As the sun beats down on London, more of us are heading outside for alfresco feasts in the parks, on the canal or, basically, anywhere the sun hits. But forget lugging around a basket of warm sandwiches from home, here are the best places you can buy a ready-made picnic to enjoy at your leisure.
Tate Britain Art Gallery, Milbank, London SW1P 4JU
Where to take your picnic: Where to have your picnic: Milbank Gardens or the lawn in front of Rex Whistler
Freshly baked bread, slices of smoked salmon, British cheese from Neal’s Yard with homemade Tate chutney and the quintessential clotted cream scones are all included in Rex Whistler’s hefty picnic hampers. You can pick them up at Tate Britain, making them ideal for combining with a cultural day out (and maybe a half-bottle of wine from the restaurant.)
Cost: £25 for 2 people.
How to get your picnic: Book by phoning 020 7887 8825 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
King's Blvd, Kings Cross, London N1C 4BU
Where to take your picnic: Granary Square, or wander down to the canal
The ‘Berlin Picnic’ is a wine-focused collection of al fresco treats in a steel hamper full of German delicacies. Bavarian Giga rolls come with fillings like Black Forest Ham or Obatzda cheese from Bavaria, while desserts include Nussecken shortbread with apricot jam and marzipan. There’s also the chance to try Sekt - German fizz.
Cost: Depending on which wine you go for, the Riesling hamper is £64, the Sekt is £70 the Sekt is £70 and the Pinot Noir is £77. All of them include two pairs of sunglasses and a book on wines of Germany.
How to get your picnic: Contact email@example.com or call 0207 287 8000.
Bulgari Hotel, 171 Knightsbridge, London SW7 1DW
Where to have your picnic: Hyde Park, next to the Serpentine
One of the more affordable hampers comes from Rivea London where you can pick and mix what you fancy, with options like Tigelle bread sandwiches with parma ham or smoked salmon with fennel, a veggie caponata, salads, shortbreads and chocolate tart. It also only requires 45 minute notice - perfect for last minute picnics.
How to get your picnic: They're picked up at the Bulgari Hotel’s bar. To book, call them on 0207 151 1025 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
98, Southgate Road, London N1 3JD
Where to have your picnic: Regent’s Park, Hyde Park, London Fields or the closest, Victoria Park
De Beauvoir Deli’s hampers are themed around the London parks you might choose to eat yours in. Regent’s Park, aka ‘The Romantic’, consists of charcuterie, olives, cheeses, sourdough and San Giuseppe prosecco, while trendy London Fields basket ‘The BBQ’ has Xochitl tortilla chips, pesto guacamole, potato squash and feta salad, plus two beers from craft brewery Five Points.
Cost: Each basket is priced differently, ranging from £37 to £77 (not including a £10 returnable deposit.)
How to get your picnic: Book by calling 020 7249 4321 or visiting their website.
100 Mount Street, London W1K 2TG
Where to have your picnic: Hyde Park
The meat-heavy Mount Street Deli picnic lunch is ideal for carnivores, containing Cumberland sausage rolls and roast beef, plus spicy olives and seasonal salads. If you feel like something lighter their other offering, the Scott’s picnic lunch, has smoked salmon, lobster with summer veg salad and spicy cocktail sauce or two is more pescetarian, with signature style fish and shellfish dishes, plus asparagus in a soft herb dressing.
Cost: £45 for the picnic box, £60 for The Scott’s picnic lunch.
How to get your picnic: Order 48 hours in advance from 020 7499 6843 and delivery is free in W1 and St James’s.
The Arch London, 50 Great Cumberland Place, Marble Arch, London W1H 7FD
Where to have your picnic: Hyde Park
Arch’s luxury summer picnics are back once with a selection of classic English treats, like coronation chicken, smoked salmon sandwiches, homemade sea salt crisps and English cheddar with chutney. It also includes a chilled bottle of Camel Valley fizz to wash it all down, and raspberry and pistachio trifle for dessert.
Cost: The picnics are priced at £45 per person which includes half a bottle of fizz.
How to get your picnic: The picnics are priced at £90 for two and include a (returnable) picnic blanket and hamper. Book at 020 7724 4700 or visit their website.
Marylebone or Highbury
Where to take your picnic: Your back garden or local park
London dairy institution La Fromagerie has put together a great posh spread for when you want to have an alfresco celebration. Their hamper, which you order from their website, contains three types of cheese, like a Saint Domnin 'Lavande', and plenty of extras like a bottle of Brut Champagne, Secret Smokehouse salmon, caviar, blinis, and of course, La Fromagerie biscuits. There’s sorrento lemon to finish it all off.
Cost: £245, including a bottle of Champagne and rose.
How to get your picnic: Order in advance from their website.
Where to have your picnic: All over town - there are 28 branches in London
This summer, high street baker Paul are offering hampers that include your choice of a sandwich, quiche or salad, fancy hand-cooked crisps, a slice of tart or macaron and a fancy soft drink, like cherry lemonade. You’ll be given a free ‘sac á pique-nique’ cool bag to take it away in, complete with a disposable tablecloth.
Cost: £20 for 2, £38 for 4
How to get your picnic: Pre-order online
St. James's Place, London SW1A 1NY
Where to have your picnic: Green Park
Dukes’ (yes, the one with the martinis) sets itself apart by going the extra mile with a private butler who’ll literally deliver the picnic to you as you sit in Green Park. In your gourmet hamper, you can pick from options like chorizo and goat’s cheese scotch eggs, spiced chicken brochette, poached salmon and lemon posset. There are veggie and child-friendly options as well.
Cost: £79 for 2 with butler service. Children’s picnics are £12 per person.
How to get your hamper: To book ring 0207 491 4840 or visit their website.
Where to have your picnic: Visit the St John’s Wood branch for easy access to the canal and Regent’s Park
Carluccio’s has filled their Italian picnic hamper with all the required sandwiches, cold meats, salads, cheeses, pastries and scones for a very pleasant lunch in the park, with options including antipasti misti, panzanella salad and more. There’s a vegetarian version on offer as well, and one for children too.
Cost: £45 for 2, while children’s picnics cost £10 per head.
How to get your hamper: Order in advance from your nearest branch - find the number using their website.
8 Pall Mall, St. James's, London SW1Y 5NG
Where to have your picnic: St James’s Park
The Balcon at Sofitel St James' traditional hamper has a wide selection of al fresco essentials, from ham and chutney baguettes and smoked salmon on rye to grapes, cheeses, salami and clotted cream scones. It comes in a lovely wicker basket with a picnic rug, and for kid-friendly add-ons, it’s £10 per child.
Cost: £50 for two, with a £10 supplement package available per child.
How to get your hamper: Book by phoning 0207 389 7820 or emailing TheBalcon.London@Sofitel.com