For a city that’s plagued by rain 360 days a year, Londoners really love a picnic. And this past year has been the year of the picnic. Eating pizza on the nearest patch of grass in torrential rain? Check. Getting emotionally attached to a park bench? Done. But heading to one of these spots in the sun with some excellent food in tow? Add it to your to-do list. These are our favourite spots to sit, and the things we’d eat when we’re there.
THE PICNIC SPOTS:
The only way you managed to gather your friend who lives in Walthamstow and your mate who doesn’t go anywhere outside of SW7 in the same place, is by promising the most neutral of territory, AKA Hyde Park. Now this is a huge park, with a number of different entrances, so there are countless ways to play this. One of our favourite ways is to come in from the South Kensington entrance, pick up some sushi rolls from Dozo, which is oh so conveniently on the same street as Kova Patisserie where you can pick up some iconic matcha mille crepes, or the sea salt lava cake if you’re more of a cheesecake person. Other entrances are Bayswater where we’d go for some monkey fingers from buffalo chicken experts Meatliquor, or Knightsbridge where you can go for a carby pasta from Harrod’s food hall, or an equally carby keema-filled chapati.
What Green Park lacks in size it makes up for in positive vibes. Partly because of its proximity to Buckingham Palace, and partly because when the sun is out this little park that connects to St. James’s is the ideal place to bring that book that makes you look mysterious and interesting to everyone passing by. The food options in the surrounding area are unsurprisingly on the pricier side of the spectrum, but if there was ever a place to eat a £18 lobster roll and pretend to read A Brief History Of Time, it’s Green Park.
Located just north of Regent’s Park, this is one of the most popular hills to view London from, and it’s up there (pun 100% intended) with some of the best spots to bring a picnic blanket and some great food and spend a few hours in the sun. The view is nice, but if you’ve seen it before we’d recommend finding a spot somewhere lower to avoid the crowds. Being close to Camden and Marylebone puts you in prime spot for a great picnic selection, so step away from the carrot sticks and hummus and head to Panadera Bakery (only a 15-minute walk away) for an excellent beef hash sando and iced Spanish latte, or stop by The Cheese Bar and pick up a cheese-heavy toastie. Bento Ramen is also a short 12-minute walk if you’re in the mood for a view with a side of sushi.
One of the biggest green spaces in London, Richmond Park is a whole-day situation. It’s easy to get lost in this park, and the size means as packed as it is, you will never be fighting for picnic real estate. But because the park is huge, you need a well-planned picnic strategy, this is not a spontaneous decide-where-to-meet-when-we-get-there or meet-in-the-middle-of-the-park type park. Our top places to perch here are either the Richmond Hill Viewing Point by the Richmond Gate entrance and the gardens underneath. We like to pick up a pizza from La Luna Di Luca. Or if you’re closer to the Kingston Gate, the area surrounding the Isabella Plantation (a woodland garden with ponds and lakes) is a great place to unwind after picking up some fried prawn subs from Poor Boys. It’s peaceful, and a lovely place to spend a day in the sun.
Battersea Park is in our professional opinion: an absolute stunnah. It’s got the top three things you would want in a park, plenty of greenery (duh), views of the river, and some pretty great food options around. We love the benches near the fountains in the middle of the park, but another nice spot is near the Peace Pagoda. Our go-to is ordering Detroit-style pizza from Party Store Pizza, or offee and cassava cakes from Kapihan, a Filipino café and bakery down the road.