Wondering where you can go for lunch in London on International Picnic Day?
There’s only one word you need to know to make your choice: Royalparks. (OK, that’s two words but you get the idea.)
The Royal Parks include Hyde, Kensington Gardens, Green and Greenwich. They’re scattered throughout London, so are ideal for office workers on the north and south sides of the river.
The Parks have been called London’s lungs and are a large part of the reason it’ s one of the greenest cities in the world; I’ve read that the capital has 35,000 acres of public parks, gardens and woodland. That’s 40% of the city, making it the greenest capital in Europe.
If you want somewhere secret and secluded to eat, say a Japanese garden, or to sit in the ruins of a mediaeval church, then there are hidden green spaces across the city. But to bask in the summer sunshine, to meet other people and get a London vibe, the Royal Parks are where you want to head.
Have a look at their website to find out more about each park, but also to familiarise yourself with their rules. In a city of more than eight million people, we all have to be conscientious when using public space.
Here are four of their rules that I think are extra important:
No cooking or barbecuing
My local corner shop sells disposable barbecues for a fiver. While they’re fantastic for an impromptu get-together, your park picnic should just use ready-made food; less risk of a fire that way. I’d also try to make the food at home because stocking up on snacks at a supermarket gets ‘pensive.
While you might have taken along a smashing bottle of plonk, you need to reduce the chance of smashing glass by drinking out of plastic cups. You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feet, after all. (And if a wasp picks up a shard, you could end up being mugged for your jam doughnuts.)
No ball games
I think we can all agree on this one. When you’re trying to look cool and flirt with that co-worker you’ve had your eye on, the last thing you need is a football flying over and thumping you on the back of the head. Plus you can’t be dared into a game against your inter-office love rival, revealing your two left feet and bad back.
No loud music
When you’re visiting a busy park, it can be temping to turn your music up to hear it, but that just leads to everyone blaring their ‘choons’ at the same time, making the park unpleasant for everyone. Try running your own silent disco instead.
Finally, how about you give your lunch a special touch, and…
have a Royal Park themed picnic?
For a ‘hidden’ theme you could have mystery tastings where everyone puts on a blindfold and has to guess what they’re eating
Everything is vegetarian and organic, including the booze. And you have to use public transport to get there.
Food fit for a king. So you’ll have caviar, lobster, steak and champagne. Lots of cream and butter.
Dishes from past times, like your parents used to make. Remember your mum’s prawn cocktails and gammon and pineapple?
Take your cue from the Peter Pan statue there and pick childhood picnic favourites – lots of snacks and sweets. Just use your imagination…