We might not quite have a cafe culture yet in the UK, but that doesn’t mean we don’t like to dine Al Fresco. If everything goes to plan and the sun shines, Bank Holiday Weekend is the perfect moment to pack up a bundle of picnic treats and find somewhere beautiful to chat with family and friends in the sunshine.
We’re sharing our favourite picnic spots from across the country. Grab your blanket and picnic basket!
By the Sea
- Formby Beach. Known for its dramatic sandy dunes, there are miles of beach to choose from for your spot. Take in the scenery and be amazed by the fact you’re sitting in a spot where Neolithic man walked over 7000 years ago! On clear days, see if you can spot Blackpool Tower in the distance.
- Birling Gap. I grew up by this beach on the South Coast and with many summers spent on its pebbles, I can definitely say it makes an ideal picnic spot. Nestled in among the dramatic white cliffs of the Seven Sisters, you can explore the rockpools and gently bask in the sun with an ice cream.
- Rhossili Beach. One of the best beaches in all of wales, this is the perfect place to enjoy the seaside. With great surfing, miles of sandy beach and surrounded by clifftop walks, this is just the spot for any outdoor enthusiasts who like to take a break in between their adventures.
- Ilfracombe Harbour. This tiny Devon harbour is a beautiful spot. Grab a bag of fish and chips from the takeaways by the water and climb up on Lantern Hill to St Nichola Chapel to sit overlooking the harbour as the fishing boats come in and out. Idyllic!
Up in the Hills
- Fell Foot. We can’t talk about Bank Holiday picnics without mentioning the Lake District. You are spoilt for choice with beautiful places but the serene views over Lake Windermere make this a hard one to beat. You can even head for a row on the lake after lunch if you’re feeling energetic.
- Devil’s Dyke. In the middle of the South Downs, this dramatic landscape is full of history, with Iron Age forts and ancient settlements. Ideal for long walks, bike rides and even hang gliding, try to find the spot where you can see the sea to take a break.
- Hadrian’s Wall. Spanning the Northern boundaries of England, Hadrian’s Wall is one of the most iconic landscapes in Britain. Head to Chester’s Roman Fort to sit among the remains of what was one of 15 forts along the wall and if you’re brave enough, follow the Hadrian’s Wall trail among the hills across Northumberland.
- Bodmin Moor. This incredible, rugged landscape will give you ample rewards for a climb up the slopes. Covered with heather and granite rocks, you might even spot some moorland ponies to accompany you while you eat!
In Stately Surroundings
- Sissinghurst Castle. Soak up the bohemian atmosphere with the house and gardens designed by the poet and writer Vita Sackville-West. Sit among the roses in the garden to enjoy the most British of summer picnics.
- Heaton Park. Head out of Manchester to the incredible varied parkland of Heaton Park. Sit in the shadow of the main Hall to soak up the stately atmosphere or head to the Temple for views over the city.
- Plas Newydd House. On the shores of the Menai Straight in Anglsea and in the shadow of Snowdonia’s peak, this is a dramatic and striking location for a summer picnic. Soak up the beiws from the garden as boats meander past.
- Longleat House. With beautiful formal gardens overlooking the beautiful grounds of Longleat, this is one of England’s grandest estates. Plus, after you have soaked up all that grandeur, you can nip over to the Safari park and drive among the exotic wildlife like Giraffes and Monkeys for a touch of aristocratic eccentricity.
In the City
- Hampstead Heath. This huge patch of green in the middle of London is the ideal haven for city dwellers. Head out to explore the different areas, from woodland to hills with views of the city before spreading out your picnic blanket and watching the world go by.
- Jesmond Dene. With the River Ouseburn running through pretty woodland, this is a magical fairyland of winding paths and bridges among waterfalls and trees. Just steps out of the Newcastle city centre, this is the ideal way to get a taste of rural adventure without straying too far from civilisation.
- Whitworth Park. Manchester isn’t blessed with lots of green parks, but Whitworth Park is a tiny pocket of greenery in the city. Thanks to the renovation of the Whitworth Art Gallery, you can sit among the trees and look at beautiful sculptures. Added bonus? The ice-cream trucks tend to come through fairly regularly!
- King’s Heath Park. This elegant park in Birmingham is ideal for a picnic break. Set up by the redeveloped pool, with the fountains tinkling and palm tree fronds overhead. It will feel like a little escape to the tropics, a million miles away from the urban city centre.