There’s no better way to celebrate summer than packing a picnic and catching up with friends and family. With miles of coastline and acres of countryside, we have some of the best places in the country for eating outside. Here are some of our favourite National Trust places to picnic.
The grounds at Polesden Lacey provide a great spot for picnics after a long walk. You can bring your lunch all packed from home or pick up a take away treat from the café or restaurant.
Find your perfect spot for a picnic at Petworth. The serenity of the stately mansion nestled in the South Downs is a great escape for a long lazy lunch.
Pick up a tasty lunch to go from the National Trust café at Stowe and find a beautiful picnic spot in the sunshine of the Elysian Fields or the shade of one of the classical temples. Forgotten your rug? You can borrow one of theirs.
Pack up a picnic and head on up the top of the keep at Dunster Castle. It’s well worth the climb, as you can settle down on the lawn and enjoy 360 degree views over Exmoor and the Bristol Channel.
Studland has long stretches of golden sandy beach that go on for four miles from South Haven Point to Old Harry Rocks, with shallow bathing water perfect for the little ones. Buckets, spades and picnics all make for a blissful day on the sands. You can also visit the nearby ruins of Corfe Castle to discover over 700 years of history see the inspiration behind Enid Blyton’s Kirren Castle in the Famous Five.
The orchard or woodland at Lydford Gorge has many spots for picnicking, and the tea-rooms are nearby too. You can top off your day with tasty treats such as home-made cakes and ice-creams and let the children enjoy the play area. After your picnic, why not finish with an exhilarating walk to see the 30m Whitelady waterfall and the bubbling Devil’s Cauldron.
East of England
Designed by Humphrey Repton in 1812, Sheringham Park boasts miles of stunning coastal views and a vast collection of rhododendrons and azaleas. With so many beautiful sights to see, you’ll be spoilt for choice of where to stop and enjoy your picnic.
It’s easy to leave the hustle and bustle behind you and escape into the parkland. If you head to the Walled Garden and the lawn just outside the summer house you can enjoy your picnic with a view across the Fairy Lake.
With 3,800 acres of beautiful parkland, there are plenty of great spots to enjoy a picnic with friends and family at Clumber Park. The best spots have lakeside views, wide open spaces or pick one of the more exclusive spots where you can enjoy the peace and quiet.
Nothing can beat a picnic on a sunny summer's day at Croome, and there are plenty of places around the park to lay out your blanket. Make use of the deckchairs scattered around enjoy views over the lake. If it’s a hot day then you can head to the Chinese bridge, where there are many shady spots under trees or at one of the many picnic benches near the wild play area whilst the children have fun.
If you're planning to enjoy the summer sun with a picnic, then Attingham is the perfect spot. For amazing views you can settle down on the lawn in front of the Mansion, and gaze out over the Deer Park. If you’re after a quiet hideaway then the Walled Garden in the spot for you, with plenty of space on the Bee Lawn to lay out your blanket. There’s also plenty of space and picnic tables in the playfield, where little ones can run riot on the play equipment to work up an appetite.
Head to the privy garden at Seaton Delaval Hall to find the perfect sheltered picnic spot. Originally a private garden created for Lady Hastings, this peaceful spot is enclosed by yew hedging and unusual Ghent Hybrid azaleas, and contains a small pond and a summerhouse, which serves ice creams and light refreshments during the summer. Pull up a deckchair, throw back the lid on the picnic hamper and relax. There are plenty of open spaces to roll out the picnic blanket and relax in the sunshine whilst the kids play too.
What better way to enjoy a warm summer’s stroll than by stopping off with your picnic on the west green of Fountains Abbey? With the 800 year old ruins as your backdrop, it's the perfect place to relax, lay down the blanket and enjoy a family lunch stop off. You can also take a seat in the World Heritage Site of the 18th-century Water Garden and tuck into a picnic while taking in its impressive geometric design made up of ponds and lakes and carefully positioned classical statues, follies and temples.
Bring a bit of Swallows and Amazons to your summer - the three smallest islands in Derwent Water are perfect for a boating picnic. Pack a hamper and choose from rowing boats, canoes, stand up paddle boards or even a classic sailing dinghy – all available for hire at various outlets around the lake – and paddle off to find your own picnic spot. You can also launch your own canoe from the car park at Kettlewell, which is just a short paddle from St Herbert’s Island. Take your own firewood if you’d like a small cooking fire on the beach and pack your swim suit to have a dip in the water.
Set out your picnic blanket near Reflection Lake and really unwind in the garden while it’s in full bloom, bursting with colour and lovely aromas. Or settle down near the Timber Yard and watch the wildlife as you eat. Keep your eyes peeled for the deer and their babies who will be venturing out from the Deer Sanctuary as the fawns start to become steady on their feet. If you need a cuppa or a sweet treat to add to your picnic spread, the Timber Yard Cafe serves hot drinks and a selection of cakes and scones, while the Ice Cream Parlour has many different flavours of scooped ice cream to choose from, which you can top off with sauce or even sprinkle with sweets.
For stately surroundings, it's hard to beat Plas Newydd. The backdrop of the Menai Strait and Snowdonia’s mountains are unrivalled too. You can stroll through the ornate terrace gardens and wander along the garden paths to find a perfect spot for a picnic. Afterwards you can walk up the steps to discover what the treehouse has to offer.
Dragonflies and damselflies, exotic flowers and sweet beautiful aromas will captivate you for hours as you relax on a family picnic in a hidden corner of the Victorian Sunken Garden at Castle Ward. Or take a stroll along the shore, relax by the quayside with a picnic and watch the seals bob up and down.
Deep in the green County Armagh countryside, is a place where the mist rolls down to the River Blackwater and time stands still. Enjoy strolls among the arbours, views of the river and let the kids run wild in the woods and adventure playground. On a sunny day, enjoy a picnic on the fabulous gardens and a coffee under the porte-cochère in what was originally a working farm.