The forgotten joy of picnicking in the UK

With the regular attraction of new technological gadgets, indoor attractions and cheap holidays abroad it is so easy to forget that typically British pastime – the picnic. The cost is low and the location choice is endless, so aside from a lack of imagination, there really is no reason not to dust off the picnic hamper basket and chequered blanket and venture outside for a picnic.

When you think of a delightful summer picnic, basking in the sunshine with birds flying overhead, this ideal rarely comes up to the reality of British weather, but that needn’t put you off. Across the UK there are numerous locations that offer both expansive countryside and sheltered cosy spots. The trick is to be prepared.

The beach picnic

Forget those visions of sand-filled sarnies and dogs running across the food-covered blanket. The beach can be the perfect destination for a picnic and with coastline surrounding the entire country there are plenty of places to choose from. However, the south-west of England certainly comes up trumps for their beaches. Woolacombe beach in Devon, for example, is the perfect picnic destination, with a wide sandy coastline, high rocks for shelter and even fair rides to entertain the children. A few things to remember when packing for your seaside picnic are; it is likely to be windy so bring a wind-break or similar protection; towels are essential even if you aren’t going in the sea; always bring a little money for ice-cream.

A picnic with a view. Credit John Tustin via Wikimedia Commons
A picnic with a view.
Credit John Tustin via Wikimedia Commons

The National Trust

Often overlooked but rarely regretted, the National Trust is the perfect place for a picnic. The grounds offer both well-kept grass and sheltered seating, perfect no matter what the weather might decide to do. Most locations also have a café and shop on site, so any forgotten items can be bought and if the weather turns chilly you can warm up with a nice cup of tea. For locations nearby simply search the National Trust website and also be sure to visit the National Trust shop for some delightful and locally sourced items for your picnic.

Porthclais, maintained by the National Trust. Credit Andy F via Wikimedia Commons.
Porthclais, maintained by the National Trust.
Credit Andy F via Wikimedia Commons.

The spontaneous picnic

These suggestions are by no means exhaustive and some of the most successful picnics are those that aren’t planned and happen when the time and weather is just right. Simply find a local shop and pick up those all-essential eatables and then go on the lookout for the perfect spot. Keep in mind shelter from wind and be careful not to wander onto private property. A toilet spot isn’t necessarily essential, depending on how long you are going to be there. Always keep in mind where you are and how far you have travelled, as a perfect picnic can so easily be ruined when you discover you are lost.


Post by Elizabeth A. Wright, keen picnicker lover of the outdoors and in a love-hate relationship with British weather.

By Jersyko (Own work), CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
By Jersyko (Own work), CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

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