Five picture-perfect picnic destinations
With summer upon us, we can’t wait to spread out a rug and indulge in a foodie feast under the sun. As experienced travellers for the Nomadic Boys site, gay couple Stefan and Sebastien enjoy many location-based activities, but their favourite is a romantic picnic in the great outdoors. To inspire you, they pick their top five picnic pitches from around the globe
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Iconic spot: Primrose Hill
For centuries, Primrose Hill has been a popular picnic spot in the UK’s capital, dating back to the days of Henry VIII, who used it as a hunting ground. This grassy mound near Camden Town, just north of Regent’s Park, reaches a peak of 63 metres, providing an incredible view of the London skyline. Almost anywhere along the summit makes for a great spot to settle in front of the urban vista – just be sure to stay for the sunset, as it’s unbeatable.
Alternative spot: Kenwood House in Hampstead Heath
Famous for its outdoor bathing pools, lush greenery and sprawling fields, Hampstead Heath is an 800-acre wilderness in North London. What we love most about it, though, is Kenwood House on the park’s northern edge. The stately home dates back to the 1600s and hosts an impressive art collection within. Pitch a picnic on the green slopes in front of the mansion and enjoy a peaceful, sun-soaked afternoon. (Note: Notting Hill fans will get a special kick out of this location as it’s where Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts shared a pivotal scene in the 1999 film.)
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Iconic spot: The Champs de Mars
Grab a baguette, some Camembert and a bottle of Bordeaux before heading to this lush, green space beneath one of the most iconic landmarks in the world. The Champs de Mars sits in front of the Eiffel Tower, making it the ultimate spot for a romantic sojourn – particularly in the evening when the famous structure is stunningly illuminated. Since it’s a popular destination that can become busy, try visiting on a weekday when it’s less crowded and you’ll have more room to take in the superbe view.
Alternative spot: Pièce d’Eau des Suisses in Versailles Park
We have fond memories of visiting the Palace of Versailles and its exquisite grounds on a day trip to Paris a few years ago. Though the building itself is incredibly striking, our favourite memory of the day was a picnic we enjoyed in the grounds. There are several dedicated picnic areas, but the best is situated along the bank of the Pièce d’Eau des Suisses (the Swiss Ornamental Lake), opposite the Orangery. It’s a delightful spot that never gets too crowded.
New York City, USA
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Iconic spot: Belvedere Castle in Central Park
As a world-famous destination, Central Park is one of the most visited public parks on the planet. There are so many great picnic spots to choose from here but, for us, the best is right in the middle at 79th street, near Belvedere Castle. It’s so picturesque: on one side, the Gothic-style building makes you feel as if you’re in a fairy tale, while on the other sits the modern, instantly recognisable New York City skyline.
Alternative spot: Louis Valentino, Jr. Park and Pier in Brooklyn
This slice of green paradise tucked away on the western edge of Brooklyn is a hidden gem that only locals know about. A picnic here not only gives you views of the gorgeous lower Manhattan skyline but also of the Statue of Liberty. It’s a little out of the way, but definitely worth the journey to escape the crowds and get a flavour of local Brooklyn life. It can be reached by water taxi from downtown Manhattan.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
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Iconic spot: Bosques de Palermo
Bosques de Palermo (Forests of Palermo) is the big green lung of central Buenos Aires, where locals love to head on a sunny day. There’s so much going on here, including boating on the lake, fitness stations, food stands, rollerbladers, dogwalkers, bikers, yoga classes… It’s a hive of activity. The best spot to settle down with a good gastronomic spread is by one of the lakes, where you can easily rent a boat to ride on together afterwards.
Alternative spot: Ecological Reserve in Puerto Madero
The Buenos Aires Ecological Reserve is a large swathe of land on the Rio de la Plata riverbank in the chic neighbourhood of Puerto Madero. Despite the hustle and bustle of the capital city nearby, the Ecological Reserve feels as if you’re in a different world: it’s a tranquil oasis of calm with a beautiful view of the Rio de Plata. When we came here for our picnic, we were completely alone in nature with not a soul in sight. Bliss!
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Iconic spot: Arashiyama Bamboo Groves
The mesmerising Sagano Bamboo Groves of Arashiyama are one of Kyoto’s top attractions. Alongside the groves, there’s endless green space, shrines, a 14th-century Buddhist temple and a range of awe-inspiring gardens. Tucked behind the bamboo forest is a park, which provides a lovely picnic spot with views of the Katsura River. Keep your eye out for local monks who frequently visit the groves to meditate in this unique and serene environment.
Alternative spot: Fushimi Inari Shrine on Mount Inari
The Fushimi Inari is made up of thousands of bright red Torii Gate shrines that line up along the holy Mount Inari. The peak of the mountain is 233 metres high and worth the hike because the higher you go, the fewer the crowds. Just before you hit the peak, there’s a stunning viewpoint with a few benches that make for a great spot to stop, dine and admire the Kyoto city skyline.