Temperatures have been soaring in the capital. When things hot up, forget trekking around the city and sweating it out on the tube. Grab some mates and head to one of London’s many gorgeous green spaces where you can bask in the sun, to your heart’s content. And if you’re feeling parched we’d definitely recommend dropping into one of the city’s ace beer gardens for an ice cold pint or a spot of Pimms. We’ve rounded up some of our favourite parks and al fresco drinking spots so all you have to do is grab your sun cream, cider and go!
Regent’s park is a green oasis in the heart of central London. If you’re looking for a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of the city then Regent’s Park is a great bet because it can be accessed from lots of different points – Camden to the North, Marylebone to the South, Euston to the East and Maida Vale to the West. Along with a whole lot of open parkland you can also check out the beautiful rose gardens, a lake and boating area, an open air theatre and London’s famous zoo.
Where: Chester Road, NW1 4NR
When: Open from 5am. Closing times vary depending on the season.
Tube Station: Regent’s Park, Camden Town, Baker’s Street, Great Portland Street, Mornington Crescent, Warrant Street
The Edinboro Castle
Just a few minutes’ walk from Regent’s Park is The Edinboro castle, a pub often frequented by creative types working in Camden. It’s tucked just off the noisy high street and boasts a very sizeable and sunny beer garden, a good selection of speciality lagers and offers traditional hog roast. As the sun sets, up come the fairy lights so you can continue enjoying your drink of choice well into the evening.
Where: 57 Mornington Terrace, Camden, London NW1 7RU
When: Monday to Friday: 12pm – 11pm
Tube Station: Camden Town
Hampstead Heath, with its ancient trees and wild and sprawling pastures, feels like a real retreat into the English Countryside. The heath spans across 791 acres of woodland, meadows, playing fields and swimming ponds, offering an escape to the wilderness for anyone weary of the madding crowds of London. If you fancy setting eyes on the big city from afar then get yourself up Parliament Hill where the view is hard to beat.
The Spaniards Inn
Perched on the outskirts of Hampstead Heath is The Spaniards inn. This charming pub dates back to the 1500’s, making it one of London’s oldest pubs. It has been immortalised in various works of literature and many historic figures like John Keats and Charles Dickens have also been known to drink there. The canopied terrace engulfs diners in Hampstead’s beautiful greenery. There’s plenty of craft beers on tap and, food wise, you’ll find traditional pub favourites with a gourmet twist.
Where: Spaniards Rd, Hampstead, London NW3 7JJ
When: Monday to Tuesday: 12pm – 11pm, Wednesday to Friday: 12pm – 12am, Saturday: 12pm – 12am, Sunday: 12pm – 10.30pm
Tube Station: Golders Green
Highbury Fields is located in a pretty residential area of Islington and is the largest park in the borough. The beautiful houses that overlook the fields are good examples of Georgian and Victorian town houses. Recently regenerated, you’ll find tennis courts and a pool which is perfect for a dip on hot days. It’s also close to the buzzing streets of Angel, not too far from Clink.
Where: Highbury Fields, Highbury Crescent, N5
When: Open all hours
Tube Station: Highbury and Islington
The Castle doesn’t really have a beer garden but it does have a pretty cracking roof terrace which is a great spot for bus spotting (if you’re into that kind of thing). A solid selection of wines and beers and hearty pub grub makes The Castle a great spot to start your Angel pub crawl on a balmy summer evening.
Where: 54 Pentonville Rd, London, Islington N1 9HF
When: Monday – Thursday: 11am-11pm, Friday – Saturday: 11am-12am, Sunday: 12pm-10.30pm
Tube Station: Angel
Hackney Downs is a very chilled park that doesn’t get totally mobbed in the summer (unlike its nearby neighbour London Fields, where East London’s hipsters gather to barbecue and drink cider on sunny days). One of Hackney’s major green spaces, Hackney Downs opened as a public park in the heart of the borough in 1884.
Where: Downs Park Road, London E5 8NP
When: Open all hours
Tube Station: Dalston Kingsland Overground
Ok, so not strictly a pub, but more of a café/arts space located at an old industrial printworks in Hackney. The Russet hosts regular community events including art exhibitions and music nights. You can enjoy a selection of home-made food and drink (we’d recommend the delicious cakes) in the hip outdoor seating area which you’ll find through a large, ovular window. This area also doubles as a kitchen garden and the café’s pet quails – how quaint indeed!
Where: 17 Amhurst Terrace, London E8 2BT
When: Monday: 9am, 5pm, Tuesday – Thursday: 9am – 12am, Friday: 10am – 12am, Saturday: 10am – 12am, Sunday: 10am – 11pm.
Tube Station: Rectory Road Overground
Victoria Park is a real hub for sporty Londoners. You’ll find runners, cyclists, rugby teams and tennis players using the park daily. There’s also plenty of spots to relax too so don’t be put off if you’re not a sports fanatic! This park is visited by a whopping twelve million visitors per year but because it’s so big (around 86 acres) it never feels too crowded. At nearly 170 years of age it’s also one of London’s oldest most important historic parks. The park plays host to a number of festivals every year, including Field Day, Lovebox and Citadel.
Where: Grove Road, Bow, London E3 5TB
When: 7am – dusk every day (except Christmas Day)
Tube Station: Mile End Tube or Hackney Wick Overground
The People’s Park Tavern
The People’s Park Tavern was created for the ordinary people of the East end. Victoria Park, on which it sits, received the moniker ‘The People’s Park’. It’s from this title that the pub takes its name. The pub has undergone a bit of a revamp since those days but still maintains much of its traditional charm. The Beer garden is the biggest on our list and there’s even a cool hacienda garden where you’ll find DJs spinning summer tunes most weekends.
Where: 360 Victoria Park Road, E9 7BT
When: Sunday – Thursday: 12pm – 12am
Tube Station: Hackney Wick Overground