Everyone loves to get outside – when it's not raining! – and combining a fun event with being outdoors always makes for a memorable occasion. The team at Venues & Events has taken the time to select a list of London's top balconies, terraces and roof gardens all available for hire. Whether it's a wedding in a quaint terrace area, a break out session in a conference centre, or a celebratory drinks reception at a private members' club, you'll find an al fresco venue to suit your needs.
There are balconies, terrace spaces and open-air roof-tops dotted across the capital and many have fantastic views across the City, the West End, the Thames or just the whole of London.
Weddings are especially well suited to being outside, whether it's the ceremony, the reception or just a space for guest to spill out on to, having an outdoor space – terraces and roof-tops – adds an amazing summery element to your perfect day.
If you're super-keen to organise an event outdoors and a balcony, terrace or roof garden just hasn't quite got the space you need, then take a look at our selection of marquees and temporary structures.
Those looking for a venue with an air of well-heeled Britishness might look to this hotel and members club in SW1. Behind its handsome Victorian façade lie a handful of well-appointed spaces, all with modern decorative touches. Intimate private dinners in its penthouse suite are popular, particularly as guests can make use of its sizeable terrace both before and after dining. The headline Mayfair Suite is the spot for small conferences or standing receptions.
St. James's Hotel & Club
With retractable floor-to-ceiling windows along its outside wall, this riverside restaurant makes a bright, scenic setting for events. Selling points include panoramic views from Tower Bridge to Canary Wharf and an outdoor terrace for fair-weather drinks. British-leaning menus feature the likes of potted duck, piccalilli and toasted sourdough, followed by roasted cod, creamed king cabbage, bacon and new potatoes. Desserts might include eton mess and lemon posset.
New for 2018, this pop-up ‘urban beach’ will be brought to Brick Lane by Awesome Events for June and July, hosting festival-feel summer parties. Barefoot guests will feel the sand between their toes while tucking into superior street food and craft beers from a variety of themed stands. The silent disco and beach games should keep everyone entertained, while VIP beach huts will please the big wigs. Its top Surf’s Up package also includes fun fair stalls and fire performers.
The London City Beach
Steeped in history, the Home of Cricket has a bevy of characterful event spaces. Starting off in the Victorian Grade II*-listed Pavilion, organisers will find the Long Room, with its high ceilings and historic artwork. Next door, the world’s oldest sports museum is a popular place to host drinks receptions. Perhaps as recognisable as the Pavilion is the JP Morgan Media Centre, a choice spot for entertaining, with arguably the ground’s best views.
Lord's Cricket Ground
The Devonshire Club is a Mayfair-style members club in EC2. Spread across a Georgian townhouse and 18th-century warehouse, it comprises a boutique hotel, a modern British restaurant and a Garden Room that opens onto a rare outdoor space in the City. For entertaining, there’s also a glamorous Cocktail Bar and the weekend-only Library Bar, which focuses in on cognac and whisky. For the serious stuff, there’s a trio of smart boardrooms.
This multi-faceted venue occupies a Grade II-listed East India Company warehouse, housing four distinct bars and restaurants. The New Street Grill is split into two main areas and its plush interiors extend to the private dining room. The Fish Market is less formal: a seaside-inspired space with a terrace. Events can also be held in the venue’s handsome New Street Wine and its Old Bengal Bar, which has a walled courtyard and big focus on cocktails.Latest news
As part of D&D London’s #BlossomCity initiative this summer, Old Bengal Bar is launching a Jungle Book Terrace. Expect themed cocktails and jungle decor.
Old Bengal Warehouse
Home to Surrey County Cricket Club and a host to international cricket matches, The Kia Oval is justifiably popular for its excellent event facilities, which include a conference centre and roof terrace. It can take large groups for banqueting and offers plenty of smaller meeting rooms – most offer natural light and have views of the pitch. Hospitality packages on match days are another big draw. We like the roof terrace for a pre-game glass of fizz.Hospitality feature - 'Cricket is Coming'
The Kia Oval
Perched on the roof of No 1 Poultry, Coq d’Argent boasts impressive views towards St Paul’s and the Bank of England. Guests step out of the lift into the venue’s standout space: a rooftop garden designed by Arabella Lennox-Boyd. This is a splendid spot for a champagne picnic when the sun is shining. A bar and terrace can be hired for drinks, dinner and canapé parties, while the inside space can be booked exclusively for breakfast meetings and other business events.
From its prime fourth-floor position, Plateau enjoys views across Docklands’ Canada Square. Its glass frontage and partially glazed ceiling flood the main dining room with light by day, and show off London’s skyline at night. A covered, heated terrace accommodates alfresco events year-round, while indoor event spaces include a private dining room with its own wine wall. The restaurant also offers wine-matching lessons, cocktail masterclasses and whisky tastings.
Modern design meets Docklands heritage on the top three floors of the newly built Novotel Canary Wharf – the tallest all-hotel building in Britain. Bokan matches UK-sourced food and European menus to industrial interiors in its 37th-floor restaurant. One level higher, its relaxed bar is a champion of locally distilled spirits. But the knockout space is floor 39: a laid-back alfresco roof terrace with its own specialist gin bar and 360° views across London and beyond.
Italian restaurant group Strada made its name serving fresh pasta and authentically thin and crispy pizzas at a time when they were rarely seen on the British high street. Today, its menus are familiar, but their comforting impact is the same. At the recently refreshed South Bank branch, groups can choose between the main dining room, an outdoor terrace and Foyles, a private area named for the famous bookshop next door.
The ground-floor Green House is one of our favourite spaces at No.11 Cavendish Square. This 140-capacity room in the townhouse’s contemporary building features a central champagne bar, two 65in LED monitors and a Sonos wireless music system. The room is also bathed in natural light thanks to large windows. While receptions are an option, the space works best for lunches or dinners. Catering comes from Dish.Venue review of No.11 Cavendish Square
Venue review of Summer parties at No.11 Cavendish Square
Venue review of The Orangery & Courtyard at No.11 Cavendish Square
The Green House at No. 11 Cavendish Square
An architectural showcase of etched glass and Portland stone carvings, the Grade II-listed home of the Royal Institute of British Architects is a striking setting for events. The key to its success is its fusion of old and new: a tiered auditorium and grand art deco features are complemented by the facilities of a modern venue. Standout spaces include the light-filled Florence Hall, with its terrace garden and the top-floor Wren Room, which has panoramic balcony views.
RIBA Venues is hosting the launch of Thomson & Scott Skinny’s new low-sugar prosecco. The drink brand has also been added to the venue’s supplier list
RIBA Venues (Royal Institute of British Architects)