5 city parks perfect for a picnic

Sunshine alert! ☀️

Britain’s concrete jungles are home to plenty of lush green spaces perfect for a picnic. Get ready to sprawl out a blanket, bask in the (hopefully!) warm rays and munch on delicious treats.

So, grab your besties, pack your favourite snacks (don’t forget the sunscreen!), and get ready to explore the UK’s greatest city parks.

Hampstead Heath – London

Hampstead Heath LondonWith stunning city views, rolling meadows, ancient woodland and lush plant life, the Heath is a gem of a picnic spot. Stretching across 791 acres of woodland, playing fields, swimming ponds and meadows of tall grass in north London from Hampstead to Highgate, the Heath has inspired countless films, books and poems. You’re spoilt for  choice of places to lay your picnic blanket here.

For the best views, head to the summit of Parliament Hill, where you can enjoy your scotch egg with a backdrop of the London skyline. If you’ve forgotten to bring food, though, don’t worry. There are plenty of cafes here to keep you satisfied. And if you want to work up an appetite, you can go for a dip in the public swimming ponds the Heath is famous for. The park is free and always open. Barbecues and campfires aren’t allowed, so leave your baps and bangers at home.

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Princes Street Gardens – Edinburgh

Princes Street Gardens is a World Heritage Site and ‘an area of botanic and geological scientific interest’, but it is also centrally located and a glorious place to enjoy a picnic when the sun shines down on Edinburgh. Created in 1820 following the draining of the North Loch, today, the gardens are over 37 acres divided into two parts by The Mound, an artificial hill connecting Edinburgh’s New Town and Old Town and where the Scottish National Gallery can be found.

For those seeking peace and tranquillity from the hustle and bustle of the city surrounding it, this is it. Think of it as a smaller, Scottish version of Central Park, NYC. Edinburgh Castle overlooks the gardens, and during spring, it’s particularly beautiful when the cherry blossom is in full bloom. Where better to enjoy a Scotch Pie and an Irn-Bru?

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Parade Gardens – Bath

These pretty, riverside pleasure gardens are a picnic lovers’ delight. Set among heritage architecture, it’s also a popular venue for bandstand concerts, festivals and fairs. It’s £1.50 for admission to the gardens (unless you are a Bath resident, your Discovery Card will get you free access). Still, with its cafe and plenty of shaded seating, it’s a lovely spot to relax on the deck chairs provided and watch the hustle and bustle of the city go by in the distance.

Green-fingered enthusiasts will appreciate the vibrant bedding displays across the elevated-level lawns, while there’s entertainment held for children in the summer on the Edwardian bandstand, making it an ideal destination for families. There are magnificent views of Bath Abbey, Pulteney Weir, Pulteney Bridge, The Grand Parade, and the Roman Baths lie just a 2 min walk away.

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Bute Park – Cardiff

Surrounded by flora and fauna and not forgetting the stunning sight of Cardiff Castle, Bute Park offers a supreme spot for the summer picnicker. Just a stroll from the city’s main high streets, it is the “green heart of the city.” Explore 130 acres of meadows, woodland and parkland, natural play features, an education centre and three cafes, including The Secret Garden, a hidden gem in the park’s centre that serves fresh, local produce. And if this lush, green space inspires you to get green-fingered, you can purchase plants in the Bute Park Plant shop.

With an abundance of wildlife, kids will love spotting creatures, learning about the park’s history, and more! There’s also an outdoor cinema held here in the summer, with picnics welcome. What’s not to love?

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Christ Church Meadow – Oxford

Christ Church Meadow provides an oasis of calm in the heart of Oxford. It is owned and maintained by Christ Church and borders the Rivers Cherwell and Isis. The Meadow is open for public use until dusk each day and is a charming picnic spot after a day of shopping and sightseeing. There are benches to sit on, but these soon get filled up, so you may have to sit on the ground. However, you’re spoiled for choice with gorgeous river views, pockets of shade, and soft grass.

Merton College also maintains a herd of beautiful rare Longhorn cattle on the Meadow, and they spend most of the year there. They are friendly and used to people though, so they won’t steal your sandwich, don’t worry!

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