Parks, plaids, and pastimes: What are the top picnic spots in London? 

Amidst the bustling streets and historical landmarks of London, there’s a lesser-known side to this metropolis. It’s a side where the grass is greener, the sandwiches are tastier, and the blankets are spread out in harmony with nature.

Yes, I’m talking about delving into London’s best spots for picnicking. So, grab your basket, don’t forget the Pimm’s, and join me as we explore the top picnic spots in the capital. 

Streatham Rookery 

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Location: Streatham Common S, London SW16 3HR, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 3582 7323

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Website

Recognised for its meticulous maintenance and beauty, the park has been honoured with the prestigious Green Flag Award and named ‘Park of the Year’ by London in Bloom.

The Rookery’s history dates back to when it was part of the ‘Streatham Spa’, known for its local springs discovered in 1659 and acclaimed for their medicinal properties. The park originally formed the landscaped garden of a grand residence, also named ‘The Rookery’.

Visitors to this park can expect more than just a casual stroll in the park. It’s a place where nature’s artistry is on full display, with ornamental ponds, and herbaceous and wildflower beds. 

Primrose Hill 

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Location: Primrose Hill Road, London NW1 4NR, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 300 061 2300

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM

Website

Primrose Hill is a place where history whispers through the rustling leaves, reminding visitors of its past as part of Henry VII’s great chase and later as a recreational space for the people of north London.

Going to Primrose Hill for a picnic is like being enveloped in a place where history, culture, and nature intertwine to create a serene yet vibrant atmosphere.

Whether you’re watching the sunset paint the city in hues of gold or enjoying a quiet moment under the historical “Shakespeare’s Tree”, Primrose Hill offers a unique escape within the heart of the city. 

Crystal Palace Park 

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Location: Thicket Road, London SE19 2GA, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 8050 7120

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM

Website

Now, imagine feasting on your favourite picnic treats while being watched by dinosaurs. Yes, you read that right! Crystal Palace Park is home to some of the world’s first dinosaur sculptures, a throwback to the Victorian era’s fascination with these prehistoric beasts. 

The park itself is a relic of the grandeur of the 1851 Great Exhibition, echoing the echoes of a bygone era of innovation and splendour. 

And there’s more to this park than meets the eye. Beyond the prehistoric guardians and historical remnants, Crystal Palace Park boasts a maze to lose (and find) yourself in, a boating lake to paddle around and green space that is perfect for laying down your picnic blanket

Alexandra Palace Park 

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Location: Alexandra Palace Way, London N22 7AY, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 8365 2121

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

Website

Affectionately known as “Ally Pally”, Alexandra Palace Park is a place where the grandeur of London’s panorama meets the tranquillity of nature, making it one of the city’s most beloved picnic spots. 

The park’s vastness covers 196 acres which provides a plethora of activities, ensuring that every visit is more than just a picnic. 

The park’s facilities cater to a wide range of interests, ranging from the thrill-seeker enjoying Go Ape’s treetop adventure to those seeking a peaceful boating experience on the lake. For sports enthusiasts, there are cricket pitches and a pitch and putt golf course you can use.

Richmond Park 

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Location: Richmond, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 300 061 2200

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

Website

Considered one of the best parks in London, Richmond Park is a sprawling deer park on London’s outskirts. 

The presence of 600 deers adds a touch of wilderness and charm to this park. Now, if you’re seeking more than relaxation, the park offers a 7.5-mile circular path – perfect for cycling or a rejuvenating run. 

St James’s Park 

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Location: London SW1A 2BJ, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 300 061 2350

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 5:00 PM to 12:00 AM

Website

If you’re seeking a serene picnic spot, the water’s edge in St. James’s Park offers secluded spaces where one can relish the calmness of the park. Here, you can enjoy a variety of sandwiches while you soak in the peaceful ambience by the lakeside.

Adding to the charm are the park’s feathery residents, including an array of ducks, swans, and the famed pelicans – a gift from a Russian ambassador to King Charles II in 1664. 

The Blue Bridge, built in 1957, serves as a prime spot to view those majestic birds and the Tiffany Fountain’s impressive jet of water, enriching your picnic experience with the sights of nature and wildlife in harmony.

Selsdon Woods 

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Location: 8XP4+26, Old Farleigh Rd, South Croydon, Selsdon CR0 9HW, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 8726 6900

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

Website

Managed by Croydon Council, this 200-acre nature reserve is a patchwork of rolling fields, ancient woodlands, and shady paths, ideal for picnickers seeking both sunshine and a cool, leafy retreat.

The reserve is a biodiversity hotspot. From deer and bats to white squirrels, each visit here could turn into a spontaneous nature-watching adventure. 

Moreover, it’s the blend of accessibility and the promise of seclusion that makes Selsdon Woods a favoured spot. Whether you drive and park conveniently at the main entrance or choose public transport, it’s easy to reach.

Highgate Wood

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Location: Muswell Hill Rd, London N10 3JN, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 8444 6129

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 7:30 AM to 9:00 PM

Website

The richness of Highgate Wood lies not only in its vibrant flora and fauna but also in its immaculate maintenance. With 11 park keeps ensuring the wood is tiptop shape, the beauty and cleanliness of the area are unparalleled. 

For those keen to learn about the natural world, the wood offers guided walks. It reveals the secrets of its diverse trees and wildlife. 

Managed by the City of London Corporation, this park is a place where the community comes together while enjoying the calm and beauty that this ancient woodland offers.

Hampstead Heath 

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Location: Hampstead Lane, Hampstead Heath, London, NW3 7JP, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7332 3322

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

Website

Sprawling across 320 acres, Hampstead Heath is a vast canvas where nature, history, and panoramic city views blend seamlessly. With its lofty vantage points like Parliament Hill, it’s a place where you can spread your picnic blanket and gaze upon the iconic London skyline.

The Heath offers a variety of experiences: whether you’re taking a leisurely walk through its many pathways or soaking in art with sculptures by Henry Moore. If you’re up for a dip, the Heath’s natural bathing ponds offer a refreshing escape on a warm day.

Hyde Park

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Location: Hyde Park, London W2 2EU, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 300 061 2000

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 5:00 AM to 12:00 AM

Website

One of the prime spots for a picnic in Hyde Park is near The Serpentine, especially the area just north of it. This spot offers a blend of sunshine and shade, perfect for families or anyone looking to enjoy the park’s vibrant atmosphere. 

Hyde Park is also a hub for cultural and historical exploration. After your picnic, you might consider visiting nearby attractions like Kensington Palace or the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Food-wise, Hyde Park caters to all tastes. The Serpentine Bar & Kitchen and the Lido Café and Bar offer a variety of snacks and drinks. For an upmarket dining experience, Chucs Café Serpentine provides an Italian-inspired menu.

London Fields

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Location: London Fields West Side, London E8 3EU, United Kingdom

Contact: 020 8356 3000

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

Website

Known for its large grassy spaces, London Fields is a prime picnic spot, especially thanks to its proximity to the eclectic Broadway Market. 

Imagine a Saturday where you can indulge in a smorgasbord of delicious treats from the market’s diverse food stalls, then retreat to the park. 

This park is also a place with a heart for recreation and relaxation. The London Fields Lido, a 50m Olympic-sized heated outdoor swimming pool that’s open all year round, provides a perfect mix of fitness and fun.

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