Ultimate Guide To The Best London Riverside Pubs, Bars and Cafes

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Sitting by the water lifts our spirits and makes us feel like summer has truly arrived -  the following London riverside pubs and bars are perfect, whether you want to relax on a waterside terrace, dig into some tasty pub grub, or are craving a beer garden with views of the River Thames.

If you're itching to kick back with a cold drink, these all have a happy-holiday-in-the-city vibe -  with outdoor terraces, beer gardens and patios that make it simpler to practise social distancing. The ideal drinking spots to savour warmer weather,  while creating some happy family memories, once London is up and running again.

Remember to keep following government advice for England, Scotland and Wales regarding travel.

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West London

The Dove, Hammersmith

A tavern has stood on this site by the Thames since the 17th century. As well as being an amazing spot to watch the world-famous Boat Race, there's a tempting riverside terrace.

Why go? For simple, tasty food - we love how the menu features kid-friendly classics like fish and chips, roasts and chocolate brownies.

Outdoor space: A flower-fringed outdoor patio, with views over the water.

Price range: Budget

Where is it? 19 Upper Mall, Hammersmith, London W6 9TA

Nearest tube/station: Hammersmith

Blue Anchor, Hammersmith

This iconic Hammersmith haunt has a fabulous waterside location on the banks of the River Thames.

Why go?  If you love to dive into the past - there's a tangible sense of history at this 17th-century pub, including atmospheric wood panelling.

Outdoor space: Benches face directly onto the banks of the Thames - so no noisy traffic to shout over.

Where is it? 13 Lower Mall, Hammersmith, London W6 9DJ

Price range: Reasonable

Nearest tube/station: Hammersmith

Old Ship, Hammersmith

Hammersmith is spoilt for choice for amazing riverside pubs. But it's hard to think of a more picture-perfect location. Set  on the Thames path,  away from the city hustle and bustle, meet the ultimate West London riverside pub.

Why go?  As well as the fab setting on the River Thames, there's a fun nautical theme kids will love -  making it genuinely special.

Outdoor space: Tuck into great food on a pretty terrace that overlooks the River Thames, or head to the smart upstairs verandah.

Price range: Reasonable

Where is it? 13 Lower Mall, Hammersmith, London W6 9DJ

Nearest tube/station: Hammersmith

The City Barge, Chiswick

This 14th-century public house has the lot - a  riverside location with peaceful views, and quirky details that will fascinate your kids - like bird taxidermy and vintage games.

Why go? Unlike some pubs, this has an affordable kids' menu too.

Outside space: Tables and chairs  are spread out along the river. There's another terrace on the far side of the pub.

Price range: Budget

Where is it? 27 Strand-On-The-Green, Chiswick, London W4 3PH

Nearest tube/station: Chiswick

The White Swan, Twickenham

You'll hardly know you're near the Big Smoke at this riverside pub.  Watch boats drift by on the cool green water at one of the Capital's loveliest riverside beer gardens.

Why go? A country-ish family escape - the beer garden literally sits on the banks of the Thames.

Outdoors space: The gorgeous terrace juts  onto the water. It's a decent size, too, with wooden benches that aren't too cramped together.

Price range:  Reasonable

Where is it? Riverside, Twickenham TW1 3DN

Nearest tube/station: Twickenham

The Blue Boat, Hammersmith

Inspired by the famous Oxford vs Cambridge Boat Race, this London riverside pub is the ideal spot to watch this annual sporting event.

Why go? This pub is relatively modern, but makes up for lack of age with character - the interior is inspired by 1920s Oxbridge memorabilia.

Outdoor space: The outdoor terrace out front is perfect for a family lunch. You hopefully won't be too squashed in - important in this era of social distancing - as it's a decent size.

Price range: Special treat.

Where is it? Distillery Road, London, W6 9RU

Nearest tube/station: Hammersmith

South London

Cutty Sark

Set on the banks of the River Thames, this is a perfect traditional British pub. Great river views are guaranteed, and you could combine lunch with a trip to the historic Cutty Sark ship  nearby, or a family walk on the riverside path.

Why go?  This pub is a perfect pitstop during a visit to one of London's most famous historic areas.

Outside space:  There's plenty of outdoor seating  on the waterside. Alternatively, bag a table inside on the third floor for more river views.

Price range: Budget.

Where is it? 4-6 Ballast Quay, London SE10 9PD

Nearest tube/station: Maritime Greenwich DLR

The Mayflower, Rotherhithe

This is a real hidden gem  - a  traditional English pub on the Thames. The modern British menu includes fare such as steak and kidney pie.

Why go? Cobbled streets outside pile on ye olde worlde atmosphere, and the candlelit restaurant is cosy on colder days.

Outdoor space: The outside decked jetty has the must-have river views you and your family will love.

Price range: Reasonable

Where is it? 117 Rotherhithe Street, Rotherhithe, London SE16 4NF

Nearest Tube/station: Rotherhithe

White Cross, Richmond

If you've walked by the Thames in Richmond, you might well have clocked this bustling London pub, with its bright white facade. The riverside terrace at the front is ideal for people-watching.

Why go? With its famous deer park, Richmond is the perfect family day out - this pub is the cherry on the cake.

Price range: Budget

Where is it? Riverside, Richmond TW9 1TH

Nearest tube/station: Richmond

North London

The Narrowboat, Islington

Craft ales, a prime canalside spot and rustic food... what more could you wish for? If you're lucky, you can nab a prime table, on the narrow balcony area overlooking the Regent's Canal.

Why go? For pub classics with a twist, and views of the canal.

Price range: Special treat

Where is it? 119 St Peter's Street, N1 8PZ

Nearest tube/station: Angel

Rotunda, King's Cross

This fun canalside bar and restaurant is ideal whether you want alfresco cocktails or a lunch.  Big and little kids will enjoy the novelty of a beer garden that has Astroturf instead of grass.

Why go? Rotunda sits right on the Regent's Canal, and has a cool inner-city vibe.

Outside space: The sizeable outdoor terrace means there should be ample room to spread out.

Price range: Reasonable

Where is it? 90 York Way, N1 9AG

Nearest tube/station: King's Cross

Barge House, Haggerston

This buzzing canalside spot is ideal for a lazy brunch with  family. They  do some mean cocktails, and the walls often feature artworks,  giving a trendy gallery feel - a conversation piece for arty kids.

Why go? The cool industrial vibe - high ceilings, metal lamps, big windows - means it feels spacious and airy, so good social distancing should be possible.

Outside space: Tables spill out onto the edge of the canal - most tables are inside, but the picture windows mean it doesn't feel stuffy.

Price range:  Reasonable

Where is it? 46a De Beauvoir Crescent, N1 5RY

Nearest tube/station: Haggerston

East London

Princess of Wales, Clapton

This classic East London boozer has tasty food and a laidback atmosphere that's perfect for families.

Why go? For views of the River Lea, East London's prime waterway, fringed with greenery.

Outdoor space: The buzzy beer garden is ideal for lazy Sundays .

Price range: Reasonable

Where is it? 146 Lea Bridge Rd, Lower Clapton, London E5 9RB

Nearest tube/station: Clapton

The Grapes, Limehouse

Fun fact: world-famous actor Sir Ian Mckellen (he played Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter!) part-owns this pub. The pub is 500 years old, and this historic quarter of London has attracted the likes of writer Charles Dickens and diarist Samuel Pepys.

Why go? For a real-life history lesson.

Outdoor space: There's a small but perfectly formed outdoors terrace, ideal for cheeky afternoon tipples.

Where is it? 76 Narrow St, Poplar, London E14 8BP

Nearest tube/station:  Limehouse

The Gun, Docklands

Settle down for lunch on London's best riverside terraces - you can watch the sun set over the 02 from its  outside deck. This pub is grade-11 listed, with a real sense of history.

Why go? The family will love the modern British pub grub - think tempting Sunday roasts, and traditional dishes like Dorset crab, all against a backdrop of river views.  Book a table if you want one of those coveted outside spots though.

Outdoor space: There's a good-sized deck at the rear with tables overlooking the river.

Where is it? 27 Coldharbour, London E14 9NS

Nearest tube/station: Canary Wharf

Prospect of Whitby, Wapping

Wapping has several great riverside pubs, but this old pub is the most famous of the lot.

Why go? This corner of riverside London is off the main tourist trail, but teeming with history. Why not combine a drink  with an organised walk in the area so you can learn more?

Outdoor space: There's a smallish beer garden, and a second rooftop area.

Price range: Reasonable.

Where is it: 108 Wapping High Street E1W 2NE

Nearest tube/station: Wapping