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Get your hampers out

7 top picnic spots to visit in the UK

'...you’ll soon be the envy of photographers everywhere.'

Sandwiches, scotch eggs and more cake than we can physically carry (sorry, what summer body?) – it’s National Picnic Week. Yum! And to celebrate, we’ve only gone and found you some of the the very best picnic spots throughout the country.

From escaping London’s tourists and chilling out in the lesser-known parks, to munching on a pasty by the riverside in Bath, our coaches will get you, your picnic hampers, baskets and blankets there for less thanks to our affordable fares.

1. London

Live it up one of London’s beautiful parks

Where: St James’ Park or Primrose Hill in Regent’s Park

For those seeking a picnic in the heart of a busy city, hop on the coach and head straight to London – the capital will utterly spoil you with its range of open spaces.

If avoiding tourists is the number one priority on your list, we’d recommend St James’ Park in Westminster – it’s far out enough from central London that you won’t be bombarded by bustling bodies (perhaps just a pelican or two). Conveniently situated nearby a number of our coach stops, getting there will be a breeze and, as one of the most picturesque parks in the city, you’ll have magnificent views of Buckingham Palace meaning you may even catch a changing of the guard procession – the ultimate I’ve visited London experience, if you ask us!

Another favourite to lay down a blanket in is Primrose Hill. At over 60 metres above sea level, you’ll have a stunning view of the sprawling city skyline. Pretty romantic if you planned a picnic with that special someone, don’t you think? Although, if the convo does (somehow) start to dry up, filling that awkward silence is easy – just get snapping! Trust us when we say once you’ve captured that view and splattered it on your Insta, you’ll soon be the envy of photographers everywhere.

And the best bit? If you listen closely and you may just hear the roar of a lion too, as you’re right next to London Zoo, which gives you the perfect excuse for a post-picnic visit.

Image credit: visitbritainimages.com

2. Weston-super-Mare

Put the ‘sand’ into sandwiches (just not literally)

Where: Weston-super-Mare, Somerset

Everyone loves a trip to the beach and, if you ask us, National Picnic Week is the perfect excuse to pay a visit to the wonderful Weston-super-Mare. Whether you’ve got your basket filled to the brim with sandwiches and bottles of lemonade (two staple items for any British beach trip), or you’re more of a cone of chips and a cheeky ice-cream afterwards kind of person (same), Weston’s perfect for those who simply wish to be ‘beside the seaside.’

And what’s a trip to the beach without some traditional seaside fun? We suggest taking a break from your beloved blanket to enjoy a donkey ride along the golden sands, and a visit to the SeaQuarium and Weston’s famous Grand Pier.

All the thrill seekers can brave the ever-popular outdoor watersports and kite surfing, two very popular activities that you’ll find in the Uphill Sands area of the beach.

Image credit: visitbritainimages.com

3. Lake District

Bask in beautiful backdrops

Where: Lake Buttermere, Lake District

Easily one of the UK’s most atmospheric spots (did you know it was recently voted by the BBC as one of the top ten greatest views in the UK?) we can’t think of anywhere much better to unpack your hamper than the Lake District.

Our personal favourite? Lake Buttermere, specifically at the south-western tip of the lake – it’s the perfect picnic spot! With it’s picture-perfect combination of vast lakes and Sound of Music-eque mountains, it may just be the most spectacular place you’ve ever eaten a sandwich!

If, later on, you want to work off the treats and make the most of the scenery at your feet, why not walk the four-and-a-half-mile route around the lake? Don’t worry, we know it may sound like a lot, but you’ll have plenty of opportunities to stop in your tracks and bask in the beautiful fells, farms and woodland surrounding you. Or, if you are planning on collapsing in a heap, there are a number of benches dotted around the site.

Image credit: visitbritainimages.com

4. Bath

Relax by the riverside in breathtaking Bath

Where: Parade Gardens

If you’re on the hunt for a quintessentially English picnic spot, where better to lay down your blanket than by a peaceful riverside in one of the country’s most historic cities?

Visit the Parade Gardens in Bath where not only will you be able to enjoy the unrivalled views of the Palladian style bridge and weir but you can watch the world go by from the comfort of a deckchair, perfect for, if in amongst packing all those cheese and tomato sarnies, you actually forget to pack the blanket *doh*.. You’ll have to pay a small fee of £1.50 to enter the gardens but, trust us when we say, it’s so worth it! With beautifully maintained floral displays and flowers in every colour of the rainbow, these glorious Bath gardens are just begging for a spot on your Insta feed.

The best bit? When you’ve had your fill of lounging in the sun, there’s a whole city waiting to be explored! From munching on a pasty whilst bobbing along on a boat trip, to visiting the quirky independent shops, you don’t have to stray far to enjoy the city. Plus, you’re just a stone’s throw from a number of the city’s main attractions too, including the Roman Baths, Victoria Art Gallery and Fashion Museum, to name just a few of our faves.

Image credit: Photo © Graham C99i cc-by-sa/2.0

5. Shropshire

Escape to the countryside

Where: The Wrekin

You’d be forgiven for thinking that going “around the Wrekin” was no more than an expression (about going the long way around somewhere) used by born and bred Midlands folk. In case you didn’t know, the famous phrase refers to the impressive Shropshire hill, where we think a picnic is definitely in order.

Get your walking boots at the ready as, to reach the 407-metre-high summit, you’ll have to climb almost three and a half miles. But, when on a clear day, you’re guaranteed panoramic views of 17 counties, that surely makes the walk more than worth it, don’t you think? After all, they don’t call it the great outdoors for nothing, and whether you want to lie back on your picnic blanket, fly a kite or let the kids run wild on the hill, you can do so knowing you’ve literally got the big wide world right at your feet.

Image credit: visitbritainimages.com

6. Yorkshire

Let the kids go crazy

Where: Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden

Families, this one’s for you. Head to the west green of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden for a picnic packed full of fun.

Whilst you’ll have the 800 year old ruins as your backdrop, let us assure you that there’s an abundance of activities waiting to keep the little ones entertained. Once the kids are filled up with food and raring to go, they can explore a mini wooden abbey, a woodland house and even zoom down a giant zip wire, as well as check out the inside of an ancient tree in the medieval deer park and climb a big hill to find the hidden Banqueting House.

Image credit: keyword-suggestions.com

7. Edinburgh

Rise early and reap the benefits in bonny Scotland

Where: Arthur’s Seat, Holyrood Park

For all the lovers out there, we may just have found a cheap date that will actually secure you a permanent place in your significant other’s good books (and win you all the ‘awwwws’ in the land). Behold the beauty that is Arthur’s Seat, situated at the very top of Edinburgh’s vast and beautiful Holyrood Park. Whatever the time of day, you’re guaranteed magnificent views of the city beneath you. We’d recommend packing your bags early for a picnic meets brekkie mash-up, as the views from the hill at sunrise are something else. Romantic, right?

Plus, you’ll then have the whole day ahead of you to stroll back down and go wandering in the heart of the capital. Be sure to check out the Royal Mile, where you’ll find everything from major landmarks like Edinburgh Castle, through to boutique shops and unbeatable eats all within the cobbled streets.

Image credit: Claudel Rheault on Unsplash


Where’s your favourite place in the UK for a picnic? Let us know over at @nationalexpress.

Don't forget, you can reach all these places, picnic basket included, simply by booking your ticket today!

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Please note that this blog was written prior to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Because of this, the information above may no longer be entirely accurate. We apologise for any inconvenience.

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