It's going to be sunny! Time for a picnic! The UK is chock-full of stunning country estates, vast woodland and incredible coastline so it's time to get out and enjoy it. From lakeland fells to Elizabethan gardens, rolling lawns to scenic beaches, there's something here for everyone. So pack your hamper and make the most of the glorious countryside while the weather lasts...
Top places for a picnic with the National Trust
Top ten perfect picnic spots for summer
Sheffield Park is an expansive outdoors estate with four lakes in its centre is a great space for the kids to run around and enjoy days out this summer. Sit down for sandwiches amongst beautiful summer flowers, enjoy cricket matches on the historic pitch or explore the garden with family tracker packs and parkland trails.
There's something for all the family at Florence Court, a warm and welcoming 18th century property. The beautiful park, gardens and surrounding forest offer fantastic opportunities for all the family to enjoy. There are miles of glorious walks and cycle trails, a playground for the children and the opportunity to discover more about nature with adventure tracker packs. Take a stroll into the forest to visit the blacksmith’s forge and carpenters workshop or simply relax with a picnic in the peaceful gardens. If you want to make a weekend of it you can stay in the south wing of the house in the Butler’s Apartment. Or for country garden fans there’s Rose Cottage in the heart of the walled garden. Both cottages sleep four.
With plenty of activities to keep the children entertained and exciting walking trails to explore, Croome Park is great for a family day out and a lovely place to enjoy a picnic next to the beautiful lake. Katherine Alker, the garden and park manager, said: "My perfect spot for a picnic at Croome is sitting on the bank of the lake or in the Island Pavilion as you can listen to birds and wildlife and just relax in the tranquillity."
Whether you are cycling, exploring or strolling in this spacious park, there are plenty of opportunities to have fun with all the family followed by a relaxing picnic by the lake. The kids can also hang out on the climbing forest in the play park or pick up a family tracker pack to see what they can find. Gareth Jones, a ranger at Clumber, said: "My favourite spot for a picnic in Clumber Park is on the opposite side of the lake with views of Clumber chapel. On a warm day the sound of the country, the noise of grasshoppers in the grass and the call of swifts as they screech through the air makes it a great place to just sit and watch the world go by."
There's plenty to keep both adults and children entertained at Aberdulais Falls. Aside from the impressive waterfalls there's the tin workers' exhibition, which traces 400 years of the historic industrial site.
Nostell Priory's rolling grounds and secretive corners make it perfect for a picnic stop. There's a large park , lakeside walks and an adventure playground so the kids can let off steam as well. Mark Dudding, the parkland ranger said: "The woodlands at Nostell are an area that I like to come and relax in because it is away from the hustle and bustle of the mansion house and visitor courtyard, making it a very peaceful place to be."
Blickling Hall is one of England's great Jacobean houses, widely believed to be the home of Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn. The beautiful parkland houses a lake and woodland and offers plenty of picnicking spots. After lunch, let the kids discover the secret garden, ancient temple and explore the citrus trees in the orangery. The whole family can also hire bikes to explore the park or play a game of croquet on the lawns. If you want to stay longer, there are seven holiday cottages on the estate, including the magnificent Tower converted from the second Earl of Buckinghamshire’s race stand.
Ancient trees, bubbling brooks and rolling lawns frame this lovely old house. Crafted from a medieval priory, Mottisfont is full of surprises like hidden doors, fun mysteries and a room where nothing is what it seems.Outside you can explore the riverside walks, the National Collection of old-fashioned roses, build dens and bring a picnic to share. Louise Govier, who works at Mottisfont said: "Underneath the Great Plane tree is the best place for a picnic. I love it because this ancient tree is always beautiful and shady in summer. The choice of view is fantastic as I can turn and look at the crystal clear River Test. Lunch spots don't get better than this."
Take the children for a fabulous day out Studland Beach, a golden sandy beach that stretches for four miles from South Haven Point to Old Harry Rocks, with shallow bathing water perfect for the little ones. Be sure to bring buckets, spades and picnics for a blissful day on the sands.
You can also visit the nearby ruins of Corfe Castle to discover over 700 years of history and relive childhood memories by seeing the inspiration behind Enid Blyton’s Kirren Castle in the Famous Five and pitch your picnic in the shadow of this impressive monument.
Enjoy a scenic picnic on the shores of Lake Windermere in the surroundings of Fell Foot Park in the Cumbrian countryside. With views of the Lakeland fells, an adventure playground for the kids and rowing boats to hire, Fell Foot is a fun place to relax with the family and it's completely free to visit.
There are six cottages on the west shore of Windermere, including a former summerhouse in the gardens of Wray Castle, a 1930s log and stone cottage and a pair of cottages just ten metres from the water’s edge. Cottages sleep between four and five so there's ample opportunity to make a weekend of your visit.
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If you want the picnic party to last that bit longer then have a look at the National Trust's favourite camp sites and pick your favourite for an overnight UK stay.
National Trust's top 10 spots for camping
Top ten perfect picnic spots for summer
Best for: A brilliant base
An ideal base to explore the Peak District, Upper Booth Campsite is situated on a working hill farm on the National Trust’s High Peak Estate in the heart of the national park. Excellent for walkers, there are both places for leisurely strolls or more challenging routes available, with campers also being able find out more about the sustainable land management of the farm from the Helliwell family. Nearby, visitors can find the Longshaw Estate, offering scenic views of the Derwent Valley and Peak District and the beautiful house and parkland of Lyme Park, filled with fascinating stories from the past.
Best for: Beaches
Set on the National Trust’s Golden Cap Estate within 200 yards of the beach, Downhouse Farm is part of England’s first natural World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coastline. Stretching from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland in Dorset, the coastline traces almost 185 million years of the earth's history. Discover rocks from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods, rich with fossils, offering kids and adults the chance to walk back in time and see what exciting objects they can discover. Nearby attractions include Brownsea Island and Corfe Castle. Located in Poole Harbour, Brownsea has some of the rarest wildlife in England and at Corfe Castle, there’s the chance to explore over 1,000 years of history that includes the Civil War, torture, and treachery.
Best for: Family adventure
This magical woodland holiday park is great for families, with pitches for 50 touring caravans, three motor homes and 10 tents, plus there’s a small shop and play area on site. With this being an ideal place to discover the Priory, its beautiful grounds and over 300 acres of parkland, you’ll be spoilt for choice for things to do here. Whether it be a lakeside walk, playing a game of croquet on the lawn or discovering the new children’s adventure playground, the whole family will enjoy this camping holiday in Yorkshire.
Best for: Walkers
Voted the nation’s favourite in ITV’s Britain’s Favourite View, Wasdale campsite lies under England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike. It is located at the head of the beautiful Wastwater Lake, which is nearly three miles long and almost half a mile wide - making Wasdale one of the few campsites in the world that offers such a remote location for setting up camp. If you’re looking to try something a bit different this year, why not try glamping out in one of the new camping pods? Locally sourced materials provide an attractive, dry and spacious camping area.
Best for: Coastal calm
Perfect for beach lovers, the Highertown Farm campsite is a short walk from a secluded beach and set within a stunning coastal landscape that is a site of Special Scientific Interest. With newly installed solar water panels and composting toilets, Highertown is one of the National Trust’s greenest campsites. Book lovers will particularly enjoy the scenery and may wish to take the Gribbin Head walk across the coast, which is famed for its association with Daphne du Maurier and the setting for many of her novels. The charming coastal villages and towns of Polperro, Fowey and Looe are also within reach.
Best for: Dramatic scenery
With space for up to 30 caravans and plenty of room for tents too, Castle Ward in Northern Ireland has over 800 acres just waiting to be explored. Overlooking Strangford Lough, make time to marvel at the quirky mid-Georgian mansion, home of the Ward family since the 16th century. Discover the shores of the Strangford Lough, where the water is so clear that it’s possible to spot a grey seal, or take in stunning viewpoints on a walk through the winding woodland and parkland with the family. There are brand new camping pods available, with sheep wool insulation and heating to keep things cosy and make any camping adventures that extra bit special.
Best for: Nature lovers
Set in the attractive woodland of the Dolaucothi Estate in South Wales this twin-level site is right next to the River Cothi. Campers can get back to nature with the magical wildflowers and birds, including the rare Red Kite. The River Cothi is also one of the best spots in the world for sewin (sea trout) fishing, so don’t forget to pack your rod. A visit to the nearby gold mines is another must-do. Guided tours reveal the complex of pits left by the Romans nearly 2000 years ago. The story of the mine is revealed in the main yard, where 1930s mining machinery and an exhibition bring the history of gold mining to life. To round off your day, you can try your own luck at gold panning.
Best for: Hillside hideaway
Looking for camping without the crowds? This small campsite can be found at the foot of Leith Hill, the highest point in south-east England. Well worth the climb, the hill is crowned by an 18th-century gothic tower, with beautiful views north to London and south to the English Channel. A short distance away, there’s a chance to experience the glamour of the Edwardian upper classes and life in the roaring twenties. Home to Mrs Ronald Greville, Polesden Lacey is complete with all the objects from her celebrated house parties. The grounds include a croquet lawn that can still be played on today and beautiful gardens.
Best for: Wildlife wonders
Nestling on the banks of the River Ouse overlooking the last working mill on this river, Houghton Mill offers a great place to pitch up your tent. A delightful spot for wildlife enthusiasts, the meadows around the mill are home to many plants and animals. The undergrowth provides cover for mice and voles, while dragonflies and butterflies will dart about in the tall grasses, and near the riverside you might even be lucky enough to spot the unusual Banded Demoiselle. No stay is complete without a trip to the famous Mill which even featured in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Set over five storeys, it includes plenty of hands-on exhibits for all the family and you can buy wheat which is still ground on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
Best for: Glamping
Want a camping experience that's a little more luxurious and comfortable? Great Langdale and Low Wray's National Trust campsites now offer luxury Mongolian yurts for glamorous campers. The yurts provide the perfect combination of back to nature living without losing the usual luxuries you would wish for on holiday. Expect comfy futon-style beds, warm duvets, cosy wood burning stoves, solar lighting and twinkling fairy lights for a wonderful glamping holiday. Families, friends, romantics and adventurers will love exploring the Lake District while staying in the unique tents. Book with Long Valley or stay in a yurt or gypsy caravan with Wild in Style.