The picnic – or pique-nique, meaning “to pick at food” – may be of French origin, but autumn in Hong Kong, when the heat and humidity have come off the boil, is a great time to make use of the city’s beaches, parks and hillsides for a spot of alfresco entertaining. Here are our picks for places for picnics in Hong Kong.
Victoria Peak Gardens
Escape the crowds marvelling at the giant wok-shaped Peak Galleria and walk onwards and upwards to the green and tranquil Victoria Peak Gardens. Originally the grounds of Mountain Lodge, the Governor’s Summer residence, the house is long gone but the green lawns and winding paths remain as a perfect family playground for picnics.
Finding it: Take the Peak Tram (when it opens again after current restoration work) or a bus to the upper terminus, then walk for 15 to 20 minutes up Mount Austin Road.
This may lack the fantasia of its neighbour, Hong Kong Disneyland, but Inspiration Lake is still a magical place with its meandering paths, shaded lakeside pagodas and backdrop of Lantau’s peaks. Weekdays it’s practically deserted; at weekends you may have to fight through the wedding couples and their entourage of photographers. Take your bikes or hire one there. You can even hire a pedalo in season.
Finding it: The lake is a 15-minute walk from Disneyland Resort MTR station. Parking is available.
Looking for a Southside beach where you don’t have to fight for your inch of sand? Turtle Cove is a hidden, tree-lined bay tucked below the main road near Redhill and a lovely spot for picnics.
Finding it: You’ll need bus 14 from Sai Wan Ho MTR station. Get off the bus just after the Tai Tam Reservoir and look for the steep steps that lead down to the beach.
Bride’s Pool legend has it that a bride was being carried in a sedan by four porters on her way to meet her groom in stormy weather. As they passed the pool, one of the porters slipped and the bride fell into the pool and drowned. Not the happiest story, but today the pools are the perfect place for relaxing picnics followed by a refreshing dip or a stroll along the nature trail.
Finding it: Head to Tai Po Market MTR station, exit A3, then catch bus 275R to the start of the trail. (Sundays and Public Holidays only.)
Parents of kids with short attention spans should lay down their picnic rugs in Victoria Park; it’s surprisingly tranquil in places, despite being slap-bang in the heart of Causeway Bay. Snooze under the shade of the tree or take jaunts to one of several swing parks. Don’t miss the model boat pond where local model-makers race their handmade, diesel-powered miniature creations.
Finding it: Take the MTR to Causeway Bay, battle the crowds past SOGO and Ikea, and Victoria Park is across the road from the Park Lane Hotel.
Cyberport Waterfront Park
This huge expanse of waterfront park is open to joggers, dog walkers, cyclists and those just wanting to take it easy under the shade of a palm tree. The Recharge Café on the Podium level at Cyberport will even take the stress out of your picnic planning by providing a hamper filled with Classified goodies and your very own picnic rug.
Finding it: The park is directly behind Cyberport which can be reached by bus, car or taxi from Central.
Tai Tam Country Park
Just a short stroll down the Heritage Trail from Parkview (and its handy Fusion supermarket), you’ll find the perfect open space for a barbecue or picnic at Tai Tam Country Park. Kids can run wild while you enjoy a leisurely afternoon under the shade of the trees.
Finding it: Take any bus through Wong Nai Chung Gap Road. Get off at the Shell petrol station near Hong Kong Parkview right after the tennis courts. Walk up the stairs beside the petrol station to Tai Tam Reservoir Road. Walk uphill along the road for about 10 minutes to the starting point of Tai Tam Valley. Alternatively, there is a public car park at the bottom of the hill opposite the reservoir boating pond.
St. John’s Cathedral
The grounds of the colonial St John’s Cathedral are a little oasis of calm perfect for picnics. Find a spot under the trees and take some time out from the frenetic pace of life. There is also The Nest coffee shop ready with sandwiches and snacks.
Finding it: The Cathedral is a short stroll up Battery Path from Central.
Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park
For a picnic spot with one of the best harbour views, you can’t beat the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park. Open grassy lawns, scooter friendly pathways, basketball courts and playgrounds mean there’s plenty to keep young and old amused.
Finding it: MTR to Sheung Wan, Exit D, walk towards the water.
Otherwise known as Tap Mun, this small island in the northeastern corner of Sai Kung is a perfect place to get away from it all. There are plenty of places to explore, like the abandoned school and Tap Mun Cave, as well as hilltop picnic spots.
Finding it: Regular ferries from Wong Shek Pier.
Tai Po Waterfront Park
For a slightly less urban waterfront spot, head to the Tai Po Waterfront Park with its expanses of grass and points of interest including a lookout tower and insect house.
Finding it: MTR to Tai Po Market then jump in a taxi. There is also parking on Dai Wah Street.
Pack the Nerf guns along with your picnic paraphernalia because this former army barracks and artillery depot makes the perfect playground for little soldiers, plus there is a pleasant grassy plateau for picnicking.
Finding it: Drive up the curving road to the top of Mount Davis between Kennedy Town and Pokfulam.
Nestled right in the middle of Admiralty is this sprawling public park with a great view of Victoria Harbour. It’s conveniently located a short walk from Admiralty MTR and is often the venue of music festivals and community yoga classes.
Finding it: Travel to Admiralty MTR station and leave from Exit A.
Jordan Valley Park
This park in Kwun Tong used to be a landfill site, but don’t let that put you off – it’s been transformed into a charming little place, perfect for family picnics. As well as plenty of open grass space it also has two radio-controlled car racing circuits, a big playground and a maze for kids.
Finding it: There’s limited paid parking here or you can park at the nearby housing estate. Otherwise, take a bus to Shun Lee and walk from there.
Got a favourite picnic spot? Tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org – and read on for more things to do in Hong Kong.