When the sun starts shining, head to one of these backyard boozers. Here’s where to kick back in the capital
Best for a hipster hangout you can breathe in: People’s Park Tavern
Right on the edge of Victoria Park, you get a lot of greenery and there's enough room so you can still breathe and get a seat. This hipster hangout has deck chairs, brightly coloured tables, and even some AstroTurf in the centre – it’s like grass, but much less dirty.
When it’s sunny, they roll out a barbecue and the food is washed down rather well with a People’s pint from the in-house microbrewery.
Where: Victoria Park
When: Sun to Thurs, 12pm – 12am; Fri, 12pm – 1am; Sat, 12pm – 2am
Best for a picture-postcard spot: The Albion
Hidden away among Barnsbury’s Georgian streets, with wooden pergolas and overhanging wisteria, this garden has a village-green charm about it. It even comes complete with its own outdoor bar and they throw the odd barbecue, too. Traditional British food and snacks are always available – hello there sausage rolls, fish and chips, and frozen strawberry parfait with shortbread.
When: Mon to Fri, 11am – 11pm; Sat, 11am – 11pm; Sun, 11am – 10.30pm
Best for the waterside view: The Ship
No, this is not a real ship, but it's still pretty good.
The decked beer garden was made for sunny evening drinks along the river. Yes, seats are like gold dust but they are worth sticking it out for – they also put on a huge programme of events and festivals (think live music on Sunday nights and a quiz night every Wednesday).
They also serve Sipsmith Summer Cup, that fruity concoction laced with Sipsmith gin, which earns them extra points.
When: Sun to Wed, 11am – 11pm; Thurs to Sat, 11am – 12am
Best for swaying in the sunshine on swing chairs: The Eagle
This is where the well-heeled Londoners go for the colourful beanbags, swing chairs, giant Jenga and a bowl of steamed Anglesey mussels. Go at the weekend when the garden bar is open (the distance between you and your pint is dramatically reduced) and the barbecue is fired up – you'll forget you're in London.
Where: Shepherd’s Bush
When: Mon to Fri, 11am – 11pm; Fri to Sat, 11am – 12pm; Sun, 12pm – 10.30pm
Best for something a little livelier: The Magic Garden
This is what happens when beer gardens go boutique: we’re talking fairy lights, colourful sofas, a giant tepee and live bands.
It’s like a festival in a pub – but with cleaner toilets, Sunday roasts, bloody marys and board games, too. Genius.
When: Sun to Thurs, 10.30am – 12am; Fri to Sat, 10.30am – 2am
Best for a festival feel: Grand Union
This gentrified bar-cum-boozer claims to have the biggest beer garden in London. While we’ve never taken our tape measure with us, this is the place to go when you’re looking for that festival vibe (without the mud).
We’re talking outdoor cinema screens, tree houses, pinball tables and a giant fire pit to keep you cosy on cool summer evenings.
When: Sun to Wed, 12pm – 12am; Thurs, 12pm – 1am; Fri to Sat, 12pm – 1.30am
Best for lazy summer lunching: The Leather Bottle
If you’ve ever stepped into The Leather Bottle you’ll know that the layout can be confusing, but it is really worth exploring.
There are garden beach huts with comfy cushions and a private TV screen (which you can book ahead), lots of picnic benches and bunting. Throw in the sizzling barbecue and it’s almost like you’re by the seaside. Almost.
When: Mon to Thurs, 12pm – 11pm; Fri – Sat, 12pm – 12am; Sun, 12pm – 10pm
Best for a regal affair (kind of): The Windsor Castle
No, we’re not talking about the Queen’s pad here but with the pretty idyllic garden, outdoor heating and real ale festivals, it could be better than that. With an outdoor bar, there’s no need to traipse inside to get the beers (bonus) and their homemade scotch eggs are a perfect partner in (beer garden) crime.
Where: Notting Hill
When: Mon to Sat, 12pm – 11pm; Sun, 12pm – 10.30pm
Best for a carnival vibe: Pub on the Park
The Pub on the Park has something pretty great: lots and lots of greenery. It sits just inside a park in London Fields, so you’ll forget that you’re boozing in the capital. They have DJs at the weekend and do pretty good barbecues, too – there’s even an outdoor boules court. Seriously.
The downside? It gets very busy so if you’re looking for a quiet pint in the sunshine, you might want to move on.
Where: London Fields
When: Sun to Thurs, 12pm – 12am; Fri to Sat, 12pm – 1am