for some well-earned R&R after another busy summer, but it'll open again in April. Meanwhile, everyone who knows it loves it. A vote for the Garden is a vote for the Greening of London.

Alexandra L

When the sun comes out in London, along with it comes a genuine and understandable fear that it could be the last time ever so we better flipping well take advantage of it - this is why you can find so many rooftop bars and pop up restaurants across the skyline of the city now but one of the simplest and most charming is this one. 

It's not fancy and you don't need to put your name on a list 6 years before you want or haggle with a bullish doorman about whether or not you're actually cool enough to get up there...you just turn up, buy a drink and find a spot of grass on which to sink down and enjoy the views along with other sunglassed, sunlotioned lovers of London. 

It's only open until late September so while this year's opportunity to bask in the sunshine while taking in views of the London Eye and the bustling tourists below may have passed you by, it can at least be awarded a place on your 'Things to do in London 2016' list. 

Eleanor F
Staff Writer

A lovely space to drink a cocktail on a mild night, in a garden on the roof by the river!


Forgot to rate it in my last posting. The reason I have given it 4 instead of 5 is that it's normal expensive central london prices. But go up just for the garden and sit and watch the Thames and hopefully experience a glorious sunset!