5 picnic spots we love in East London
With the sun finally shining again, it’s time to share our favourite picnic spots in East London. During what seems like a century of lockdowns, the local park has become a hub for the community. East London has parks for every type of picnic, from family birthdays to late night parties (looking at you London Fields). So grab your bag, pick your park and head east!
1. VICTORIA PARK
Situated in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Victoria Park is one of London’s most visited green spaces with approximately 9 million visitors every year. The park opened to the public in 1845 and features two identical statues of The Dogs of Alcibiades. These statues stand guard over the Bonner Street entrance, next to Regents Canal which were donated in 1912 by local resident Lady Aignarth in memory of her late husband, Horatio.
Walk around the lake past the pagoda which was refurbished in the lead up to the 2012 Olympics and stop at the Pavilion Café for great coffee and a delicious cardamon bun. The park has plenty of picnic tables dotted around but if it rains, venture to the eastern boundary where there are two white stone alcoves which were part of the old London Bridge moved here after the bridge’s demolition in 1831 and where you can sit sheltered from the great British summer!
2. DE BEAUVOIR SQUARE
Small and perfectly formed, De Beauvoir Square is tucked between Kingsland Road and De Beauvoir Roads (home to our very own HBB office). A perfect place for picnics away from the crowds, the park features a circular rose garden and children’s play area.
In July each year the park plays host to the famous De Beauvoir Party in the Park. The local community come together to set up stalls giving away toys and books to the younger generation and selling Pimms and cake for the parents.
3. LONDON FIELDS
A short walk west from Victoria Park takes you to London Fields. Home to the popular London Fields Lido, its large grassy spaces are therefore perfect for hipster hangouts and weekend picnics.
The nearby Broadway Market has all you need to stock up on delicacies for an afternoon of lounging in the sun. The Inn on the Park has a garden with great views over the park and a Pétanque area with boules to hire to while away a lazy Sunday.
4. SHOREDITCH PARK
Featuring a huge climbing boulder, an amphitheatre for events and outdoor screenings, a beach volleyball court and a state of the art leisure centre, Shoreditch Park sits just off New North Road and has undergone some major transformations in its day. The site originally provided housing for London’s East End until it was bombed in the war and was subsequently used for temporary accommodation for homeless families.
In July 2005/2006 archaeologists from the Museum of London carried out extensive excavations to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. This was documented in a Time Team special episode called “Buried By The Blitz”.
5. HAGGERSTON PARK
This park was once the grounds of the old Shoreditch Gasworks which was hit by a V-2 rocket in the war. In the 1950’s the park was created for local families and now provides football pitches, a nature reserve, plenty of grass space for picnics and events (the 2012 Olympics was screened here). In addition it houses Hackney City Farm on its south side.
Close to Columbia Road Flower Market which operates every Sunday morning, the park is a pleasant 10 minute stroll north. Little known fact – if you see nuns walking around the park , it’s likely they belong to St Saviours convent on Queensbridge Road. The convent still functions and holds a jumble sale each Sunday morning at the same time as the flower market.