Is there anything more idyllic than a lazy picnic on a Great British summer’s day? We think not. The UK is home to some absolutely gorgeous picnic spots, from the hills and lochs of the Scottish highlands to the rugged beaches of the Dorset coast.
Sure, the weather can’t be guaranteed, and you won’t be able to brag that you picnicked in the south of France or in New York’s Central Park, but that doesn’t matter, if you’ve got the rest of the key ingredients for a perfect summer picnic.
Ingredients for a perfect picnic
- Whether it’s sliced white and ham, or fancy rye with falafel and beetroot chutney, you can’t have a picnic without sarnies, fact
- Pastries; pork pies, sausage rolls, those little pastry parcels filled with cheese and onion – all an absolute must
- Mini things, like cocktail sausages and picnic scotch eggs. It’s a fact that they taste better than full-size version
- Because, well, you don’t need an excuse
- Red gingham tablecloth/picnic blanket. Perfect for Instagram, and for making you feel like you’re a Technical Challenge bake from GBBO
- Sunshine, obvs – but sun cream too, so you don’t end up burnt to a crisp
- A light breeze – enough so that you don’t bake in the heat, but you don’t want it to be so windy that you keep getting hair in your mouthfuls of yoghurt
- Lack of insects. Wasps are not desirable picnic guests
- And last but not least: a picturesque location, such as…
The Dorset coast
The Jurassic coastline of this part of England, which includes breathtaking cliffs, sandy beaches and the stunning natural beauty of Durdle Door, has dozens of beautiful picnic spots waiting to be discovered.
Park yourself on a clifftop (safely away from the edge, of course) to sit on the grass as you tuck into your cocktail sausages with a view over the coastline and sea, or park yourself on the beach for the afternoon with your hamper of goodies. An hour or two of wave-dodging and stone-skimming afterwards is surely one of the best ways to burn off all that bread and pastry too.
Primrose Hill offers one of the most beautiful free views over the city of London, with the UK capital’s iconic skyline clearly visible from this leafy green beauty spot.
Heading up here in the early evening on a summer’s night is especially fun. Plenty of other people will be doing the same, bringing everything from supermarket meal deals to bottles of prosecco to enjoy as they watch the sunset over skyline stars like the London Eye and the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral.
Blackpool might not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of stunning picnic spots, but it’s one of the best destinations in the UK for that quintessential British seaside experience.
From the donkeys to the Tower and from the circus to that seductive scent of fish’n’chips and fresh doughnuts, Blackpool has such a fun, nostalgic atmosphere that no one should ever turn their noses up at the prospect of a picnic on the beach. Make sure you’ve got a deck chair to sit on if you’re not too sure about it – or stay on the prom, where there are plenty of benches.
The grounds of a stately home
Britain is home to some absolute jewels of stately homes, with sprawling historical mansion-sized properties and castles dotted across the country.
Entry is free to some, while National Trust and English Heritage members can get discounted entry to others, and you’ll need to pay a fee for the rest.
But sitting in the beautiful rose garden or among the quirky topiary of one of the nation’s finest seats will instantly make you feel like Lord or Lady of the manor, or an extra in a period drama, and that alone is worth the entry fee. It sure beats your back garden, right?
It doesn’t matter where you are in the Scottish Highlands – you’ll never be too far from a breathtakingly beautiful picnic spot. Tranquil lochs and rolling green hills can be seen pretty much everywhere you turn and, if you head to the coast, you’ll be met with amazing views across the ocean.
The weather can be especially temperamental in this part of the UK, so it might be best to leave the crumbly pastries and stickier picnic goodies behind if you’re picnicking here. No one wants a mouthful of hair, grass and pie all at the same time, as crumbs get blown into every nook and cranny for the rest of time.
A summer picnic on the beach is as good as it gets, and Brighton seafront is one of the very best places to enjoy this delight. There are plenty of places to buy British seaside fare like chips, candy floss and doughnuts, but you can keep things healthier and cheaper by taking your own grub to enjoy.
Make sure you take a stroll along the promenade, taking in the iconic Brighton Pavilion and historic pier to burn off your picnic food afterwards. Can you imagine a more perfect way to spend a Great British summer’s afternoon? No, you cannot.