Londoners are kinky for restaurants with gardens. It’s all about denial: we so rarely get to enjoy them, you see. Luckily, the city’s eateries have clocked on and provided some gorgeous indoor grottos, which have all the dangling vines, fronds and flowers you could wish for – but some have ceilings, too – so you can enjoy them, come rain or shine. From posh British grand dames to trendy Indian joints – it’s all here. Put that umbrella away.
The best gardens in London restaurants
There's an outdoor vibe throughout Blixen, but it's the covered garden where this comes out to play. Creeping plants curl around the naked dark wood frame and there's an abundance of tropical palms, their fronds almost bending over luxe conservatory-style seating. A very controlled and stylish take on the wilds of nature.
This latest venture from Bourne & Hollingsworth creates a modern interpretation of turn-of-the-century Englishness. Floral prints and cane furniture sit amongst full-grown trees, hanging baskets hover from elegant wrought iron, and all are set within sparkling white walls. It's like a pretty film set where you could imagine Maggie Smith entering stage left at any minute.
You can see why Clos Maggiore was voted the world's most romantic restaurant. The conservatory is very much in demand for its magical Narnia-like beauty, with an open fire, wood-panelling and flowering trees that stretch like a hug from floor to ceiling.
This hidden covered terrace in Bloomsbury is a real treat. Not only does it come fully heated and with a retractable roof, but it's also draped in foliage. And try not to be charmed when the sun drops and the fairy lights entwined in the wisteria start blinking. If you find yourself waxing lyrical, don't be alarmed – not only is this restaurant named after Virginia Woolf's eponymous character but the site itself is teeming with the memory of historical literary residents.
Venue says #WinterAtDalloway is set to transport guests to the luxurious alpine town of Gstaad – a snow covered, picturesque winter playground awaits.
Up on level 36 of the 'walkie-talkie' building there's the double whammy of an astonishing view of the City and the breathtaking sight of the Sky Garden, a terraced landscape with tranches planted in different themes that evoke a South African mountain range or a lush prehistoric forest.
Abundant hanging baskets and fertile planters are dotted around this indoor-outdoor restaurant – a throwback to traditional Indian verandahs with cane armchairs, terracotta floors, a pick'n'mix of faded rugs and the ever-present sprawling spider plants.
It’s easy to understand why couples choose family-run Frederick’s for their wedding reception; the large Garden Room is home to a full-grown tree that reaches up to the conservatory-style roof while the floor-to-ceiling windows look out onto a tasteful garden starring two Himalayan birch trees personally planted by Frederick’s MD Lou Segal.
Venue says A family-run place in Angel founded in 1969. Menus from £17 (two-course) and £21 (three-course), plus private dining and wedding options.
Part of the Ivy family, this expansive former American grill has been completely revitalised with an elegant and light touch. The Orangerie is marble-floored with an upper-class disarray of conservatory furniture and upholstered leather, a verdant ceiling, potted trees and trailing ivy (of course). The summer terrace and actual garden are even more bucolic. A class act.
Set within the grounds of a garden centre, this extremely pretty and pricey Richmond restaurant thrives on greenery. Not only is it drenched in plants but the shrubbery and herb life directly inspire the dishes served. With the swagged roof covering, dirt floor and family photos, it's easy to imagine you have been magicked into the deep countryside.
When the melee of lower Kingsland Road becomes too much to bear, make for the upper reaches of The Boundary Project on nearby Redchurch Street. With panoramic views of east London and the City, Boundary’s Rooftop Bar + Grill is a prime spot for supping an aperitif and snaffling down Mediterranean small plates in the summer, or heading into the heated orangery for melty fondue or raclette when the weather turns. Year-round bliss, basically.
Understated, cute and charming all have their place, but when you want to make a statement, book a table under the eight-storey glass atrium of The Landmark London. Between the sweeping staircases and curving wrought iron railings stand potted trees and some seriously huuuuge palm trees. It's the kind of scale and grandeur that Gatsby might have built to impress a peckish Daisy.
Fancy braving the elements?
London is full of cafés, bars and restaurants that let you take it outside. Still, for every rose-trimmed terrace there's a caff with two tables plonked next to traffic lights – so it helps to know where the good outdoor spots are. Here's our area-by-area alfresco dining guide, including restaurants in central London.
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