1. Rooftop yoga at Bold Tendencies.
There’s no better place to do your sun salutes than out in the morning sun, and Lucyoga has taken her tranquil classes outside and up in the air to Bold Tendencies, the rooftop space next to Frank’s in Peckham, for that very reason. Classes take place in rain or shine, and there really is nothing better than sorting out your chakras with a fresh British breeze.
2. Host a party on the Ace Hotel private roof-terrace.
Sure, your gaff’s probably quite nice, but is it this nice? Doubtful. If you’ve cause to celebrate this summer, host a party on your own personal terrace high above Shoreditch, where you won’t have to mix with the hipster riff-raff.
3. Drink chilli-and-tamarind margaritas at Cuervo’s Cantina.
SkyLounge at the DoubleTree Hilton in Tower Hill has a Mexican flavour this summer with its Cuervo Cantina pop-up. Here, the London skyline is served with tacos, Mariachi music, and, of course, loads of tequila. Order the spicy chilli-and-tamarind margarita and enjoy making jokes about the fact it comes with a “chilli rim”.
4. Have beer in your cocktail at SkyLounge’s Peroni bar.
Once you’re tanked up on tequila from Cuervo’s Cantina you’re just a hop, skip, and a stagger from SkyLounge’s other summer pop-up, the Peroni bar. Your average pint is given a fancy cocktail makeover befitting of the stunning setting and is best sipped with a plate of antipasti.
5. Count the Instagrammers at Frank’s.
You know it’s summer in London when your Instagram feed fills up with #nofilter pictures of the Shard, most likely taken from Frank’s in Peckham, the car-park bar where the capital’s rooftop revolution began in 2009. Who knows what people did there five years ago, when Instagram was just a twinkle in Kevin Systrom’s eye? These days you’re unlikely to see anyone there without a pint in one hand and a snapping iPhone in the other.
6. Relive your teen screen dreams at Rooftop Film Club.
There’s plenty of new films on at the Rooftop Film Club on the Bussey Building in Peckham this summer (American Hustle, 12 Years a Slave, Her), but it’s the retro programming that you’ll want to go to watch your favourite films from your teen years in a fancy modern way. Swoon at Swayze in Dirty Dancing (8 August), sob your way through Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet (12 August), or peace out with a pint to The Big Lebowski (1 August).
7. Pretend you’re posh at Harvey Nichols’ Cloudy Bay terrace.
If you’re going to do something as suave and sophisticated as going to a wine bar, you may as well go the whole hog and do it above one of London’s fanciest shops, in an area that is basically the Disneyland of poshness. You can work your way through the pop-up’s extensive wine menu in a gorgeous rooftop garden setting until August.
8. Take your tacos on the roof at Model Market.
Since Model Market opened in Lewisham earlier this summer, the vendor who’s getting tweeted the most from this Street Feast London pop-up is Breddo’s Tacos. Grab yourself a spicy selection and hit the roof of south London’s latest al fresco hotspot.
9. Start a business at Netil House.
Everybody moans that they’d rather work out in the sun during summer, and at Netil House, you can. The studio come social space is offering a rooftop office-space package, 360Startup, complete with desks, Wi-Fi and inevitably necessary rain-cover at a discounted rate so you can cook up a company idea without losing tanning time.
10. Drink rum overlooking Battersea Power Station.
Over at Street Feast London’s Battersea outpost – Riverside Feast – a rooftop rum bar is about to open, so after you’ve filled your face with food from street-food favourites such as Yum Bun, The Orange Buffalo, and B.O.B.’s Lobster, you can have a rum with a view.
12. Have afternoon tea at Restaurant on the Roof With Q.
Wedging a meal devoted to tea, cake, and sandwiches into your afternoon is a pretty British thing to do, so where better to do it than on the roof of Selfridges overlooking lovely London sights such as Marble Arch? Ignore the grilled stuff and go straight for Restaurant on the Roof With Q’s afternoon tea.
13. Chow down on cheap seafood at The Boundary.
Shoreditch’s best-loved rooftop bar and restaurant is a great place to take in the skyline any time, but it’s even better after 8pm on a Sunday when it knocks 50% off the crustaceans on their menu, including juicy, grilled lobsters and prawns.
14. Eye up Nelson at Vista Trafalgar.
Trafalgar Square should generally be avoided by anyone other than tourists and pigeons, but get up on Nelson’s level with a table at Vista Trafalgar’s rooftop bar and you’ll get one of the best views in London.
15. Bask among the flowers at the Queen Elizabeth Hall rooftop garden.
The buildings on the South Bank might be of a brutalist inclination, but on the roof at Queen Elizabeth Hall you’ll find a gorgeous green haven with plants galore, including fruit trees and wild flowers developed by the Eden Project.
16. Go to the beach at the Roundhouse.
You don’t even need to leave London to feel the sand between your toes thanks to the Roundhouse. The music venue has brought the beach to Camden with its sandy roof terrace. Sadly the canal isn’t quite as nice as the sea for a swim.
18. Get in the festival mood at Up on the Roof.
The Prince of Wales in Brixton plays host to all sorts of rooftop revelry throughout the summer, including Up on the Roof, the legendary warm-up party for Good Times in the Park festival. Drink, dance, and bask in the sun while DJs play to your heart’s content.
19. Watch a film in a hot tub at Rockwell House.
Have you ever found yourself wishing you could watch a film, outside in a big squishy bath instead of a cinema seat? Well, Hot Tub Cinema at Rockwell House in Shoreditch can make your dreams come true. See films such as Labyrinth, The Breakfast Club, and Ghostbusters, and don’t forget your towel.
20. Judge the jerk-off at Queen of Hoxton.
The battle of the best-loved Jamaican dish, jerk chicken, will commence atop the Queen of Hoxton on 3 August, where you can decide who’s making London’s best jerk. For a tenner you can stuff your face with the BBQ’d good stuff while taking in the east London view.
22. Avoid Old Street crowds at the Old Fountain.
Finding a pub with a good beer garden, let alone one where you might find a seat, is tricky business around mega-busy Old Street. If you find yourself round that way, head to the Old Fountain, where the rooftop garden is still little enough known to allow you to enjoy your pint in peace.
23. Party with the cool kids at South Place Hotel.
For the Summer City Series, DJs from XOYO, Fabric, and Dance Tunnel take to the roof of the South Place Hotel in east London for a wild summer-long party. Wayfarers and a pair of New Balance are obligatory.