The UK’s best al fresco dining restaurants to book during the hot weather in 2022

·8 min read
uk best al fresco dining restaurants bars book summer june heatwave hot weather 2022 eat drink
uk best al fresco dining restaurants bars book summer june heatwave hot weather 2022 eat drink

Summer has finally arrived in the UK and many of us are blissfully basking in the warm weather.

Many pubs and restaurants are fortunate to have always had outdoor seating areas – while others adopted theirs more recently – either way, it’s a great opportunity to enjoy a delicious meal al fresco.

Whether you’re looking for a fun rooftop atmosphere or a quaint pub garden, there are many ways to relax and enjoy good food and drink in the summer sunshine.

From bustling eateries in the capital to more quaint quiet spots across the UK, we’ve got you and your stomachs covered.

Best restaurants to dine outdoors in summer 2022

Mama Shelter, Bethnal Green, London

French-founded Mama Shelter's London location is the perfect place to spend a summer's day or evening. With its ethereal garden bar open for food and drinks, guests can enjoy some of the Malfy gin cocktails from the summer pop-up, as well as dishes including truffle mac 'n' cheese, 'nduja mussels and a roast chicken to share. Those with a sweet tooth should try the giant cookie for dessert.

437 Hackney Rd, London E2 8PP; 020 7613 6500; mamashelter.co.uk

The Varsity, Cambridge

The SIX brasserie at this luxury hotel offers unparalleled views of Cambridge – as well as something delicious for your tummy and taste buds. Choose from a 900g tomahawk steak fresh off the grill or a number of other plates such as king prawn and chorizo skewers, crispy whitebait with aioli and lemon and many other treats. A good selection of plant-based choices for vegans too.

The Varsity Hotel and Spa, Thompsons Ln, Cambridge CB5 8AQ; 01223 306030; thevarsityhotel.co.uk

Luca, Clerkenwell, London

Clerkenwell has long been one of London's best areas for dining, with St John, The Eagle, The Quality Chop House and now Brutto heading a stellar roster. But for al fresco dining there's one spot that's a cut above the rest. Luca's foliage-filled terrace, where olive trees and jasmine provide a touch of the Mediterranean, are the perfect place to sample the restaurants Italian fare on a warm summer's evening.

88 St John St, London EC1M 4EH; 02038593000; luca.restaurant 

Carousel, Fitzrovia, London

Carousel's terrace is a great spot to soak up the sunshine, with a glass of natural wine in hand and a selection of small plates on the way. Choose from fried chicken with habanero and honey and charred asparagus hidden under a mound of pecorino and cured egg yolk. Whether you're visiting for a casual lunch or a relaxed dinner to enjoy the long evenings, the outdoor terrace comes complete with blankets so you need not fear getting chilly into the night.

19-23 Charlotte St., London W1T 1RL; 020 7487 5564; carousel-london.com

Dukes 92, Manchester

In the heart of Manchester, but maintaining a 'tucked-away-gem' status, Dukes 92 offers up classic pub grub and more. Enjoy a steak and onion sandwich or opt for a selection of the restaurant's famous cheese and patés. Small plates include crispy chilli beef and fondue fries, while pizza, kebabs, fish and chips and steak also features. Sit back in the sun alongside the Bridgewater Canal and wash it all down with a summer cocktail, craft beer or glass of wine.

18-25 Castle St, Manchester M3 4LZ; 0161 839 8642; dukes92.com

The Summerhouse and The Waterway, Regent’s Canal, London

Nestled on Regent's Canal, both The Summerhouse and The Waterway are in great locations for al fresco drinks and dinner. The Summerhouse's menu focuses on fresh seafood dishes such as pan-fried scallops, roasted whole lemon sole, as well as Jersey Royal oysters, Canadian lobster and grilled prawns.

The Summerhouse, Blomfield Rd, London W9 2PA; 020 7286 6752; thesummerhouse.co

Meanwhile, The Waterway's terrace is the ideal sun trap for enjoying some summer dishes such as jumbo asparagus with Serrano ham, Maldon-cured smoked salmon and a tasty tempura soft shell crab burger. Indulge in some fresh cocktails such as the Pepo-Lush, featuring cachaça and Melonade, shaken with mezcal, lime juice, pineapple juice, hibiscus syrup and bitters.

54 Formosa St, London W9 2JU; 020 7266 3557; thewaterway.co.uk

Sushisamba, Liverpool Street, London

The Covent Garden location of Sushisamba has both its wraparound terrace upstairs and the piazza terrace downstairs open for summer dining. Menu highlights include the kanpachi tiradito with yuzu and black truffle oil; the tiger maki roll with crab and prawn tempura and a nigiri-sashimi omakase. Robata grill dishes to not miss are the miso Chilean sea bass, the mushroom tobanyaki and the black cod with sweetcorn and polenta.

35 The Market Building, London WC2E 8RF; 0203 053 0000; sushisamba.com

The Victoria, Oxshott, Surrey

uk best al fresco dining restaurants book during summer warm weather 2022 victoria oxshott surrey
uk best al fresco dining restaurants book during summer warm weather 2022 victoria oxshott surrey

Co-founded by Simon King (ex-Ramsay and The Fat Duck) and Matt Larcombe (ex-Heston), The Victoria champions elevated classic pub dishes with a creative twist. Enjoy salt chamber-aged beef tartare with horseradish and hen egg, as well as mushroom parfait to start with, followed by a traditional pub grub dish of fish and chips, or a wagyu bavette if you're feeling something finer. All washed down with a decent wine and craft beer list.

The Victoria, High St, Oxshott, Leatherhead KT22 0JR; 01372 238308; thevictoriaoxshott.com

Gold, Notting Hill, London

On the doorstep of Portobello Road, Gold's small but ambient terrace acts as a tranquil oasis from the bustling market crowds, and its menu is even more impressive. Featuring octopus carpaccio, porchetta with black Iberiko tomatoes and chargrilled sprouting broccoli, to name a few dishes, it's the perfect spot to enjoy a selection of small plates over a glass of wine for lunch or dinner. Larger plates include lamb gigot with Datterini tomatoes and nettle ravioli.

95-97 Portobello Rd, London W11 2QB; 020 3146 0747; goldnottinghill.com

Wilds Kitchen, The Greyhound, Hampshire

For peaceful riverside dining, Wilds Kitchen offers a delightful space right next to River Test. Hosting a variety of different nights for guests to relax with friends and family, Wilds specialises in wood-fired pizzas, gourmet burgers and the classic fish and chips. Plant-based eaters can enjoy veggie hot dogs, courgette pizzas and battered tofu options.

31 High St, Stockbridge SO20 6EY; 01264 810833; wildsevents.co.uk

Chishuru, Brixton, London

Taking centre stage on Market Row in Brixton, Adejoké Bakare's restaurant offers a mix of modern and traditional West African dishes. Plates include ekuru with pumpkin seed pesto and scotch bonnet sauce and goat shoulder in peanut sauce. While the outdoor seating is sure to be made the most of this summer, diners should also try catch a glimpse of Bakare working in the open-plan kitchen.

Unit 9 Market Row, Coldharbour Ln, London SW9 8LB; 020 3915 1198; chishuru.com

Lochleven Seafood Cafe, Fort William, Scotland

A hidden gem you could quite literally drive past without realising, Lochleven Seafood Cafe is a small restaurant and seafood shop on the west coast of Scotland. Serving freshly-caught, delicious seafood – we recommend the scallops, mussels, clams and lobster – you can sit on the terrace and enjoy breathtaking views of Loch Leven. A no-frills sort of place but well worth the visit.

B863, Onich, Fort William PH33 6SA; 01855 821048; lochlevenseafoodcafe.co.uk

Smokestak, Shoreditch, London

This American-style barbecue restaurant remains a long-term favourite spot to grab a bite in Shoreditch. While its brisket buns and ox cheek croquettes remain as signature dishes, the other smoked meats such as pork belly ribs and lamb merguez are also strong contenders. Also not to be underestimated: the jacket potato with mustard rarebit (though we mourn the mushrooms on toast, still). The sticky toffee pudding, while not always an ideal dessert on a hot day, is worth starting an argument over if your dinner partner declines.

35 Sclater St, London E1 6LB; 020 3873 1733; smokestak.co.uk

Prawn on the Farm, Padstow, Cornwall

prawn lawn farm cornwall padstow uk best al fresco dining restaurants book during summer warm weather 2022
prawn lawn farm cornwall padstow uk best al fresco dining restaurants book during summer warm weather 2022

Family-run fishmonger-turned restaurant Prawn on the Lawn re-opens as Prawn on the Farm in its Padstow site in Cornwall. For the third year, the restaurant will have a more permanent site higher up, overlooking Padstow Kitchen Garden, offering diners beautiful views of the scenic Camel Estuary. Guests can feast upon sustainably and locally-caught fish from day boats such as whole Padstow brown crab and lobster, John Dory or turbot. Smaller plates include sardines with feta, crispy chilli monkfish and lemon sole with 'nduja. Oh, and the spiced potatoes are an underrated must-order.

Trerethern Farm, Padstow PL28 8LE; 01841 532223; prawnonthelawn.com

Bright, Hackney, London

Situated near London Fields, Bright is a restaurant and wine bar from the team behind Noble Fine Liquor, P. Franco and Peg. With a number of tables outside, it's a dependable spot to book on a summer's day. Must-have dishes include the fried skate and boquerones, razor clams and grilled cuttlefish, while the steamed turbot with ginger, garlic and lemon butter is sure to impress. Finish off with the ricotta ice cream, strawberries, hibiscus and elderflower and wash it all down with a glass or two from the renowned wine list.

1 Westgate St, London E8 3RL; 020 3095 9407; brightrestaurant.co.uk

The Barking Dog, Belfast

Serving up local food and home-style dishes, the Barking Dog restaurant is a key one among the culinary scene in Belfast. The website might rave about 'Belfast's best burger' but the rest of the menu is not to be overlooked either. Kilkeel crab with crème fraiche, fish pie, sweet potato gnocchi and Portavogie prawns all catch the eye – and are perfect for a spot of sunny dining.

33-35 Malone Rd, Belfast BT9 6RU; 028 9066 1885; barkingdogbelfast.com

The Drumming Snipe, Mayford, Surrey

The Drumming Snipe serves delicious dishes such as Dorset coppa with celeriac waldorf and classic options such as potted mackerel and pan-fried sardines. The St Mary’s Bay plaice with clams, sea aster in a spiced shellfish sauce remains a popular favourite – as does the selection of 45-day aged steak cuts – served with bone marrow, salad and triple-cooked chips.

The Drumming Snipe, Guildford Rd, Mayford, Woking GU22 9QT; 01483 610010; thedrummingsnipe.co.uk

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