Top 5 Picnic Spots in London

  1. Home
  2. London
  3. Leisure
  4. Top 5 Picnic Spots in London

The weather is warming up, so get your blankets and hampers out and head to the great outdoors!

There are great places to picnic all over London - your personal favourite might be your local green spot - and some very popular ones, with lush greenery and local attractions. Here’s a list of our five favourites:

Highgate Wood

This little North London gem is the perfect urban park. Just around the corner from Highgate Tube Station off Muswell Hill Road, Highgate Wood offers a combination of wide-open fields perfect for picnics, a sporting green with a cricket pitch, a little café with both indoor and outdoor seating, along with an almost jungle-like forest area so dense it feels like you're out in the middle of the countryside. The forest is perfect for Sunday strolls with the dog while the well-equipped playground, complete with sandpits, climbing equipment and a zip wire provides fun and challenges for the kids. Highgate Wood has 11 park keepers and is in tiptop shape.

For curious minds, there are guided walks on offer to teach you about the different types of trees and wildlife!

Victoria Park

The ‘cool’ one on the list (if parks can be cool), this East End spot in Hackney is actually London’s oldest public park. The closest Tube Stations are Cambridge Heath, on the park’s west side, and Hackney Wick to the east. Opened by Queen Victoria herself in 1845, after a local MP presented her with a petition of 30,000 signatures, it was envisaged as a ‘Regent's Park of the east’, and originally even had its own Speaker's Corner. Known as the 'People's Park' it became a centre for political meetings and rallies of all sorts.

Today, Victoria Park is host to various sporting events and a number of large-scale festivals, including All Points East. For those seeking the perfect picnic spot, Victoria Park has a large variety of trees (oaks, horse chestnuts, cherries, hawthorns and even Kentucky coffee trees), a quiet Old English Garden brimming with flowers and shrubs, a Chinese Pergola (pictured), a deer enclosure, a children's playground and, last but definitely not least, the famous boating lake with the most picturesque fountain in the middle.

Hampstead Heath

Covering 320 hectares, Hampstead Heath is so vast that finding a quiet spot for a picnic is not difficult. With some of the best views and highest points in London, there are beautiful vistas for everyone to enjoy. Get your hamper up onto Parliament Hill (pictured) and see the entire skyline of the city spread out before you. If you have energy to burn, Hampstead Heath has countless sports pitches and facilities, an athletics track and playgrounds.

For a more romantic spot try the stunning listed Pergola and Hill Garden. Hampstead Heath's remarkable range of natural habitats also includes wide expanses of grassland and ancient woodland, making it one of London's best places for wildlife and biodiversity in the city. The Hampstead Ponds are popular for swimming - there’s a ladies and a men’s bathing pond - along with a model boating pond, a fishing pond and two ponds which serve as wildlife reserves. The Golder’s Hill part of the park has a formal flower garden, a separate area for deer, a butterfly house and a small zoo!

Richmond Park

Just a short walk from Richmond Station (accesible via the train from Waterloo or via the District Line), Richmond Park is Europe’s largest urban park and, as one of the UK’s Royal parks, it comes with some rules and restrictions, such as on the size of your picnic party - only you and 40 of your closest friends can attend and ball games are only allowed in certain areas. But, as these regulations are mainly to protect the wild roaming deer and resident wild parrots, we’re okay with that. Far away from the city bustle, Richmond Park offers serenity and calm; the only noises for miles are the crickets and birds, with the occasional bell of an ice cream van.

For an after picnic walk, head for the Isabella Plantation to see the ponds and stream full of invertebrates and amphibians, as well as the famous collection of wild Azaleas, Rhododendrons and Camellias, along with native nectar and berry bearing trees that provide food and shelter for birds, bats and insects. 

St James’ Park

Another Royal park, this time bang in the middle of Central London (literally across the road from Buckingham Palace), St. James' Park is bordered by The (rather magnificent) Mall, with Clarence House and St James’ Palace a stone’s throw away, stopping at the Horse Guards Parade before Whitehall - so it’s quite the cultural and historical tour if you’re that way inclined. The summer months are particularly busy with events near the palace, so check the park’s official website before you pack your picnic basket. 

Not only does St. James' Park have stunning flowerbeds and wide open green spaces, but it has a small lake with two islands, West Island, and Duck Island (named for the lake's collection of waterfowl), and is home to 15 different species of birds, with the most famous being the resident colony of pelicans (which were initially given as a gift to Charles II way back in 1664). For the best views, head to the Blue Bridge on a sunny day to take some great photos of the London Eye, the Horse Guards Parade and Big Ben or Buckingham Palace.  And, for a posh picnic befitting of a Royal Park, you can lounge on the lovely deckchairs provided, instead of sitting on the floor like a commoner!