National Picnic Week offers tips, advice, recipes and other information to encourage people to get outside, find great local al fresco dining sites and enjoy the perfect picnic.
Food really does taste better outdoors, and there are few better ways of making the most of the summer! So here are a few recommendations for the best public places to enjoy a picnic.
In Wiltshire, the Avon Valley Country Park covers some fifty acres of gorgeous land right by the River Avon. There’s loads for grown-ups and kids to do – including a youngsters’ assault course – and some great riverside rambles to work up an appetite while you decide where to unfurl your picnic rug.
Wellington Country Park is another great place, with 350 stunning acres of Hampshire countryside, not to mention a miniature railway, crazy golf, oversized snakes and ladders game, nature trails and more.
North of the border, Beecraigs Country Park in the Bathgate Hills near Linlithgow makes another idyllic location for a family day out. There are activities from kayaking to archery, a fishery and deer farm as well as a campsite, so you could stay a few days and enjoy not just one but several wonderful al fresco meals.
Still in Scotland, the Glenkiln Sculpture Park in Dumfries and Galloway has six sculptures amongst eight miles of land.
Avebury Stone Circle in Wiltshire makes an unusual picnic spot. Europe’s biggest stone circle is thought to be four thousand years old.
Alternatively, in North Yorkshire the ruined Rievaulx Abbey, surrounded by woodland, dates from medieval times and will give your picnic a unique atmosphere. Or what about picnicking in the grounds of Dorset’s Corfe Castle?
The heather and bracken of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall offer a dramatic backdrop to any outdoor meal, as do the North Pennines, from Northumberland’s Hadrian’s Wall into Cumbria. In Wales, the Clywedog Valley and Trail has seven miles of great walking and you could visit the local lead mines. Or take in the hills, woodland and Iron Age fort of Devil’s Dyke, East Sussex.
Beaches and Islands
Still in Wales, Barafundle Beach in Pembrokeshire is a beautiful spot you won’t want to leave. For island settings, think about beautiful St Herbert’s, Cumbria, or Dorset’s Brownsea Island, dotted with idyllic picnicking locations.
Ragley Hall in Warwickshire provides a superb family day out, with 400 acres to play in, an adventure playground incorporating a maze, climbing frames and a trampoline. You may want to spread out your picnic rug by the lake, where its’ nice and peaceful, and you may see the odd peacock strutting around!
Finally, if you thought the city was no place for a picnic, think again. Somerset House lets you escape the chaotic capital with a massive courtyard complete with fountains, in front of this glorious eighteenth century palace. Another idea is the gardens next to the Horniman Museum, which have sixteen acres and where there’s always something going on.
In your Own Garden
Gardens are often described as an extra room to a house. With that in mind, take a look at some stunning outdoor spaces on cottages.com. Enjoy sweeping views of wonderful woodland, gorgeous green spaces, beautiful flowers and much more as you picnic in peace.