It's happened! It's finally happened! We're allowed to socialise with up to six people outdoors again – and if you're in London and the weather's sunny, that means only one thing: a picnic. Of course, the city's nine million other inhabitants will probably have the same thought. Instead of gearing up for picnic blanket wars and passive-aggressive glaring contests with other groups that try to set up camp by your spot, take a look at our list of the best secret London picnic spots blow.
We've asked our friends and London experts to share their top-secret safe havens for peaceful picnicking – from sunset views to places you can shelter from the unpredictable British weather, we've got you covered.
Secret London picnic spots: 11 of the best
1. St Dunstans in the East
Stuck in central London? Escape from the modern high rises of Tower Hill with a trip to the bombed-out ruins of St Dunstans in the Easts. Trees grow through the windows and vines wrap round the walls, creating an oasis of calm.
2. Greenwich Park
OK, so it's not much of a secret, but there's nothing quite the same as watching the sun setting over the Thames and the City beyond, framed by the graceful walkways of Greenwich Naval College. Spread out a blanket, pour a glass of something refreshing and get ready to watch the show.
3. Morden Hall Park
At last, a reason to head all the way to the mythical end of the Northern Line. It may still technically be reachable by tube, but Morden Hall Park feels like proper countryside. Bring a flask of tea and some jam sandwiches and lose yourself in the Rose Garden or wander along the shady river.
And if you really want to get away from everyone else, hire a boat at Richmond, where you take to the water and leave everyone else behind. All you need is a seriously good picnic and off you go. All together now: aye aye!
Don't forget to bring our favourite picnic with you >>
5. Lincoln’s Inn Fields
Behind the usually-busy streets of Holborn lies Lincoln's Inn Fields, which is technically the largest public square in London. In the real world – sob – this leafy oasis is usually full of people relaxing and soaking up the sun during their well-earned lunch breaks; now it's a lot emptier, making it a great picnic spot if you're looking for somewhere central.
6. St Mary’s Secret Garden, Haggerston
(image: David Hawgood)
A bit different from the park... St Mary's Secret Garden is, well, a garden in Haggerston where you'll be able to picnic in amongst beds of happily growing tomatoes and courgettes. The space has been offering horticultural therapy to the socially excluded or disadvantaged in the local community for 25 years. Sadly the classes have been put on hold, but you can still soak up the surrounds on a sunny day. If you're feeling generous, you could (and should) donate
to help keep the tiny St Mary's Secret Garden charity going.
7. The Horniman Museum & Gardens
(image: Pam Fray)
South East London best-kept secret, the Horniman Museum is an eclectic institution best-known for its extensive taxidermy collection. The museum itself is currently closed because of the coronavirus pandemic (such a shame to miss out on gawping at, er, stuffed animals), but its beautiful gardens are still open for strolling. There's loads of natural beauty to admire, but if the weather turns make a beeline for the bandstand, where you can do the very British thing of going for a picnic even when it's raining.
8. Gillespie Nature Reserve
Gillespie Nature Reserve is one of North London's best-kept secrets. It's not as well-known as Clissold Park or Highbury Fields, but is in fact the best of the bunch. Count the tadpoles in the pond; spot birds of prey; or take a break from the heat in the sun-dappled woods. Need an extra garnish for your salad? You can forage for it here. The real beauty of the park is that you can't see a single building – and if it weren't for the occasional passing train, you'd hardly think you were in a city at all...
9. The Dinosaurs, Crystal Palace
(image: Peter Trimming)
Stroll around the vast grassy expanse of Crystal Palace Park long enough and you might just stumble across the dinosaurs, a collection of statues much-loved by locals that reside in the park's geological lakes. Sure, it's a bit random, but use your imagination and it's a bit like having a picnic in Jurassic Park.
10. Kyoto Garden, Holland Park
(image: Tom Morris)
Breathe in peace and tranquility and breathe out your lockdown stress in the Kyoto Garden at Holland Park. Sit and listen to the tiered waterfalls, gaze at the elegant koi karp gliding through the water and admire the peacocks as they parade among the Japanese maple trees.
11. On board a boat in Paddington
(image: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas)
Boat hire is starting to open up again so on the next sunny day, pack a hamper of booze'n'crisps and head to Paddington where Go Boat is offering picnic boats for cruising up and down the canals. Make for Little Venice and try to spot the giraffes in London Zoo.
You know what every picnic needs? Homemade sourdough bread – and we can send you a kit for that. Here's our review of exactly how it works.
Or take a look at our picnics delivered >