A Picnic in the Park

Well, as the sun has made a welcome appearance, we got to thinking about all the open space London has to offer. And how you might enjoy it through the spring and in to summer. We started daydreaming about picnics…

There’s something quintessentially English about going on a picnic. A wicker hamper strapped to the back of the vintage motor tootling through the country lanes. Beautiful Audrey-Hepburn-esque ladies with sunglasses and a headscarf, being escorted by handsome gents in tweed suits. A gingham picnic blanket, champagne flutes (for sparkling apple juice of course), a Gloucester Pie, Chutneys, Pate, Cheese, Crusty bread and some juicy fruit to finish off. Sounds idyllic doesn’t it – here’s our guide to the perfect English Picnic in London’s best parks…

If you thought London was built up, think again. Depending on whose statistics you believe, London is upwards of 38.1% open space and ranks 6th in the world. That means there’s a lot of park land to go and play in. So when it comes to the perfect Picnic, it doesn’t get much better than a lazy afternoon in one of London’s parks. In true ABC Selfstore style, we’ve decided to pick a couple of gems from each borough where we have a store. We’ll assume the sun is out, and the sky is blue and – for the sake of a relaxing spring weekend  – there’s not much wrong with the world.

Burgess Park – Southwark

Burgess Park is Southwark’s biggest open space – and as London Parks go, one of the youngest. It was created on industrial land that housed factories and was bombed heavily during World War 2. Construction of the park took place between 1950 & 1980. Refurbished in 2012, Burgess Park boasts an impressive range of amenities – including Football and Cricket pitches, Tennis Courts and a Sport Centre with free indoor gym. There’s an adventure playground for 8-16 year olds, a playwark for 5+ by the Cafe at Chumleigh Gardens, plus a BMX track. If all that’s a bit too energetic for you an alternative is to purchase a day permit for a chilled out day fishing by the lake.

At 56 acres, there’s plenty of grassland in Burgess Park to lay out the chequered cloth and get stuck in to that lovely English grub, and if you’ve got kids there’s room for them to stretch their legs without getting in anyone else’s way. Whether it is Cricket, Footie, Frisbee or something else, there’s loads of scope for a pre-picnic family game of something.

Burgess Park also boasts two separate Barbecue areas situated around the lake. So if you fancy charring yourself some hot food, consider booking yourself a griddle. You can find out more about Burgess Park on the Southwark Council Mini-site.

Primrose Hill – Camden

Coldplay frontman Chris Martin is well known for hanging out in Primrose Hill, back in 2008 the band even bought a bakery there to convert into an office. Celebrities aside (there are plenty papped in and around Primrose Hill), at 256ft it is a bit of a London hotspot and a great place for a picnic – mainly because of the view over central London.

That makes it the perfect place for a romantic evening picnic on an English summer’s day. Pack some Strawberries and cream, a bottle of Champagne and head up there and feel the London lurve at sundown. Make sure you use the red and white gingham.

Primrose Hill sits on the Northern edge of Regents Park and whilst it is best known for the view, it also boasts some decent amenities –  things you want to do pre or post picnic include the Hill Trim Trail (an outdoor gym) a children’s playground as well as essential amenities like toilets. London Zoo is not too far away on the south side of the park, handy of you fancy seeing some exotic animals.

Find out more about Primrose Hill and other Parks and Garden’s in Camden on the Camden Council website.

King George’s Park  – Wandsworth

Wandsworth describes itself as ‘the Brighter borough’ and the area around our Garratt Lane Store lives up to that – having quite a bit to offer in terms of places to picnic. For a start there’s plenty of green space alongside the the River Wandle (we still love that name, it’s just perfect for a River, Wandling its way through south London) and the Wandsworth Trading Estate – where our store is located – backs on to King George’s Park.

Opened by George V (the Queen’s Dad) in 1938, KGP features a Pavilion with children’s play area, an adventure playground, cycle ways and plus a decent grass field if you fancy that rather than the river bank, which forms the Eastern Boundary.

Whichever London park you decide to Picnic in, we hope the Sun comes out, the sky is blue and you have a peaceful and relaxing time.