1920 – 2012: a look back at Selfridges’ legendary roof

— 31 May 2012

This summer Selfridges London launches The Big Rooftop Tea & Golf Party, transforming the roof into the coolest destination to eat and play.

However, this isn't the first time our legendary roof has entertained Londoners and others alike. From a 1920s pleasure garden, a pop-up restaurant with a Michelin-starred chef and a glowing green boating lake, we take a look back at the extraordinary, rare uses of this sky-high space throughout our 103-year history. 

In the 1920s, the rooftop of Selfridges was the place to be seen. Crowds would ascend on the top of the building to meet with friends, watch fashion shows and even play a round of crazy golf. During the Second World War, Selfridges survived comparatively unscathed – although the Blitz in 1940 destroyed the famous roof gardens, which never re-opened to the public again – until 2009.

October 2009 saw the revival of Selfridges’ long-lost tradition of rooftop entertainment with the opening of an exclusive pop-up restaurant. The kitchen was run by legendary, Michelin-starred French chef Pierre Koffmann, who came out of retirement to launch The Restaurant on the Roof at Selfridges. The restaurant was the headlining event for the inaugural London Restaurant Festival, and due to popular demand, the pop up stint was extended from a week to over a month.

In July 2011, the Selfridges roof embarked on the Truvia Voyage of Discovery – the brainchild of jellymongers and culinary architects, Bompas & Parr. They teamed up with Truvia, a calorie-free natural sweetner derived from the Stevia leaf, to create a emerald green boating lake, complete with a sparkling waterfall, a boat-up cocktail bar and a forest of sweet Stevia plants. 

That brings us to 2012, a momentous year for Britain, and Selfridges opens up its roof once again in celebration of The Big British Bang. The Big Rooftop Tea and Golf Party sees the return of Bompas & Parr as they launch a very crazy 9-hole crazy golf course where the seven wonders of London are realised as mouth-watering cake-based obstacles. Daylesford Farm provides the refreshments in the form of an award-winning organic café, serving the highest afternoon tea on Oxford Street. Don’t miss you chance to experience a sky-high adventure at Selfridges this summer.

**Bompas and Parr's crazy golf has now run its course (no pun intended), but you can still visit the Daylesford cafe on the roof until the end of September.**