We’ve found seven of London’s best parks that you’re legally allowed to fire up a BBQ in.
Sometimes, when it’s as baking hot as it has been, you just want to hide away in a cold, dark room. But, other times, you want to get out their and soak up the sunshine with a hot dog. Amirite?
Thing is, it’s often hard to know where you’re allowed to go with that £5 disposable BBQ you spontaneously picked up from Tesco. Most parks don’t allow anything that resembles a fire, particularly the Royal Parks. There’s actually a very limited number of public spaces that you’re allowed to cook up a barbie, and you could avoid a hefty fine by reading this guide to flame-friendly London parks. Aren’t we nice?
1. Highbury Fields, Islington
This park is one of the bigger green spaces in the Islington area and doesn’t close until 9pm, so you’ll have plenty of time to explore its grounds before settling down for a sausage. It’s lined with tall trees and is home to an orchard, an adventure play area, and tennis courts that you can book here. Light up that BBQ in your own corner of this spacious spot. Find out more about the do’s and don’ts of BBQing at Highbury Fields here.
2. Caledonian Park, Islington
This park opens from 8am to dusk. Lie back and simply watch time pass you by, or climb the big clock tower for cracking views of the city. This is a smaller space than Highbury Fields but has more of a countryside feel with its conservation area, meadows, woodlands and beautiful gardens – along with frequent doggo visitors. See here for more info.
3. Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Holborn
If your office is fairly central, this would be a good one to get to for a post work, late afternoon sizzler. It’s the largest square in London, so there’s plenty of space to sit around a barbie and soak up the sun.
4. Burgess Park, Southwark
Burgess Park boasts a mahoosive 56 acres of greenness (although it tends to go kinda dry and yellowy during periods of high heat) and, until the clock strikes 9 every day, you can BBQ until your heart’s content. Situated around an idyllic lake, you’ll find two designated BBQ areas. Take your own disposable BBQ or use one of their built in stands (just note that you’ll need to bring your own charcoal). Find out more about the do’s and don’ts of BBQing at Burgess Park here.
5. Waterlow Park, Highgate
Nestled between the two sides of Highgate Cemetery, Waterlow Park is a beautiful hidden gem amongst the hills of Highgate. Featuring ponds, tennis courts, and some lovely terraced gardens, it’s one of the more ornate BBQ-friendly parks in London. The opening times are given as the helpfully vague “dawn til dusk”, but it’s still a top grilling spot. See their website for more info.
6. Beddington Park, Sutton
This is a little out of the way for some, but if you’re planning an IKEA Croydon trip anytime soon, partner it with a visit to this luscious, green park afterwards. You’ll probably need it. The River Wandle runs through this large 58 hectare leafy space, and there are BBQ stands ready and waiting. See here for more info. (Please note that the system is under review after some abuse last year, so keep an eye on their website for updates about 2019)
You can actually have a barbecue at any of the parks in Islington, and most of the parks in Camden (excluding Hampstead Heath, Regents Park and Primrose Hill). For a list of all Islington parks, see here. And for all Camden parks, see here. Remember to practise responsible barbecuing: take some water with you to put out your fire once you’re finished, and don’t forget to dispose of your BBQ and charcoal.
Also published on Medium.