The Best Green Spaces In The City For A Summer Picnic | sheerluxe.com
When the sun is out in the city, it’s hard to beat a picnic in the park. Whether you’re simply grabbing a bite at lunchtime or enjoying a long lazy day at the weekend, here are the perfect green spots to head for, plus the best places to buy your wares...
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Primrose Hill

One for celeb-spotters, Primrose Hill offers sweeping views over central London, Belsize Park and Hampstead. Head to the park through the pastel-coloured streets and just down the road from Primrose Hill High Street, you will find speciality food store Melrose and Morgan. It’s worth the walk. Choose from its great selection of salads or sandwiches on the day or if you’re organised, order its well-proportioned picnic hampers online and pick up in store. Each hamper is filled with salads, scotch eggs, hummus and punnets of strawberries, all presented in a pretty picnic tote bag. Now all you have to do is select a bottle of rosé at Bottle Apostle from its sizable collection of chilled wine and you’re sorted.

Where to shop…

Melrose and Morgan, 42 Gloucester Ave, Primrose Hill, NW1 8JD

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Bottle Apostle, 172 Regent’s Park Road, Primrose Hill, NW1 8XN

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Victoria Park

Perhaps most familiar to some as the former home of Field Day, Citadel and this summer’s series of All Points East festivals, Victoria Park is the city's oldest purpose-built park. Within, there are beautiful trees and plants to watch the seasons change, fun play areas for little ones, two cafés offering delicious fare (we like the Pavilion Café to the east), and ducks to feed. If you fancy taking to the water yourself, there is a fleet of floating swans to peddle around on the lake. It becomes even better on a Sunday when Victoria Park Market opens, offering ready-to-shop food and drink – choose from Happy Ending’s negroni ice-cream sandwiches, Popina’s vegan Moroccan rolls and on-tap ginger kombucha to keep you cool.

Where to shop…

Victoria Park Market, Bonner Gate, Victoria Park, E2 9JW

Visit VictoriaParkMarket.com

Pavilion Café, Old Ford Road, Victoria Park, E9 7DE

Visit WeAreThePavilion.com

Regent’s Park

Acres of grass and ice-creams galore make Regent’s Park one of the most summery spots to spend your weekend. It’s also an ideal spot to take children to feed the ducks, go for a ride on the pedalos or spend an afternoon at ZSL London Zoo. Not far from the entrance to the park is Honey and Co’s deli, Honey and Spice, who have an assortment of delicious foods for picnics – think middle-eastern salads roasted cauliflower and aubergine, tahini halva brownies and sumac vanilla shortbreads. 

Where to shop…

Honey and Spice, 52 Warren Street, King’s Cross, W1T 5NJ

Visit HoneyAndCo.co.uk

Peckham Rye

South London’s Peckham Rye offers green lawns, a hidden Japanese garden and rose petal paths – it’s worth taking an afternoon to explore. On your way to the Rye, head to one of our favourite specialty food shops, The General Store, to pick up some simple picnic essentials like fresh bread, cheese, fruit and wine. The store itself is exceptionally well-stocked – expect to find the likes of pastel de nata from Hackney’s A Portuguese Love Affair and La Grotta Ices ice-cream on the shelves.

Where to shop…

General Store, 174 Bellenden Road, Peckham, SE15 4BW

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Greenwich Park

Greenwich Park is a former hunting park in Greenwich and one of the largest single green spaces in south-east London. One of the Royal Parks of London, and the first to be enclosed, it covers 183 acres, and is part of the Greenwich World Heritage Site. When it comes to summer strolls, this one is up there with the best, mostly due it its range of indoor attractions (just in case it rains) – the Cutty Sark, National Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory are all within the park’s borders. As well as checking out the remains of Queen Elizabeth’s Oak (and the tranquil flower, herb and orchard gardens) the real draw here is the views from the hills that stretch across the Thames, towards St Paul’s Cathedral. When it comes to food, we like to pick up cheese and fizz from Champagne + Fromage and everything else from nearby Greenwich Market.

Where to shop…

Greenwich Market, Greenwich Peninsula, SE10 9HZ

Visit GreenwichMarket.London

Champagne + Fromage, 34 Greenwich Church Street, Greenwich Peninsula, SE10 9BL

Visit ChampagnePlusFromage.co.uk

Hyde Park

Set right in the centre of the capital, Hyde Park offers both world-class events and concerts together with plenty of quiet places to relax and unwind – we like the Rose Garden. Another of the Royal Parks, visitors can dip their toes in the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, brave an open-water swim in the Serpentine, or just admire the views across the lake from the waterside Lido Café. Those not content with a pre-picnic stroll around Hyde Park’s 350 acres can opt to have a go at boating, tennis or horse riding to really get your appetite going. If you’ve got a large group, Platter is the place to head for generous picnic plates while Mount Street Deli offers high-end dishes to take away.

Where to shop…

Platter London, 1 Holland Place, Kensington, W8 4NA

Visit PlatterLondon.com

Mount Street Deli, 100 Mount Street, Mayfair, W1K 2TG

Visit TheMountStreetDeli.co.uk

Battersea Park

This Grade II-listed park is one of London’s most interesting. Within, there are five different sub-gardens (herb, Old English, Russell Page, winter and sub-tropical gardens, which date back to 1863), plus cricket pitches, an array of sculptures and a children’s zoo. The Battersea General Store is a local, but global, store. Its range of produce is anything but ordinary: expect everything from Spanish crisps, Japanese whisky, mac n’ cheese from America and crispbreads from Norway, as well as artisan breads, meats and pastries. Alongside international brands, the team supports local artisan suppliers of beer, wine, cheese and more. The Pear Tree Cafe is the place to head for child-friendly fare – and post-picnic ice-creams.

Where to shop…

Pear Tree Café, Battersea Park, Battersea, SW11 4NJ

Visit PearTreeCafe.co.uk

The Battersea General Store, 9-10 Circus Road West, Battersea, SW11 8EZ

Visit TheBatterseaGeneralStore.co.uk

Kyoto Gardens

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s largest park comprises 54 acres of gardens, children’s play parks, sports areas and large areas of woodland abundant with wildlife. Contained within the park is the beautiful Kyoto Garden; a Japanese garden donated by the Chamber of Commerce of Kyoto in 1991. A tranquil spot with tiered waterfalls and a pond full of koi carp, the garden is filled with stone lanterns, maple trees and – if you’re lucky – one or two peacocks. If you’re in need of a picnic, La Piccola Deli is a traditional Italian store, which sells everything from foccacia and caprese salads to filled paninis and an exceptional choice of wine.

Where to shop…

La Piccola Deli, 4 Clarendon Road, Holland Park, W11 3AA

Visit LaPiccolaDeli.com

St James’s Park

Not just greenery and a series of picturesque lakes, 57-acre St James’s Park also encompasses The Mall and Horse Guards Parade, and is surrounded by landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Whitehall. To be honest, this one’s worth a visit just to see St James’s Park’s best inhabitants – the flock of pelicans, which have resided here for almost 400 years. When it comes to food, Wild at Tart in Eccleston Yards serves an abundance of healthy fare cooked by the girls behind Tart London. Dominique Ansel is the place to head to for pastries and savoury tarts, while Fortnum & Mason is the spot for extra-special embellishments such as wine and filled picnic hampers, which start at £30.

Where to shop…

Wild at Tart, 3-4 Eccleston Yards, Belgravia, SW1W 9AZ

Visit Tart-London.com

Dominique Ansel, 17-21 Elizabeth Street, Belgravia, SW1W 9RP

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Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, St James's, W1A 1ER

Visit FortnumAndMason.com

Richmond Park

The 2,500-acre Richmond Park comprises wide-open spaces, grasslands and deer herds, just outside central London. The park is a top UK site for ancient trees and supports a range of rare species including fungi, birds, beetles, bats, grasses and wildflowers. We like the Isabella Plantation woodland gardens, a coffee at Pembroke Lodge tea rooms and trying to spot St Paul’s Cathedral from King Henry’s Mound. On Saturdays, head to Duck Pond Market for all the picnic essentials and Petersham Nurseries’ tearoom for homemade cakes. Make sure to grab an authentic gelato from one of a number of Italian ice-cream shops. We like Daniele and Venchi.

Where to shop…
Petersham Nurseries, Petersham Road, Richmond, TW10 7AB

Visit PetershamNurseries.com

Duck Pond Market, Heron Square, Hill Street, Richmond, TW9 1EP

Visit DuckPondMarket.com

Hampstead Heath

More than just a park, the best way to discover Hampstead Heath is to take an amble around the four-mile Hampstead Heath Circular Walk. A good place to start is Parliament Hill Café: from here you’ll take in Kenwood House art gallery, Hampstead Grove and Burgh House before working your way back up Parliament Hill. Even if it’s chilly, you should opt for a dip in one of the famous bathing ponds (there’s also a women-only pool) – you can always warm up at Kenwood’s Brew House afterwards. For something more stationary, spread your picnic blanket out and tuck into treats from Melrose and Morgan’s second site in Hampstead.

Where to shop…

Melrose and Morgan, New Oriel Hall, Oriel Place, Hampstead, NW3 1QN

Visit MelroseAndMorgan.com

Golders Hill Park

Technically part of Hampstead Heath, Golders Hill Park's landscaped grounds contain beautiful plant displays including the peaceful water garden, a popular café and a bandstand. There is also a variety of leisure facilities including tennis courts, croquet lawn, all-weather table tennis tables, a mini zoo, a butterfly house and a children's play area. Around the park, you’ll find plenty of well-stocked Jewish style delis. We like nearby Platters, which specialises in hand-cut Scottish smoked salmon, salads and fresh bread including bagels, cholla and rye along with delicious cakes and pastries.

Where to shop…

Platters, 10 Finchley Road, Golders Green, NW11 0DL

Visit PlattersDeli.com

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