London’s Best Picnic Spots

by Jul 23, 2014
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When it comes to planning a picnic we have it under wraps. Check out our review of the best places to park your blanket this season.

With summer well underway, Londerenes gather in their masses to descend on green open spaces and basque in the sun. As quintessentially English picnic’s come into play we round-up our recommendations of popular parks, woodlands and hidden treasures our city has to offer.

Hidden gardens:

>> Kyoto Gardens in Holland Park: West London

Picnic_HollanPark

If the idea of a tranquil Japanese retreat tickles your fancy then try Kyoto Gardens in Holland Park. The idyllic oasis was a gift from the Kyoto Chamber of Commerce, in recognition of the Japan Festival held in London in 1992. It is exceptionally maintained with beautiful waterfalls, Bonsai trees and a pond (with a bright orange fish) which really does make you feel like you are away from the city.

Holland Park Avenue / Kensington High Street, W8 – Nearest Station: Holland Park

>> Fulham Palace Gardens: Fulham, North West London

Picnic_Fulham

A personal favorite for a West Londoner like myself are the gardens at Fulham Palace. Visitors have a wealth of things to do from exploring the museum, eating in the Drawing Room restaurant or simply starfishing in the sun in the beautiful gardens. Not so many people know about this spot so it’s rarely overcrowded (sssh you heard it here first), in saying that Fulham Park itself (which runs adjacent) does get rather busy, but has entertainment for all ages; with sand pits, sprinkler fountains full of children plodding about, tennis courts and even an ice cream shop. For more information visit here.

Bishop’s Avenue, SW6 6EA – Nearest Station: Putney Bridge

>> St Dunstan-in-the-East: Between London Bridge & Tower Bridge, City Central

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St Dunstan was a medieval church which was bombed during The Blitz. Some rather considerate people decided that instead of rebuilding the church it should be turned into public gardens, yeyy! It’s a wonderful spot to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, however during the week it does tend to  fill up with office workers basking in the sun on their lunch breaks.

St Dunstan’s Hill, London EC4 – Nearest Station: Monument or Tower Hill

Popular parklands:

>> Hampstead Heath: Hampstead, North West London

Picnic_Hampstead

The largest of our hot spots, the Heath compromises of 791 acres of woodland, playing fields, ponds and meadows of tall grass. Spanning North London from Hampstead to Highgate, the Heath has been the backdrop  and inspiration for countless films, books and poems. The big benefit of this spot is the swimming ponds which are perfect on a hot day for a refreshing dip. Yes please!

Grove Road, E9 – Nearest Station: Cambridge Heath‎, Hackney Wick‎ or Bethnal Green

>> Battersea Park: Battersea, South West London

Picnic_Battersea

One of the more well known parks in London is Battersea park. There’s no other space in the city that can boast Thames views, an art gallery (The Pump House) and even a Zoo. With 200 acres of green land you’ll have no trouble in finding a perfect place to lay your blanket and get your picnic on.

Queenstown Rd, SW11 – Nearest Station: Battersea Park

>> Victoria Park: Hackney, East London

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London’s first public park encompasses both East and West qualities. It’s a little rough around the edges in comparison to its West counterparts, but this gives it a chilled out atmosphere, perfect for kicking back with nature. There’s lots to see including a deer enclosure for the wildlife lovers, The Pavilion Café for those who run low on food supplies, and for the sporty types there are a few tennis courts and sports grounds.

Grove Road, E9 – Nearest Station: Cambridge Heath‎, Hackney Wick‎ or Bethnal Green

>> Clapham Common: Clapham, South West London

Picnic_Clapham

Set in, well Clapham of course, this common is rather large with 220 acres of green space. With a plethora of amenities around the common itself in addition to hosting sporting events throughout the week Clapham common is a big draw for athletic types (and for people like us who ‘apreciate’ on said athletic types). Although it is a popular location, there’s always a little space of greenery to park your bum and enjoy the rays.

Windmill Dr, SW4 – Nearest Station: Clapham Common or Clapham South

Something different:

>> London Wetlands: Barnes, South West London

Picnic_Wetlands

Not a traditional lunching spot, but one worth considering on your quest for picnic greatness. Set in Barnes, the 105 acre park is an urban wildlife area created by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in  2000. Here you can roam the beautiful walkways, spot some rare birds (and even otters!) or simply sit in the beautiful greenland surrounded by wildlife.

You do have to pay entry of £12.35 (per adult), but we can assure you, you won’t be disappointed once you are inside. For more information visit here.

Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes, SW13 – Nearest Station: Barnes

>> Primrose Hill: Camden, North West London

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Although this area doesn’t provide the biggest green space, it comes with a stunning view of the London skyline. Set on the north side of Regent’s Park it is a popular picnic, kite-flying and celeb spotting spot. And in case you didn’t pack enough food (I know, would this ever happen?! Anyway…) the surrounding area is full of boutique shops and restaurants.

Primrose Hill Road, NW3 – Nearest Station: Chalk Farm

>> Waterlow Park: Highgate, North London

Picnic_Waterlow

Recently improved and restored Waterlow offers 26 acres of parkland in North London. With a dramatic sloping site the park offers panoramic views over London, making it a great location for picnicking. Although this isn’t a hidden park, it still retains the charm of a secret garden with tree-lined walkways, picturesque ponds and one of London’s finest landscaped parks (it even has tennis courts!) this spot offers something for all ages.

130 Highgate Hill, London N6 – Nearest Station: Archway

Now that you have chosen your location you need something to suffice your appetites right? Channel 4 have kindly dedicated a page of their site to helping us pack for picnics with recipes, tips and ideas for the perfect light bites. Check it out here. And don’t forget your suntan cream (and bottle of Pimms of course)… enjoy!

Words by – NJ

[Imagery courtesy of Wikipedia, Fulham Palace, City of London, Clapham Common, London Wetlands & Waterlow Park]

About Natalie Jahangiry

Natalie is half Persian with a Geordie accent. Although small in stature, she makes up for it with a big personality! As a Graphic Designer you will often find Natalie gushing about her passion for all things creative and sharing her ideas with everyone and anyone who will listen. If she’s not decorating her house you will find her cooking up recipes from her foodie family or propped up in a cocktail bar in town.

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