Now that the temperature is beginning to creep up and we find ourselves wanting to spend more time outside than in, it is time to start planning some fun days out with friends and family to make the most of the British summertime.
Having a picnic is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon, combining outdoor life with delicious food, whilst catching up with friends. Here we look at 10 of the most picturesque picnic spots in the UK for you to try out this year.
1. Blickling Estate, Norfolk
Blickling Hall is one of England's breath-taking Jacobean mansions located on the Blickling Estate, just north of Aylsham in Norfolk. In the grounds of the estate you will find extensive and beautiful parkland as well as a stunning lake, offering plenty of perfect picnic spots around it. If you are looking for activities after lunch, then you can also hire bikes or Segways to explore further and in the peak of Summer you can also play a game of croquet on the grass.
2. Studley Royal, Harrogate
Set within the beautiful North Yorkshire countryside, just outside Harrogate, the Studley Royal is part of the Fountains Abbey World Heritage Site, offering the perfect setting for sprawling out a picnic blanket. Nestled in the Skell Valley, you’ll find the magnificent ruins of the once great Fountains Abbey, and if you are a lover of wildlife, you can set up your picnic amongst some of the many animals that live on the estate such as deer, pheasants and swans. Should you prefer a waterside spot, then you could set up alongside the tranquil water gardens, where you will find picturesque statues, follies and lily ponds.
3. Man O' War Beach, Dorset
If being by the sea is more your style and you are heading down South, then Man O’War Beach, near Preston in Dorset might be your perfect spot. It is a very popular beach formed around a stunning cove and made up of sand and fine pebbles so great for setting up a picnic. The surrounding high rock cliffs give perfect shelter, so you won’t have to worry about sand blowing into your sausage rolls, and the turquoise waters are still and shallow, meaning that you can have a little paddle after lunch if you fancy it.
4. Hutton Le Hole, North York Moors
Hutton Le Hole is a rather small but very attractive village in the district of Ryedale in the North York Moors. The village is surrounded by vast grassy banks and it has a clear-water stream flowing through it, which makes it an ideal spot for picnics and paddling with friends. You can also enjoy the accompaniment of the black moorland sheep that roam the village, looking for left over sandwiches and picnic scraps. Following your picnic you could take a walk around the village, and why not pop into the ice-cream parlour for a ’99 or into The Crown for a cold drink before you head home.
5. Croome Court, Worcestershire
Croome Court is an 18th century mansion near Pershore in South Worcestershire, which was originally designed by Capability Brown for George Coventry, the 6th Earl of Coventry. The mansion is surrounded by a beautifully landscaped park and is a relaxing and tranquil place to stroll and admire the surroundings on a sunny day. When you are ready for your picnic, there are ample spots to choose from; next to one of the rivers or dipping ponds, close to one of the statues, bridges or temples dotted around the park, or at the bottom of one of the rolling lawns that are neatly manicured to perfection.
6. Somerset House, London
Located on the busy Strand, close to Covent Garden, Somerset House is a courted-haven, well-known for it’s idyllic ice-skating rink in the Winter and jumping fountains and outdoor entertainment programme in the Summer. The fountains create the perfect atmosphere for a fun-packed picnic and you can join in with the many people who like to run through them (fully clothed) on a boiling hot day. If you fancy a bit of culture at the same time, you could organise an evening picnic, whilst enjoying one of their many open-air film or music events that are popular throughout July and August.
7. Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire
Bourton-on-the-Water is a small, yet delightful Cotswold village, tucked up in the green hills in Gloucestershire. Despite it’s bijoux size, Bourton offers many perfect picnic spots to enjoy, especially along the River Windrush, which, as it’s name suggests, flows through the centre of the village. You could set up your deck chairs alongside one of the attractive bridges, which feature along the river, and perhaps throw in some scraps of bread to the ducks as they swim by. Following your picnic, there are many fun places to visit nearby including the model village and railway, Dragonfly Maze or the Birdland Park and Gardens, which has a collection of birds including penguins, parrots and birds of prey.
8. Fell Foot Park, Cumbria
If you are looking for more of a comfortable way to enjoy your picnic, with benches, toilets and a cafe, then Fell Foot Park might be just the place you are looking for. Located on the most southerly point of Lake Windermere in the Lake District, the park is owned by the National Trust, so you can be assured that it is kept in pristine condition at all times. There are plenty of places to sit, all with beautiful views of the lake, and after you have eaten you could even take part in a spot of kayaking or a relaxing boat ride to take in more of the stunning scenery.
9. Primrose Hill, North London
If you are looking for a lovely picnic spot in the capital, but away from the hustle and bustle, then Primrose Hill is a fantastic option. With easily some of the best views of London and the City, Primrose Hill sits at the top of Regent’s Park and is a favourite with Londoners and tourists alike. There is plenty of green open space, so you are guaranteed to find a nice area for you and your friends to set up, and you can also be sure of some great people-watching, with many of London’s celebrity crew frequenting the area at weekends.
10. Your own garden!
Once you have explored the countryside and experienced some truly memorable picnic dates, then why not try to re-create the experience in your own garden. Picnics at home can be lots of fun and at least if you forget something, you don’t have to travel very far to get it! A dusky, early evening picnic with friends is a great idea, and can be really easy to organise. Set up some garden furniture into an area of your garden with some blankets, cushions and lanterns so that you can all get comfy and stay warm when the sun goes down. Put on some light music, and serve a Mediterranean sharing feast using disposable crockery so that clearing away is as easy as possible once your guests have left!