Insta-worthy Winter Pub Gardens, Pop-ups, and terraces
Oh, Summer. Times enjoying an ice cold pint post-commute or mid-weekend, with the warm sun beaming down on you in a bustling pub garden may now seem all too distant. But as the nights get longer and the cold air continues to bite, pub gardens, restaurants and event spaces alike come into their element as they cater for those keen on alfresco fun, without the chill. From riverside dining igloos to Narnia-esque pub garden experiences, here’s our round-up of cool winter pub gardens and spaces in south-west London.
The annual festive utopia that is Winterland has now opened its doors to Fulham for the season. Wander in for a small fee and explore the different areas, or for something a little more special book a private area. Spaces up for grabs include transparent igloos, fur-covered sofas and even a hot tub seating up to 6, with views of the Thames and a drinks service on offer. Once you’re done lounging about, tuck into dishes such as their ‘Turkey Feast’ pizza topped with roast turkey and stuffing, or the ‘Little Miss Piggy’ – three cheese mac & cheese topped with pigs in blankets and a cranberry sauce.
2The Ship, Wandsworth
Claiming to have the best beer garden in London is a bold declaration – but one the crowds engulfing the Ship’s surrounds regardless of the weather would certainly agree with. Originally a watering hole for eighteenth century Thames workers, the pub has most definitely changed with the tides. Whilst the interior is a collision of old and new, with rustic wood and brighter dining areas, the exterior has a number of areas to catch up with loved ones, enjoy festive dinner or take a break from the music at their DJ evenings. Grab a stall by the riverside, book a meal in a beach hut style booth or simply perch on a bench under the heated tent. Once you’ve found your favourite spot, delve into boxes of gooey goodness from the winter raclette shack, enjoy a hearty roast or share a selection of smaller plates.
3The County Arms, Wandsworth
Head down to this Wandsworth favourite as the garden has transformed with a new theme: ‘The Chronicles of The County Arms’. Inspired by classic Christmas tales, head through the ‘wardrobe’ and you’re greeted with a snow-filled winter forest, the perfect winter pub garden. Frost covered pine trees and snow covered tables set the scene as an abundance of fairy lights illuminate the scene. Tuck into a ‘Lions Feast’ sharer board (wings, cod goujons, chips, dips and onion rings) whilst you sip on Hayman’s Hot Gin and Glenlivet toddies.
For a fully immersive festive get-together, enjoy warming oriental cuisine and selection of Thai inspired cocktails whilst gathered in a transparent riverside igloo. Perched on the Thames riverside, Busaba’s igloos seat up to eight guests to enjoy their tasty fare, sound-tracked by music from carefully curated playlists. To taste the full Thai spectrum order a selection of their small plates which include chicken wrapped in pandan leaves, barbeque pork mini ribs and a vegan calamari alternative.
Minimum spends apply to igloo bookings; £150 group total for lunch and £200 for dinner (£40 deposit)
A favourite of local young socialites, couples and families alike, this Chelsea haunt has certainly utilised its relatively small courtyard this season. ‘Snow-topped’ lodges house cosy spaces with blankets for those looking to get snug, drink in hand. Trees bejewelled with sparkling white fairy lights illuminate the garden, whilst icy plants sprout out the centre of high tables. Enjoy an eggy brunch dish and a detoxing juice to enjoy the display by day, or dine alfresco as the lights warm up over a late lunch of freshly grilled yellowfin tuna steak or an iberico pork rack. Head inside to the Bluebird bar & lounge on weekends for exquisite cocktails and chatter.
6The Kings Arms, Wandsworth
Benefitting from Wandsworth’s best outdoor space, The King’s Arms plays host to uncountable crowds during the summer months, with punters able to sit riverside by the Wandle, in a number of tipi-style beach huts or in the garden’s central suntrap area. With the arrival of Winter, the area is covered over with a gigantic tent. The summer’s suntrap transforms into a heater-filled, seasonal utopia whilst huts are filled with blankets to cosy under. Whilst you await your generously sized sliders board or burger shack feast, grab a board game from the window ledge by the garden exit and get competitive over a cocktail or two.
7The Falcon, Clapham
Located no more than a minutes’ walk from Clapham North underground station, the falcon can take unsuspecting revellers by surprise with the size of its hidden exterior. Retractable shelters are on guard to ensure you and your grub are well protected in the instance of rain or snow if the covered areas by the garden door and sheds at the rear have been occupied. Worst case (or second best) scenario, you’ll have plenty more space at the pub’s front to warm and people watch. Tuck into classic British dishes such as fish & chips and sausage & mash – or snub the savouries entirely and order the warm chocolate brownie with hazelnut ice-cream.
Feeling festive? Check out our comprehensive guide to the UK’s best Christmas markets here.