Warm weather and blue skies call for dining outdoors. Summer is an excellent time to pull together some delicious supplies, a favorite blanket and some friends for an alfresco feast among the flora.
Find fresh air in London with one of these top picnic spots.
After a morning taking in the sounds and scents of Camden Town, stroll up to Chalk Farm and Primrose Hill, where you’ll be met by a much more laidback village vibe. This pretty corner of north London is crammed with independent shops, cafés and dog-friendly pubs — and more than a few famous faces (past residents include Jude Law and Kate Moss).
Pick up some housemade provisions from Melrose and Morgan specialty grocery store and head up the hill for far-reaching vistas from two of London’s 13 protected viewpoints.
This city-center enclave may not be an obvious choice, but tucked between the busy streets you’ll encounter some sweet little spots, including Bloomsbury Square and Russell Square — both a short skip away from The British Museum.
Swing by Soho’s Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Charlotte Street Hotel to purchase a gourmet picnic hamper (through September 30) from Oscar Bar & Restaurant.
Start your day with the Breakfast Hamper, brimming with hand-rolled pastries from a local baker and nutty housemade granola, or opt for an elegant afternoon out with the Gentleman’s Hamper, a spread packed with Scotch eggs and sandwiches filled with sirloin from the queen’s own beef supplier.
One of the city’s most popular green spaces, this gorgeous Royal Park is a must-visit on any summer tour of London.
While you can expect crowds on sunny weekends, 350 sprawling acres ensure you’ll be able to find a patch of grass to call your own for a few hours. Some of the most postcard-perfect places include the Rose Garden, the Italian Garden and the Diana Memorial Fountain by Serpentine Lake.
Make a day of it by ordering an alfresco feast from The Arch London, a boutique Forbes Travel Guide Recommended address just steps from the park. These very British baskets are stuffed with flavorful fare like sharp English cheddar on sun-blushed tomato bread, coronation chicken salad, and a sweet-yet-tart lemon curd, strawberry and raspberry pavlova.
For a picnic with a side of penguin- and giraffe-spotting, go to The Regent’s Park, where you might spy these characters at the adjacent London Zoo while you relax.
Abuzz with soccer games, runners and dog walkers, the 487-acre space has plenty of grassy nooks in which to lay out a picnic, and a boating lake to row up an appetite beforehand.
A 10-minute walk away is Marylebone Village, where you’ll discover many appetizing options to pack in your basket: cheese, bread and olives at La Fromagerie; sausage rolls at Ginger Pig; and treats at Rococo Chocolates.
These connecting Royal Parks are a wonderful pitstop between hitting the designer boutiques along Bond Street and sightseeing at Buckingham Palace. Steps from St James’s Park, Four-Star Dukes delivers a fittingly regal spread for the occasion — think a reserved patch of green, set-up and optional butler service — where all you have to do is turn up and tuck in.
Among the nibbles, expect Paxton and Whitfield cheeses, smoked salmon, grilled chicken skewers and slabs of quiche, finished off with chocolate brownies and scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream.
Vegetarian, vegan and children’s menus ensure everyone can enjoy a proper English feast. Dog in tow? There’s a picnic selection for them, too, with a toy for you to chuck around in the park after lunch.
You could easily spend the day venturing in and around this historic park. Tucked inside its 183 acres are rose gardens, a 656-foot-long herbaceous border (London’s largest) and, at the top of the steep hill, the Royal Observatory, home of Greenwich Mean Time. At this picturesque locale, you can stand on the Prime Meridien Line, where the Eastern Hemisphere joins the West.
Among the ancient trees, you’ll find myriad spots to roll out a picnic. And down at Greenwich Market, you’ll peruse an array of worldly street food to complete the meal.