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Britain’s best picnic spots

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Picnics in Britain

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What do you look forward to about the warmer months? Not having to wear five layers every time you go out? Attempting to get a tan on the beach? Cycling around with the wind in your hair?

Why not have a relaxing picnic and celebrate the summer by eating lots and lazing around? It’s become a British summertime tradition for good reason.

This week, travel blogger and picnic enthusiast Suzanne Southall shares her favourite picnic spots (and tips for what to eat) with us…

Padley Gorge, Peak District

If you fancy sitting down to eat in an area that looks like it came right out of a fairytale movie then this is the right picnic spot for you! Tree roots snake all over the ground and provide excellent seating possibilities, as do the impressive boulders scattered around.

As you’re tucking into your triangle sandwiches you might even be lucky enough to spot one of the rare birds that call Padley Gorge their home. The wooded areas provide great shade in case the sun gets too much or alternatively you can sit in one of the clearings and enjoy the sun’s rays. And best of all admission is free.

Bodmin Moor, Cornwall

Explore the cool rock formations which will keep the kids busy for hours leaving you free to enjoy some peace and quiet. Sit on the grass or find a spot in the vast woodland and enjoy the view.

Delphi Bridge is a secluded spot – perfect if you want to get away from it all for a while. Dip your feet in the DeLank River as it trickles by and have a bit of a paddle to cool off. The old granite quarry provides great shelter for your picnic in case the weather isn’t playing ball. And best of all there is no admission fee so you can enjoy all of this for free.

Corfe Castle, Dorset

Did you know that Enid Blyton’s book, Kirren Castle, was inspired by this stately pile? It’s easy to see why once you discover its secret passages and medieval fortress, providing the perfect spot to picnic under. If the castle ruins aren’t enough adventure then you’ll be blown away by the fantastic views of Purbeck.

A family ticket for entrance to the castle costs £15.50.

Barafundle Beach, Pembrokeshire

This beach is ideal for families and its soft, white (and very clean) sand makes it one of the best beaches in Britain.
Get out the blanket and hope the sand stays out of the sandwiches – you can always invest in a wind break.

The sand dunes provide perfect hiding places and it’s only accessible by a footpath, which makes it feel like it’s your own secret beach. Free admission (it’s a beach after all!).

Best picnic food

Now that you’ve decided where to put your picnic blanket down, it’s time to think about what to eat. For me, picnic food has to be delicious and easy to both eat and transport from place to place. Here are some of my top hassle-free picnic foods to give you some inspiration:

Pasta salad: This is so simple to make, but so yummy at the same time. And since it’s supposed to be eaten cold, you don’t have to faff about trying to keep it warm. Just throw together some pasta, pesto and fresh herbs and voilà — you have a meal.

Luxury platter: Make an occasion of it and curate a platter full of your favourite cheeses, olives and meats from the deli counter. No plates required, just a good hunk of fresh bread. Perfect for sharing (though you’ll probably want to devour it all yourself)!

Sandwiches: You can’t have a picnic without sandwiches. Don’t go for predictable fillings, try something a bit special like brie and grape or pastrami and gherkin on rye and use fresh bread from the local bakery wherever possible. The hardest part is trying to wait for the picnic and not raiding the sandwich box on the train.

Veg sticks and dip: Just cut up a few carrots, cucumbers or celery and make some easy dips like tzatziki or homemade salsa for a healthy, summery snack.

Picnic pies: A sturdy pie can withstand the bumpiest of journeys en route to your picnic spot and are easy to scoff by hand. The filling is entirely up to you. You could make a veggie pie with egg and beans, a classic like chicken and bacon or something a bit fancier like smoked haddock and potato. Picnics have never tasted so good.

Lemonade: Don’t forget to bring something tasty to drink. If you’re staying off the Pimm’s, I love to make my own cloudy lemonade before setting off. It makes the meal so much more special, and you’ll never go back to shop-bought lemonade after trying it.

This has been a guest post by Suzanne Southall, who’s the blogger for hungryhouse — the UK’s leading online takeaway platform that features restaurants in Birmingham, Brighton, Manchester and all over the country.

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