In the hope of a sunny August (fingers crossed, touch wood etc), here’s a list of Britain’s top picnic spots, as recommended by the Waitrose website Big Island restaurants.
1. Mottisfont Abbey Garden (Near Romsey, Hampshire)
Though Mottisfont’s pride – the National Collection of Old-Fashioned Roses – tends to be at its best in July, this year’s weird weather may have delayed their bloom somewhat. Even if you miss the roses’ prime, you will enjoy the gorgeous gardens and the beautiful house. Perfect for an evening’s Jane Austen re-enactment…
2. Bodiam Castle (Near Robertsbridge, East Sussex)
If you prefer Monty Python to Jane Austen – this castle is for you! It featured in the Python film The Holy Grail and boasts a splendidly well-preserved medieval castle complete with moat, battlements and all the trimmings. “Niiii!”.
3. Fountains Abbey (Fountains Ripon, N. Yorkshire)
A treat for the whole family! Borrow monks’ robes on site and join the “It’s a monk’s life” tour of this World Heritage Site.
4. Stourhead (Near Mere, Wiltshire)
Wander through the renowned landscape garden and enjoy your picnic by the lake with a backdrop of temples and rare trees. If you’re feeling energetic after lunch, climb King Alfred’s Tower and enjoy the magnificent view.
5. Avebury (Near Marlborough, Wiltshire)
This is one of Europe’s most impressive prehistoric stone circles – it even predates Stonehenge! Speculate about what the site was originally used for… and walk where centuries of lovers have walked before you. If you’re feeling didactic, there’s an interactive museum to enjoy.
6. Lyme Park (Near Diesly, Stockport, Chesire)
What girl can forget the scene in Pride and Prejudice (the ‘real’ BBC version) where Colin Firth emerges from the water? Well, Lyme Park is where it was filmed! With 1,400 acres of parkland to choose from, you’re bound to find your perfect picnic spot to play at being Mr Darcy and Lizzie Bennett.
7. Wimpole Home Farm (Arrington, Royston, Cambridgeshire)
This is one for the animal lovers! The working farm specialises in rare breeds of sheep, goats, cows and horses from the 1700s. The perfect spot for a traditional farmhouse picnic, followed by meetings with Shire horses and lambs. This spot is a favourite with families as there’s plenty to keep kids entertained.