Living in the UK comes with the expectation of very limited sunny climes, so it’s hardly surprising we flock to beaches or the nearest green space to make the most of the sporadic British sunshine when it comes our way. But, in the concrete jungle that is London, it can be hard trying to find a safe haven away from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets, shrieking toddlers and frisbee throwers. Alas, we’ve put our thinking caps on and come up with some of London’s best picnic spots, and boy are they a bunch of beauties…
Wherever you are around the city, it’s easy to spot the skyscrapers because you’re often amongst them. This reigns true at Patch and Picnic, a spot that provides more of an urban picnic experience where you can sit back and take in panoramic views of some of London’s most iconic buildings and the River Thames, offering a patch of central London for groups to enjoy. The picnic and games area are bookable, providing you with all you need for a few hours of relaxed fun, with each area coming with private seating and parasols to shield you when the sun does finally come out to play. If you want a hassle-free picnic, Patch and Picnic offer hampers and boards which can be booked on the very day, as well as a dedicated bar refreshing you with cocktails, craft beers, wines and soft drinks.
Where: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX
For those looking for a day out for the family, Horniman Museum and Gardens has tonnes of activities and exhibitions on throughout the year across the desirable 16 acres of Garden – which also means there’s loads of space to escape from people if you’re feeling a little fragile from the night before. Whether you’re staying for an hour or the entirety of the day, the gardens offer the perfect sanctuary of feeling away from home whilst still showing of the cities landscape.
Noteworthy spots include the Grassland Garden which celebrate critically threatened wild landscapes helping to support local wildlife, alongside the beautifully decorated Conservatory, used for performances, workshops and as a function room. Finally, there’s the Bandstand which is often the focal point during their summer events programme. Entry to the museum and gardens is free, with the Butterfly House, Aquarium and exhibitions available for a lower cost.
Where: 100 London Road, Forest Hill, SE23 3PQ
Grazing amongst deer might not be for everyone but don’t let that put you off visiting Richmond Park. Known for its wide-open spaces, grassland and of course, herds of deer, Richmond Park is in the heart of Richmond filled with ancient trees and supports a range of rare species including bats, beetles, fungi and wildflowers. For the adventurers among the group, they can try their hand at power kiting, horse riding, or even hire an off-road bike to cycle across the Tamsin Trail. Known as being London’s largest Site of Special Scientific Interest, the park covers an area of 2,500 acres so there is zero chance you’ll end up next to the anyone, except for maybe Bambi…
Where: Sawyer’s Hill, Richmond, TW10 5HS
Although slightly extravagant for just your average picnic, Kew Gardens is definitely worth a visit as they offer a huge expanse of nooks and crannies to explore, from the tranquil Japanese gardens to their very own indoor tropical rainforest. It’s the perfect opportunity to explore areas of the world you might not be able to visit easily in one hit plus it’s just a stone’s throw away from the city centre. It is littered with family-friendly activities across the 300 acres of land allowing the little ones to explore galore!
Where: Kew, Richmond, London, TW9 3AE
Of course, it wouldn’t be a London picnic spot guide without mentioning the notorious Hyde Park – London’s very own equivalent of Central Park. Known for its magical Winter Wonderland during the colder months, Hyde Park still attracts crowds no matter the season – or weather. Despite being set in the heart of London, the park offers plenty of quiet places to relax, unwind and enjoy a picnic either by the lake or the rose garden. And if it’s an extra hot day, you can dip your tootsies in the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain or if you’re feeling extra brave take a swim in the Serpentine – there’s no sea-snakes, we promise!
Where: Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH
Travel to London’s very own Jurassic Park for a roaring bit of fun, where giant dinosaurs guard the grounds, and might try to grab the odd sandwich every now and then..
Crystal Palace Park offers an idyllic picnic spot with tonnes of exciting seemingly extinct dinosaurs roaming about, not forgetting one of the largest human mazes in the country, spanning a massive 160 feet. Once you’ve fought off the dinos, take a stroll up to the Italian terraces and start to understand the sheer scale of the park, and the rolling hills of Kent on a super clear day.
Where: Crystal Palace Park, Thicket Road, SR19 2GA
A picnic with a splash – not only is Brockwell Park a great picnic spot, Brockwell Lido is nestled in the corner with its 50m outdoor swimming pool, which is a perfect place to dive into when the British heat gets too much. Located between Brixton, Dulwich and Herne Hill, its acres are filled with an intense NMX track, playground, ornamental gardens and pond. You’ll always find something happening whether it’s a fair, circus or kids kicking the ball around on the sloping football pitches.
Where: Norwood Road, SE24 9BJ
It’s the spellbinding place which inspired C.S. Lewis to write The Chronicles of Narnia and a real must-visit. Hampstead Heath is the wild park of woodland and meadows tucked away less than four miles from the centre, sprawled over almost 800 acres. The huge space showcases the true beauty of the city with its spectacular views found on Parliament Hill. Alongside endless picnicking spots, yet another plus point of the area are the wild swimming ponds which are lifeguarded but be warned – it’s freezing, it’s muddy but a whole lot of fun.
Where: Hampstead Heath, NW5 1QR