Restaurants should be about food. They should be praised for their service, their wine lists, their ambience - all features we've purposefully ignored for the following list.
That's not to say that the following selection serves cold food from colder staff - far from it. This list focuses on the view offered with the meal, the horizon for the happy hour.
From the depths of Scottish highlands to the shimmering beaches of Cornwall, with plenty of urban offerings in between, these are some of the best restaurants views you can find in the UK. Do let us know if we missed your local gem in the comments below.
Darwin at Sky Garden, London
Sky Garden, 20 Fenchurch St, London EC3M 3BY
Best mind your jaw as you step off the elevator at Sky Garden – you’re likely to drop it. While the list of London landmarks views of the capital grows as long it does ubiquitous, this one, nestled at the top of the 'Walkie Talkie' building, really is something special, offering a near dystopian vision before your ears have finished popping. There are two restaurants on site: Fenchurch, a seafood and grill restaurant perched at the very top of the installation, and Darwin, a brasserie tucked just beneath, both hanging over the crowds milling around below. For the best views you'll want the latter. Aside from the dramatic views, it specialises in lavishly presented, if reasonably priced, modern cuisine, with our pick being the showstopping Goodwood Estate pork belly. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you simply booking a ticket for the viewing experience alone - grab a cocktail, wander around an indoor jungle and drink in the stunning 360 views of the capital. But with dishes this good you’d be plain silly not to make a reservation.
Baltic Gallery (Sixth Floor), South Shore Road, Gateshead, NE8 EBA
While the contemporary art exhibits of the Baltic offer some strange and wonderful sights, arguably the best spectacle of this gallery is found from the window of its rooftop restaurant. Appropriately titled SIX (it's on the sixth floor, but you could probably figure that out), the restaurant's expanse of glass gives stunning views along the city-banked span of the Tyne, taking in the contrasting curves of the Millennium and Tyne Bridge. Best viewed at sundown.
Jasin's Restaurant, Deal
The Pier, Beach St, Deal, Kent, CT16 7AZ
"But which one is the restaurant?" you might think upon viewing the above picture. The answer, confusingly, is none of them. That's the in-land view from Jasin's, a restaurant stranded at the end of Deal pier in Kent, jutting into the English Channel. In one direction you're presented with a picturesque seaside town, and on the 349 days of the year when the weather isn't fluffy clouds and sunshine, you can stare out over the vast horizon of waves and sky.
Panoramic 34, Liverpool
West Tower, 34th Floor, Brook Street, Liverpool, L3 9PJ
This is a tall one. Some 90 metres above Liverpool's Brook Street, the Panoramic 34 isn't fibbing - there's a fine view to be had no matter where you end up sitting (though best book ahead if you know what you'd rather be looking at). To the south, there's iconic face of the Royal Liver Building, to the north, the bay of Liverpool and the docks. The western view presents you with the traffic of the river Mersey, while the old roofs of the World Museum and Central library lie to the east. You might find yourself coming back to this one.
Jamie Oliver's Fifteen, Cornwall
On the Beach, Watergate Bay, Cornwall, TR8 4AA
The address somewhat gives away the charm of this coastal gem. Jamie Oliver's Fifteen isn't just another copy-and-paste high street restaurant - this social enterprise serves up locally-sourced food, but you won't give your dish a second glance if you've managed to bag yourself a window seat. Set as close to the sands of Watergate Bay as is feasibly possible, you'll be greeted with a spread of sunbathers and surfers in the summer and wind-swept waves the rest of the year. Just check it out on Google Earth for an impression of what to expect.
Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill, Birmingham
200 Wharfside Street, The Cube, Birmingham, B1 1PR
Rise all 25 storeys of the Cube complex for unparalleled cocktail-supping and steak-devouring views of Brum's rapidly changing skyline. The drinks balcony (truly great in summer) looks west across the city centre, but if you're dining - and you should - then the restaurant will offer a jaw-dropping views in any compassly direction with knockout views of Birmingham University, Edgbaston Cricket Ground and much, much more. Come nighttime the city lights offer an entirely different, but equally cool sensation.
The View, Fife
Naughton Road, Wormit, Newport On Tay, Fife, DD6 8NE
On the opposite bank of the Tay from Dundee is a small town by the (unfortunate) name of Wormit. Along with the claim of being amongst the first Scottish regions to boast electric lighting, the riverside town holds a gem of a view - best taken in from the imaginatively named The View Restaurant. It's a striking meeting point of the man-made and the natural, the Tay river stretching left to right, intersected by Tay Rail Bridge, a solid stretch of metal and concrete.
Duck & Waffle, London
110 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4AY
You probably came here looking for this one. The highest restaurant in England, Duck & Waffle doesn't just offer impressive numbers (40th floor of the Herron Tower, around 130 metres above the London streets). The City glimmers in the distance, while the Gherkin dominates the southern foreground. Views over the north and west of the capital are virtually uninterrupted, presenting the constant threat of you leaving your meal to go cold as you attempt to spot the landmarks. Open 24-hours a day, seven days a week, a memorable sunrise is on offer to those who head here for an early (really early) breakfast.
River Exe Café, Exmouth
Exe Estuary, Exmouth
A restaurant on a river. Not by it - on it. You reach this floating café by water taxi from Exmouth Marina, transporting you to this bobbing wonder (don't worry, it doesn't move that much) in middle of the Exe estuary. Offering panoramic views, your neighbours will be an assortment of anchored boats, curious wildlife and the steady passage of the Exe. Obviously not one for those scared of open water, but a treat for everyone else.
Metro Bar & Brasserie Edinburgh
Apex Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket, Edinburgh, EH1 2HS
A stone's throw (or a mighty impressive caber toss) from Edinburgh Castle, the view from the north-facing window of the Metro Bar and Brasserie of the Apex Hotel offers unparalleled views of the historic fortress. Set slightly below Castle Rock, the Castle is the main attraction - though the domed roof of Usher Hall can be made out to the west. For an unbeatable view of the iconic Hogmanay fireworks, keep your eyes peeled on the hotel's website for booking information arriving in April. Ask for a window seat, obviously.
Cloud 23, Manchester
Beetham Tower, 303 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 4LQ
Okay, so we're bending the rules with this one - Cloud 23 is a bar rather than a restaurant, though an ample array of sharing plates and afternoon tea means you won't go hungry. One of the highest views you'll find in Manchester, the great slab of glass that is the Beetham Tower offers an unbeatable platform for ogling the gridded streets of the city centre. Given Manchester's relatively uncluttered skyline, there aren't any other towers or to get in the way of your arty Instagram shots.
Loch Fyne Restaurant & Oyster Bar, Cairndow
Clachan, Cairndow, PA26 8BL
Urban sprawls are all very well, but if all you crave is a bit of peace and quiet during dinner, then best point your Sat Nav north. A long way north. The Loche Fyne restaurant and oyster bar sits at the northern end of the eponymous body of water, surrounded by sweeping hills and... well, not much else. Click here to see what we mean. Every other view in our list looks positively crowded compared to this.
OXO Tower Restaurant, London
8th floor, Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, South Bank, London SE1 9PH
New menu, fresh paint, same view - that's the major sell for the recently relaunched OXO Tower Restaurant. You're in control of the food, the new menu lets you "curate" your own restaurant experience; either by ordering a selection of dishes to table to share, or switching up starters and mains. While certainly not the highest view on offer in the capital, the Tower boasts one of the best views by virtue of being close to one of the most iconic, protected sections of London's skyline: King's College and St Paul's Cathedral nestle in the foreground, tantalisingly close rather than dim dots, while the gleaming lights of the City extend toward the eastern horizon. Like many of our urban picks, the view from the OXO Tower is best taken in at night, with the traffic of the river and Blackfriars Bridge offering shifting illuminations.