Destinations, Entertainment

Top 8 Idyllic Picnic Spots in the UK

The weather is hotting up and that lush green park nearby is just calling to you – thank goodness it’s picnic season! Grab your sunnies, sarnies and salad cream and take a trip to one of these eight National Picnic Week locations. They’re close to us and so gorgeous you’ll drop your pop!

1. Barafundle Beach – Pembrokeshire

Can it get any more idyllic than this? With golden sand dunes and untouched beauty, this award-winning beach is National Picnic Week’s fave! There are no facilities here (it’s absolutely pristine), and remember to check the tides or you could be waving goodbye to your lunch…

Book a stay: YHA Manorbier is only 8.2 miles from Barafundle Bay – that’s just 19 minutes by car!

2. Brownsea Island – Dorset

Where better to enjoy a picnic than the birthplace of the scouts and guides movement? There’s a wealth of wildlife here and it’s one of the few southern English places where red squirrels still survive. Drop by the island’s peaceful lagoon for a sandwich with the sandwich terns.

Book a stay: YHA Swanage is 22 miles away by car, or you could walk there in a couple of hours…

3. Avon Valley Country Park – Somerset

Follow The Wind in the Willows’ example with a riverside picnic on the banks of the River Avon. You can have a go on the boating lake, enjoy stunning countryside walks, ride the miniature railway or just relax with the water lapping by your side.

Book a stay: YHA Bath is 8 miles away from the riverside, just over half an hour away driving.

4. Formby Beach – Merseyside

Take your picnic to the rolling sand dunes that back Formby Beach for an amazing sea view. Not too far away from the bustle of Liverpool, this little seaside haven has miles of coastal walks to explore. There are sweeping National Trust pine woods just waiting to be discovered too.

Book a stay: YHA Liverpool is 15 miles away – hop on the Merseyrail and get there in an hour!

5. Somerset House – London

Can’t bear to leave the capital? Split up your city break with a relaxing picnic at Somerset House. Many of our hostels are nearby and in summer the house’s famous fountains make a great backdrop for enjoying your food. Go shopping for some posh nosh and have your best picnic ever.

Book a stay: YHA London St Paul’s is a 20 minute walk away from Somerset House. Easy as pie.

6. Devil’s Dyke – East Sussex

Supposedly scooped out by the devil, this picturesque dry valley makes a cosy picnic spot. Choose from atmospheric woods, lush green hills or the remains of an Iron Age hill fort to rest and eat in. The popular spot is carpeted with flowers and always has something to see.

Book a stay: YHA Truleigh Hill is 12 miles from Devil’s Dyke – a devilishly brief 25 minute car ride.

7. St Herbert’s Island – Cumbria

Could St Herbert be the patron saint of al fresco dining? This little island in the middle of Derwentwater has heavenly Lake District views and has become a place of pilgrimmage. You’ll feel like you’ve found your own secret island as you enjoy a peaceful picnic on the shore.

Book a stay: YHA Keswick is just a half an hour walk away for humble pilgrims visiting the island.

8. North Pennines

Eat along the Pennine Way with a picnic in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The hills, dales and heathland of the North Pennines makes a breathtaking backdrop for a relax in the grass. Look out for a neverending supply of curious sheep and ramblers tackling The Way – why not join them?

Book a stay: YHA Langdon Beck is on the Pennine Way, step outside the hostel and you’re there!

Our tips for a perfect picnic:

– Keep your cool on hot days with a lightweight cooling box or bag. If it’s a scorcher, you might find melty foods are unrecognisable, plus there’s nothing like a chilled glass of bubbly.

– Be prepared. Make a plan B in case it rains and don’t forget to pack your sun cream and insect repellent – you may find you’re not the only one who thinks your food is delicious.

– If you’ve got a long walk to your dream spot, travel light – you’ll be too tired to really enjoy your food if you’ve been lugging a massive hamper along. Or carry food between friends!

– Respect your picnic spot and leave it beautiful for everyone else. Take your litter and leftover grub back with you; how about leaving a little spread in the hostel’s self-catering kitchen?

– Check out our Hosteller’s Cookbook for some picnic-friendly dishes to whip up at the hostel…

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