We’re all familiar with our city's swanky sky-high rooftops and riverside terraces, but what about the hidden gems that are a little bit off the beaten track? Whether you’re on the hunt for somewhere less busy, are keen to explore new spots or are just looking to add to your alfresco arsenal, we’re bringing you London’s best secret beer gardens. And if anyone asks? You didn’t hear it from us.
It may not be a pub garden in Central London, but make your way to Boaters and it's well-worth the trip. Situated in Kingston, the dog-friendly joint features a gorgeous outdoor area overlooking the water. While gawking at a beautiful backdrop, tuck into gastro grub such as seared scallops, chicken liver pate and crab burgers, alongside a glass of wine or beer.
Located a short stroll away from Deptford Bridge, The Brookmill is a classic British boozer with an eye-catching secret terrace. While not visible from the road, this alfresco drinking spot can be found by heading past the bar to the back of the pub. Decked out with twinkling lights and low-hanging plants, it’s the perfect place to escape the hubbub of the city.
Serving as one of the best beer gardens in North London, The Brownswood is a brilliant shout if you're after lesser known plots. Boasting heated spaces and lush foliage, it's ideal for after work drinks and catch-ups with mates. Sip on a freshly pulled pint and nibble on small plates of chips, padron peppers or other moreish bites while basking in the sun at this Finsbury Park gem.
Set on the banks of the River Thames, The White Cross is ideal for cooling off on a warm summer's day. Catch the latest rugby match or tuck into scrumptious British eats before moseying outside in its scenic beer garden. Grab one of the raised bar stools, order yourself a pint and dip your toes in as the water rushes past (if you dare, that is).
While this cocktail bar might be known for its quirky interiors (which resemble someone's flat), it also happens to be hidden in the centre of Soho. Showcasing stylish pillows, exposed brick walls and potted plants, The Little Scarlet Door's courtyard is quite possibly the prettiest plot on our list. And if you're here before 6pm during the week? You can nab £5 picantes as you while away in its Instagrammable outdoor area.
Another hidden spot, The Railway in Streatham truly ticks all of our summertime boxes. A picturesque pitstop after a hot and sweaty commute, this drinking den has its very own secret garden, decorated with twinkling lights, mirrored walls and plenty of plants. Hungry? The menu has put a fancy spin on traditional pub food - think moules marinières and gourmet chorizo burgers.
A beer garden with rooms for you to crawl up to after a couple of pints? Hell yes. Drayton Court Hotel may look like something out of Downton Abbey, but enter through the grand doors and sneak through to the back where you’ll find an epic alfresco area. Grab one of the private pergolas or opt to perch on one of the long sharing benches, making full use of the outdoor bar, which offers local ales, fruity ciders and spritzes.
Dating back to 1620, The Mayflower is one of the oldest pubs along the River Thames. Surrounded by cobbled streets and bursting with original character, this place is the definition of a hidden gem. Stay well-watered and choose from a range of traditional ales, craft beer and local gin. And fun fact: the outside decked jetty is the place where The Mayflower ship departed for Virginia over four hundred years ago.
Brought to you by the same brains behind Pergola and Lost in Brixton, The Prince is home to a huge woodland-themed garden, with regular DJs, large group tables and a menu jam-packed with summertime spritzes and cocktails. And for when those rain clouds inevitably rumble into town? There’s a retractable roof to keep the party going. A bank holiday dream? We like to think so.
If you're on the hunt for a hidden beer garden in Covent Garden, get stuck into Bow St Tavern. Escape the hustle and bustle of the city while settling into this cosy boozer's alfresco area. Perfect for intimate gatherings, its outdoor space offers pretty plants, ambient lighting and quaint seating. Oh, and when it gets a bit chilly, these guys have plush blankets so you can cuddle up.