One of my favourite things to do in summer is pack a picnic and head to a lush green park and while away the balmy weekend hours – it’s about the most relaxed version of ‘dining out’ you’ll get. Grab a blanket, some delicious wine or homemade lemonade, a pile of transportable food, a frisbee, a football – or for me, my watercolour paints and notebook – and et voilà, you have the perfect day out!
Over on Khoollect this week we’re celebrating all things summer in London, including the art of alfresco dining and taking your dinner outdoors. If you’re visiting London or Paris, two cities I know like the back of my hand, then here’s my suggestions for the perfect spots to lay down your picnic blanket and unpack your basket:
Situated near my former home in East London, Victoria Park has lots of great walkways, cycle paths, playgrounds, and areas to sit and enjoy some peace and quiet. The Pavilion Cafe has great views over a lovely boating pond and serves delicious food and coffee. There’s also lots of quaint pubs situated along the park’s perimeter.
If you go to London Fields on a weekday it’s a fairly subdued place. Try again on a Saturday and it’s heaving with punters from the nearby Broadway Market, nibbling on their latest foodie finds. There’s also a great lido if it’s hot and you fancy a cooling dip.
Possibly one of my favourite places in London, Hampstead Heath is a rambling unpolished park with untrimmed grass, wildflowers and the most beautiful swimming ponds. Take a good book and park yourself here for the day.
Hyde Park is a stunning spot to meander for hours at a time, but try to avoid visiting in high summer when it’s heaving with tourists. Around late August/September, it’s a far quieter place to be and you’ll mostly find locals and native Londoners.
Kew Royal Botanic Gardens
Although technically not in London itself, it’s well worth the short train journey to visit Kew Gardens. If you manage to go in spring, you might just catch the beautiful bluebells in bloom.
Place des Vosges
The perfectly symmetrical Place des Vosges offers a quiet getaway from the Marais crowds and the fountains are stunning. It’s certainly one of the most polished parks in Paris.
Ile Saint Louis
If you manage to get a spot amongst the crowds in high summer, you can while away the afternoon with views onto the Hotel de Ville, Notre Dame and the Seine.
Champ de Mars
Perhaps one of the most iconic parks in Paris, you’ll get a picture perfect view of the Eiffel tower, without having to push through hoards of tourists.
Canal St Martin
Canal St Martin is stunning all year round, but more so in spring when the trees are covered in leaves and flowers are dotted around. There’s always a lively bunch of drinkers spilling out from the bars onto the cobbled canal banks, which makes for an entertaining afternoon.
The Buttes Chaumont is one of my favourite picnic places in Paris. It’s one of just a few un-manicured parks in the city, and I love its less-fussy charm.
Where are your favourite places to picnic? Share your suggestions from your home town in the comments section below.
For more great alfresco dining features, visit Khoollect. Here’s a taste of what you’ll find: