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When summer comes around, there’s nothing nicer than eating outdoors and so we have rounded up for you the best parks in London for picnic time! Whether you’re a Londoner looking for a new place to explore, or a tourist in search of some delightful green spaces, the city’s Royal Parks are sure to fit the bill. With so many parks to choose from, there’s something for everyone.
Read on for a guide to eight of the Royal Parks and what makes them special. Then take time to plan your next adventure – and picnic – in one of these stunning natural oases.
Check Out These Parks in London for Picnic Time
Hyde Park is an iconic Royal Park in Westminster. It is a sprawling 350-acre expanse of green land that serves as an idyllic getaway from bustling city life. Established by King Henry VIII in 1536, Hyde Park has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in London. With its beautiful gardens and meandering pathways, it attracts locals and tourists alike who come to enjoy the tranquil atmosphere.
Apart from walking, you can spend time boating on the Serpentine Lake, or relax on its banks with a picnic basket. For fun activities and entertainment, Hyde Park plays host to some major events, such as concerts and operas during summer months; not to mention the famous Speaker’s Corner giving anyone the right to have their say, as long as the speeches are lawful. No tour of London would be complete without taking in the sights of this picturesque park.
Regent’s Park covers nearly 400 acres in the heart of the city. The park’s name came about because the idea for this green space came from the Prince Regent, later George IV, and it was originally designed by John Nash in the 1810s.
The park is a beautiful open space featuring lake and ponds for boating, as well as the stunning Queen Mary’s Gardens, which feature a vast array of rose beds that bloom from June to October.
We can also find London Zoo within Regent’s Park. This is the world’s oldest scientific zoo, originally opened in 1828. Today, highlights include the Gorilla Kingdom and Tiger Territory. With plenty of paths to explore and even an outdoor amphitheater, Regent’s Park has something for everyone.
Richmond Park is an urban refuge in southwest London. The area first became a park designated for hunting when Charles I brought his court to Richmond Palace in 1625 to escape the plague in London.
Despite its urban setting, Richmond Park is of importance for wildlife conservation and home to a wide variety of wildlife like red and fallow deer, parakeets, and even rare beetles. It also boasts over 140 species of resident and migratory birds, including herons, wagtails, robins, and skylarks.
The park is surrounded by miles of picturesque pathways which wind through meadows filled with wildflowers in Summer, perfect for a leisurely stroll around the lake or a picnic among the trees. There are plenty of spots to explore – from ancient trees to tranquil ponds – providing visitors with hours of discovery. If you’re planning a trip to London, don’t miss out on seeing Richmond Park.
Greenwich Park is a 180-acre oasis in south-east London and is part of the Greenwich World Heritage Site. The park is on a hilltop and flanked by the River Thames, offering sweeping views of nearby landmarks such as Canary Wharf and the Royal Observatory. Home to many species of birds and wildlife, the park is a great spot for nature lovers to explore its ponds, meadows, open fields, and scenic pathways.
While you are in Greenwich, why not visit the Royal Observatory and learn more about the role it played in the history of astronomy and navigation? Plus, cross the Prime Meridian and discover the origin of today’s Coordinated Universal Time.
The park is also perfect for picnics or leisurely strolls. The ancient trees – oaks, sweet chestnuts, sycamore, and cedar – scattered throughout the park give a feeling of being in an enchanted forest. Don’t miss enjoying this idyllic setting with your friends or family.
St James’ Park
Located in central London, St. James’ Park is an oasis of peace amidst the hustle and bustle of the city. With its picturesque scenery of lakes, gardens and bridges, the park offers an idyllic atmosphere where visitors can take a break from stressful everyday life. Close by are Buckingham Palace and Horse Guards Parade, so it’s ideal if you want a green space to take a break from sightseeing.
St James’ Park provides fantastic opportunities for outdoor activities such as walking, running and bird watching – perfect for early morning outings or sunny weekend afternoons. Boasting a wide variety of species of birds, St James’ Park is especially remarkable for its small lake with exotic waterfowl such as Mandarin Ducks and Egyptian Geese. With its beautiful surroundings and delightful wildlife, anyone visiting this historic park can be sure to capture unforgettable moments.
Experience nature and the joy of being surrounded by 46 acres of greenery in London’s Green Park. This lush green haven stands between Hyde Park and St James’ Park as a unique Royal Park.
Green Park features an abundance of natural beauty and is free from man-made structures, an ideal place to relax amongst mature trees. Visit in Spring and the park is a blaze of yellow, when there are about one million daffodils on display.
Kensington Gardens is a Royal Park in the heart of London. It covers 265 acres of green space and provides visitors with scenic views, beautiful gardens, and peaceful pathways. Famous attractions such as Kensington Palace, the Albert Memorial, Peter Pan Statue, and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground, can be found here.
For something a little magical, head to the Elfin Oak. This is the stump of a 900-year-old oak tree, which is carved to look like there are gnomes and fairies living in its bark. Children and adults alike will love its whimsy.
The second largest of the Royal Parks, Bushy Park is an expansive green oasis in the heart of London. It covers 1,100 acres and features deer paddocks, ponds, streams, woodlands, and meadows – providing visitors with hours of discovery. Walk or cycle through its vast network of trails while appreciating the diverse wildlife that calls this park home.
Bushy Park is immediately north of Hampton Court Palace and Hampton Court Park, so make a visit to this royal palace a priority. While you are there, don’t miss out on the Hampton Court Maze. This is the oldest surviving hedge maze in Britain and takes about 30-45 minutes to complete.
Be Picnic Ready
It’s a whole lot easier to run out for a picnic if you have everything you need. No rushing around trying to find disposable plates and cups, or searching through all the cupboards to find just the right tupperware box. Instead, pick up a picnic hamper, backpack or picnic set.
You can check out our pick of the best picnic backpacks here. Not only will a backpack make life easier, but it will also ensure your London picnic is much more of a special occasion.
Best Parks in London for Picnic Time!
After lunch, you may just decide to head into the city for a little culture. If so, check out our London Museums map and our top picks of places to go.
Green spaces in London provide a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of city life while also boosting our mental health, physical wellbeing and creativity. There are so many parks in London for picnic time that you can visit and explore, each one offering its own unique, beautiful scenery and activities. So, take some time out of your day to appreciate all the wonderful green spaces the Royal Parks have to offer, you won’t regret it.