Deputy Editor Kayleigh Rattle reveals where to scoff your sandwiches and Scotch eggs this summer…
Loughrigg Fell, Lake District
Looking for a picnic spot with a view? Pack your hamper and head to the Lake District. Ambleside, a quaint little town just to the north of Lake Windermere, is a great place to pick up some picnic items ahead of a long hike. We recommend buying a couple of Scotch eggs from local deli Stockghyll Fine Food (stockghyllfinefood.co.uk); here you’ll also find plenty of quiches, pies and foccacia for your hillside picnic. Don’t miss the sweet treats on offer either – we couldn’t resist packing a couple of homemade apple turnovers into our rucksack for a mid-hike sugar kick, but you could also pick up some local Kendal Mint Cake. You’re hardly short of places to picnic in this scenic area, but our particular favourite is at the summit of Loughrigg Fell. From Ambleside, It’s a roughly a six mile return walk to Loughrigg Fell and back, but the views of the surrounding lakes are more than worth it.
Find a boulder to perch on in Easedale Tarn, close to Grasmere, and enjoy the views that so famously inspired poet William Wordsworth.
If a day at the beach is more your thing, you can’t beat the colourful boats and fresh seafood of idyllic market town Aldeburgh. While this seaside destination receives its fair share of tourism (considering the beautiful beach it’s hardly surprising) you’re sure to find a suitable picnic spot along the shingled stretch from Aldeburgh to neighbouring village Thorpeness. Not only that, Aldeburgh is a mecca for independent delis and fresh fish, making it a superb place for an impromptu picnic. Just head to one of the many fish huts dotted along the prom for tubs of fresh prawns, crab, cockles, whelks and more, or pop into The Golden Galleon or the Aldeburgh Fish & Chip Shop on the high street for a cheeky takeaway. Conveniently, there’s also an Adnams shop on the main stretch, so you can pick up some locally-brewed beer to accompany your feast.
Just up the road, Southwold is home to a wonderful beach and charming pier. Local bakery Two Magpies (twomagpiesbakery. co.uk) is the place to visit for freshly made cakes, sourdough and more.
Green Park, London
It’s said that almost 47% of London is green space, so you’ll find no shortage of parks to picnic in. From Primrose Hill, with its impressive vantage point over London, to deer-filled Richmond park, we wouldn’t blame you if you spent your summer moving from one park to the next. But, when it comes to sourcing items for the ultimate British picnic, Green Park, and neighbouring St James’ Park top our list. With Fortnum & Mason’s (fortnumandmason.com) flagship store just a stone’s throw away, you can be sure to pick up all of the artisan essentials for an afternoon in the park.
With views of the Thames, Canary Wharf and beyond, Greenwich Park is just the place for a picnic and a spot of hill rolling – stock up on delicious supplies at the nearby market beforehand.
Holkham Bay, Norfolk
If you enjoy sand in your sandwiches and spotting seals on the beach, head to Holkham Bay. A nature lover’s paradise, this gorgeous stretch of sandy beach is also filled with dog walkers and horse riders. Not only that, the adjoining nature reserve means there are plenty of shady spots to hunker on down with a delicious spread. Nearby Wells-next-the-Sea, just a short walk or miniature railway ride away, boasts a number of delis and independent stores. Why not head to The Chocolate Deli (thechocolatedeli.co.uk) for some homemade Norfolk chocolate and the Alexandra Howell Deli (arthurhowell.com) for spit roasted chickens, fresh cooked meats, individual quiches, sandwiches, wine and gluten- free brownies?
Just up the Norfolk coast, Cromer is the place to go for sandy beaches and freshly-caught crab. Buy plenty of this local delicacy for a seaside-themed feast.
Brecon Beacons National Park
A picnic doesn’t have to be for one day only, so how about dedicating an entire holiday to eating alfresco in the mountainous Brecon Beacons? Brecon Beacon Holiday Cottages (breconcottages.com) has a whole range of exciting and different accomodation for you to use as your base point. From there, you can rustle up some of our fantastic picnic recipes on p.85 and be suitably armed with sustenance to tackle two of the South Wales’ tallest peaks, Pen-yFan and Corn Du.
You’ve not lived until you’ve eaten sandwiches by a waterfall! Head to Sgwd Gwladys and Henrhyd Waterfall, at the western edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, to experience it for yourself.