London’s top 10 rooftop hangouts

London is packed with rooftop restaurants and bars that are perfect for al fresco eating and drinking. Here’s our pick of the venues worth getting vertigo forAqua Spirit When the sun has got its hat on, Aqua Spirit – a gorgeous rooftop terrace on Regent Street –  is our destination of choice for fabulous views of the Soho skyline and killer cocktails. The Carrabbas (£10.50) is the bar’s best seller and after one sip of the Santa Teresa rum,fruit liqueurs,fresh orange juice and cinnamon syrup you’ll soon see why. But in such stunning surroundings, it seems a shame not to try the champagne cocktails. Still for all the excellence of the drinks and decor, it’s the little details (impeccably attired and attentive staff who treat everyone with respect) that help elevate Aqua from the pack. Fifth floor, 240 Regent Street, W1 (020 7478 0540;

The Boundary
Props to Terence Conran and the team behind the Boundary. Aware that in Britain, summer isn’t always synonymous with sunshine, they’ve added a sturdy steel, timber and glad pergola to their attractive rooftop bar. Translation? We get to enjoy views of London landmarks– whatever the weather. Open seven days a week from 12pm until 11pm weekdays and 10am until 11pm weekends, The Boundary serves up char grilled steaks, fish, simple salads, Mediterranean tapas and the popular Boundary Pan Bagnat: a nicoise inspired sandwich with beet patty, goat cheese, roast vegetables and salad. Go for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner or even just a drink – but do go. Entrance in Redchurch Street, 2-4 Boundary Street, Shoreditch, E2 7DD (020 7729 1051;

Kensington Roof Gardens
How time flies... the drop dead gorgeous Roof Gardens in Kensington is celebrating its 75th birthday throughout August. To mark the momentous occasion, the Roof Gardens has teamed up with Heartbreak productions to put on Romeo and Juliet under a canopy of stars on August 6, 11 and 12. Originally designed in the 1930s, Kensington Roof Gardens compromises three beautifully themed gardens – the Spanish, Tudor and England Woodland – spanning across 1.5 acres and located 100ft above Kensington High Street. Arranged around the central Clubhouse, the gardens house over 70 full sized trees and a flowing stream with fish and wildlife – including four famous pink flamingos! (Yes really). 99 Kensington High Street, W8 5SA. Access to the building is via Derry Street. (020 7937 7994;

Madison at One New Change
There can’t be many – if any – better rooftop terraces than this, in town. Situated on the top of One New Change (a stunning glass shopping centre designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect, Jean Nouvel) overlooking the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral, the glorious views of the London skyline make for a spectacular experience. The food also elates: there’s a formal restaurant serving generously portionedBritish fare plus the more fun tapas bar: think small plates that lend well to sharing with friends. Of courseyou can just drink here: top notch cocktails include the cheekily named ‘Hot Bitch Martini’ (£9). Rooftop terrace, One New Change, St Paul’s, EC4. (0208 305 3088;

Named for its location (Radio is on the site of the old Marconi House), this new kid on the roof top block oozes glamour – think candles and Ibiza-esque sofas – and, as such, is where the well groomed set are winding down at the end of the working day. Be prepared for a long wait to get in (the line snaking along The Strand on Friday and Saturday evenings reminds us of the queue to get into a nightclub back in our teens) but the stunning south facing views – expect to see both Big Ben and the Oxo Tower – reward any effort involved. The cocktails hit the spot too. Don’t miss the Mile High Margarita, Radio-Active and AM/FM which you can enjoy until the wee small hours (Radio is open until a very civilised 3am). 10th floor, ME London, 336-337 The Strand, WC2 (0845 601 8980;

Sanctum Soho
Billed as “London’s first rock ‘n’ roll hotel”, the £10 million Sanctum Soho is the brainchild of larger than life Mark Fuller – founder of Embassy and The Sugar Reef, two of London’s best known celebrity haunts.There’s a lot to love about this boutique bolt-hole from the diamante door handles, glittering mirrors and plush private 45 seat cinema (which can be hired out for private screenings). However the icing on the cake is the 24 hour rooftop bar where you can sip champagne while submerged in a hydro spa that comes complete with multi-coloured underwater lights! Rock ‘n’ roll indeed. 20 Warwick Street, Soho,W1B 5NF (0207 292 6100;

Shoreditch House
Forget The Shard. Shoreditch House’s roof garden – with its new poolside and pantry bar, more changing rooms, comfortable furniture and volcanic blue tiling for the pool deck – is the sky high hotspot worth knowing about this summer. What’s more when the weather isn’t playing ball, the roof can be closed so apart from when you’re swimming, you’ll be warm and dry all summer long. The downside? Shoreditch House is strictly for members only. Grrrr! Ebor Street, Shoreditch, E1 6AW (020 7739 5040;

Soho Sky Terrace
A real hidden gem, the Soho Sky Terrace – a smart, secret escape onto of the CourtHouse Hotel – is fast becoming our favourite rooftop hangout. Refreshing cocktails, light bites and mellow grooves against a backdrop of the Soho skyline – makes for a spectacular experience. The Soho Sky Terrace is open to the public from 3pm to 10.30pm, Tuesday to Saturday (until September) so you can drop in for a (well deserved) after work drink under the summer stars or spend a lazy weekend afternoon lounging around in style, soaking up the sun – we like to look on the bright side here at Ultra Vie. 19-21 Great Marlborough Street, W1, (020 7297 5555;

SushiSamba has been making waves in the States and it’s set to do the same in London too. Situated at the summit of Heron Tower, SushiSamba boasts the highest outdoor terraces in London. The drinks list is a tad disappointing – it’s not the most imaginative and at £11-£12 a pop plus 15 per cent service charge, perhaps overpriced. However the views of next door neighbour, The Gherkin, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Thames, more than compensate and will ensure that SushiSamba becomes a serious destination bar. Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY (020 3640 7330;

Vista at The Trafalgar
Vista bar at the Trafalgar Square Hotel has many points in its favour: a central London location, casually fashionable decor (lots of black wicker), classy cocktails and unrivalled views: you’ll get to gawp at Nelson’s Column, the London Eye, Big Ben and the Barbican. Yes, the cost of drinking and dining here can be as breathtaking as the views but Vista certainly ranks as one of the best rooftop terraces in the city and provides a welcome respite from the tourist trap down below that is Trafalgar Square. The Trafalgar, Trafalgar Square, SW1A 2TS (020 7870 2900;