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5 best London parks for a summer picnic

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Alexandra Palace

For a picnic with a view, there are few better places than Ali Pali.  On a clear day, you can see for miles over London and beyond and are guaranteed a spot on the expansive, seemingly never-ending lawns.  The Palace itself is an impressive backdrop indeed, and you’ll also find a huge parking lot that charges standard inner-city ticket prices.  The Palace isn’t, however, that easy to access via public transport.  Anyone who’s ever seen a concert there will tell you that unless you’re local, you’ll have quite a journey on your hands – so if you have a car, it’s definitely the way to travel.  Once you’re there, however, you’ll feel a million miles away from the main roads and transport links, and can enjoy uninterrupted sunshine on the infinite stretches of green grass.

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Holland Park

What a place.  If you’ve never been here before, we recommend you put it at the top of your ‘must-see’ list immediately.  Full of surprises, this spectacular, handcrafted park is home to a huge array of interesting features – including resident peacocks, a stunning Japanese water garden, ancient protected trees that have seen London develop right under their very branches, and the original Jacobean manicured mini-gardens that were built as outdoor space for the historical Holland House.  You won’t find many large lawns or wide open spaces here, but you’re certain to come across a perfect little nook or cranny for a picnic, before venturing out to explore this incredible space.

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Morden Park

Nestled in one of London’s most urban areas, Morden Park is a striking example of what can be done with a small amount of space and a huge amount of thought.  A renovated 1830s water wheel resides here, churning away at the river below it.  This wheel provides a fantastic end to a very picturesque walkway, ideal for burning off those full tummies.  Ornate bridges stretch over both trickling streams and chunky rivers, and the relaxing (and rare for city dwellers) sound of running water is almost everywhere you go here, and you can visit this park safe in the knowledge that public transport is nearby, and therefore, more wine may be consumed.  Walkways lined with tall old trees will guide you to finding perfect little picnic spots, and small manicured lawns enclosed by shrubs create private hideaways.

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Kew Gardens

One of the world’s most famous Gardens, Kew is often on the to-do list for tourists visiting southern England.  An enormous glass greenhouse provides shelter for an array of rare tropical plants and trees, a huge pond filled with (sometimes terrifyingly big) coy carp, and displays of weird and wonderful bugs and grubs are yours to explore, before heading out into the beautiful outdoor surroundings of the gardens themselves.  A treetop walkway, miles of paths through fragrant flowerbeds, meadow gardens and bizarre statues & structures create a magical environment, and if anything, it’s actually difficult to choose a place for a picnic within these grounds – simply because all of it is so completely picture-perfect.  The upside to this, of course, is that whatever your tastes, you’re sure to find somewhere in Kew to call ideally yours on a sunny afternoon, and you can spend an entire day wondering around this outstandingly beautiful venue.

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Crystal Palace Park

This is a fantastic place to bring the kids.  32 enormous, colourful statues of dinosaurs, lizards and mythical creatures lurk in corners and bushes – just waiting to be photographed, climbed, and generally looked upon in awe.  Put there by the Victorians purely for drama and entertainment, these make a really special and unusual addition to this quintessentially English park.  The history of this place is fascinating, and small placards are placed everywhere with interesting, quirky little facts and stats. Great for a walk, and also great for a long sit down in the sun, this is a truly inspiring and unique city park to bring the whole family to for a grand day out.  Children get a real sense of adventure and excitement, and the park is 100% kid-friendly – meaning all the water features are protected with fences, there aren’t any plants that will irritate the skin, and the large pathways are set out clearly so you can keep an eye on your excited clan.

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