Winter has been and gone, the Spring weather is well and truly on its way, and that can only mean one thing to us thoroughly patriotic Brits: Picnic season! Is there anything more quintessentially romantic than finding a secluded spot, laying down a blanket and feasting on classic finger foods and sipping chilled Rosé in the late afternoon sunshine? I think not!
I, personally, am an avid picnic lover. I believe there isn’t a much better way to relax than getting yourself outdoors and into nature. Unfortunately, over the last few years, I’ve heard more and more people commenting on how badly they want to leave England and move to a more “beautiful” place. Typically, anywhere is a better option than home. Australia, France, New Zealand; you name it, anywhere is better than the UK, right? Wrong! I think we’re just getting lazy. Hardly anybody bothers to look past the end of their nose and actually see some of the beautiful places this country actually has to offer; and trust me, there are some belters.
So next time Susan from sales starts having a radgie about how she can’t remember the last time she saw a ‘reet pulchritudinous sight’ outside of her local pie shop, you redirect her to this blog, because we’ve found you some smashing locations in good old England!
Before you decide on a location, you need to get yourself prepared. This is where we’ve got you covered.. Kitchen Craft’s latest Spring/Summer collection features one of their best products yet (in my humble picnicker opinion). The Four Person Fitted Family Picnic Basket is all the equipment you need you create the perfect picnic! This stunning willow picnic basket has interior striped cloth linings and faux leather strap detailing, it also comes complete with 4 porcelain plates, 4 porcelain mugs, 4 sets of cutlery, 4 cotton napkins and a waiters friend corkscrew. The interior reflective zip cover is also great for keeping your contents insulated or chilled for even longer, and features a handy carry strap to easily carry the basket from your car to that all important location.
So, without further a-foody-do, these are my Top 8 Picnic Spots in the U.K.
1. Aira Force, Glenridding.
Located at the edge of Ullswater, this famous waterfall is one of the most beautiful spots in the Lake District. The 70 foot waterfall is the perfect location to spend an afternoon, with the main force falling from below a little stone bridge. Aira Force provides a glimpse of a landscaped Victorian park with dramatic waterfalls, arboretum and stunning scenery. I was lucky enough to recently visit this idyllic place, and it really is worth seeing.
2. Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire.
This is one for the tree lovers. This botanic garden is bursting with colour and simple stunning nature. The National Arboretum, managed by the Forestry Commission, spans across a vast 600 acres and home to nearly 16,000 specimens and 3,000 different species of trees. The specimens and species come from all over Britain, North America, Chile, China, Japan and other temperate climates. The planting of this collection started in the 1850’s. The rich Victorian landowner of Westonbirt estate, Robert Holford, set things in motion. He was fascinated by stunning and rare plants and therefore helped finance expeditions to collect specimens from all over the globe.
This spot would make a the perfect picnic location. With the sun shining through the trees, the Westonbirt Arboretum should definitely be on your list of spots to visit this Summer.
3. Durdle Door, Dorset.
Durdle Door is a natural limestone arch on the Jurassic Coast near Lulworth in Dorset. This breathtaking location has been the set for many famous films and music videos, you may recognise this from the videos for Tears for Fears’ “Shout”, Billy Ocean’s “Loverboy”, and Cliff Richard’s “Saviour’s Day”. Aside from its famous visitors, this beach is steeped is history and would make a fascinating spot for a picnic.
Around 25 million years ago, the African tectonic plate collided with the European plate. The huge pressures generated heaved and folded rocks to create the mountain chain we know as the Alps. Ripples from that collision spread north through the Earth’s crust and gently folded the rocks here, in what would become south Dorset and Purbeck. If you visit Durdle Door, look carefully and you will notice that the layers exposed in the cliffs are tilting steeply to the north. This is most notable with the arch itself as it is formed from a layer of hard limestone standing almost vertically out of the sea. Normally layers of limestone would be horizontal. Only the most fundamental force in geology could have altered these rocks in this way – plate tectonics. Durdle Door is definitely one for the rock lovers!
4. Ingleton Waterfalls, Yorkshire.
One for the more active picnicker, this waterfall is at the end of a 8km trail. Its well-defined foot path runs along the side of the two rivers, providing spectacular views of the waterfalls. The path has a vertical rise of 554 feet, so you’ll definitely work up an appetite for lunch after you’ve completed the trail!
Ingleton Waterfalls has some of the most spectacular waterfall and woodland scenery in the north of England, we definitely recommend a visit! The waterfalls form the trail on a circular route, so no need to lug the picnic basket all the way round with you if you’d rather not. You can always grab it out of the car after the walk and find yourself a pleasant spot.
5. Blue Lagoon, Abereiddi, Pembrokeshire
If you’re a daredevil who likes to picnic on the edge, then the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast has the perfect picnic location for you. Known as The Blue Lagoon in stunning Aberiddi, on Pembrokeshire’s western coast, this former slate quarry is a reminder of Pembrokeshire’s industrial past. The quarry was abandoned in 1910 and left to flood, quickly becoming a hotspot for diving, coasteering and coastal walks. The distinct blue-green colour of the water is caused by the build-up of minerals in the lagoon, due to the slate still lying under the water. With parking a short walk away, this is the perfect secluded spot to enjoy your picnic, or indulge in some adventure. Parts of the quarry still remain just a short swim across the lagoon, and make a fabulous spot for cliff jumping. Or if you prefer to keep your feet firmly on the ground, there are wonderful paths to take you up the cliffs to really soak in the view.
6. New Forest, Hampshire
The New Forest National Park is located in the South of England and is a genuine walker’s paradise. The only way to truly discover this lively, working landscape is to get in there and experience the forest for your self. The perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, this stunning park is a ready made picnic hotspot, with benches and tables dotted about the space and toilet facilities. Enjoy a civilised lunch whilst absorbing your stunning surroundings. All year round there are guided walks where local experts will tell you about the history, geology, wildlife and folklore beneath your feet. You can even explore the forest on ranger-led New Forest events. The New Forest is a fantastic place for cycling with miles and miles of traffic free off-road tracks leading you right into the heart of the forest, the idyllic place for a day out!
7. Loch Lomond, Dunbartonshire
Loch Lomond is the largest of the Scottish lakes, lying across the southern edge of the Highlands. Loch Lomond extends 24 miles, widening south in the shape of a triangle. Although its surface is only 23 feet above sea level, its glacially excavated floor reaches a depth of 623 feet. It drains by the short River Leven into the River Clyde estuary at Dumbarton. The scenery ranges from rugged, glaciated mountains with elevations above 3,000 feet (900 metres) in the north to softer hills and islands in the south. Within very easy reach of the metropolitan region of Glasgow, it is a favourite resort for the urban dwellers. What sounds more perfect that sitting at the end of the jetty with your special someone and grazing on homemade foods whilst the stillness of the Lake surrounds you? This is our idea of perfection!
8. Chatsworth House, Bakewell, Derbyshire
Okay, so there is a slight possibility that we may be a little biased toward Bakewell, given that it is the inspiration behind the new Mason Cash Bakewell range. And we’re also a little biased toward Chatsworth since we saw Mr Darcy emerge from the lake in that scene from Pride and Prejudice (yes, you guessed it, Chatsworth is the real life Pemberley). But come on, what’s not to love?
Home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, Chatsworth has been passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family. The historic house and 105 acre gardens make for the perfect day out. Take a look around the house, stroll around the gardens, complete with historic and modern waterworks, sculptures, a Victorian rock garden and a maze, visit the farmyard and adventure playground, or simply set up camp on your blanket on the opposite side of the river and enjoy your picnic, overlooking the beautiful house.
To discover more about Chatsworth, you can have a look at their website, here.
I hope this blog has inspired you to explore more of this wonderful country and maybe even visit some of these breathtaking locations, just don’t forget to wrap your sandwiches in grease-proof paper rather than Saran wrap, nobody likes a soggy butty. Enjoy your exploring!