Don’t let summer pass you by – get out there and enjoy it before it’s autumn again and we all have to shuffle back inside. If you’re bored of picnics and BBQs, leave the cooking to the experts and book a table at one of these top riverside restaurants. Where better to spend the last days of summer than on the banks of the River Thames?
From a nautical panorama of life on and around the Thames, to a delicious scene of Cambridge’s ancient skyline, we’ve rounded up some restaurants boasting some of the best river views.
Le Pont de la Tour is as traditional a restaurant as they come. Suede waist-coated waitresses, a menu dominated by French classics. That kind of thing. And yet, unless you spend a lot of time on the continent, it still feels like something quite new – not often do you find Mediterranean-esque al fresco white table-clothed luxury on the river in the UK. But here it is, and with the best views of Tower Bridge to boot.
‘House’ is not a word to be taken lightly here. At first glance, this is a Victorian residence with idyllic surrounds of the river Cam and Midsummer Common. On closer inspection, it’s an award-winning restaurant, where one of the UK’s most respected pot bashers Daniel Clifford is the chef-patron. In spite of all that, if you’re still just coming here for the river views over the Cam, get yourself up to the first floor lounge or terrace.Continue Reading
If you’ve had your fill of picnics and barbecues, why not soak up the last of the summer rays at one of London’s canalside restaurants? With the sun on your face and a glass of rosé in hand, you can escape the bustle of the city and relax over a meal with friends. Here are some of our top canalside dining destinations, including a new Italian trattoria in Hackney and a nautical eatery in Maida Vale.
Hungry for more? Check out our round-up of London’s best waterside restaurants.
If you get the toptable newsletter (And if not, why on earth not? It’s full of bargains and it’s free.) you’ll know that today’s theme is waterside dining. We’re so there. On these sunny days and quiiiite balmy evenings, nothing is more romantic or relaxing or better guaranteed to take you away from life’s wearying bustle than dining by the water. The newsletter did its usual Top 5 thing (filtered for your location by the clever IT guys), but we’re keen to add some more blinding suggestions for dining by Britain’s many waters.
The Beach Bistro at The Gallivant Hotel in Camber near Rye in East Sussex is exactly what its name says: a gorgeous, stylish yet somehow relaxed New Englandesque beach restaurant serving the freshest of local seasonal fish and produce in delightful modern British cooking. Just look at that picture. The dining room is decorated in tones of sea, surf and sky with big doors that are flung open on warm sunny days or starry nights. The kitchen is under the care of celebrated chef Bruce Wilson, formerly of the Michelin starred The Greenhouse restaurant in London and recently head chef of the Tate Modern. If you live nearby or are exploring beautiful Camber Sands and 1066 country, The Beach Bistro is a brilliant starting point.
Farther along the south coast at Lyme Regis is Hix Oyster and Fish House restaurant with one of the most beautiful views in Britain. The panoramic windows look over the Channel, the famous Cobb at Lyme where Meryl Streep gazed desperately out to sea in The French Lieutanant’s Woman one million years ago, and the pretty beach and harbour. Once again, the name tells you exactly what to expect: a fish and oyster-based menu overseen by superchef Mark Hix. This is a sophisticated metropolitan take on seasonal seafood with some landgoing dishes there for the rest of you. The dining room is smart seaside style and we ourselves personally have sat in the catbird seat facing the sea at the table on the right in the picture. It was sublime, thanks. We recommend this spot highly for soul-restoring sea views.
Halfway up the hills of Penzance you’ll find The Bay restaurant with its pair of AA rosettes and a stunning panoramic view over the rooftops of Penzance, St Michael’s Mount and the bay from west to east. This is one of the best restaurants in the Southwest, an area with far more than its fair share of super eateries, with a sleek modern interior and really fine seasonal modern British cuisine. There’s a covered terrace with, if anything, even better views for drinks before or after your meal. The restaurant is set in the Hotel Penzance, also an excellent establishment with great style and a relaxed, cosy ambience. And a cat. Service couldn’t be more professional — you are guaranteed a memorable dining experience at The Bay.
Including The Vineyard restaurant at Newbury is a bit of a cheat, because the water it overlooks is its own fountain and generously-sized pond, but is it ever dramatic. Great jets of flame shoot out of the still water — it’s a work of art by William Pye entitled ‘Fire and Water’ and it’s mesmerising. The Vineyard restaurant is absolutely top drawer with five AA rosettes among many other awards, and Executive Chef Daniel Galmiche has been named Relais & Chateaux Rising Chef of the Year this year. The cuisine is French-based and intricate, served by immaculately trained staff in a stunning dining room that has been planned down to the last detail, including bespoke table linens and china. The hotel attached is quite wonderful too, with an addictively indulgent spa. And we can’t end this paragraph without mentioning The Vineyard’s astounding wine cellar: 2300 wine bins, 800 from California alone, more than 50 wines under £25. The wine drinkers of Britain salute The Vineyard.
The Miller Howe restaurant offers diners sweeping vistas down the waters of Lake Windermere, the rolling countryside of the Lake District and Langdale Pikes. So. Water and mountains. And the restaurant and hotel are thoughtfully designed so you can take advantage of the views from the terrace and lounge as well as the restaurant dining room. Head Chef Andy Beaton, formerly of Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons under Raymond Blanc, creates fresh, imaginative food prepared with quality, locally sourced ingredients. Comfort, gastronomy, views and sunsets over the water — a winning combination.
A final freshwater entry to this post, Six restaurant at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Arts, the award-winning art centre at Gateshead Quays in Newcastle, has exciting views over the Tyne and the urban landscape beyond. The menu is British modern, just like the artworks, with excellent ingredients prepared and served simply. The dining room is stylish, just like the dining crowd, and everyone we’ve spoken to says that Six is a great addition to the Newcastle dining scene.