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The Tree Terrace at SUSHISAMBA’s Heron Tower / Image: SUSHISAMBA

Sure, we love necking ice-cold drinks and wearing shorts as much as the next person, but autumn’s outdoor drinking season isn’t short of charms either. Cosying up under a blanket and sipping on a steaming toddy – or even something a little zingier – is peak hygge – and if it’s set to a pretty view, even better. Here’s where to drink in the UK when the temperature drops.

That warm, fuzzy feeling need not end with alfresco booze jackets. Why not snuggle into our wider list of the 10 cosiest places in Britain to warm up this winter?

Or if it's specifically comestible comfort you're after, here's our rundown of the best roast dinners in London.

 

1. The sky-high one, London

1. The sky-high one, London
Life sure looks good from up on the roof / Image: John Athimaritis

Hotel AMANO Covent Garden, a boutique venue set in the heart of central London, is known for its sleek and sexy contemporary décor, but let’s not forget that its seventh-floor rooftop bar is just as aesthetically rich and design-led as the interiors – and that’s before you even factor-in the stupefying views. Once you see the sweeping vistas across the city, you won’t want to head inside, even if it does get a bit chillier. And besides, when temperatures drop, AMANO’s range of signature cocktails will warm things up, particularly the Ristretto Negroni, which adds a dash of crème de banana to the steadfast classic. So, grab a drink, gaze at the views and – if you’re visiting between Thursday and Saturday – soak up the sounds of the resident DJs to really make a night of it.

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2. The two-terrace one, London

2. The two-terrace one, London
Much more fun than an autumn bonfire / Image: SUSHISAMBA

Why settle for just one terrace when you can have two absolute gems instead? Because that’s what you’ll find at the ever-buzzing Heron Tower site of much-loved restaurant and bar SUSHISAMBA. The East Terrace features fetching, autumnal-coloured seating that’s perfect for lounging and lingering (as well as being super-comfy), while the aptly named Tree Terrace boasts a marvellous sculptural tree, towering all of 26-feet-high and once again in a dashing autumnal shade of burnt orange. Whichever terrace you choose, you’ll not only have a choice of seasonal cocktails to sip (try the Sake Spritz, made with rosé wine, St‑Germain elderflower liqueur, sparking sake and grapefruit oils), but also some truly superb views over the iconic City skyline to savour, too.

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3. The cool one, Edinburgh

3. The cool one, Edinburgh

When it comes to cosiness, Edinburgh has it down to an art, and Cold Town House's après ski-themed rooftop terrace epitomises the city’s snug savoir-faire. Given its location right under Edinburgh Castle, the view is outstanding, especially when the trees at the base of Castle Rock turn burnished autumn shades. Snuggle into one of the Gondola-themed booths with a dram in hand and a fresh pizza from the oven downstairs.

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4. The wooded one, Belfast

4. The wooded one, Belfast

Just above the quirky city centre AMPM restaurant – known for its draping greenery and head-scratching art – you’ll find The Treehouse, an intimate rooftop bar with a similarly higgledy-piggledy vibe. High romance is achieved through its verdant decor and glinting fairy lights, making it an ideal spot for a tête-à-tête. Bring your date to one of the seasonal movie nights, whether a romcom classic in autumn or a Christmas fave in December. And though you may be itching to recreate a cinematic kiss with your honey, your parade will never get rained on here: a retractable roof and super-powered heaters beat the elements.

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5. The grape one, London

5. The grape one, London
Image: Sam Harris

Forza WIne is the sister venue to super-popular Forza Win, and the added ‘e’ means one thing – this place in Peckham is all about everything alcoholic. Between Italian-leaning cocktails (try the cherry negroni) and the tidy menu of natural wines from the Boot, you’re never in danger of going thirsty here. Order a selection of delicious snacks to sop up the booze and drink in the impressive views of London’s skyline from the well-heated rooftop terrace – just don’t forget to book a space on the website first.

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6. The watery one, Manchester

6. The watery one, Manchester

The cavernous Wharf pub has a plum canalside location and the best terrace in Manchester. It’s a relatively standard boozer on the inside, so we recommend making a beeline for that dreamy outdoor space and snagging a table right by the water, where you can watch houseboats chug by and admire the redbrick buildings that line the canal. If you’re feeling semi-athletic you can challenge your drinking buddies to a game of boules on the court just by the terrace – gear provided free of charge at the bar. 

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7. The panoramic one, Bristol

7. The panoramic one, Bristol

The recently refurbished White Lion claims to have one of the biggest terraces in the southwest of England, and we’re inclined to agree – the outdoor seating area is positively massive, and boasts sweeping views of Bristol’s famous Clifton Suspension Bridge. Formerly a hotel, the pub has been licensed since 1806, and you can spy some of its storied history in its architecture: the back wall of the bar includes a bit of an old wall that once marked the city’s medieval bounds. It’s a favourite with locals, so come early, and bring your pooch too – dogs are welcome.

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8. The twinkly one, Glasgow

8. The twinkly one, Glasgow

Snuggle under the fairy light-studded awning over the rooftop of the much-loved Ubiquitous Chip and avail yourself of some of the best vegetarian food in the city, including a meat-free tasting menu that features fancied-up pub grub like salt baked celeriac with black truffle and, gloriously, veggie haggis. Or if you're just after some bevs, dip into their sweeping drinks menu, including a solid list of Scottish whiskys to keep you warm if the tasty heaters aren't already doing the job. 

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9. The genteel one, Oxford

9. The genteel one, Oxford

The terrace next to the rambling Trout Inn country pub couldn’t be more ideal, as it borders a bubbling river that’s fed by a rushing mini-waterfall. As if that weren’t dreamy enough, alfresco drinkers are often visited by the curious peacock who likes to have a poke about the garden. No wonder discerning scribes like Lewis Carroll and CS Lewis were fans – it’s impossible not to fall in love with this colourful boozer. Come on a Sunday to line your belly with delicious roasts and pints from Oxfordshire’s most prized breweries.

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10. The good-looking one, London

10. The good-looking one, London

[Reopening mid-October 2023]

One for the Instagram crowd: this camera-ready terrace is catnip for image obsessives. Dalloway Terrace – the enchanting outdoor space at the historic Bloomsbury Hotel has – been transformed into an autumnal woodland especially for the season, and it's all entirely weather-proof thanks to a retractable ceiling and powerful heaters. Sip cockle-warming whisky cocktails from heritage brand Johnnie Walker, set to a background of burnished leaves, gold-painted bark, and glinting fairy lights.

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11. The Japanese-inspired one, London

11. The Japanese-inspired one, London

Leicester Square's striking (and enormous) 'mega-boutique' hotel, The Londoner, is home to a lot of things (a rather dandy new modern European restaurant in Whitcomb's, for one). But of particularly lofty note is the izakaya restaurant/bar – dubbed '8' – on its rooftop. Alfresco-attuned drinkers should make for the minimal, Japanese-inspired terrace, where they can sup Far Eastern riffs on classic cocktails as the days draw in: a chic burner in its centre keeps the open-air boozing temperate into the cooler months; while a retractable roof is on hand for when the weather gets really abject.

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12. The one with Instagrammable sandwiches

12. The one with Instagrammable sandwiches
Image: Cameron Maynard

Kensal Rise may not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of drinks on the terrace, but trust us, you’ll agree it’s worth a visit when you find Morty & Bob’s, a tucked-away treasure with a fantastic selection of cocktails and comfort food. Whether you choose to soak up any last glimpses of sun out front or escape to their covered terrace in the back, don’t pass up the chance to try their signature Picante – a must-sip for those who want to set their taste buds on fire (in a good way, of course). If you’re feeling peckish, enjoy a bite from their celebrated menus, featuring everything from grilled asparagus with shawarma houmous to seriously hefty brunches to their famous grilled cheese sandwich.

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