4 private picnic spots in London

4 private picnic spots in London

Summer has reached London and so have the crowds – but there are still some hidden gems to be discovered and picnicked in, as Alexandra Gregg reveals…

Old Blighty rarely sees sunshine, so when the heatwaves roll out across England - and its capital - the masses take to London's abundant parks and green spaces for a quintessentially British picnic. But sometimes there's barely a spare patch of grass to be found and, if there is space, sitting picnic blanket-to-picnic blanket doesn't exactly make for the most romantic day out.

Never fear, though: there is still some seclusion to be found for you and your loved one. Check out our secret spots here and remember: shhhhh, don't tell anyone!

1. Phoenix Garden, Soho

It's unsurprising that Phoenix Garden has stayed off the map for so long. Despite being in the heart of London's West End, it is nestled in a secret spot behind the junction of Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue - an oasis of tranquility in an otherwise bustling city. Expect birds and bees (we mean the flying variety, of course!), plus the West End's only frog population. A community garden, run by volunteers, it has a real homely feel, perfect for relaxing with your belle or beau.

2. Kyoto Gardens, Holland Park

Holland Park, in the Royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea, is a popular choice for picnic lovers - and lovers generally. But contained within its 22.5 hectares is a hidden haven: the Kyoto Gardens. This heavenly Japanese corner is the ideal place to wander, throw down a picnic blanket and unwind, lulled by the gentle sounds of waterfalls and birdcalls. Immerse yourself in the Japanese theme by packing some sushi in your food basket.

3. The Rookery, Lambeth

Lambeth may not be on your London to-do list, but it should be. Nestled at the top of Streatham Common is a real-life secret garden: The Rookery. Perfect for couples seeking a bit of solace, this landscaped, walled wonderland is a picnickers' paradise. Expect ancient trees, winding shady paths, bubbling brooks, sundials and wishing wells. It's blissfully romantic and peaceful. If you don't fancy taking a picnic, there's even the quirky Rookery Café where you can enjoy a pot of tea and bakery treats.

4. Cannizzaro Park, Wimbledon

Rhododendrons, azaleas and a wealth of rare and exquisite plants are the big draw at the Grade II-listed Cannizzaro Park. Tucked away behind an old house (now a hotel), the park is easily missed if you're just ambling around Wimbledon Common. Many haven't even heard of it, perhaps because, until 60 years ago, it was a private garden. Now that it's open to the public though, its 35 acres of wide open lawns and small, intimate areas - such as a herb garden - are just ripe for exploration (and picnicking!). It's not just a place for summer either: postpone your visit 'til autumn and you and your partner will be blown away by the kaleidoscopic colours, from golden browns to fiery oranges and reds.

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Image: Dreamstime.

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