As long summer days stretch into balmy evenings, there’s no better way to enjoy our glorious English countryside than by packing up a picnic and finding a secluded spot where we can settle down and tuck into food with a view.
National Picnic Month encourages us to grab our picnic baskets and get outdoors with family and friends, and the rolling countryside, villages, rivers and coastline all around us provide a host of glorious spots to lay down a picnic blanket.
Here are five of our favourite local picnic spots:
River Hamble Country Park
This lovely park is perfect for a picnic. Explore ancient woodland and enjoy all the seasonal colours and abundant wildlife, from curlews along the river to skylarks soaring overhead. Children will love racing across wide open fields, and crabbing nets are sold at the seasonal kiosk to use on the shores of the River Hamble.
The South Downs National Park
You'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding the pefect picnic spot here. Black Down is the highest point in the national park, and in summer the hills are carpeted in purple heather. On a hot day, lay out your picnic blanket under the dappled shade of the ancient yew trees of Kingley Vale – said to be some of the oldest living things in England.
Bishop’s Waltham Palace
Pack a picnic for a great day soaking up some history. Take in the sights at Bishop’s Waltham Palace and then picnic in the grounds before heading off to explore nearby Titchfield Abbey, Southwick Priory and Netley Abbey.
Knowle Park, Fair Oak
This 35-acre park bordered by ancient woodland has sweeping views towards the Isle of Wight to the south and the Itchen valley to the west. It’s a haven for wildlife; keep a look out for deer and birds of prey.
Royal Victoria Country Park
With fantastic views across Southampton Water, this beautiful park, which was once the home of the largest military hospital in the Victoria Empire, is dotted with picnic areas. Discover large open spaces, boardwalks, ponds and woodland, and a miniature railway. And if jam sandwiches aren’t your thing, family barbecue areas can also be hired.