Up on the roof: the best rooftop days/ evenings out in London

shutterstock 592952414
shutterstock 592952414

If you’ve sampled the open-air but warm, boozy delights of a rooftop bar before now or the thrills of a movie screening under the stars, you’ll doubtless already count yourself converted to the summer rooftop craze. But what if you haven’t? Well, should you be staying at one of the boutique hotels Kensington London before the summer’s out, do yourself a favour; visit one of the following venues as soon as you arrive…


(Tobacco Dock, Tobacco Quay, Wapping Lane E1W 2SF)

A sort of cross between a cool urban night (and daytime) spot and an old-school garden party venue, Skylight’s a dynamic destination that fills the top three floors of a one-time car park in the heart of East London with an array of bars, street food stalls and, yes, several croque lawns and lawn bowls and petanque courts. Its signature lawn games are, naturally, the place’s USB; quirky they may be but they do make for the perfect, elegant activity of a balmy summer night when the sun sets very late. And, food-and-drinks-wise, it’s all about the cocktails, spritzes and beer on sale, beverages then that pretty much sum up summer, and street food from superior vendors including the East London burger team ‘We Serve Humans’, Greek street food experts Yiro and Thai snack specialists Kra Pow.

Brixton Beach

(Pope’s Road SW9 8JH)

A beach venue to be found slap-bang in the centre of the urban maelstrom that’s South London’s Brixton, this destination owes much of its inspiration to the cool, laid-back Caribbean stylings and vibes of Cuba. It’s a luscious, vibrant and paradisiacal place sort of place that serves supreme cocktails and excellent eats and maintains the festival atmos thanks to appealing entertainment every night of the summer. Moreover, this rooftop can claim to be the residency of Ministry Does Fitness; a roster of fitness classes (from Zumba to yoga and everything in between). And, should fitness not be up your street but, well, eating is then the street food options (see what we did there?) are second-to-none, thanks to mac-and- cheese masters Mac to the Future, Nanban’s Japanese soul food, Mexican tacos courtesy of Del 74 and the very best British steak from STAKEhaus.

Roof East

(45a Broadway, London E15 1XD)

A fun, ebullient, open-air summertime venue and then some, Roof East is packed full of goodies to throw yourself into all-day-long and into the evening if you so desire too (and, although located in East London, it’s just a relatively short and very easy Tube journey away from the San Domenico House hotel). With a view of the Olympic Park in the near distance, it enables you to enjoy a round of crazy golf, engage in lawn bowls to a hip-hop soundtrack, try your hand at slugging a baseball or two in the city’s only batting cage (think cricket nets) and go ’80s-large at Rooftop Rollers; yes, a rooftop roller disco that’s as irresistible as it is kitschy and as silly as it is awesome fun. Oh, and on an evening when the Rooftop Cinema Club’s in residence you can enjoy one of the latest blockbusters or an old-school cult cinema favourite. Finally, when it comes to sustenance, Roof East delivers in spades too – Pizza Shack curbs hunger via wood-fired-stove-cooked pizzas and the chorizo hot dogs and Galician beef burgers of Jimmy’s Pop Up fame are simply to die for.