Summer may be short-lived here in the UK, but those few weeks of warm weather that we get to enjoy are the perfect time to pack a basket full of treats and hit the great outdoors for some alfresco dining. Whether you channel the Victorians and choose to enjoy a multiple-course meal or pack a simple cheese tray to nibble on in the sunshine, picnic season is perfect time to enjoy all of the beautiful scenery that’s around us. Here are five stunning spots to partake of picnic season.
1. Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire
On a particularly sunny summer day, one destination is always first to come to mind: the beach! And if you’re lucky enough to live within distance of Pembrokeshire (or fancy a quick weekend getaway), you’re in for a treat. Golden sand and crystal clear waters make this Welsh spot a slice of tropical heaven. There are no facilities on the beach and you’ll have to walk for half a mile before you reach these sandy shores, but the journey will be worth it! Once you make it down the cliffs from Stackpole Quay, sit down in the sand or on a large blanket, pop open a cold bottle of bubbly and get lost in the waves and sounds of the sea.
2. Brownsea Island, Dorset
Bustling with wildlife and views of the Purbecks, adventure awaits at this island off the coast of Dorset. Take a short ferry ride from Poole Harbour and you’ll find yourself in a peaceful world that feels miles away from the hustle and bustle of the cities at shore. Indigenous red squirrels and Sika deer run around freely; and at only a mile long and a mile wide, you can easily stroll the entire island to find the perfect vista or picnic spot. After your fizz-filled feast, be sure to take a stroll through the peaceful woodlands to clear your head – you’ll come home relaxed, refreshed and completely renewed!
3. Hampstead Heath, London
If you’re in or around the Big Smoke, your go-to spot has got to be Hampstead Heath. With 320 hectares of grassy, open space, this ancient park is one of the city’s most beloved spots. Hit Parliament Hill if you’re looking for some truly stunning views – or strategically set up your soiree near any one of the Heath’s many playgrounds to keep the little ones entertained while you sip your bubbles. After your picnic, be sure to visit the historical Hill Garden and pergola, where the grandeur of extravagant Edwardian garden parties still lingers in the air.
4. Jesmond Dene, Newcastle
Just a quick drive from the city centre, this park is a stunning rural setting abound with waterfalls, crags and woodland. You’ll want to bring your camera alongside your picnic basket – this oasis is truly mesmerising! Originally the private park and gardens of Lord Armstrong, who brought the Dene to its current glory, the park was given to the Newcastle City Council in the late 1800s for the public to enjoy. Take a leisurely stroll along the bridges to see the ruins of the Old Windmill or have a seat along the banks, fizz in hand, enjoying the quiet of rushing water and rustling leaves. Specific picnic tables have even been installed in certain areas, so if you want to set up a bounty of picnic goodies, you’re all set!
5. Hallin Fell, Cumbria
There’s no shortage of spots to set up your picnic in the Lake District, and around the area’s most beautiful lake, Ullswater, it’s harder to decide where not to stop and sit! But for magnificent views of the mountains and lakes of the area, the steep climb to the top of Hallin Fell is well worth it. Pack your blanket and picnic goodies in a sturdy backpack and take the short walk up to the top, where you can bask in the summer sunshine while you gaze out at the natural beauty below you. If you’re spending the day in the area, also check out the waterfall at Aira Force, or if you’re out for a family outing head to Fell Foot Park where you can rent a paddle boat and experience the lake up close