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As the weather heats up so does our appetite for the great outdoors and there’s nowhere better to laze about than in Camden.
The borough hasn’t only got big-name draw cards like Regent’s Park, Primrose Hill and Hampstead Heath to sun your toes, but an abundance of local parks that are perfect for sharing a sarnie.
So whether it’s for weekend fun or a lazy mid-week sun-in, why not say a warm welcome to the great British summer.
Dust down your picnic rugs, dig out the non-breakable crockery and find yourself a green, peaceful spot on which to assemble your gastronomic feast.
Seeing as there are more than 60 public green open spaces here – the Love Camden team reckon it may be hard for you to choose where to place your picnic rug so we've selected 12 of the top spots we enjoy when we get some time off for a bit of lunch al fresco.
here are the top 12 spots
1. relax like a royal in Regent's park
Regent's Park has a fantastic landscape designed by renowned architect John Nash, and the largest outdoor sports area in London. It is known as the 'jewel in the crown' and covers 197 hectares (487 acres including Primrose Hill). You can find London Zoo located here, as well as the famous open air theatre.
2. Primrose Hill for the best views in London
Stunning views, butterflies and feeling of being so far away from the crowds and hectic pace of life in the capital, yet Primrose Hill is easy to get to. There’s plenty of space up here to stretch out for a nap post-picnic.The famous lookout boasts what we believe is the best view of London. Popular with both visitors and the areas famous locals, you can’t go past Primrose Hill for a picturesque picnic spot. Just be aware that everyone in London may have the same idea!
3. on the banks of Regent's canal
What better than to picnic with the gentle sound of water bubbling by - one of the easiest spots in Camden is to head to Camden lock, and bag one of the benches alongside the canal. And if you can’t be bothered preparing food, just get a take-away from the markets and you have an instant picnic.
4. ham it up in the heath
Hampstead Heath’s landscape is a varied mix of points of natural beauty making it a prime picnic spot for taking a group of chums and a tartan blanket. And if you’re into lookouts, then Parliament Hill is another famous viewing point to picnic.
The heath is one of London’s most popular open spaces - an island of beautiful countryside with rich wildlife and extensive sports and recreational opportunities. You can find a zoo, an athletics track, an education centre, extensive children's facilities, three swimming ponds and a lido.
5. children dominate in Coram’s Fields
If being kid-friendly is your pre-requisite for picnicking then look no further than Coram’s Fields, a seven acre park in Bloomsbury where adults can only enter if accompanied by a child. And if it’s a lunchtime mini-break you’re after, Brunswick Square to the west of the park is open to all ages. Why not pick up a take-away lunch from the Brunswick Centre and plonk yourself down!
6. in the new open plaza in King's Cross
A while ago, if you were pondering having a picnic, King's Cross wouldn't be likely to feature high up on your possible options, however the area around Central Saint Martin’s College is undergoing a phenomenal urban transformation programme, the place is blossoming and humming with new energy and stunning open spaces.
Not so much a place here for leafy greenery but definitely a good spot to while away an hour or two near the canal next to the new home of the college. And if you need food for thought, head to Eat.St to pick up some nosh from the rotating group of delicious food vendors. There’s even plastic white benches to sit on here if you can’t be bothered walking any further!
7. seep yourself in history at British Museum
If the sun’s blazing then sitting in the British Museum courtyard is the place to be. It’s perfect for people watching as well as getting a bit of history.
8. romance in Keats House garden
Romantic poet John Keats lived in this house during his most productive years and it’s understandable why people visit here. While neither large nor stately, the cozy house is surrounded by a very picturesque garden which is open to the public. Need a bit of shade? Why not sit under the plum tree where Keats wrote Ode to a Nightingale and relax.
9. views abound in Waterlow Park
Waterlow Park, set on a hillside in Highgate. boasts one of the best panoramic views over London. It was bequeathed to the public by Sir Sydney Waterlow as a ‘garden for the gardenless’ in 1889.
Covering 29 acres, the park includes Lauderdale House with its formal terraced gardens, ponds on three levels, tree lined walkways, mature shrub beds, herbaceous borders, ornamental bedding, expanses of lawn, six tennis courts, a small playground for younger children and a natural play area for older children.
10. go local in Talacre Gardens
This large open space is between Chalk Farm to the west and Kentish Town to the east. Separate areas in the park provide an all-weather pitch, a children’s playground, planted seating, a wide expanse of grass, pathways, benches and space outside the park for dog exercising.
11. lunchtime loll about in Lincoln's Inn Fields
Lincoln's Inn Fields is the largest square in London and the oldest in Camden. There has been public open space here since at least the 12th century.
12. surround yourself in education at Bloomsbury Square
Bloomsbury Square is London’s oldest square, having been created by the pioneering Lord Southampton 336 years ago as the piazza to his mansion. The mansion has since gone. New railings and a hornbeam fence were introduced along with new paths, park furniture and landscape improvements. Surrounded by historical Georgian terraces and the grand façade of Victoria House, the square is a perfect picnic spot and suntrap. It is a safe, clean and green barrier in a very busy part of congested central London.
pick up a picnic hamper
If soggy sandwiches aren’t your thing then why not spoil yourself with a picnic hamper to take your picnic form average to amazing.
Le Pain Quotiden
The Hyde Park £25 (£40 with bottle of wine)
Bread, smoked salmon, smoked chicken salad, mezze plate, cheese, fruit salad, strawberry tart.
The Regents’ Park £35 (£50 with bottle of wine)
Bread, Italian platter, mezze platter, smoked salmon & prawn platter, smoked chicken salad, cheese, fruit salad, strawberry tart, Belgium chocolate brownie.
York & Albany
Enhance your visit to Regent's Park and enjoy a Gordon Ramsay picnic. Offering a menu devised by Gordon and his team at York & Albany, the three-course picnics are perfect for alfresco dining. To add to your dining experience, half bottles of wine and Champagne are also available to buy to go with the picnic.
The Hampstead Butcher & Provider
You’ll find a variety of menus and options for al fresco picnics at this Hampstead butcher. They can supply complimentary disposable plate wear, drink ware, cutlery and condiments all in sturdy disposable containers and delivered to your picnic area. There’s also freshly baked breads delivered daily, fresh seasonal fruit, bottled water and fresh juices, chutneys, pickles and cheese biscuits.
Carluccio’s in the Brunswick Centre
Choose from two delicious picnics, one for meat-eaters and one for vegetarians. Expect to pay £45 for two people that includes enough food to guarantee you won’t go home hungry.