Can anyone guess what week it is this week? That’s right, National Picnic Week!
With lockdown restrictions being slowly lifted, and hot weather promised for the UK, it couldn’t be a better time to think about where we could be spending National Picnic Week. It can be easy to overlook the scenic destinations we have on our English doorstep, so from the 22nd June – 28th June, grab your hamper and get ready to start exploring! We’ve listed our top five picnic spots in the great British outdoors, but please do remember to follow the Government guidelines, keep two metres apart from people, plan ahead and look at the National Parks website for further information. Travel is still not heavily advised, so if you don’t live near these parks, go to your local one and save these hotspots for a future post pandemic picnic! Please remember to look at the park’s website before – some that are owned by the National Trust now have ticketed entry.
Roundhay Park is one of the biggest parks in Europe. Across its 700 acres, the parkland has beautiful gardens and woodland to explore, with a wealth of birds to feed by the side of many lakes. Situated a short bus ride away from Leeds City Centre (bus numbers 2 and 12) you can also drive here and park in one of their five car parks. The park is disabled friendly and there is a wealth of greenery to pop down your picnic blanket and relax in. The beautiful “Tropical House” is shut due to the COVID pandemic, but keep an eye out for when it opens on their website. This part of the park is home to butterflies, amphibians and different types of wildlife and usually there’s a wide range of sports and leisure activities activities happening within the park too (subject to Government regulations) so just for now, a picnic will suffice.
London has eight Royal Parks, but it’s safe to say, Richmond Park is a winner in our eyes. Famous for its herd of deer, it’s situated close to London but far enough to forget the bustling city. A wildlife paradise covering 2,500 acres of land, Richmond Park is well renowned for its rare species of animals and ancient trees. Pack a nature book in your hamper and see if you can spot special birds, bats or wildflowers! The park is currently shut to vehicular traffic so you will be unable to drive here, but public transport is available. Not all of the park is open due to Government regulations and toilets are shut, so please plan your picnic in advance and take a look at the website.
The National Trust owned Studland Peninsula comprises South Beach, Middle Beach, Knoll Beach and Shell Bay, stretching across four miles. All beaches are ideal for family picnics, with South Beach being the smallest and most popular with locals. With sheltered waters, beautiful views and the sounds of the ocean, you couldn’t choose a more perfect picnic spot to relax and unwind. Please refer back to their website – car parks are open, but spaces are limited. Buses run from Bournemouth and Poole or Swanage and there is toilet access apart from at South Beach.
Another National Trust owned site, the viewpoint at Devil’s Dyke is located in Sussex and you can be sure your picnic spot will be surrounded by breathtaking, panoramic views and colourful wildlife. It’s the longest, deepest and widest valley in Britain, located near Brighton and Hove, 100m deep and 400m wide. Its elevated position gives you unbelievable views over South Downs and the English Channel, making for a wonderful day out. Toilet facilities remain closed, car parks are open but BUSY so take a bus from Brighton Pier to avoid the traffic. Grab a picnic hamper and take in the views, fly a kite with friends or play frisbee amongst the fields.
The last in our list of top UK picnic hotspots is Box Hill, whose summit forms part of the North Downs with views of the surrounding Surrey Hills. It is a STEEP climb but boy is it worth it for the panoramas and the abundance of wildlife. End your day with a scenic walk across the hills – you can download directions via phone download or pick up a map at the site. Box Hill is also well known for its Adonis Blue Butterfly inhabitant and the Bee Orchid – see if you can spot them when you’re there! Car parks and toilet facilities are open but limited so public transport is also an option. You can take the Metrobus from Epsom, Leatherhead, Dorking and Crawley (not on Sundays or Bank Holiday) or the Arriva 465 from Kingston to Dorking to foot of Box Hill. You can also take a train to Boxhill and Westhumble Station.
And that concludes the list of our top 5 UK hotspot recommendations for your perfect picnic. If you can’t access them during National Picnic Week, not to worry, save them for a later time! If you DO get to visit, let us know what you think. There are so many beautiful places that England has to offer, it was difficult to choose. Where is YOUR favourite UK picnic spot? Let us know in the comments below!