As we enjoy the sweet, sweet taste of freedom that a post-lockdown life is bringing us, one of our most immediate priorities is a day trip to the countryside (with a picnic in hand). Slightly sick of the noise, we’ve sparked inspiration with our favourite beauty spots near London, perfect for escaping the noise of the UK’s capital city – even if just for a day.
Local Picnic Locations Outside of London
If you’re not ready to let go of all the comfort (and amenities of city life), a trip to the historic city of Bath is well worth a visit. Travel just under an hour and a half on a train and take in the Roman architecture of the city, whilst getting lost promenading around the city centre. When it’s time for lunch, take your picnic to the park, and sit overlooking the iconic Royal Crescent (which you may or may not recognise from Bridgerton).
If you fancy a drink, choose from over 500 options of beer in the infamous BeerCraft for a refreshing – and well earned tipple. When in Rome…
THE NEW FOREST, HERTORD
Throw yourself well and truly into the outdoors with a trip to the New Forest. If you’re looking to hunt for some wildlife you may spot some roaming cattle, a horse, or perhaps even a pig. With plenty of covetable spots to picnic at, from the tall and mighty Knightwood Oak to the Hurst Spit for views of the Isle of White, our personal favourite is Buckler’s Hard, where you can enjoy views of the beautiful Beaulieu River, and perhaps even visit the Maritime Museum for a hint of culture.
Whilst you can reach The New Forest by train, embrace the true life of an explorer and hire a car for a real adventure.
With a castle, Legoland and some iconic retail offerings, there’s plenty to keep you amused on a trip to Windsor. The radiant Windsor Great Park, in particular, has plenty of spots to tuck into a well-earned picnic – and unparalleled views of the castle.
You may choose to sit overlooking the newly restored Cow Pond, where you can admire floating water lilies, take a relaxing seat on the well-populated Obelisk lawn, or simply take in the stunning views (and go deer spotting) on the deer park. If you still have an appetite after a daytime of snacking, head to the city centre on your way home for a classic pub meal, then have a quick siesta on the 45 minute train journey home.
Greenery not your thing? Head to the Great British seaside for a day out and see what Margate has to offer. Take your picnic blanket and sit by the sea with some fish and chips (a non-negotiable on any trip to the seaside in our opinion), and perhaps, if the weather is good enough, you may even catch a tan.
If you’re hoping for some thrills and have time later in the year, visit the infamous Dreamland (which is hoping to reopen on June 21st) for some rides, entertainment and general good vibes. After all, what’s a trip to the coast without a go on the Waltzers?
THE PEAK DISTRICT, DERBYSHIRE
You may have to travel a little further to the Peaks (it’s around two hours on the train and a short drive), but we can reassure you it’s well worth it. Come prepared with a full picnic basket, then drive up towards Curbar Edge and take a short walk to the top in order to observe the breath-taking views of the countryside around you. If you want to make a weekend of it, why not rent a local cottage and visit Chatsworth House and the grounds around it on an additional day? The afternoon tea in the residence’s restaurant is well worth a trip…
If you’re yet to venture out of London on a day trip to Cambridge, the time is now. You may want to look at the radiant architecture of the university or head to the common, but the best aesthetic for your picnic is the Botanic Gardens.
Just a fifteen minute walk from the city centre and with a £7 entry free, admire the well cared for horticultural collections utilised for researching and teaching by the University of Cambridge. Just be sure to pre-book, as the grounds are currently working on a limited capacity.
TUNBRIDGE WELLS, KENT
Get on a short train ride to Tunbridge Wells, and then head to Dunorlan Park. With over 78 acres of land and a decadent over six acre lake. Outer London’s best kept secret and once the private land of a local millionaire, it first opened to the public in 1949 and has become a visitor hotspot ever since. Include a short visit to the Grecian Temple, showcasing the infamous Dancing Girl statue which attracts visitors near and far.
Ensure you’re more than ready for your picnic with these outdoor dining essentials.
Words: Maria Loizou