It’s high time to escape the sun-baked streets of London and sniff out some sanctuary; somewhere to retreat to with a picnic, a good book and time to unwind. Anna Bywater discovers the best secret London picnic spots.
Escaping the frenetic pace of the City is a blink of an eye away: the bombed out ruins of St Dunstans in the East is a pocket of tranquility sandwiched between the high rises of Tower Hill. Trees grow through the windows and vines wrap round the walls, creating an oasis of calm for your lunchtime.
If you want to relish London’s skyline, head to Greenwich Park and watch the sun setting over the Thames and the City beyond, framed by the graceful walkways of the Naval College. Spread out a blanket, pour a glass of something refreshing and watch the city’s lights come alive at dusk.
Photo credit: Wei Huang/Shutterstock.com
An enclave of faded grandeur is waiting to be discovered at Hampstead Pergola. Built at the start of the 20th century as a setting for extravagant parties, it fell into neglect over the 2nd world war. Revival is underway but there is a haunting beauty to the crumbling pillars and arches - perfect for a long and lazy afternoon picnic.
Head to the mythical end of the northern line and plunge straight into the depths of the countryside in Morden Hall Park. Bring a flask of tea and some jam sandwiches and lose yourself in the Rose Garden or wander along the shady river - there’s outdoor theatre here too.
And if you just can’t make up your mind, could you be tempted by messing about in boats in Richmond upon Thames? Hire a rowing boat and go classy with some seafood and strawberries. Row left and you can stop off at pub for a ruminative pint on the river bank and watch the world go by. Quite possibly, picnic as an art form…
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