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 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!
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Igloos in London
Skylight Domes at Vinegar Yard
Why: Step out of London Bridge station to Vinegar Yard, one of London's best indoor and outdoor food and drink destinations. This winter season, its Mezzanine has been transformed by Grey Goose vodka into an Aprés-Ski haven with six heated skylight domes, each one seating up to eight guests. The domes are decked out with cosy blankets and sparkling lights and guests receive a Mistletoe Martini on arrival. Expect other vodka-based cocktails such as the Gingergoose Martini made with vodka, ginger syrup and lime juice. Plus, if you hire out one of the domes, your group gains a guaranteed table downstairs once you're alotted time is up.
Where: St Thomas Street, London Bridge, London, SE1 3QU
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. Now also available to book at Putney, Sonning, Brighton and Cobham, each venue offers vintage-style interiors with green and pink florals and warm lanterns. Sip on a glass of Champagne Laurent-Perrier (the brand's partner this year) alongside a menu featuring wagyu burger and chocolate fondant. A special Christmas menu will be available closer to the festive period.
Where: Three Quays Walk, EC3R 6AH
Igloos at Skylight Peckham
Why: The team behind Skylight, originally at Tobacco Dock, have brought the rooftop venue to South East London with its Peckham site where guests can still book its famous winter igloos. They aren't stingy with the time allowance (book for up to 3.5 hours) and each igloo is filled with blankets, pillows and a heater to keep toasty warm. A ticket gets you two bottles of house wine or Prosecco on arrival (for 6-10 people), and from there guests can order a selection of cocktails and warming food such as cod roe fritters, beef brisket burger, corn ribs and truffle fries.
Where: Theatre Walk, 120 Peckham Hill Street, London SE15 5JT
Igloo-style Chalets at Westfield White City
Why: From 6 November to the end of January 2022, guests can book an igloo-style winter chalet for up to six people at Westfield London. Each is kitted out with classic board games and bluetooth speakers to blast your favourite Christmas tunes, while the food is of the warm and comforting variety - think cheese and chocolate fondue (not at the same time, obvs). From the drinks menu, slurp your way through a collection of Slingsby Gin cocktails including a Chocolate Orange Martini, Marmalade Negroni and Winter Berry sparkling Goblet.
Where: Westwood, Ariel Way, London W12 7HB
Bar Elba's Party Pods
Why: Bar Elba's igloos, or 'party pods', are returning for another year at the rooftop in Waterloo. Twinkling lights hang above each igloo for a night that's always starry (romantic, huh?), but they do hold up to 12 people if you want to make it a party to remember. Each dome is kitted out with its own speaker for guests to control the playlist - we can already hear the arguments... Book each pod for up to 3 hours and get your boogie on!
Where: Rooftop Mercury House, 109-117 Waterloo Rd, London SE1 8UL
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 (they call them snow globes) that can fit up to 10 guests. From the first floor of the Alpine themed lodge you can enjoy a hot apple Mojito and hot toddies in the heated riverside bar, or head upstairs to dine on the likes of alpine cheese fondue, game terrine and lemon tart with lime mascarpone. Get booking though because prime spots at Jimmy’s Lodge are going fast.
Where: Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX
Forest Igloos at Winterland
Why: Mark your calendars! Winterland in Fulham opens on the 23 October, an Alpine club with a cocktail bar, gin bar, restaurant and, you guessed it, igloos. Their private igloos are located outdoors in the 'forest' area and hold between 6 and 8 people, but don't forget to take advantage of their other wintry activities including private winter chalets, moose cabins and a bavarian tent.
Where: Neverland London, Wandsworth Bridge Road, London, SW6 2TY
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. There are two type of igloo to choose from: dining igloos and drinks and snacks igloos. The former contains a dining table and chairs while the latter has lounge seating and a coffee table - this is private dining but not as you know it! With views across the city, you’ll be able to get some amazing Instagram shots too. Available Monday 4 October 2021 - Sunday 8 May 2022.
Where: 22 Finsbury Square, EC2A 1DX
Skylight at Tobacco Dock
Why: Tobacco dock in Wapping is home to one of the greatest rooftops in London: Skylight. And with stunning views of the city, what better place to pitch 18 igloos for visitors to eat, drink and be merry? Each igloo comes with table service, street food snacks and and plates from the menu. Available from Thursday 7 October 2021.
Where: Tobacco Dock, London, E1W 2SF
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 in London
The Alpine Garden at Devonshire Terrace
Why: The Alpine Garden at Devonshire Terrace is transforming its terraces into an alpine extravaganza complete with pine trees, a vintage Instagrammable gondola and a botanical wall. All the cocktails have been made with botanical spirit MOOSE and include concoctions such as Chocolate Orange Espresso Martini, Winter Mojito and Campfire (bulleit rye, Moose, maple syrup, chocolate bitters & a giant toasted marshmallow). Grab a drink after work at this wintry spot in East London.
Where: Building 9a, Devonshire Square, Whitechapel, London, EC2M 4WY
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.