With the arrival of warmer weather and restrictions slowly beginning to ease, more people are venturing into the great outdoors to enjoy a picnic.
With miles of coastline and acres of countryside, the National Trust cares for some of the best spots in the country for eating al fresco and enjoying stunning views.
Whether you prefer a show-stopping spread or a simple snack, pack up your picnic with some of your summer essentials. For those whose picnic hampers have a bit of room left, there are also plenty of ways to make it extra-special with the delicious seasonal food on offer at National Trust cafés around the region.
Here are some of the top picnic spots for a tasty treat:
Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk
The gardens at Oxburgh are a perfect place to spread out your picnic blanket and sit back to enjoy the colourful garden blooms and mirror-like reflections in the moat. Little ones will love making the most of all the green space, and if it gets too warm you can always take a stroll through the shady woodlands or step inside the hall to discover more about the history of this fascinating place. Four legged friends are welcome throughout the gardens and parkland.
Blickling Estate, Norfolk
The parkland at Blickling is an ideal spot for a picnic, with quiet corners to tuck yourself away for some peace and quiet. When you’ve eaten your fill, why not stay a little longer and enjoy a walk or bike ride along our multi-use trail? Another great spot to consider here is picnicking on the blooming Parterre, where you can enjoy spectacular views of the lake whilst listening to the calming sound of the water fountain.
Sheringham Park, Norfolk
Designed by Humphrey Repton in 1812, Sheringham Park boasts miles of stunning coastal views and a vast collection of rhododendrons and azaleas that are currently in bloom. With so many colourful sights to see, you’ll be spoilt for choice of where to stop and enjoy your picnic en-route. Alternatively head out into the parkland and keep your eyes peeled for the passing steam trains.
Melford Hall, Suffolk
Melford Hall has been home to the Hyde Parker family since the late 1700s, but its most well-known guest was probably Beatrix Potter, who visited on several occasions to stay with her cousin Ethel. She was often accompanied by a small menagerie of animals who featured in some of the paintings she created for the Hyde Parker children. Take a stroll through the colourful herbaceous borders or head out on a longer walk around the parkland before settling down on the lawn for a picnic. Pick up a tasty treat from the café, perhaps a home-baked cake or ice cream to finish off your lunch.
Flatford, Suffolk/Essex border
Flatford is at the heart of Constable Country and the Dedham Vale. Head towards the Granary garden for the perfect spot to tuck into a picnic and absorb the views that artist John Constable knew and loved. With the River Stour creating an idyllic path through the landscape, relax by the water’s edge or take shelter under a shady tree and imagine you’re in a scene from Wind in the Willows. Just a stone’s throw away from the tea-room, you can even top your picnic up with ice-cream.
At Ickworth the croquet lawn in the Italianate Garden makes for a great picnic spot, as does the lawn outside the Earl Bishop’s summerhouse in the Walled Garden, with views across the Canal Lake. From here you can walk off your lunch, by taking a stroll up to the 95ft tall monument that was constructed in memory of the Earl Bishop. You’ll also be able to enjoy views back towards the iconic Rotunda, nestled into the landscape.
Admire the views of the restored Gothic Tower at Wimpole Estate with a picnic in the north park. The 18th-century tower, designed to look like a picturesque medieval ruin, makes a picture-perfect backdrop for any picnic. You’ll be able to see right across the estate as you enjoy the peace and tranquillity of your surroundings. Afterwards, take a stroll back towards the hall and around the gardens, which will soon be in all their summer glory.
Opening arrangements vary, please check for the latest information before visiting.
Don’t forget to follow the Countryside Code and leave nothing but footprints. If you do produce any litter during your visit, please keep hold of it until you find a bin or take it home with you.