Though September’s almost upon us, this summer’s glorious heat wave hasn’t left us just yet. Take advantage of the dog days at one of London’s top garden cafes. Sprinkled across the capital, these beautiful parks and gardens provide some of the best outdoor dining in London. Feel free to stop and smell the roses – there’s time, yet.
Serpentine Bar and Kitchen
Londoners flock to the Serpentine in Hyde Park during the summer months to lounge on the grassy banks, row along the lake, and take in a few rare rays. We find one of the best vantage points can be had at the Serpentine Bar and Kitchen, which is housed in a stunning, glass-walled building designed by British architect Patrick Gwynne. Whether in or out, you’re guaranteed a nice view – not to mention an array of tasty dishes (the wood-fired pizzas shouldn’t be missed).
The Garden Café at Regents Park
The enclosed Inner Circle in the heart of Regent’s Park is consistently rated as one of London’s more scenic spots, comprising Queen Mary’s rose garden and a pretty pond in addition to numerous other varieties of colourful blossoms. The Garden Café itself is the perfect destination for afternoon tea and pastries or, if you’re looking to let loose, a glass (or several) of Pimm’s. The all-day menu of nibbles uses seasonal produce and is full of delicious offerings.
Inn The Park at St James’s Park
The oldest Royal Park in London, St James’s Park is a stone’s throw from The Rubens at the Palace. The park boasts a picture-perfect lake and is home to a colony of pelicans that were gifted to London by a 17th century Russian ambassador. Today, the sights are best admired from Inn The Park, one of the city’s most accomplished garden cafes. Dishes here are decidedly gourmet – diners can choose from options like Cornish megrim sole with Jersey Royals, chervil, and crab vinaigrette and smashed broad beans with peas and shaved Berkswell cheese.
The Orangery Restaurant at Kew Gardens
It’s a little way from central London, but Kew Gardens is doubtless one of the best places to spend the remaining summer days. When you’re not traversing its 121 hectares of greenery, take a pause at The Orangery Restaurant. Set inside a lavish 18th-century building, the restaurant’s three course menus are hard to top – we’d recommend the cinnamon, mint, and pomegranate braised lamb leg. For those who are only a bit peckish, the Orangery is also a good bet for afternoon tea and quick nibbles.
The Garden Café, Duke Street, Mayfair
All right, so it’s not technically a garden, but Duke Street is still home to some of London’s best open-air summer dining this season. The Garden Café, part of the Grosvenor Estate, occupies a verdant courtyard in the middle of Mayfair. The oasis-like spot is decorated with flowerbeds and serves scrumptious fare (try the quinoa salad with roast butternut squash and grilled red pepper). Best of all? It’s within easy reach of The Chesterfield Mayfair.