We're in the midst of one of the hottest summers on record, so where better to enjoy the glorious sunshine in London than take to the sky at one of the capital's popular rooftop bars? You can sip on cocktails, take part in a rooftop yoga class or catch a movie, all with breath-taking panoramic views across the London skyline. Here are just a few of our favourites…
1. Queen of Hoxton
One of London's most popular rooftops at Queen of Hoxton, Shoreditch is reimagined each year, and has taken on a fun 'Lost Vegas' theme for 2018. Meet Elvis in the Little Vegas Wedding Chapel, order a drink from the abandoned yellow school bus bar and pick up an array of weird and wonderful treats from the Lost Vegas vending machines… this is a fun choice for a night out with friends, and also hosts a number of immersive events and cinema screenings throughout the summer. You won't want to miss it. Find out more at queenofhoxton.com/rooftop.
2. John Lewis Summer of Sound Rooftop
Ideally located for a pit stop during a day of shopping on Oxford Street, John Lewis' Summer of Sound rooftop offers the obligatory cocktails with a view – and so much more. As one of London's biggest rooftops, visitors will also be treated to live music and delicious food from new restaurant resident Nanny Bills, as well as the chance to book into new immersive sounds studios from Ultimate Ears, Bang & Olufsen and Audio Technica.
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It may not have been open long, but Aviary has already established itself as a go-to for amazing food and drinks paired with impressive city views in the heart of Finsbury Square. And the bar has so much more to offer; throughout the summer Aviary is hosting the Roofit Summer Series, with classes such as ballet and boxing available. Get all the details at aviarylondon.com.
4. Roof East
Head over to Stratford for East London's premier rooftop – Roof East. Located on top of a shopping centre, here you'll find a number of fun activities to get involved in, from catching a movie at the Rooftop Film Club to trying your hand at crazy golf and hip-hop inspired lawn bowls. There's great food and drink on offer too, from Mexican street food to BBQ bites, making it your new summer spot for hanging out with friends.
5. Frank's Café
It may be located within a distinctly unglamorous multi-storey car park, but Frank's Café in Peckham has gained cult status due to its great atmosphere, delicious food and drinks, all with the London skyline as the perfect backdrop. Well worth making the journey south of the river for.
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You have to climb a fair few flights of stairs to reach this bar, but it is well worth it! Spacious and stylish, Netil360 has become one of the most popular rooftop bars in East London, serving made-to-order Hackney Pizza, local craft beers and spirits, wine and soft drinks on a roof that has 360 degree views across the city. Unlike other bars that are only open for a limited time, Netil360 remains open from April through to December, so you can still cosy up on the roof in the winter.
7. Fest Roof Gardens
For a hip hangout with views across Camden's bustling Stables Market, head to Fest Roof Gardens. This spacious rooftop has been transformed into an urban oasis with a beautiful pergola and hanging plants, and has daily live music, wood-fired pizzas and delicious cocktails and craft ales all adding to the experience. You can also catch classic British movies as part of Camden's Rooftop Cinema Club, with weekly screenings throughout July and August. See more at festcamden.com.
8. Bar Elba
With its prime position on London's Southbank and kitsch, Instagrammable décor, it's no wonder Bar Elba has become a firm favourite in the capital. Gather your friends and order a round of cocktails before sampling the food on offer from Dip & Flip; the burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches and fries are too good to resist. Get more details at bar-elba.co.uk.
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9. Pergola Paddington
Back for another summer, this huge rooftop bar in Paddington seats a whopping 850 people, making it a great choice on busy evenings and weekends. Open day and night, you could drop in for a light lunch or evening out, with delicious food from restaurants including Patty&Bun, Canard, Mam and DF/Mexico. Check out pergolalondon.com for more info.
10. Coq d'Argent
Take a private lift up to this incredible rooftop garden in the city, complete with its own garden and ringed walkway, with striking views of the Gherkin and the London skyline. Located on top of French restaurant Coq d'Argent, this is the rooftop to go to for al fresco dining, with breakfast served outside after the weekly morning Fat Buddha Yoga sessions until September. What better way to start the day? See more at coqdargent.co.uk.
11. The Golden Bee
A favourite among the Made in Chelsea crowd when they venture east, The Golden Bee is a great spot for an al-fresco night out, with live DJ sets, a large bar and happy hour deals that offer two-for-one on selected cocktails from Tuesday to Thursday. And you don't have to worry if the weather takes a turn for the worse; it even has a retractable roof to keep you warm and dry when it starts to rain.
For a decadent drink in the sky, Madison is the place to go. Here you'll be able to enjoy panoramic views across London, particularly of St Paul's Cathedral. This bar also hosts a number of events by day and night, from sunrise yoga sessions to Friday night DJ sets, so you can have a different experience every time you come.
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