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Matthew Pearson

BBQs in London: A Guide to the Best Barbecue Spots

If you didn’t manage to crowbar a barbie into your summer, don’t worry. We’ve assembled a list of some of the prime spots for BBQs in London to help you find the perfect place for your autumn cookout. You see, even though Londoners love a BBQ just as much as anyone else with tastebuds and a fondness for the sun, not many green spaces in London are open for barbecuing. And that’s fair enough: councils want to make sure that their borough’s parks and greens are open to everyone, that the grass isn’t seriously damaged year in, year out and that littering doesn’t become a major problem. That being said, there are still a number of great green spaces that are BBQ-friendly and you can find some of our favourites in the list below. Word to the wise: be sure to check for the latest news before you spark up. Some parks will temporarily suspend barbecuing because of fire risks stemming from dry vegetation. In fact, Burgess Park in South London has done as much this summer, and usual East London grill spot London Fields has taken a year off in 2019 so that the grass can recover and some littering losers can spend the summer taking a long hard look at themselves. Here’s the list...

Waterlow Park, Highgate

Gifted to the public in 1889 by philanthropist and politician, Sir Sydney Waterlow, this park sits high up in Highgate Village. Sir Sydney called it ‘a garden for the gardenless’, and he’s more right than he could have ever known: Waterlow Park is open for barbecuing, and it’s incredibly popular with lawn-poor locals. The terraced gardens, noble trees and spring-fed ponds make this one of the most picturesque places to have BBQs in London, and the views of the city from up here are incredible. There’s a bronze statue of Sir Sydney located in the park, so you can go offer a sausage to the big man in thanks.

Caledonian Park, Holloway

It’s legal to BBQ in all Islington parks, but some are just too dinky and some just aren’t that good looking. Caledonian Park in Holloway is just right. Wonderful shaded areas of woodland, grassy meadows (not good for BBQing) and community gardens all wait, ready for explored. But the main expanse of inviting grass is where you’re going to want to get your sizzle on. You and the sausages. I’m talking about sunbathing and barbecuing, in case that’s unclear.

Image courtesy of caledonianpark.co.uk

Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Holborn

Because Lincoln’s Inn Fields is in the borough of Camden, where you’re free to BBQ in all parks, you can strike up a barbie here without any fuss. It seems a little odd, unlikely, even rebellious for a bit...this is Central London after all. But it’s 100% allowed. There are plenty of lawns for you to choose from and, when it’s time to walk off your BBQ, you’re not exactly short on places to explore. This is London’s biggest public square, but there’s absolutely nothing square about their barbecuing regulations.

Highbury Fields, Islington

Since it started letting visitors barbecue on its grass, Highbury Fields has shot up London’s Top Barbecue-Friendly Parks Chart. If it’s not Number One, it’s definitely up there. The largest green space in the borough of Islington, the park has plenty to make it appealing aside from its barbecuing privileges: there’s a large children’s playground with a sand pit and water play feature, there’s a swimming pool and fitness centre, and there’s a nice looking bandstand. But the barbies are the focus during the summer months, when seemingly the whole borough come here for a good grilling. The council have started limiting the BBQing to one area, so make sure to pay attention to the instructional signs before you fire it up. While you’re waiting for the food to cook, it’s nice to sit and admire the dreamy Georgian and Victorian town houses that ring around the Fields.

Image courtesy of Highbury Fields Twitter

Cantelowes Gardens

Located just up the road from Camden Town, Cantelowes Gardens is a very popular place to have a barbie during the summer months. It’s not huge, and it can get pretty busy, so try and get there before everyone starts grilling at lunch and dinner times. When you feel the need to work off that should I, shouldn’t I second burger, you’ll be pleased to find a free outdoor gym with a whole host of equipment and a popular skate park onsite. So those are our favourite parks for BBQs in London. If you've got any more to add, let us know in the comments below. If you're on the look out for more fun in the sun, take a peek at our guide to summer in London.

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