Overall, it rains less in London than I thought it would before moving here, in fact I don't even carry an umbrella preferring to carry a hooded coat in the dead of winter (they're warmer too). But, when we are graced with those postcard perfect weekends we've learned to drop everything and thoroughly enjoy the dose of Vitamin D. Over the years we've discovered that there are a few classic places that are lovely to visit, but not so ideal for picnicking - Primrose Hill (unless you're prepared to walk for ages or try to stop bottles rolling downhill) or St James Park (it's just too little really), but we've also discovered a few little gems.
There are a few things to remember; sunscreen is necessary - all us blue-hued Londoners don't tend to suit lobster red, take napkins and hand wash, gather a decent amount of drinks and if you want to make friends, carry a bottle opener. Mine lives on the end of my key ring, Kiwi shaped of course! (I'm not sure my Girl Guiding days were meant to result in helping strangers get drunk, but hey ho!)
1 ¦ Regents Park
My absolute favourite park in the centre of London. Near Baker Street tube station there are plenty of shops to assemble a last minute ploughmans or even just wander along Marylebone High Street to put together a gourmet meal eaten au naturel. Just go! We've rowed a boat along the small lake, wandered to the words of Harper Lee along the Rose gardens and occasionally got lost along the cricket grounds to the exotic chirrups of Zoo inhabitants.
2 ¦ Hyde Park
A lovely friend and I spent an evening there recently, and watched the sunset over the Serpentine as we sipped on glasses of Sauvignon Blanc. There are plenty of beautiful trees to park yourself under and watch the more athletic park-goers throw stuff
You can't beat sunset over still waters. Even the birds took a moment to rest (though it may have been the bread, I dunno.) #LoveLondon . . . #London #sunset #happy #nature #London #serpentine #Hydepark #wineoclock #happy #beautifuldestinations #nofilter #travelblogger #prettycitylondon #londonbylondoners #londonlocal #theprettypursuit #travelphotography #postitfortheaesthetic #passionpassport #prettypursuit #prettycitylondon #maybeldner #prettycitylondon #timeoutlondon #thisislondon #londonpop #toplondonphoto #londonforyou #LondonLive #shutup_london #visitlondon #thelondonlifeinc
3 ¦ Richmond Park
Sitting amongst the trees, soft mossy grounds and groups of deer wandering through completely uninterested in the spellbound humans, Richmond Park is my absolute favorite on the outskirts of London.
4 ¦ Kensington Park
More of a coffee and cake whilst sitting on the benches kinda deal, the grounds surrounding Kensington Palace have fantastic access to food, playgrounds for the kids (small and large alike) and of course the Palace perfect for selfie backgrounds.
5 ¦ Greenwich
Pop past the Cutty Sark - looking rather magnificent from the outside despite recent fires - and take a turn through the grounds of the Greenwich Naval College before giving into the temptation of a picnic. If you're feeling athletic you could even take a post-prandial walk up to the Greenwich observatory for stunning views.
6 ¦ Bushy Park
Best for walkers and abounding in small dogs, well, bounding, Bushy Park is the second largest park in London, beaten by the (almost) neighbouring Richmond Park and has many areas and gardens within the grounds to take a picnic and mutter sweet nothings.
7 ¦ Hampstead Heath
Replete with bathing pools, hilarious locals, rolling meadows and rambling paths, Hampstead Heath is another of the best picnic spots in London.
This is London, baby. Zone 2 represent.
Bonus: Kenwood House
Astoundingly many of London's quirkiest and most beautiful attractions won't cost you a penny. Free (both in a fiscal and tour sense) to wander through and admire, the incredible Kenwood House is nestled in one of the far corners of Hampstead Heath and needs to be added to your must visit list. There are extensive grounds for settling into with a blanket and a good book.
8 ¦ Holland Park
Everyone commuting on the Central Line sees the stop 'Holland Park' usually just assumes that there is a bygone collection of trees bestowed with the grand title of park. But actually, there are extensive grounds; the woodland groves complete with a couple of cows, the formally designed Japanese gardens, the rose gardens, Napoleons garden with modern art installations, the Dutch Garden (formerly the Portuguese Garden until they fell out of political favour) and the many lovely spaces in-between.
9 ¦ Chiswick House and Gardens
Complete with eponymous neo-Palladian villa, Chiswick House and Gardens are glorious (and a mecca for those of the geocaching bent).
10 ¦ Your own home
Unfortunately not everyone has outdoor space or a decent sized patio, which is when people skills are the best weapon for chatting up your neighbours who don't use their patch of green
Failing all of the above, well, you just need to find yourself a delicious terrace to break out something celebratory.
What are your favourite picnic spots in London?
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