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Top 10: UK rooftop bars

The best rooftop bars in the UK

Frank’s Café
Frank’s Café

Nothing says British summer quite like a rooftop bar. A break in the rain clouds is often the only excuse we need to leg it upstairs in the hope of catching some rays while sipping an overpriced cocktail.

Whether you’re after panoramic views, fantastic food, or finger-on-the-pulse nightlife, there's an eclectic mix of lofty drinking dens to choose from. To help you decide which stairs are worth climbing, we've rounded up ten of our favourites.

1) Courthouse Hotel Sky Terrace, Soho

Located on the top of the Courthouse Hotel in the centre of London's Soho, the Sky Terrace offers gorgeous views across the rooftops of London as well as reasonably priced cocktails and nibbles. The crowd is made up of young professionals straight from the office, so dress smartly.

Courthouse Hotel Sky Terrace

2) Varsity Hotel & Spa, Cambridge

For something a little quainter, try the elegant rooftop bar of the Varsity Hotel & Spa in Cambridge, from which you can admire striking views of the historic university city. With a glass of champagne in hand, of course.

Varsity Hotel & Spa

3) Roof Garden Playground, Manchester

Up north, Manchester's Roof Garden Playground is worth a visit. A former Victorian school house, the building is now the Great John Street hotel. The bar, on the hotel's roof, features wicker furniture, exposed brick work, and atmospheric lighting. There's even a hot tub for brave revellers.

Manchester's Roof Garden Playground

4) The Scarlet Hotel, Newquay

If it’s sea views you’re after, Newquay’s Scarlet Hotel offers spectacular views across the Cornish coast. Though not technically "rooftop", the raised terrace offers everything you could want from a seaside bar, with wooden decking and day beds from which to enjoy the sun.

The Scarlet Hotel

5) Frank’s Café, London

If the trendy, hipster vibe is more you, there’s no better rooftop spot than Frank’s Café in Peckham. The pop-up bar, which sits on top of a multi-storey car park, offers panoramic views of central London and serves a selection of classic cocktails and beers.

Frank’s Café

6) The Forth, Newcastle

The Forth in Newcastle is a traditional British pub with an adorable rooftop terrace tucked away at the top. The colourfully graffiti-ed walls and fairy lights give the place a quirky feel.

The Forth

7) The Sky Bar, Edinburgh

For something a little sleeker, try the Sky Bar in Edinburgh, which is at the top of The Point Hotel. It offers spectacular views across the Scottish capital but is only open on the first Thursday of every month so booking ahead is recommended.

The Sky Bar

8) Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill, Birmingham

Marco Pierre White's Birmingham steakhouse is more than just a restaurant. The rooftop bar, which is on the 25th floor, is one of Birmingham's more glitzy venues. It's decadent, with gleaming marble floors, seductive lighting, and a glass-fronted balcony.

Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill

9) Boundary Rooftop Bar, London

This Mediterranean-style bar is like Spain in Shoreditch. It serves simple bar food and good wine, all consumed on the weatherproof pergola which is shaded by grapevines.

Boundary Rooftop Bar

10) Aqua Kyoto, London

Popular with post-work Londoners, Aqua Kyoto is located just off Regent Street in the heart of London’s West End. It’s ideal if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of nearby Oxford Street. Perfect for a Friday night cocktail as the sun goes down.

Aqua Kyoto

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