The ABBA picnic is from 12 noon, and you are advised to bring your own food and drink (there is no supermarket near the venue). We also recommend you bring a blanket or plastic sheets to sit on, in particular if it has been wet in the days before the picnic.
ABBA Picnic is not part of the Family Fun Day
From 14.00, there is live entertainment in the entire area as part of the Family Fun Day arranged by the Embassy of Sweden in London in association with the City of London festival. Please note that the ABBA picnic is NOT part of the Family Fun Day organised by the Embassy.
You will not be able to identify the picnic group by the sound of music coming from a portable stereo this year. Hopefully, most people attending the picnic will recognise at least Helga and Anita from the Official International ABBA Fan Club, or will know somebody else who is also attending the event.
Benny and his band are expected on stage in the late afternoon/early evening but even if you are not planning on coming to the picnic, we still advise you to get to the Heath earlier as there are other acts appearing and there will be plenty to see and do from 14.00.
Please note that the ABBA picnic may not be suitable for children because of the adult nature of some conversations.
The Benny Andersson Band concert is taking place on the bandstand and not on the better-known Kenwood House open-air stage.
Getting to the concert and the picnic is not as easy as getting to our usual and well-known picnic spot in St James’s Park. There are no underground stations close by, but there is an overlground rail station and excellent bus connections to underground stations.
The 2009 London ABBA Picnic is not a regulated event. It is an informal social gathering.
For those who have a London A-Z map book, the bandstand is by the ‘W’ in ‘William Ellis School’, p. 44, E3, in the standard A5 version. For those who do not have an A-Z, well, we will guide you there:
By rail (Overground):
- The nearest station is an Overground station (accessible on local trains, formerly Silverlink) called Gospel Oak, on Mansfield Road/Gordon House Road. There are direct trains from Richmond, Barking and Stratford.
- When you come out of the station, look for the railway arches. Once you have passed those, there is the Gospel Oak entrance to Hampstead Heath on the left hand side of the road.
- Get onto the straight path on the right, walk past the car park/lido/playing fields until you come to a point where several paths merge, and you are right in front of the bandstand that remains hidden from view until the last possible moment.
Please note that there is often weekend engineering works on the overground (and underground system), and so some lines may be fully or partially closed. The full information is not yet available to us, and so we recommend that you re-visit this information a few days before the picnic/concert. In case the weather forecast is very poor, there will also be information for a ‘pubnic’ alternative to the picnic.
If you come by bus, it is easiest to approach the venue from Highgate Road on buses C2, C11 or 214. Get off of the bus at the stop called ‘William Ellis School’.
Walk up the road about 50 or 100m until you are opposite the La Sainte Union School. This is the main Parliament Hill Fields entrance, which is framed by tennis courts on both sides. Just stay on the main path till you come to a cafe on your right. The bandstand is right behind it.
- Bus C2 comes from Oxford Circus (Central, Bakerloo, Victoria underground lines), goes past Gt Portland Street (Circle, Metropolitan and Hammersmith&City Line) then past Camden Town and Kentish Town (both Northern line, but if you want to go to Kentish Town you need to be on a High Barnet train because the line splits at Camden). The final destination for the bus is Parliament Hill Fields.
- Bus 214 comes from Liverpool Street (Central, Hammersmith&City and Circle lines), goes past King’s Cross/St Pancras International (Piccadilly, Victoria, Circle, Metropolitan, City branch of Northern Line and Hammersmith & City Line), the past Camden Town and Kentish town (see C2 above). The final destination for this bus is Highgate Village.
- Bus C11 either comes from Archway (Northern line) and direction Brent Cross Shopping Centre or from Brent Cross (direction Archway). It goes past Swiss Cottage (Jubilee line) and Belsize Park (Northern Line, Edgware Road branch).
If you are planning to come by car (something we do not recommend because there are parking restrictions in the area), there is a small ‘Pay & Display’ car park by the lido (see By rail: Overground above). It tends to fill up quickly with swimmers and Heath walkers, and it is not cheap. The first 4 hours cost cost £3.20, but then each additional hour is charged £3.20, and you have to pay until 9.30 in the evening.
If you are unfamiliar with London, this map will help you get an idea of where Hampstead Heath is. Place your cursor over the map until it turns into a hand symbol and zoom out steadily.
- Nearest (but not that near!) Underground Stations: Belsize Park and Hampstead
- Nearest Railway Stations: Gospel Oak and Hampstead, the latter being a long walk!
The links below will guide you to more information and if you have any further questions regarding the 2009 London ABBA Picnic, please email The Official International ABBA Fan Club.