August 21, 2013
There’s no better way to enjoy a summer afternoon in the capital than by dining out in one of London‘s beautiful city parks. Though picnicking can make for a diverting day out, the city’s green spaces can be equally savoured from the vantage point of a destination garden cafe. Whether you’re touring the historical grounds at a National Trust manor house or taking in the boaters on the Serpentine Lake, you can sit back, relax, and snack on something scrumptious.
Located in the pretty Inner Circle of Regent’s Park and adjacent to Queen Mary’s rose garden, the Garden Café is one of central London’s best places to while away the summer hours. An extensive choice – ranging from tea and pastries to an all-day set menu and an aperitif list that’s heavy on the Pimms – will leave you well catered for.
Housed in a building designed by British modernist architect Patrick Gwynne, the Serpentine Bar & Kitchen is set on the banks of the recreational lake in Hyde Park. The patio on the water is the best place to sup on a glass of Sipsmith Summer Cup and feast on wood-fired pizzas, salads and sandwiches as the boaters row by.
London’s largest public square, Lincoln’s Inn Fields is now home to Field’s Bar & Kitchen. The café celebrates traditional British ingredients, with dishes like Cornish lamb cutlets or rare roast beef salad with sugar snap peas and horseradish crme fraiche, served up alongside a range of innovative pizzas and salads.
Set overlooking Hampstead Heath, Kenwood House offers stunning views and ornamental garden surrounds. Spend a few extra hours taking in the scenery at the Brewhouse Cafe, which attracts weekenders with sandwiches, coffee, and a divine gooseberry and elderflower cheesecake.
The romantic Chiswick House, built in 1729, is a beautiful example of a neo-Palladian villa. The accompanying recently-renovated cafe, which stands on the site of the old stable buildings, offers a minimalist, modernist setting within Chiswick House’s gorgeous grounds. There’s ample seating outdoors, where diners can enjoy orange and lavender cake and even a Sunday roast.
St James’s Park – London’s oldest Royal Park – is also home to Inn the Park, one of the city’s finest garden cafes. A gourmet menu of seasonal dishes like stuffed courgette flowers with goats’ curd and lavender honey, or grilled squid with maple bacon and blistered tomatoes, makes it a must-visit dining destination.
Which of these leafy London parks would you choose to spend an afternoon in? Or do you have another personal favourite that trumps all these? Share your recommendations below.
Written by Claire Bullen