London's Best, Most Mind-blowing Rooftop Bars
Serious Instagram goals...
When you think of iconic city skylines, they don’t much more iconic-y than London’s.
So it’s no surprise to hear that some of the best views you can find in the Big Smoke are from up on high - from swanky hotels to squirrelled away bars, seeing London from above gives you a whole new perspective on one of the oldest cities in the world.
These are the eight best, most jaw-dropping and downright Insta-winning high-rise views around…
Novotel London Canary Wharf/Bokan Restaurant, Canary Wharf
Novotel hotels may not historically be associated with modernity, but the chain’s new opening in Canary Wharf (called, shockingly, Novotel London Canary Wharf) is the epitome of metropolitan chic and a bold missions statement for the future, offering 39 floors of interior design porn (the rooms are stylishly welcoming, while the views are predictably insane), shiny new innovation (the hotel doesn’t have a reception desk, but you can quick check-in/check-out using tablets), and one of the city’s hottest new high-rise restaurants and rooftop bars.
Grab a bite to eat at the decadent, NOM-tastic 37th/38th floor bar and restaurant Bokan (a la Carte tastiness guaranteed, courtesy of Aurelie Altemaire, formerly Head Chef at Michelin-starred L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon), quaff your way through a giddy array of cocktails (our pick - the Barquentine; Balvenie 12 years whiskey, Ardbeg 10 years whiskey, ginger syrup, manuka honey and fresh lemon juice), and then make your way up to the 39th floor rooftop bar for a stunning view across Canary Wharf’s urban spires, and then west back across the city.
Pull out your London Skyline Bingo card, and tick away.
The Golden Bee, Shoreditch
Trendy part of town? TICK. Laid-back vibes? TICK. Happy-hour cocktails? TICK. Rooftop cinema screenings with bottomless popcorn? TICK. Cosy fires in the winter? TICK TICK TICK.
Frank’s Cafe, Peckham
While Peckham’s now on the verge of hipster (thanks, gentrification), Frank’s Cafe was leading the charge when it first opened 10 years ago. The aesthetic may be gloriously lo-fi (it’s plonked on top of a concrete multi-storey car park), its southerly location means you’re rewarded with some of the best views in the city. When it comes to sunsets, it can’t be beat.
Skylounge at Doubletree by Hilton, Tower Hill
Sandwiched between jaw-dropping views of the city on one side (hello The Gherkin) and Tower Hill on the other (oh hai Tower Bridge, Tower of London and The Shard), the Skylounge boasts some of London's most iconic scenery at every turn.
Not only that, but with Havana Rum remodelling the space for the summer, you're guaranteed rum-tastic Cuban-esque cocktails and bar snacks. Get comfy, grab a Shaquiri (Havana Club 3 Year Old, apple liquer, fresh lime juice, and Cristal Cuban beer) and you're guaranteed the best of London and Havana in one gorgeously picturesque spot.
Rumpus Room, Mondrian London, South Bank
Champagne cocktails on the south bank are always a win. Rumpus Room, atop Mondrian London, multiplies the awesomeness, with a stunning view of St. Paul’s Cathedral directly in front of you. Throw in a cocktail list with a British-American mash-up, guaranteed party choons, and there's no better place to impress a first date/get ready for a night out with your mates.
Sushisamba Bar, Bishopsgate
Not only is it one of the city's best restaurants (sushi NOM FTW), but Sushisamba also boasts an awe-inspiring intro (a Willy Wonka-style glass lift zips you up to the top of the building), while the view makes you feel like the multi-millionaire city bigwig you deserve to be.
Madison, St. Paul's
Other venues on this list have wonderful views of St. Paul's Cathedral. Madison is almost on top of it.
The Magic Roundabout, Shoreditch
Most city rooftop bars give you retina-blindingly beautiful views across the entire skyline. The Magic Roundabout is a little different, instead located in the middle of one of the busiest and most iconic roundabouts in London.
If you've ever wanted to feel part of the hustle and bustle, this is it.