When the sun shines in London, it’s time to dig out your fire lighters, get the cans on ice and BBQ. But where to carry out this pleasure? Not many of us in London have gardens or terraces so thankfully, there are parks. Here’s a run-down of the London parks you can BBQ in.
North versus South
Those that live in north and north-east London are most in luck. Islington Council lifted the ban on barbecuing in its public parks in 2011 and it’s one of only two London councils to allow you to set up a BBQ in any of its green spaces. The other is neighbouring Camden, which has helpful guidelines.
Not all parks are equal though. Those that are run by Royal Parks for example don’t allow it. Nor do Regent’s Park, Hampstead Heath or Primrose Hill. Thankfully Islington and Camden are easy to get to, and other councils do have some designated places where BBQ’ing is allowed.
What about disposable barbecues?
Disposable and gas are not allowed in Camden’s parks, and they’ve been recently banned in London Fields, Hackney. Islington Council permits them but encourages people to use portable charcoal barbecues instead so think eco and ditch the disposable.
The best BBQ-friendly parks to fire up your coals in London:
Popular and populous (but with plenty of space to absorb the hungry hoards), Highbury Fields slopes gently down to the top of Upper Street. Highbury Leisure Centre is at the bottom of the hill if you fancy a dip in the pool. Nearest tube: Highbury & Islington.
A genteel spot tucked next to Highgate Cemetery, it was originally given to the city as a “garden for the gardenless”. Three ponds fed by natural springs and the 16th century Lauderdale House set off a nice view of the City. Nearest tube: Archway.
A stone’s throw from Camden Town (so it’s handy for the post-barbi pub), Cantelowe Gardens is a small oasis on Camden Road. It’s known for its skate park but has plenty of quieter spots to set up your outdoor kitchen. Nearest tube: Camden Road Overground.
Just behind Arsenal tube, the small but pretty Gillespie Park is more nature reserve than park and has won awards for its conservation area. It has several ponds, plants and meadow areas and even a Sunday cafe. Beware that it is shut on match days. Nearest tube: Arsenal.
A small square of green between Holloway and Caledonian Roads. Table tennis tables could inject a little lively competition to your barbecue. Or nip to Provisions Wine & Cheese on Holloway Road if you’re more in the market for some high quality booze. Nearest tube: Highbury & Islington.
You can spot the Cally Park clock tower (now going under a £2m refurbishment) from a good distance – easy referencing for barbecue location. The park itself spreads out between York Way and Caledonian Road with woodland and orchard areas, which are good for a little shade. Nearest tube: Caledonian Road.
Lincoln’s Inn Fields
This is the most central spot that permits barbecues (it’s in Islington’s jurisdiction) and London’s largest public square. Benches are aplenty so you can stake a sitting spot. Nearest tube: Holborn.
BBQ-friendly parks south of the river are getting harder to come by with Beddington Park putting a ban on barbecues this summer. Burgess Park, however, does allow it. Purpose built, this park still bears plenty of street remnants from lime kilns to almshouses. It’s also host to multiple festivals in the summer including the Carnaval Del Pueblo. Nearest tube: Queens Road Peckham or South Bermondsey Overground
London Fields no longer allows barbecues and with a ban across Victoria Park, Hackney Marshes, Hackney Downs and Shoreditch Park, it seems east Londoners have no choice but to choose a grill-free picnic in East London. Do you know of anywhere? Comment below.