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There are so many secluded picnic spots to spread your blanket, delve into a scotch egg and soak up some of Britain’s most beautiful landscapes. From woods, country parks and historic sites to lakes and beaches. And what better time to indulge in a picnic than when on a staycation in new surroundings?

To celebrate National Picnic Week from June 19-27 2021, we asked some of our cottage owners to pick their favourite picnic spots near their staycation holiday homes – and this is what they said…

1 Derbyshire

picnic spots UK staycation: Padley Gorge, Hope Valley, Derbyshire

Padley Gorge

Sally, owner of our Derbyshire cottages, says:
“Padley Gorge, is my choice for a family picnic. Take a bucket and spade, water toys, fishing net and blankets too, and get set up for a whole day! This deep and narrow valley near Longshaw Estate and Grindleford is a gem of a place -enchanting and mysterious, with foaming waters and gigantic boulders. The fairytale gorge is home to many species of scientific interest, including rare birds and hairy ants, which dwell in the vast woodland and grassy plains. Dogs and kids love to paddle in the shallow stream. Plus there’s climbing, walking and exploring the woods - the list goes on! There are heaps of clearings and flat leafy areas near the stream with gorgeous views, making Padley a popular picnic spot in all seasons.”

2 The Cotswolds

picnic spots UK staycation: Neigh Bridge Country Park, Cotswold Water Park

Neigh Bridge Country Park by Vieve Forward

Kevin, owner of our Cotswold Lake Lodges, says:
“Our Cotswold lake houses don’t just cater for water sports enthusiasts! The Cotswold Water Park is also packed with excellent picnic locations. Make a beeline for Neigh Bridge Country Park, four miles away, with its scenic lakeside views and tranquil countryside. It’s just one of three parks within the site offering dreamy picnic spots for a memorable al fresco lunch. Alternatively Cricklade, five miles away, has some amazing spots to picnic. As the first town on the Thames, you could crack open a hamper by the riverside or go ‘wild’ at Blakehill Nature Reserve or North Meadow National Nature Reserve. Swing by Michael Hart & Sons in Cricklade on your way, with plenty of home produce to make up a delicious picnic.”

3 North Cornwall

picnic spots UK staycation: Porth Reservoir, Colan, North Cornwall

Image by Geoff Welding

Charlie, owner of The Fir Hill Glamping near Newquay, says:
“Our dreamy setting nestled amongst beautiful woodlands on the edge of the Porth Reservoir, with 62-acres of private land to explore, makes for plenty of wonderful picnic spots on your Yurt step! Why not pick up some wonderful locally sourced goodies in Newquay, just 5 miles away and find a spot at Porth Reservoir? It is a beautiful get back to nature destination for a spot of birdwatching or angling. A designated bird sanctuary and a paradise for birdwatchers, you might spot owls, woodpeckers and kingfishers flying around. Kids can roam the nature trails and winding paths, and there is also a cycle path that runs through the site.”

4 North Norfolk

picnic spots UK staycation: Blickling Estate, Norfolk

Blickling Estate

Sandra, owner of Weavers Loft in Erpingham, says:
“Head off to the stunning Blickling Estate, just four miles from our romantic loft. With 950 acres of woodland and parkland, a variety of gardens and its own lake, it really is a stunning location for a picnic. Find a picturesque spot for a romantic afternoon under an old oak tree, while the hours away with good food and embrace pure tranquillity. Rumour has it that Blickling Estate was the birthplace of one of Henry VIII’s wives, Anne Boleyn. It’s bursting with history and you can browse the fascinating historic house at your leisure.”

5 Exmoor

picnic spots UK staycation: Tarr Steps, Exmoor

Image by Pam Brophy

Peter, owner of West Hollowcombe Farm near Dulverton, says:
“We’re so lucky to have the famous Tarr Steps less than two miles away! Tarr Steps is a medieval clapper bridge made from stone slabs which span the River Barle. There’s plenty of grassland here beside the river perfect for a picnic in beautiful surroundings. It’s a safe spot for kids to paddle in the water with their fishing nets and for your pet pooch to cool down too! In fact, it was picked out by The Sunday Times in 2013 as one of the UK’s best picnic locations. It’s surrounded by beautiful woodlands — a National Nature Reserve — so keep watch for amazing wildlife such as otters and red deer. Afterwards stop off for a drink at the 16th-century Tarr Farm Inn or take a gentle walk to Liscombe Farm ice cream parlour for a tasty post-picnic treat. Other excellent picnic spots near to us are at Lower Willingford Bridge, Landacre Bridge and East Anstey Common.”

6 The Norfolk Brecks

picnic spots UK staycation: Thetford Forest, Norfolk

Image by Karen Roe

Richard, owner of Vicarage House and Pool House in Great Hockham, says:
“Vicarage House is a brilliant base for enjoying a picnic in Thetford Forest Park which is on the doorstep – check out the unusual flora and fauna and try to spot red deer! The forest covers 47,000 acres and is the perfect woody setting for dining al fresco, with many picnic sites scattered across the forest. For an action-packed day out, pack a rucksack for an on-the-go cycle picnic. We’ve thoughtfully provided plenty of bikes and maps at the house! There is plenty to discover in the forest by following one of the waymarked walking and cycling trails that sprawl across the park.”

7 West Cornwall

picnic spots UK staycation: Kynance Cove, Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall

Image by Barney Moss

Sue, owner of our Bonython Estate cottages on the Lizard Peninsula, says:
“Picnics are one of the best ways to enjoy the Lizard’s glorious landscapes. A 20 minute drive from Bonython takes you to Kynance Cove, one of the most beautiful places for a spot of al fresco dining, with its white sand beach lapped by sparkling turquoise waters. Here you can enjoy a picnic on the beach or clifftop whilst drinking in the stunning scenery. You can always come prepared with a box of fresh pasties from Ann’s famous pasty shop nearby! At low tide, you can walk out to the offshore rock, Asparagus Island, where the delicacy once grew wild, or explore the caves and rock pools around the cove to work off your lunch.”

8 Shropshire

picnic spots UK staycation: Carding Mill Valley, Shropshire

Carding Mill Valley © National Trust Images/John Millar

David, owner of The Oaks near Church Stretton, says:
“Where better than the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to find a picture-perfect picnic spot? We’ve plenty of secluded spots where you can spread your blanket with access to the National Trust’s Long Mynd Estate from our gate! Many of our region’s attractions also provide wonderful picnic sites – Attingham Park, Dudmaston and Buildwas Abbey to name a few. Why not pack a hamper filled with the region’s best local produce (Shrewsbury biscuits are a must!) and head in the direction of Carding Mill Valley just two miles from The Oaks. It’s a great place for picnics with stunning scenery, beautiful walks and a lovely stream for kids to play in.”

9 South East Cornwall

picnic spots UK staycation: Cardinham Woods, Bodmin, Cornwall

Image by Terry McKenna

Hilary, owner of our Killigorrick Farm Cottages, says:
“Cardinham Woods, a 20 minute drive from Killigorrick Farm Cottages, is a great place for a picnic. Cardinham offers four laid-out walking and cycling trails and a fantastic picnic area located close to the river. Relax by the river, let the kids paddle, look out for the resident otters, or make use of the free barbecues there. Many other paths weave their way through the 650 acres of scenic woodland if you want to go off-piste and find your own secluded spot. The woods are home to buzzards, dippers, kingfishers and deer. I have to admit though, sometimes I just cheat and tuck into homemade sandwiches or a steaming coffee and cream tea from the lovely organic Woods Café while the little ones are kept amused by the great play area alongside! Some of the Killigorrick Farm cottages are dog-friendly, and this is a great place to bring your furry friends along too.”

10 East Devon

picnic spots UK staycation: Branscombe beach, Devon

Branscombe beach

Sarah, owner of Burrows and Apple Mill in Venn Ottery, says:
“If there’s one thing we can do well in East Devon’s AONB, it’s play host to a fabulous picnic! After all, we’ve got rolling green hills, great picnic spots on the river Otter just two miles distant as well as miles of beaches with thousands of years of history. Why not pack up a picnic and head on down to the Jurassic Coast – its pebble beaches are ideal for picnicking without sand getting in your sandwiches. Our nearest beach spots include the picturesque town of Budleigh Salterton and Branscombe. Other superb picnic places? The open grassland that covers the coastal path between Branscombe and Beer and the white chalk cliffs of Beer Head with views over the picturesque fishing village with its boats perched prettily on the pebble beach.”

11 Wiltshire

picnic spots UK staycation: Avebury Stone Circle, Wiltshire

© National Trust Images/Mike Robinson

Peter, owner of Stable Cottage near Pewsey, says:
“There are two wonderful picnic spots that spring to mind, both less than 20 minutes’ drive from Stable Cottage. Above Marlborough, in the idyllic setting of the ancient Savernake Forest, surrounded by a network of tracks and paths, lies Postern Hill. It’s such a beautiful place with picnic tables, areas for ‘bring your own’ barbecues and ample parking. My dog loves it! Or, if you’re looking for an unusual picnic spot, pack up a hamper and head for Avebury. The entire village lies within Europe’s biggest stone circle, thought to be four thousand years old. Here you can find a quiet spot to absorb its evocative atmosphere and can even sit, or lean, against a worn stone while enjoying a bite to eat with the grazing sheep. Kids have a great time running up and down the hills and ditches. You can also drop into the National Trust museum nearby to learn more about Avebury’s history.”

12 Cumbria

picnic spots UK staycation: Sandwick Bay, Ullswater

Image by Peter Skynner

Dominic, owner of Waternook in Ullswater, says:
“There are so many spots to choose beside the water! Aira Force waterfall is a spectacular backdrop for a picnic, or feast amongst Wordsworth’s golden daffodils at Gowbarrow Park. From Waternook, you can follow the path around Ullswater’s shoreline to Sandwick Bay nearby at the foot of Hallin Fell. Its enchanting pebbly beach is picnic-perfect. Of course, Waternook itself enjoys its own half a mile of uninterrupted Ullswater shoreline with a boathouse and private jetty, the perfect spot for a picnic whilst taking in the breathtaking views of Ullswater!”

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