London’s tolerance for barbecues varies wildly depending on which borough you’re in. Only two boroughs, Camden and Islington, have sweeping pro-barbecue byelaws. Here’s a few of our favourite green spots to bbq in London:
Barbecuing in Camden
In theory, all Camden parks allow barbecues from 11th April-20th September 2022 but sadly it’s not quite that simple. Some parks in Camden Borough aren’t managed by Camden Council, so they’re strictly off limits for would-be grillers.
Most notably, these include a couple of the city’s bigger parks. Hampstead Heath and Regent’s Park (and the adjoining Primrose Hill) are ones to avoid – park staff can and will douse your charcoal mid-party.
Those two aside, Camden is packed with picturesque spots to fire up a grill on a clear day. Check their website here for a full list of sites and rules, including using reusable charcoal barbecues only – no disposable bbqs allowed.
Lincoln’s Inn Fields
One of London’s most popular BBQ spots, and with good reason. Lincoln’s Inn Fields has several stretches of grass that are filled with revellers at the first sign of sunshine. There’s also a free public toilet on the eastern edge of the park. Being fairly central, it’s a good pick if you have friends coming from multiple directions.
Lincoln’s Inn Fields
This is one of London’s largest squares, and it’s surrounded by more museums than you could shake a stick at. There’s the British Museum just minutes away, as well as the Foundling Museum, Charles Dickens Museum and Postal Museum. Perfect if you want a little culture before you sit in the dirt to eat your charred meat.
Just peeking into the south edge of Camden, Cantelowes Gardens is a small park absolutely packed with things to do before you start grilling. There are table tennis nets, a five-a-side pitch, a skatepark, basketball hoops, an outdoor gym and a kids’ play area. It’s a popular spot for dog owners too, so be sure to keep a watchful eye on your food. Consider yourself warned!
On the north tip of Camden, Waterlow Park isn’t London’s best-known barbecue hotspot, but it attracts plenty of people – including visitors to the tomb of renowned philosopher Karl Marx.
If you’ve ever wanted to wander around the unusual (and allegedly haunted) cemetery on your own, now’s the time as you can still book self-guided tours of the West Cemetery. When social distancing fully relaxes, you’ll go back to needing a tour guide. Tickets cost a tenner (usually £15).
Barbecuing in Islington
Islington council stopped all barbecue zones as part of their COVID-19 restrictions and then decided to make the ban permanent.
In pre-pandemic times, barbecues were allowed in some capacity on most of Islington’s green spaces.
Barbecuing in Southwark
Burgess Park used to have a dedicated barbecue area but currently bbqs are not allowed in any of the Southwark parks.
We’ll keep an eye on all of these and let you know if anything changes.
Since the BBQ situation in London is still somewhat restricted, for some alternative outdoor summer action have a read of our article:
Rooftop Bars in London for Summertime Fun.
First published Mar 26, 2022. Last update Jul 7, 2022.