Food & Drink

London’s best beer gardens

There’s nothing like nursing a crisp pint in a comfy beer garden on a hot summer’s day

London isn’t not short of green spaces – but although we’ve parks aplenty, there’s just nothing like whiling away a summer’s afternoon in a pub beer garden (aka the very best kind of green space). Here’s our favourites from all corners of the capital – but be sure to get there early if the sun comes out.

NORTH LONDON

The Faltering Fullback, Finsbury Park

Beer garden

A North Londoner’s well-kept secret, The Faltering Fullback is just too good to keep under lock and key. Named for its proximity to Arsenal’s stomping ground, the Fullback is a low-key local boozer with one impressive beer garden. What it lacks in acreage it more than makes up for in impact: there are four levels of bamboo-strewn decking to choose from, with long wooden benches ideal for getting together with a group of friends on a hot summer’s day.

19 Perth Road, Stroud Green, London N4 3HB, falteringfullback.com

The Albion, Islington

Beer garden

A characterful Georgian pub close to Barnard Park in Islington, The Albion is in possession of a superb beer garden. Simple, scrubbed wooden tables and chairs nestle under shady trees and glorious purple wisteria fronds, all in an impressive 450 square metres of sunlit garden. It’s the perfect place for a relaxed date.

10 Thornhill Road, Islington, London N1 1HW, the-albion.co.uk

The Canonbury Tavern, Canonbury

Beer garden

A public house since the early 18th century, The Canonbury Tavern is steeped in London history – not least the fact that George Orwell, who lived nearby, wrote some of 1984 while sitting under the tree in the garden. And you can see why: it’s green, quiet, and sheltered, bordered by a walled garden that seals you off from the hustle and bustle of London life. It’s the perfect place to escape for an afternoon with a book and a beer, à la Orwell.

21 Canonbury Place, London N1 2NS, thecanonbury.co.uk

SOUTH LONDON

The Half Moon, Herne Hill

You could do a lot worse than spend your hard-earned time off in The Half Moon. An inn has stood on its spot since the 17th century, but the current grand redbrick incarnation was built at the end of the 19th century by architect James William Brooker. Its traditional dark wood panelled rooms and stained glass windows are accompanied by a bustling beer garden at the back, with long wooden benches and an outside bar open in finer weather. Choose a craft beer from the selection on tap, and settle in for the long haul.

10 Half Moon Lane, Herne Hill, London SE24 9HU, halfmoonhernehill.co.uk

EAST LONDON

The Wood House, Dulwich

The former house of Joseph Paxton, architect and designer of the Crystal Palace, The Wood House pub has a spacious landscaped garden with traditional wooden benches and summerhouses for escaping the sun’s rays. Entertainment comes in the form of outdoor table tennis, and in fine weather there’s a burger bar to add to the pub’s above-the-ordinary menu. A trip here after a visit to the nearby Horniman Museum would be a summer’s day well spent.

39 Sydenham Hill, Dulwich, London SE26 6RS, thewoodhousedulwich.co.uk

WEST LONDON

The Bell and Crown, Chiswick

Beer garden

On a hot summer’s day, often nothing less than being within stone-skimming distance of the Thames will do – which is where the Bell and Crown comes in. In leafy Chiswick, this west London pub is about as close to the river as you can get without getting wet. Its beer garden is right on the towpath, just before the point where the Thames loops around Kew Gardens, giving the pub and its garden top notch views out over the water. You’ll struggle to find a better place for a sun-soaked Sunday roast and a pint.

11-13 Thames Road, Strand-On-The-Green, Chiswick, London W4 3PL, bell-and-crown.co.uk

People’s Park Tavern, Hackney

Beer garden

Despite its extensive beer garden, the People’s Park Tavern isn’t a pub that you can rock up to on a whim – except on a rainy Tuesday, maybe. Any hint of sunshine means the Hackney locals, and people from further afield, descend on the Tavern’s spacious beer garden, lending it a jolly, carnivalesque atmosphere that’s only enhanced by the colourful bunting, mini golf course and outdoor barbecue. It’s good fun – our only advice would be to get there early, or book a table well in advance.

360 Victoria Park Road, London E9 7BT, peoplesparktavern.pub