In honour of National Picnic Week (15-24 June), we’re packing our hamper and heading to some of the loveliest places in Britain for lunch with a view
Norfolk isn’t short of stunning beaches, but this is one of the loveliest. Golden sand stretches out as far as the eye can see, and you can even see the remains of an old shipwreck when the tide is out.
With 300 acres of formal gardens and parkland – and spectacular displays of azaleas, camellias and flowering cherry trees – there’s no shortage of space to park your picnic blanket. Outdoor theatre is put on in the summer months, so you could consider an evening picnic too.
For a tranquil picnic in the midst of glorious countryside, head to Box Hill, which has breathtaking views of the Surrey Hills. Jane Austen’s Emma Woodhouse found it to be a fine place for a picnic: upon arriving, the picnic party has a ‘burst of admiration’ for this scenic spot.
Hughenden Manor, the country-house estate of Benjamin Disraeli, Queen Victoria’s favourite Prime Minister, is steeped in history. But its lovely gardens, with glorious views of the Chilterns countryside, attract all the attention in the summer months. The walled garden, with its cherry and apple orchard, is perhaps the prettiest place to take in the quintessentially English-garden scene.
Looking for a leafy spot in the capital? Regent’s Park is a favourite park for picnicking, with a mix of open grassy areas and formal gardens – as well as post-picnic diversions including a boating lake, open-air theatre and zoo.
Whether you choose to unpack your hamper in Cliveden’s woodlands, water garden or on a scenic bench in the rose garden, surrounded by the scent of 900 roses, the view is guaranteed to be spectacular.
You can’t beat England’s romantic ruined abbeys for atmosphere. With Rievaulx’s 800-hundred-year old ruins as a backdrop and plenty of tasty treats in the tearoom to bolster your packed lunch, this is a place to linger.
Hundreds of roses adorn Haddon Hall’s crumbling walls and borders, and in the summer months they are in full bloom. Wander the cascading Tudor gardens before enjoying your picnic with views of the River Wye.
Perhaps the best views in Edinburgh can be had from the top of Calton Hill, and with a number of monuments on the hill (including the National Monument and the Robert Burns Monument), you can get your culture fix from the comfort of your picnic blanket.
Perched between sea and sky, a clifftop picnic on the White Cliffs of Dover affords staggering views – so mesmerising, in fact, that your picnic might go untouched.
For more picnic recommendations, see www.nationalpicnicweek.co.uk