Londoners have a strange relationship with the sun. It may well be a great source of Vitamin D and give us that summer ‘glow’, but it does bad things to us. We hate it when it’s out and we’re stuck behind our desks. Furthermore, I don’t know about you guys, but the sun makes me want to drink (more than usual). Pimm’s fuels this problem… it’s far too easy to sip and tricks me into thinking I’m getting one of my five a day (but a booze soaked version). But it can’t be all that bad because we’re actually allowed to take our drinking to the Royal Parks (we’ve checked the guidelines). Her Majesty clearly wants us to have a good time, so it would be treason not to do so.
1. The Pavilion, Victoria Park
Vicky Park has everything a picnicker could wish for… vast amounts of space, a tranquil pond, canals, tennis courts and a pavilion. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a spot to spread your rug (does that sound like a euphemism?) If you aren’t the sit-on-the-ground kind of person, then the pavilion does have a splendid little cafe, where you can perch your little tush.
2. Chiswick Gardens
Go west! Chiswick can be a bit of a nightmare to get to if you live relatively central (Zone 3 – gasp!), but Chiswick Park’s on the District Line and is certainly worth the trip out. The exquisite Chiswick House site in beautifully kept gardens, with a peaceful brook to ramble around (and pretend you’re a wealthy lady/gentleman in some sort of 18th Century drama).
3. Primrose Hill
You’re not going to find a better view of London (not when your bum is planted firmly on the grass anyway). On the north side of Regent’s Park, you can nibble on your mini scotch eggs (a picnic essential) as you gaze at the most breathtaking panorama of the city, while remaining at a tranquil distance from it all.
4. Horniman Gardens
In South London’s Forest Hill, the 16 acres of Horniman Gardens flaunt some of the most incredible views across the city. We’d definitely recommend taking a trip up the relatively new pavilion for a picture perfect (or Instagram-worthy to you ‘millennials’) skyline, before heading down to the open space of the meadow fields to pitch up your blankets and fold away chairs.
5. St. James’ Park
Surrounded by Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace and Westminster, this Royal Park is in there heart of central London’s grandeur. But it’s also the perfect tranquil spot for some sunny down-time. And to make things even more convenient, the park has a few small stalls dotted around selling refreshments (should you forget to bring you own supplies). They don’t sell Pimm’s though. Boo.
6. King Henry’s Mound, Richmond Park
It’s obvious that we’re suckers for a London view. Richmond Park, although a little further out, is one of our ultimate favourite space in the capital if you want a quick escape with a countryside feel. There’s so much space, so you won’t be fighting for a blanket spot like you may do in some central parks. When you’ve strolled around the park’s meandering pathways and ponds and want to remind yourself of London’s existence, wander up to King Henry’s Mound and let the far-stretching scenery do its thing.
7. Green Park
Neighbouring Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace, Green Park is the smallest of London’s Royal Parks, but it’s a lovely spot of greenery if you’re after somewhere central to pitch up. And as you sip on your fruity Pimm’s, you can raise your plastic cup to her Majesty, for allowing you commoners to wine and dine in her backyard.