It’s a bit of a British tradition that as soon as the sun comes out, we like get our shorts on, and plan a picnic. So we’ve gathered some of the best picnic spots in the UK to help you take part in National Picnic Week, which this year takes place 19th -27th June.
One of the best things about picnics is their simplicity: yummy food, a picnic blanket, (hopefully) a bit of warm sunshine, and you're away.
As well as the opportunity to spend time with friends and family in the great outdoors, picnics can also be done on the cheap. Other than your food, and perhaps the cost of fuelling and parking your car, you don’t have to put your hand in your pocket.
So, it’s little wonder that the average person picnics at least three times a year according to the organisers of National Picnic Week.
The perfect spot
As any seasoned picnicker knows, the biggest al fresco eating challenge can be to find the perfect picnic spot. While some people are happy with setting up their lunch in a carpark, others aren’t content until they’ve found an idyllic location, combining great views, plenty of space and preferably amenities such as loos.
If that’s you, and you’re willing to take to the road and find a truly special venue, then you could take inspiration from Hello Fresh, the recipe box provider, for your next open-air feast, who have ranked the most instagrammable picnic spots.
Here are the top 15 - maybe you could give one a try?
- Brighton Beach, 834,000 posts
- Little Venice, London, 319,000 posts
- Seven Sisters, East Sussex, 296,000 posts
- Hampstead Heath, London, 296,000 posts
- Tynemouth Beach, Newcastle, 287,000 posts
- Primrose Hill, London, 260,000 posts
- Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, 107,000 posts
- Lyndhurst, New Forest, 91,800 posts
- Tatton Park, Knutsford, 85,800 posts
- The Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye, 76,000 posts
- Wye Valley, Wales, 75,200 posts
- Corfe Castle, Cornwall, 70,600 posts
- Carrick-a-Rede, Northern Ireland, 50,600 posts
- Whistable, Canterbury, 18,900 posts
- Elterwater, Lake District, 12,700 posts
Hello Fresh also suggests some “quick and easy” recipes you could have a go at preparing before you leave: panzanella salad, chermoula roasted cauliflower, or bacon, cheddar and pesto pinwheels (recipes here).
However, if you’re after simpler fare, the BBC Good Food website has hundreds of picnic recipes, including classics such as sausage rolls and potato salad.
Taking your picnic to the next level
If you’re planning a big picnic with a large group of people, perhaps to celebrate an occasion like someone’s birthday, you might want to go the extra mile to make it really special.
There are few ways you could take your picnic to another level - and make your gathering the envy of any passers-by. Inspired by National Picnic Week, here are some things to take with you to make your picnic an extravagant outdoors event to remember:
- A hamper: show off by lifting the lid on a basket full of goodies.
- Cutlery and crockery: forget your old plastic picnic plates and sporks; instead take your best dishes and cutlery.
- Jars: using glass jars to keep food in is so much more appealing than tupperware (even if it’s a little less practical). Why not go the extra mile and take a cake stand along too?
- Table and chairs: it’s not compulsory to sit on a blanket. If you’re driving to your picnic spot and don’t have far to walk, take along a table and chairs. You could even bring decorations to adorn your table, such as a vase of flowers.
- A portable barbeque: is it still a picnic if there’s a barbeque involved? Debatable. But either way, best to first check if barbeques allowed at your chosen picnic spot.
- Lighting: bring along lanterns or fairy lights to give your picnic a magical glow and enable you to keep on going even as daylight fades
- Outdoor games: If you have kids in tow, then don’t forget some games to keep them busy, frisbee, football, rounders, tennis are a few favourites, chalk bombs are also a winner to add a new dimension to hide and seek or tag.
Better still, check the events calendars for some of the destinations we've mentioned above. For example, Kenwood House in Hampstead Heath is famous for its outdoor concerts and is a real gem location for a picnic.
Remember, there’s nothing stopping you keeping it simple with a cheese sarnie, or whatever takes your fancy. The important thing is to make the most of a warm summer’s day and enjoy the great outdoors with friends and family - and not much beats a good old picnic!