Top Ten: London beer gardens

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albion

"The sacred pint alone can unbind the tongue..." James Joyce, Ulysses

During the summer months London pubs awaken from their wintery hiatus and emerge as beautiful balmy establishments helping bring to life London as one of the most desirable cities to dwell in. Who doesn't have a favourite capital hideaway in the summer? Here are our favourites, you can thank us later.

The Albion, Islington

A beautiful Georgian watering hole right in the heart of Islington, The Albion has won a plethora of awards including The Observer Food Monthly's 'Best Sunday Lunch' in 2009, and during the summer months the picturesque garden is as pretty as a postcard and embalmed with the heady smells of their incredible roaring barbecue.

10 Thornhill Road, Islington, N1 1HW – http://the-albion.co.uk

The Ship, Wandsworth

Bask in the summer sun along the banks of The Thames in Wandsworth, where this fine establishment has kept South London residents sated with fine ales and wonderful food since 1786. Granted, it's not technically a garden and you may not want to be there with the rest of the world during a bank holiday, but it remains one of the finest outdoor drinking spaces in the capital nonetheless.

41 Jews Row, Wandsworth, SW18 1TB – http://www.theship.co.uk

Trinity Arms, Brixton

From the outside this innocuous looking pub may not look like its worthy fodder for a list championing London's best beer gardens, but this quaint establishment tucked neatly off Acre Lane houses a wonderfully lively and colourful beer garden that is a utopia during the summer. Embraced by immaculate flowers and carefully arranged tables, the Trinity Arms, built in 1850, is a perfect pre-gig venue or untainted haven to spend the afternoon.

45 Trinity Gardens, Brixton, SW9 8DR - www.youngs.co.uk/pubs/trinity-arms

The Dove, Hammersmith

Set in a beautiful spot on the river Thames, The Dove in Hammersmith is a listed building built in the early 17th century that has one of the finest riverside terraces to while away the hours. It's not the biggest but remains largely untainted by the masses, unless you frequent it on the day of the annual Boat Race, where you are afforded perhaps the best view in London. The poet James Thomson is alleged to have composed 'Rule Britannia' here, while Charles II purportedly romanced and dined his mistress Nell Gwynne propped up by the river. The small space to the right immediately through the entrance also went into the Guinness Book of Records as the smallest bar room in the world, but this Fullers pub punches well above its size...

19 Upper Mall, Hammersmith, London, W6 9TA – www.dovehammersmith.co.uk

The Union Tavern, Notting Hill

Sit by the delightful riverside garden and enjoy The Union's exceptional and increasingly legendary array of craft ales, this wonderful Notting Hill boozer is within walking distance of Portobello Road, wedged ideally between Kilburn and Maida Vale. Formerly known as the Grand Union, this quiet corner of West London is the perfect place to watch narrow boats meander their way down the river and kill time on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

45 Woodfield Road, Notting Hill, W9 2BA - http://union-tavern.co.uk

The Tattershall Castle, Victoria Embankment

Newly refurbished The Tattershall Castle is a unique floating bar in the heart of the capital that offers stunning views of some of London's most iconic landmarks including The Houses of Parliament and the London Eye. Originally built by London & North Eastern Railway Company to ferry passengers across the Humber estuary, it is now a mobile pub that ambles gently down one of the most famous rivers in the world. What's not to like?

Victoria Embankment, Whitehall, SW1A 2HR - www.thetattershallcastle.co.uk

The Jam Tree, King's Road

A mere stone's throw away from Fulham Broadway, The Jam Tree boasts a fantastic open plan beer garden, great cocktails and a vast hog roast that drags punters through doors from all over. The barbecue is forever wafting enticing aromas of charcoal cooked fish and slabs of meat across South West London, and although jam is in short supply, the craft ales and thoughtful wine list is more than enough to keep you busy.

541 King's Road, Fulham, SW6 2EB – www.thejamtree.com

The Herne Tavern, East Dulwich

The Herne Tavern is a quintessential English pub situated on Forest Hill Road near to east Dulwich which is both family friendly and perfect for those more raucous social occasions. Frequenters travel far and wide for the famous Herne Tavern Burger, and it was recently lauded by The Evening Standard for having one of London's best beer gardens.

2 Forest Hill Road, East Dulwich, SE22 0RR – www.thehernetavern.co.uk

The Edinboro Castle, Camden

A gastro pub with a beer garden the size of a football pitch, this exceptional boozer on Mornington Terrace is perfectly positioned just off Regent's Park, close enough to London Zoo and a haven for thirsty dwellers. When the sun is shining this is truly one of the capital's best outdoor drinking spaces, with an excellent wine list, great food, inclusive of a humongous barbecue, and a vibrant, friendly, atmosphere.

57 Mornington Terrace, Camden, NW1 7RU - www.edinborocastlepub.co.uk

The Magic Garden, Battersea

Nestled in the heart of South West London in the shadows of leafy Battersea Park, the Magic Garden is a veritable feast of cracking cocktails, delicious food and thumping live music. Not for the fainthearted this lively pub has a stunning garden with loungers complete with warming blankets for those colder evenings. A fantastic venue for parties with plenty of themed evenings such as their legendary Jazz nights, The Magic Garden is not to be missed.

231 Battersea Park Road, SW11 4LG - www.magicgardenpub.com

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