Here at SquareMeal, we are big proponents of the belief that it is impossible to be bored in London. That is because in this great diverse city, there is always something happening, somewhere to be and someone to see. Each and every day of the year, London is a land of opportunities - fancy bottomless brunch in an adult ball pit? You can do that. How about a tasting menu in one of the poshest joints in town? London’s got you covered there, too.
One of the most popular London trends of recent years though is dining inside an outdoor igloo, an experience first triumphed by the folk over at Coppa Club in London Bridge. In their debut year, the igloos were booked out within minutes of being launched and this has subsequently led to a whole host of other London restaurants and bars getting in on the bubble action.
Some London igloos are only available to dine in seasonally, while others stick around all year long. Typically though, igloos are most popular during the winter season. There is much to dislike about winter in London - the days are shorter, it’s dark when you wake up and when you get and it is unreasonably cold. We shouldn’t let winter get us down though, because this is when London gears up to host diners in snug outdoor igloos or at festive winter pop ups and experiences.
From cosy glass domes overlooking the Thames, to heated rooftop food markets, whoever said you can’t enjoy London in the winter has clearly never managed to get a booking at one of these epic winter warmers. Speaking of bookings, igloos in London get booked up extremely quickly, so alongside our pick of the best igloos London has to offer, we have also included a few alternative winter pop ups and terraces to try out. Enjoy!
Igloos in London
Igloos at the Coppa Club
Why: It would be silly to start this list without mentioning the PVC domes London originally went crazy for a few years back at the Tower Bridge Coppa Club. Overlooking the Thames with views of London Bridge and the Shard, they’re back. So if you’re lucky enough to get a booking in one of these heated domes you can snuggle up in a sheep skin blanket while you enjoy great views and the likes of pizza, pasta and burgers from the dinner menu.
Where: Three Quays Walk, EC3R 6AH
Jimmy’s Winter Lodge and Igloos
Why: Overlooking the Thames and residing on the Southbank, Jimmy’s Winter Lodge is a two storey cabin with an enclosed rooftop dining space and, you guessed it, private dining igloos that can fit up to 10 guests. Collaborating with Martin Miller's Gin to bring you a taste of the Northern Lights, expect lots of warming cocktails to accompany the pretty display. From the first floor of the Alpine themed lodge you can enjoy a mulled wine or craft beer in the heated riverside bar, or head upstairs to dine on the likes of alpine cheese fondue, French onion soup and warm chocolate covered pears. Get booking though because prime spots at Jimmy’s Lodge are going fast.
Where: Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX
Why: Known for its interactive tables and fun sushi dishes, in the winter Inamo transforms its outdoor area with pop-up igloos, fairy lights and sheepskin rugs. You can book a whole one for a big group, or if there are only a few of you, you can share with other diners. The special igloo menu features the likes of chicken wontons, flamed edamame and sweet chilli tempura. As with all the igloos on this list they get filled up for the winter fast, so get booking while you still can.
Where: 265 Hampstead Road, NW1 7QX
Why: Aviary has combined London’s two favourite things, winter igloos and summer rooftops to create rooftop igloos – rather genius we think. With lots of different packages to choose from, you can book the likes of space in the igloo for one and a half hours, cocktails and nibbles on arrival and a £150 bar tab to spend. With views across the city, you’ll be able to get some amazing Instagram shots too.
Where: 22 Finsbury Square, EC2A 1DX
The Secret Winter Garden
Why: These individual clear domes in the gardens of The Crowne Plaza, all of which are named after legendary singers, afford guests the ultimate atmospheric space in which to toast the festive season. Whether it’s for your work's Christmas party or just a catch up with some friends, we’re certain you’ll love getting cosy inside.
Where: The Crowne Plaza Kensington, 100 Cromwell Road, SW7 4ER
Winter pop ups London
The Montague on the Gardens Ski Lodge
Why: Indulge in a ski lodge experience at The Montague on the Gardens without leaving London to celebrate the festive season surrounded by reindeer, pine trees, falling snow, and all the skiing paraphernalia you can imagine. Sip on hot chocolate cocktails, mulled wine, and spiced cider as you keep warm and snug in front of the fire, pile on the blankets, and munch on sweet candied pecan nuts.
Where: 15 Montague St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 5BJ
Pergola on the Roof Paddington
Why: Pergola Paddington is back and warmer than ever. Transforming the summertime rooftop into a winter forest fully equipped with cosy heaters, day beds and lots of different food options to choose from, you can make the most of the cold weather without actually getting cold. Food-wise, you can enjoy the likes of burgers from Smash Patty, gyros from Babek Brothers and spicy wonton dumplings from An Choi.
Where: 5 Kingdom Street, W2 6PY
Queen of Hoxton
Why: As one of Shoreditch’s most popular rooftop bars, head to the Queen of Hoxton during the winter months to experience the new winter theme which changes each year. Previous years have seen the construction of a giant wigwam to keep warm in, and a super Instagrammable Moulin Rouge love seat. Once you’re done taking in the views head down to the basement club to dance the rest of the night away.
Where: 1 Curtain Road, EC2A 3JX
Radio Rooftop Winter Terrace
Why: Climb on up to join an exclusive Alpine retreat-style rooftop party at the Strand’s avant-garde ME Hotel where you will find a winter-inspired collection of cocktails. You’ll want to party the night away at this sky high venue from sunrise to sunset soaking up the views and great music with luxurious canapes, live DJ sets, and an amazing backdrop of fireworks.
Where: Strand, London WC2R 1HA
Lost in Brixton
Why: Get in on the Christmas secret! Brixton’s jungle rooftop is stepping up its game with heaters, resinstating the roof, and pulling out a fresh new menu of winter drinks. The long nights will never be the same again as the festive celebrations continue up top. You’ll even be able to order food straight from the market to the bar – win, win!
Where: Brixton Village, SW9 8PS
Need something to warm you up during the colder months? Check out our list of the best hot chocolates you can find in London.