BBQs In London Parks: When And Where Is Barbecuing Allowed In 2019?

By Londonist Staff Last edited 24 months ago
BBQs In London Parks: When And Where Is Barbecuing Allowed In 2019?
Photo: Peter Photographic from the Londonist Flickr Pool

Few of us in London are lucky enough to have gardens, so if we fancy a barbecue then we need to be creative about where to hold it. While pesky by-laws banning the barbecue in most green spaces across the capital don’t seem to stop everyone, finding somewhere legit to light-up is no mean feat.

Here’s some inspiration on where to sizzle those sausages in the form of a few parks (mostly in Islington and Camden) where barbecuing is allowed, at least in designated areas. We wish there were more, but unfortunately the number of available BBQ spots in London parks appears to be diminishing year on year. Yet another reason to champion responsible barbecue usage and always take litter home with you.

Image: Shutterstock

We’re sure there are some privately owned spots around London where barbecuing is just fine. If you know of any, please let us know in the comments below and we’ll add them to the list.

Lincoln's Inn Fields is one of the few places you can enjoy a barbecue in London's parks.
Lincoln's Inn Fields. Photo: Lee Jackson

Barbecuing in Camden

One of only two councils in London to allow barbecues in all its parks, wonderful Camden Council has issued some helpful guidelines for barbecuers (PDF). Remember though that it doesn't manage Hampstead Heath or Regent's Park and Primrose Hill and barbecues are strictly not permitted at these sites.

Head to one of these instead:

Waterlow Park
Up high with wonderful panoramic views, this is a top spot for cooking up some delicious barbecue grub and enjoying the vista, as long as you stick to those guidelines. Plus it's next to Hampstead Heath, where you can't barbecue, so makes a great alternative.

Lincoln’s Inn Fields
Yes, you can barbecue in central London. This wonderful green space a stone's throw from Holborn station is technically within Camden's remit, you can get your barbie on with impunity.

Cantelowes Garden
Just off Camden Road you'll find this small green space and skate park. You'll be vying for space with skaters and dog walkers, but there's usually enough room to find a burger-flipping spot in peace.

See the full list of parks in Camden here.

Waterlow Park is one of the few places you can enjoy a barbecue in London's parks.
A view of London from Waterlow Park. Photo: Steven Shingler

Barbecuing in Islington

The other of only two councils in London to have lifted its blanket barbecue ban (way back in 2011), any green space in Islington is fair game for firing up — so long as you do so responsibly. Make sure to look over Islington Council's BBQ guidelines before the sizzling commences. Once you're clued up, these are a few of the best spots.

Image: Shutterstock

Highbury Fields
Mere minutes from Highbury & Islington station, this tree-lined 29 acre park has swimming and fitness facilities, an orchard and a children’s play area complete with sandpits to entertain, as well as the option of a barbecue. Following the introduction of local by-laws in 2018, all barbecuers must use the marked BBQ area only. If you visit during the peak of summer, you'll feel like the odd one out if you're there without a backpack full of burger buns and sausage meat.

Highbury Fields is one of the few places you can enjoy a barbecue in London's parks.
Highbury Fields. Photo: Louisa Thompson

Caledonian Park
Complete with basketball court, woodland areas, community orchards and a Grade II listed clocktower, there’s plenty to see in this park near Caledonian Road station. In between eating your sausages, of course.

Gillespie Park
Large, bridged ponds and overgrown grass make this park in the shadow of Arsenal football stadium feel much more rural than it is. Parts of it are a designated nature reserve, so be careful where you light up.

Paradise Park
The name is tempting enough, but this Islington greenery also offers outdoor gym equipment, table tennis, giant chess and a playground for the little ones. Small barbecues are permitted although, as Islington's guidelines state, make sure they're on a stand and not directly on the grass.

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Barbecuing in Southwark

Burgess Park
There are eight purpose-built barbecues and 10 more spots for disposable ones built around the picturesque fishing lake of this Camberwell park, and the area can get a communal smoky buzz of a sunny day.

Barbecuing in Sutton

Roundshaw Park

A small-ish park with a small BBQ offering to match. Two barbecue stands are available on a first-come-first-served basis. Barbecues cannot be used anywhere else in the park, so if you miss out on one of the stands you'll have to wait, or get there earlier next time.

Original article by Ben Norum

This article is part of our Best of London Food and Drink series. Visit the page for more recommendations of where to enjoy the capital's top food and drink, categorised by cuisine, food type and more.

Last Updated 28 June 2019