Diner en Blanc: An Elegant Pop up Picnic

Last week, London played host to its first ever Diner en Blanc event, a pop up invite-only picnic at a famous city landmark which treats its guests to an unforgettable dining experience. Please note, there’s a strict time schedule, white dress code and you have to tidy up after yourself.


International pop up, Diner en Blanc aims to “recall the elegance and glamour of court society”. The evening event has been held in 25 cities globally from Vancouver to Kigali. Quite surprising then that it’s taken 22 years for this event to make it to London, when it was founded only across the pond at Paris.

April Wiens, the co-organiser of the event, read about the New York event on a blog and wanted to bring it to London. The mission was then to find a city landmark that a) would not turn into mud because of the unpredictable weather,  b) not be in the middle of a chaotic traffic intersection and c), is globally recognisable.

The first ever London event was then delayed even further, pushing it back into September because of all the Olympic stuff. Participants were only made aware of the location an hour before the event by their group leader and were required to bring their own table and food. Held in Covent Garden, the event was a little smaller than previous events, but more than made up for it with great atmosphere (created by the live music) and the amazing location.

At exactly 7.30pm the event starts and the participants have 10 mins to set up their table, which strictly must have white table cloth, napkins, white plates, wine glasses (beer and liquor is forbidden) and table decoration. The food must include a cheese and bread course in addition to the starter, main and dessert.

Dinner starts at 8pm and ends promptly at 9.30pm, followed by dancing with a live band till 11pm at night, when everything must be packed up and left as if no one was ever  there.

The event only happens once a year in each city, so keep in the loop at Diner en Blanc for all London and international city dates.

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