BBQs in London: A Guide to the Best Barbecue Spots

By Matthew Pearson

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

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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Aerial view of London

London Bridge vs Tower Bridge Comparison

London Bridge and Tower Bridge - both iconic bridges in the capital city of London, but do you know which is which? There’s only a 13-minute walk between them, but the history and design are wildly different. We’ll look at their differences and similarities, as well as what there is to see and do at each location. The History of Tower Bridge Designed by Sir Horace Jones and John Wolfe Barry, it opened to the public in 1894. Tower Bridge is one of the most instantly recognizable attractions in London, although it was never meant to stand out. It was specifically designed to blend in with the surroundings, like the Tower of London. While it does, it’s still an iconic landmark. The original concept was for Tower Bridge to function as a drawbridge, with pulleys lifting the bridge to allow boats to pass. This proved to be too much for the towers to handle, so they built Tower Bridge as a Bascule Bridge. Bascule translates to ‘Seesaw’, which is how the two sides of the road now open. The History of the London Bridge Contrary to the nursery rhyme, London Bridge has never actually fallen down. Ice, fire, and Vikings have damaged it, but it’s never technically fallen down. London Bridge, in one form or another, has stood for nearly 2000 years, with the first construction being erected by the Romans in 43AD. It started life as a pontoon bridge, with wooden planks over anchored boats, before evolving to a wooden construction and finally stone. The appearance has transformed significantly over the years, at one time looking like a mini city; full of wooden shops, houses, and industry. Sadly, these wooden structures, coupled with human negligence, led to several fires and the ultimate decision to clear the bridge of all but traffic. Where is the London Bridge and the Tower Bridge? Both bridges cross the river Thames and are within walking distance. They’re also both free for pedestrians to cross. If you’re visiting Tower Bridge, the nearest tube is Tower Hill station. The nearest underground station to London Bridge is London Bridge station; easy to remember. To walk between the two takes around 13 minutes, in a straight line down The Queen’s Walk. It’s a fun walk, passing Potter’s Fields Park and the HMS Belfast floating museum, plus many street performers and entertainers. Carry on further and you’ll have beautiful views of the London Eye, Millennium Bridge, and a view of Parliament across the water. What to do at London Bridge? While not as photogenic as Tower Bridge, London bridge is still worth snapping. There are no towers or elevation, so you’ll have to go to the banks of the Thames river for a great shot. What London Bridge lacks in visual appeal, it makes up for in history and intrigue. The London Bridge Experience is an interactive journey through London’s dark, grim history. With 2000 years of history to explore, you’ll discover how the Romans, the Great Fire of London, and Jack the Ripper all share a history with the bridge. If you’ve got the nerves, head deep down into the lower vaults of London Bridge and experience The Vaults; a scare maze using actors, special effects, and interactive sets to offer a bone-chilling scarefest. Fear not, for the feint hearted there’s a child-friendly version that is still informative yet leaves out the nightmares. Nearby to London Bridge you’ll find The Shard, Tate Modern, and Borough Market. What to do at London Tower Bridge? Obviously, you’ll want a selfie or three with Tower Bridge as your backdrop. If you want to know the best place to photograph Tower Bridge, head to either the Tower of London on the north bank, or Potters Fields Park on the south bank. Both offer excellent views of Tower Bridge for you to get an insta-classic shot. Did you know you can climb the bridge towers? The view from the top, 138ft above the river, is spectacular. A tour of Tower Bridge isn’t just a pretty view though. Head inside what thousands of people idly walk past each day for an unforgettable trip through London’s history. With multi-sensory exhibitions, displays, and a trip deep into the engine room, you’ll learn all about the resident stables, mortuary, and special events which have secured Tower Bridge as London’s defining landmark. Nearby you’ll find The Tower of London, another key historical site and a must-see attraction. Don't Mix Up London Bridge and Tower Bridge London Bridge and Tower Bridge look very different, yet both are famous bridges in their own right, and both are must-see attractions in the city. Both bridges are free to walk across, and they’re both in great locations surrounded by other amazing attractions. London Bridge might be famous in nursery rhymes, but it's much less impressive than Tower Bridge. Built in 1973, it's a functional bridge for cars and pedestrians. It's only about a 10-minute walk from Tower Bridge, but they're worlds apart in terms of looks and cool stuff to do. So if you're wondering which one to visit, make it easy on yourself and pick Tower Bridge. It's got the looks and the wow factor! The high-level walkways at Tower Bridge, including the glass walkway, afford incredible panoramic views of the city. Alongside ground-level shots of the iconic towers, you’ll also walk away with unique photos of the Tower of London, HMS Belfast, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Millennium Bridge, and so much more. London Bridge is another brilliant spot to get a pic of Tower Bridge, but it’s also photographic in its own way. The true magic of London Bridge, however, comes from its long, dark history. If you’re looking for more ideas for your London adventure, check out our other itineraries. We cover one day in London, a weekend getaway, and a three-day itinerary, which should cover all bases.
Adam Fraiel

Eco-Friendly Restaurants in London

Hey, Best Eco-friendly Restaurants in London. Silo is coming—look busy. Yes, Brighton’s revolutionary zero-waste restaurant Silo is moving to London. Highly regarded for their rip it up and start again approach to the restaurant industry, Silo—guided by award-winning chef/founder Douglas McMaster—will be shacked up with Crate Brewery in Hackney Wick from October. Silo trade directly with farmers, often championing produce that others ignore, simply because they don’t know what to do with it. And they get hold of their ingredients right from the root, because they specialise in creating everything from its whole, original, natural form. It cuts down on food miles and preserves the nutrients in the core ingredients. And house-smoked, house-churned and home-baked tastes better. Silo close the gap between field and plate so that guests are no longer alienated from the food on their plates, and the chefs in the kitchen are truly connected to the ingredients they’re using. [caption id="attachment_4678" align="alignnone" width="4800"][/caption] Their plates are rootsy and primitive, yet daring and progressively-minded. From house-smoked violet carrots with egg yolks and elephant garlic, to flame-licked Jerusalem artichokes with stilton sauce and house pickles: there’s invention to go with the caveman simplicity of open-fire cooking, and the pastoral, common sense approach to self-sufficiency. They aren’t luddites, and incorporate modern techniques and machinery where it truly helps. Nowhere is that more obvious than with the kitchen’s own compost machine, which repurposes all leftover scraps. So with Silo taking the trip up the A and M23s, we thought it would be the perfect time to create a list of its new eco-friendly neighbours. Here are some of our favourite eco-friendly restaurants in London. [caption id="attachment_4673" align="alignnone" width="1302"][/caption] Riverford at the Duke of Cambridge, Islington The first organic certified pub in the country, the Duke of Cambridge’s collaboration with organic veg box company Riverford is incredibly popular. The Islington haven of sustainability draws in crowds of regulars and soon-to-be converts with its eco-focused menu and drinks selection. The menu changes regularly, as you’d expect, and draws its ingredients from Riverford’s organic farms or small producers, as local as possible to the London pub. It’s modern British with Mediterranean influences and twists. The plating is smart, the portions are generous, the food blooming on each dish. Vegetables get treated with immense respect, allowed to remain crisp and colourful and flavoursome. The Duke of Cambridge is also one of the hosts of the wonderful Migrateful cookery class program. These important evenings of culinary instruction are helmed by chefs and cooks seeking asylum and refuge in the UK. They teach guests how to cook dishes from their countries of origin, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Cuba, Nigeria, Albania and Ethiopia. [caption id="attachment_4677" align="alignnone" width="1301"][/caption] Waterhouse, Haggerston Sitting pretty in a gorgeous position along Regent’s Canal, Waterhouse enjoys perhaps the finest views of all the best eco-friendly restaurants in London. Run as a social enterprise by the East London charity Shoreditch Trust, Waterhouse gives chef training to local young people who have dealt with challenging life circumstances. Eating in the restaurant directly contributes to training and supporting the young chefs as they acquire skills and experience that will help them inside and outside professional kitchens. Their menu features seasonal modern European dishes that use responsibly sourced ingredients. This is confident, generous cooking, resistant to fads but happy to experiment where it will satisfy the needs of a dish. Like their hearty vegetable tagine, accompanied by a scene-stealing slice of lemonade bread. Waterhouse honour the natural beauty that surrounds them with a commitment to working in harmony with the environment. From the solar panels that power the kitchen, to the scrap-fed restaurant stockpot, recycled rubber floors, biodegradable takeaway packaging and (optional) paperless toilet, their environmental conscientiousness permeates every aspect of the restaurant. [caption id="attachment_4676" align="alignnone" width="1292"][/caption] Cub, Hoxton Okay, okay. So the main dude behind Silo is part of the group behind Cub. We know. So someone shouting, “Silo is coming - look busy!” isn’t going to have the same effect at Cub. But, as in golf, so too in the world of eco-friendly restaurants in London: you’re only ever really playing yourself. At least Douglas McMaster is. Cub offers an innovative set menu of snacks, drinks and food. Paired and breather cocktails, mocktails and glasses of wine pop up with and between little and large plates. The edible and the drinkable play off each other like the giddy cousins they are. The whole restaurant is playful, in fact. And orange. It’s very orange. You can’t pin down their menu with ease. It changes regularly, and it’s too giddy about what it’s doing, what it could be doing and what it will be doing next to settle down and let you pin it. And what comes to you is out of your control anyway. You just tell Cub if you’re veggie, vegan or a meat eater, and if you want alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks. Rest assured, though. They’re getting their meat and veg from the producers with the best intentions and practices, and they’re taking the less popular produce off their hands too. Because they—unlike the gen pop of restaurants right now—can make it popular. Sat within Cub’s breathable clay walls, sat at their recycled yoghurt pot table tops—you’re in an eco playground of the imagination. The open kitchen catches your attention. Another playground. A plate of food as vibrant and arresting as any you’ve ever seen is put in front of you. Play. Being a eco-friendly restaurant in London doesn’t have to be an exercise in austerity or saviour narratives or smugness. It can be playtime. [caption id="attachment_4681" align="alignnone" width="1052"][/caption] Farmstand, Covent Garden and Canary Wharf Farmstand take their cues from community farm stands across the American Midwest. These are places where locals meet to share food and stories from their lives. Farmstand brings that feeling of community and simplicity into their two restaurants, and add to it a belief that food should be as good for the planet as it is for you. They are champions of plant-based food. Their menu is weighted 80% in favour of veggies, with 5% of their ingredients sustainable fish and 15% meat. They use limited salt and only a little unrefined sugar in their baked goods. Their dinner menu features smaller and larger plates designed to be mixed and matched, adding to the sense that food is something to be shared, rather than hoarded. They don’t bog down their dishes with unnecessary ingredients and additions, allowing just a couple off ingredients to zip along together unencumbered. Their Sicilian aubergine is zesty and smooth, their coconut dal topped with a herby oil is nourishing and rich. The whole menu is a smartly composed array of salad dishes, baked and grilled proteins and satisfying grains. They are rightly proud of their eco credentials and have gained plenty of awards for their efforts. But at Farmstand, it’s the food that most convincingly puts forward the argument that Green = Good. [caption id="attachment_4682" align="alignnone" width="6720"][/caption] Lino, Farringdon Lino is a place that sees the cutting edge as a useful tool in updating the past, reusing what has been ignored and reimagining food that has become full of itself and an industry that has grown tired of itself. They’ve salvaged many of the items that decorate and illuminate this old linoleum factory near St. Bartholomew’s Hospital. Profits from their still and sparkling water go to charity, all tips go straight to service staff. And they enrich and embolden storied dishes and combinations with homemade pickles, homecultured butter, homebaked bread and homecured salmon. Their homemade pickles and fermented veg serve to cut through the rich, meaty and creamy flavours elsewhere on their dishes. A grilled Cornish mackerel served with oyster mayonnaise is enlivened by pickled cucumber heading straight through the heart of it. Their salads are generous in size, varied in texture, adventurous in flavour, but unfussy and clear in what they’re trying to do. Lino has been getting the kind of reviews and repeat visitors London restaurants dream of receiving. Chef Robert Falk previously worked at The Ledbury and The Dairy. But he’s at home here, cheerily waving from the menu to the world of fine dining, and establishing a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere that only comes when a restaurant is doing what it’s doing for the right reasons. [caption id="attachment_4691" align="alignnone" width="1565"][/caption] So that's our list. But clearly that's just the big hitters. So let us know if you have any others to suggest. Also, check out more eco London tips here.
Matthew Pearson
Wembley stadium at night

10 Amazing Facts About Wembley Stadium You Probably Didn't Know

Learn all about this iconic stadium, including... The famous football games hosted at Wembley The musicians who've played there How big it is What was found buried underneath Wembley Stadium? Want to know more, with a personal touch? Take a Wembley Stadium Tour. 1) Wembley Stadium London hosted the final when England last won the World Cup In case anyone needed any reminding, the last time England won the World Cup was in 1966. That was back when footballers smoked and had second jobs. You can learn more about the 1966 World Cup win and see a whole bunch of artefacts from the time during a Wembley Stadium Tour, one of the many attractions you can visit when you purchase a London Pass. 2) There were high hopes for England to win Euro 2020  ....but, they didn't. But Wembley did host the final. Southgate’s young team are pretty exciting, and their progress at the last World Cup was as inspiring to see as it was unexpected. But, apart from the penalty shootout victory over Colombia – a game they should have been finished with long before 90 minutes was up – there was a solid victory against a very plain Sweden team, and then a semi-final loss against Croatia.  3) Wembley Stadium has hosted gigs by the world’s most famous musicians  Queen's famous 1986 'Magic Tour' concert broke attendance records and was one of the iconic band's most memorable performances. Their performance was later released as a 'Live from Wembley' album. Adele set a new highest attendance record with her 2017 show, cramming 98,000 in. Both Madonna and U2 love playing at Wembley, and The Killers were so chuffed to be playing Wembley, they wrote a song about it and performed it on the night.  4) This is not the first Wembley Stadium  While younger generations imagine the arch-topped stadium when they hear the name Wembley, for generations of older sports fans, it will always be the white twin towers of the original Wembley that come to mind. Built as the centrepiece of the British Empire Exhibition of 1923, the first Wembley stood exactly where the new one is.  Its complete demolition in 2003 – including the iconic, white twin towers – was highly controversial at the time.  5) But Wembley new and old are at the heart of English football  Since 1923, Wembley has been the host of the FA Cup final (apart from during the interim years whilst the new Wembley Stadium was under construction). Winners of the FA Cup final take the famous walk up to the Royal Box and presentation area to lift the trophy. The 39 steps at the old Wembley Stadium were famous as signifiers of victory or defeat. Take the Wembley Stadium Tour, included with your London Pass, and you’ll be walking up the 107 steps to the presentation area at the modern Wembley. Wembley today hosts a whole host of FA competitions and playoffs. 6) The Wembley Arch is BIG  It’s 134 metres tall, has a diameter of over 7 metres, and could comfortably fit a train hurtling through it. You could roll the London Eye underneath it. You shouldn’t, because the people of Brent would be pretty miffed. But you could.  It stretches 315 metres. And it’s made of strong stuff too: it holds most of the roof’s weight. It's said that people from all counties of England had a hand in its construction. You can see it jutting out from all around London.  7) Wembley is one of the largest stadiums in Europe  It’s got 90,000 seats, making it the largest stadium in the UK and second largest in Europe—only Barcelona’s Camp Nou is bigger, with a total of 99,354 seats. With a 1km circumference and a volume of 4,000,000 cubic metres, the stadium can fit 25,000 double-decker buses inside. Alternatively, you could fill the new Wembley with seven billion pints of beer. Testament to the size of the thing is just how many toilets you’ll find in the building - 2,618! See how many you can use during your trip to Wembley Stadium.  8) The first match held went down in footballing folklore  The first football match hosted at Wembley was the 1923 FA Cup Final between Bolton Wanderers and West Ham United. An estimated 300,000 spectators came in, more than double the official Wembley Stadium maximum capacity of 125,000.  Authorities didn’t think it was worth ticketing the event. The massive overstuffing of the stadium meant that the public was all across the pitch. As police attempted to move the crowd from the pitch, one officer in particular caught the attention of the crowd, riding elegantly atop a white police horse.  Since then it’s been known as the White Horse Final.  9) The atmosphere of the new Wembley has been scientifically engineered  Crowd recordings taken at the old Wembley—famous for the Wembley Roar—during the 1999 FA Cup final and a 2000 England v Poland game were used as audio benchmarks. The design team used sophisticated computer models to recreate the same acoustics in the new Wembley.  Also, with the arch supporting the roof, there was no need to stick pillars, so there were no restricted views. And the architects tried to tier the stands in such a way that everyone felt close to the action.  10) A bad Eiffel Tower knockoff was found underneath it  Well, the concrete foundations were. During excavations, construction workers preparing for the new playing field found the foundation of what was known as Watkin’s Tower. Designed to surpass the Eiffel Tower in height and completely rip it off in style, the tower was never completed due to financial difficulties and safety issues. It would have stood right where the Wembley pitch is today. Where is Wembley Stadium?  Wembley Stadium could be considered the beating heart of UK sports and entertainment, and you'll find it in the hustle of London, England. Nestled in the Wembley Park neighbourhood, it's a place where dreams come true, whether you're there for a soccer game, a concert, or one of the many other events hosted there. You can almost feel the excitement in the air as you approach it!  Experience everything London has to offer with The London Pass® Planning your London trip? With The London Pass®, you can explore big-name landmarks, local hotspots and epic tours, all on one pass, all for one price. Not only that, but you'll enjoy savings of up to 50%, compared to buying individual attraction tickets. ✈️ Buy The London Pass® ✈️
Matthew Pearson

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