London's best picnic areas

There may be plentiful green spaces in London, but when it comes to planning a picnic there are some places that have the edge on views, ambiance and shelter. Here are our favourite spots to lay that picnic blanket

    • Alexandra Park

      Alexandra Park, N22

      The ideal north London spot for a Saturday picnic – the sweeping views over the capital are fantastic, and the Time Out Award-winning Alexandra Palace Farmers’ Market offers up plenty of grub for you to supplement your picnic with. Load up on cheeses, fresh fruit, or even a freshly barbecued burger or two, and take to the sloping tree-lined hills (perhaps an impromptu cheese-rolling contest wouldn’t go amiss). A great place for children, with waterfowl and deer among the animals that inhabit the park.

  • Holland Park

    Kyoto Gardens, Holland Park, W8

    For a truly zen picnic, head to the tranquil Kyoto Gardens in Holland Park. Linger next to the pond, where colourful koi carp flit about, and soak up the sun in peace. It’s hard to believe the hectic concrete pavements of Kensington are only minutes away. After your picnic, take the time to explore the garden, which was created in 1991 (and refurbished in 2001) by a team of Japanese gardeners from – you guessed it – Kyoto. The gentle sounds of the waterfall nearby will be a welcome change from the cacophony of the city.

  • Horniman Museum

    100 London Rd, London, SE23 3PQ

    The best place for picnicking at this south London park is near the twee bandstand, where there are picnic tables for a proper sit-down as well as expanses of greenery for that tattered flannel blanket. Wander down towards the meadow field afterwards, where pups and dogs are allowed to frolic without a lead. And should it start raining, you can always take cover in the conservatory or the shelter at the end of the dutch barn to continue the feast. Read more

  • Postman's Park

    King Edward St, EC1A 7BX

    Featured in Patrick Marber’s play ‘Closer’ (then subsequently visited by Jude Law and Natalie Portman in the film adaptation), this small memorial garden is somewhere different to lay your head in central London – and you’ll beat the crowds at the other major parks. The atmosphere is remarkably tranquil, with the odd couple or sun-worshipper. Created by painter and philanthropist George F Watts, the park features glazed plaques commemorating ordinary civilians who died heroically for the sake of others. Not a place for rowdy Frisbeeing and such, then, but a pleasant hideaway in central London to remind oneself of the simple pleasures in – or rather, of – life. Read more

  • Victoria Park

    Tower Hamlets, London, E3

    Known as both the ‘Regent’s Park of the East End’, and ‘the people’s park’, this patch of greenery has wide appeal. The landscaped garden is perfect for a quiet picnic for two; the impressive stone alcoves, saved from the parapets of Old London Bridge, offer shade from the blistering sun. There’s also plenty to do lest your picnicking companions become bored – playgrounds for children, wildlife enclosures, big tennis courts and bowling greens. Read more