Finding a spot on the Thames on a sunny summer afternoon, or bright, shiny winter's day, is one of the best ways to soak up London life. Here are some of the best Thames-side pubs at the ready to tempt you in.
1. The White Swan, Twickenham
Twickenham's White Swan is a hidden gem tucked away from Twickenham's main drag of riverside boozers. About 10 minutes walk from Twickenham station, through town and along the river, lies this quirky pub with perhaps my favourite beer garden in London.
The tiny pub itself dates back to the 17th Century. It's quirky, traditional and most often packed. The kitchen is small and does decent fare though it's worth booking a table as it does get busy. For me, it's the beer garden that is the big draw. The beautiful terrace sits on the river, adorned with flowers and topped by green umbrellas. It really is the perfect spot for a bit of river watching. Beware though – at high tide the beer garden can become completely submerged. But that, quite frankly, is just one more reason to love this unique little pub.
If you want to while away an afternoon river watching with a craft beer or real ale in hand, The Ram is worth a visit. The Ram prides itself on its ever-changing selection of real ales and the staff are pretty knowledgeable about what's on offer. Located in the historic market town of Kingston Upon Thames, take a wander around this vibrant town before popping in to The Ram's lovely, large beer garden to unwind with a pint and watch the boats and ducks go by.
This recently refurbished riverside pub dates back to the 14th Century. The lovely panelled dining room is a great spot for a bit of dinner and I can certainly recommend the pistachio crusted pork fillet. But let's not get distracted. It's beer gardens on the river that we are talking about and this one is pretty special. A row of tables and some standing room overlooks the iron Kew Rail Bridge and Oliver's Island, so you can soak up life on the Thames while you sip on your choice of tipple.
Originally built in 1660 and rebuilt in 1899, the White Hart in Barnes has more than a touch of old English charm, but it's the first-floor terrace that gets this pub firmly on my list of favourite riverside haunts. It might be standing room only on this terrace, but it's worth it for the stunning views of the Thames.