As we all know, a picnic is one of the great joys of the British summer. A soft blanket, a wicker basket, great food and drinks, and, of course, good company. With summer now properly upon us, we’ve put together a guide to planning the perfect picnic in London, with tips on where to shop to stock your basket with picnicking goodies and where best to enjoy it. Next time you stay with us at one of our luxurious London hotels, set aside an afternoon for some al fresco snacking.
For those looking for a one-stop shop for all their picnicking needs, nowhere quite beats the bastion of Britishness that is Fortnum & Mason. In fact, you can even pick up one of their pre-curated offerings in a decadent hamper when you’re there. But if you’re independently stocking your basket, peruse its much-lauded Food Hall for fantastic goodies, ranging from caviar and foie gras to chutneys from Prince Charles’ Highgrove estate. Other decadent food halls to explore include Harrods and Selfridges & Co.
If you want to take a pick and mix approach to your picnic basket, we recommend perusing the concentration of food shops in Covent Garden. Start at Champagne + Fromage to stock up on delightful bubbles and great cheese, plus a top-notch selection of charcuterie, terrines, rillettes and the like. And grab a selection of British cheese while you’re at it from Neal’s Yard Dairy; its cheeses are usually at the zenith of any and all great cheese lists in the capital.
For artisanal bread and delicious salads, Balthazar Boulangerie has a fantastic selection and modern British bakery Peyton and Byrne has plenty of goodies from sandwiches to quiche that will make mouthwatering additions to the perfect picnic basket. And, of course, for a sweet treat, there’s nothing quite like a decadent box of macarons from Ladurée.
All that’s left is to find some antipasti, and for that, take a little walk over to Soho’s own Lina Stores; a classic Italian deli where you can load your basket full of all sorts of deliciousness, from marinated Sicilian artichokes to sun dried tomatoes.
Now that your basket is full to the brim, it’s time to select the perfect location for your picnic in London. Luckily, the capital is not short of green space.
There are 242 acres of verdant lawn, trees, memorials, statuary, and playgrounds to enjoy in Kensington Gardens. Guests staying with us at The Milestone Hotel – perched on the park’s southeast edge – can simply request a Picnic in the Park to enjoy in the Gardens. Stocked with finger sandwiches, pastries and Champagne, our baskets offer picnicking decadence at its best.
To dine on Henry VIII’s former stomping ground, take your picnic basket to Regent’s Park. The Tudor monarch’s hunting ground is now awash with flowers, manicured lawns and shady trees. Plus, within the Park you’ll find ZSL London Zoo (a perfect post-picnic outing for the kids) and Primrose Hill, which offers incredible views out over the city.
Or for something a little different, head over to Holland Park, where you can have a zen picnic in London at the atmospheric Japanese-style Kyoto Garden, complete with Koi carp pond and waterfall. Hyde Park, St James’s Park and Green Park (found near Fortnum & Mason’s) are all beautiful spots for long, lazy picnics in central London. Plus, for added picnicking comfort, all the above Royal Parks also rent out deck chairs from May to October.
Once you’ve enjoyed your perfect picnic, head back to one of our luxurious London hotels for further indulgence – after all, what better way to top off a day of delicious food and beautiful surrounds than more of the same?
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