Summer has arrived in the UK (at least, that's the theory), and that can only mean one thing: finding a rooftop bar where you can sip a cocktail or three. From a former Victorian school in Manchester to the best places to sip cocktails and survey Edinburgh's skyline, we've compiled a gallery of the ten best views from bars and rooftop restaurants to sit back and soak up the summer.
Wherever you are in the UK, there's a bar with a view. Here are some of our faves – if yours isn't here, then tell us and we'll add it!
UK's top bars with unbeatable views
Britain's best rooftop bars for summer
Located on the 38th floor at 110 Bishopsgate and featuring a circular bar, fresh cocktails by mixologist Richard Woods and dramatic cityscape views, SUSHISAMBA’s Tree Terrace is one of the hottest tables in London for summer. The restaurant also features the East Terrace on the other side of the building, with views of the Gherkin and the River Thames.
Rooftop restaurant Issho, which means ‘together’ in Japanese has a special Kori bar with a beautiful rooftop terrace and drinks menu featuring 25 types of sake and ten seasonal Japanese-influenced cocktails. The Victoria Gate restaurant and bar is one of the most exciting rooftop spaces in Leeds.
Featuring two outdoor terraces which offer unparalleled views of London’s most iconic sites, Radio Rooftop ME London provides an intimate and exclusive environment for the most discerning of guests when the sun goes down. Its signature cocktails include Lemon Curd Martini, Tropical Punch and Radio Garden.
Set at the very top of the art deco Hotel Gotham, Club Brass' rooftop terrace offers panoramic views over Manchester and feature vintage telescopes to spot passers-by below. The Club is open to members and Gotham guests only, with the space drawing inspiration from the building's former use as a bank. Hotel guests have 24-hour membership, where bar food, salads, sandwiches and puddings are served, as well as Champagne and cocktails.
Home to sunsets, rum cocktails, Jamaican jerk barbecue and reggae, Ziggy's is the coolest spot in Margate, with unrivalled views across the beautiful sandy beach. Providing a quirky, laid-back beach vibe, the rooftop bar is the best location to watch the JMW Turner sky sunset. Access to the rooftop bar is in a backstreet adjacent to the seafront only detectable by the wall mural - it's a true hidden gem.
For a relaxed evening in Canary Wharf, head for ROKA's roof terrace where you can enjoy a chilled-out vibe amid the dramatic urban surroundings. Cocktails, sake and wine are available for drinkers as they soak up the summer ambience in style.
Forget punting down the river. The spectacular roof terrace at The Varsity Hotel & Spa has a bar which looks out over Cambridge and provides unparalleled views of the University’s world-famous architecture. Most University Colleges can be viewed from the roof garden and in the early evening, the rooftop becomes the most romantic spot in the city, where you can watch the sun set while enjoying a Champagne cocktail, or a gin and tonic.
Situated at the top of the DoubleTree by Hilton, SkyLounge boasts panoramic views of some of London’s most iconic buildings including the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, the Shard and The Gherkin. The stylish rooftop bar offers innovative dishes and signature cocktails alongside 360-degree views.
A trendy party spot above Manchester's city centre, this sun-kissed spot offers a south-facing terrace and all the ingredients for a fun-filled party experience. Still something of a hidden gem on the city's party scene, Roof Garden Playground at Great John Street Hotel combines candle lanterns and a smooth atmosphere with a hot tub and killer DJ sets.
Set to open in September 2017 and formally known as Vista, The Rooftop at the Trafalgar St. James Hotel will be transformed into a year-round hotspot for Londoners, featuring a much larger, accessible space and a Mediterranean-style lounge and dining areas. An ever-changing menu of small plates will be available at this must-visit spot for enjoying al-fresco cocktails with far-reaching views of the London skyline.
The Glasshouse Hotel, with its striking architecture, central Edinburgh location and boutique vibe, is set at the foot of Carlton Hill behind the 150-year-old facade of the Lady Glenorchy Church. The hotel is home to the one-of-a-kind two-acre Roof Garden where the view of Edinburgh stretches as far as the eye can see.
Set 100 feet above Kensington High Street, The Roof Gardens and Babylon Restaurant are an oasis in the middle of London. Wander through the three themed gardens that are spread over 1.5 lush acres with a gin in hand and admire the stream, flowers and resident flamingos before heading to the 7th floor Babylon to take a look at the city skyline.
The architectural behemoth that is The Cube dominates the Birmingham city skyline and tempestuous chef Marco Pierre White's Steakhouse Bar & Grill can be found right at the top. This ultra modern restaurant and bar combines exceptional food with 360-degree views courtesy of its 25th floor location and glass fronted al-fresco balcony.
An achingly cool urban utopia, the Dalston Roof Park is covered in solar panels, allotments and grass, complete with mismatched chairs and a communal BBQ. The park is open Tuesdays to Sundays with a cafe on site and the bar opens from 5pm weekdays and 3pm on weekends.
The Sky Bar on the eighth floor of Hilton Bournemouth offers guests a striking view over the town and the English Channel. With a vast drinks menu of cocktails, fine wines and spirits available all evening, it is the perfect location to watch the sunset in the South West.
Head up the stairs of Wimbledon's The Alexandra and you'll discover the pub's fantastic terrace where you can soak up the rays will sipping drinks and enjoying finger-friendly food. Visitors to The Loft can take a seat in one of the wooden booths under the terrace’s twinkling fairy lights and relax with a chilled glass of wine, a gourmet patty or a local craft beer.
Newcastle's The Botanist has a roof terrace with fabulous views of some of the city’s most iconic streets, as well as Grey’s Monument. Located right in the heart of the city centre, the terrace is ideal for enjoying fruity cocktails in the summer and is also open during the colder months thanks to the addition of cosy sheds, heaters and blankets, with warm ciders and mulled wine served at the bar.