London’s best beer gardens

The_Gun_2012_2.jpgWhen the sun is shining, London’s beer gardens are the place to be. Whether you’re popping into the pub for a quick after-work drink, enjoying a weekend lunch in the sun, or holing up in your local for a lost afternoon, here are 10 of London’s best beer gardens in which to soak up the sunshine.

The Albion, Islington

As popular for its food as it is for its beer, The Albion is a second home for many Barnsbury locals, and its huge, cutely decorated courtyard at the rear is always heaving with sun-worshippers on warm days. It’s no surprise, as our readers rank it as one of the finest beer gardens in the borough.

The Eagle, Shepherd’s Bush

A huge grassy expanse strewn with giant cushions and shady benches greets drinkers who venture to the rear of this country-style gastropub. It’s perfect for enjoying a chilled beer or burger in the sunshine.

The Florence, Herne Hill

Situated opposite leafy Brockwell Park, The Florence has plenty of outdoor seating on its pretty, sheltered terrace, as well as a covered outhouse in case of sudden chills.

The Freemasons Arms, Hampstead Freemason's Arms - Freemason's_Arms_2008_-_DSC_1702-2_-_for_web.jpg(pictured, left)

This pub-restaurant’s colossal outdoor space is the stuff of legend: a picture-perfect courtyard with abundant grassy expanses and landscaped shrubbery make you feel like you’re already on nearby Hampstead Heath. Die-hard fans proclaim it ‘the best in London’.

The Gun, Docklands (pictured, top right)

With fantastic views over the quays, this Docklands stunner from the Martin brothers ticks a lot of boxes on a bright day: an ample riverside terrace, spot-on British food, and a healthy selection of draught ales and classy wines.

Henry J Beans, Chelsea

This American-style chain restaurant’s best asset is outside: a huge garden and terrace with plenty of seating, outdoor heaters and a fully functioning tiled fountain. The garden is packed with revellers on balmy evenings.

The Jam Tree, Fulham

A quirky gastropub on the King’s Road, The Jam Tree has a popular decked beer garden that’s a real hit with the locals. Sip a house strawberry-jam mojito in the sunshine, or tuck into shareable plates such as crab samosas or battered squid at dinner time.

The Phene - Garden The_Phene_2010_-_IMG_3105lo.jpgThe Phene, Chelsea (pictured, right)

When George Best’s former local – a spit ‘n’ sawdust type of joint – was revamped to its present swanky state, the owners put a lot of thought into the elegant terrace, which feels a million miles from the road on the other side of the foliage-clad trellises that surround it.

Stein’s, Richmond

Backing onto the Richmond stretch of the Thames is this vast beer garden, popular with fans of German beer. Tuck into plates of sausages and sauerkraut and knock back tankards of potent lager as you watch the water.

The Water Poet, Spitalfields

You wouldn’t, perhaps, expect a pub in such a prime City location to boast a beer garden. Sure, The Water Poet’s is sheltered on all sides by buildings, but this makes it a fantastic sun-trap, and the views of the City skyline come from a wholly different angle.