One of the best things about London is the fact that, for a city so densely populated, it has so many incredible green spaces. As well as the eight royal parks the Greenwich Meridian, there are a number of smaller spaces where you can avoid the hustle and bustle of the capital and enjoy a summer picnic.
Yes, the Great British summer may be unpredictable, but when the sun does come out, so will the city’s many inhabitants. At times it can seem like every person in London is in the same place as you. However, if you know where to look, you can find your own little slice of Eden in the middle of one of the world’s busiest cities.
One of the most famous picnic spots in London is Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath. Located a little outside of the centre of the city, this hill has some of the best views of London’s famous landmarks. Although the Hill is a steep one, there are plenty of flat areas where you can take in London’s finery while dining in the middle of one of its most famous green spaces. Aside from well-known sites, including Canary Wharf and the London Eye, Parliament Hill itself has become something of a landmark, featuring in films like Run Fatboy Run.
With the right company, the right weather and the right grub, a picnic in the summer can really make time seem to stand still. So where better to enjoy your lunch than in the park where time began? Greenwich Park is part of the Greenwich World Heritage site, home to the Greenwich Meridian, or the point from which the world’s time is measured. Greenwich is also home to the National Maritime Museum, so if you fancy a little bit of history after your picnic, then you are spoiled for choice. In the summer, Greenwich Park has a number of bandstands in use, so you can relax and enjoy your picnic while embracing a century-old British tradition.
New Square is one of London’s best-kept secrets. Lying next to Lincoln’s Inn Fields (where most people head to), New Square is an oasis of tranquillity in the very heart of London. Although it is only available during office hours, it is open to the general public, and for those in the know, this is a great place to catch some sunshine for an hour or two in the middle of the day. With its red brick buildings, you may feel as if you are sitting in the quadrangle of an idyllic Oxford College rather than in the heart of a bustling metropolis.
Hyde Park is a must-see for any visitor to London, regardless of whether you’re having a picnic at all. Hyde Park is simply one of the most stunning parks in the world. The scale of Hyde Park is such that it can easily take an afternoon to explore the whole space, and you have to constantly remind yourself that you are in the middle of one of the largest cities in the word. One of the most common ways to explore the park is on the large ornamental lake, where you can hire a paddle or rowing boat and explore the sights from the waterline. If you can’t bear to leave the sanctuary of the park and its environs, then one of the hotels close to Hyde Park will provide you the best of urban and rural locations.
What is your favourite picnic spot in London? Any hidden gems to share? Do tell!