Picnic in the Park

Two friends having a picnic in a field under a tree

Summer has arrived, and we've got a top tip to make your next Treasure Trail a tasty treat for the whole family to enjoy - if it is a nice day, break up your exploring with a picnic!

Did you know that picnicking has its origins in Britain?  The earliest picnics were medieval hunting feasts in England, which were generally held before the hunts began. Hams, baked meats and pastries were the standard fare! If you go on a Treasure Trail, you may still be carrying on the tradition of eating before hunting - treasure hunting, that is!

When writing a new Trail, we ask our Trail Writers to make sure that, if at all possible, the route they choose passes at least one really nice place to have a picnic. While even the humblest bench can make a convenient place for a picnic, we believe the perfect picnic spot has a few elements...

A picnic bench in the shade under a tree looking out to a calm woodland lake

Where to find the perfect picnic spot

Proper picnic benches

A proper picnic bench - complete with a table - is ideal for spreading out your hoard of tasty treats while everyone gets a fairly comfortable seat. 

Take on the detective mystery Trail in Hay on Wye, a small town on the borders of Powys and Herefordshire and world-famous for being the book town. There is a perfect picnic spot halfway around the Trail, where a set of picnic benches are set up on the banks of the River Wye.

A brilliant view

You can't beat a brilliant view when pausing to refuel on your expedition.

Filey is a good old-fashioned seaside resort with great views. There are a range of picnic spots to choose from when you're on your detective mystery Trail. Pick from the many benches along the promenade and in the parks and gardens, grab a blanket to stop at the wide sandy beach or head up to Filey Brigg and the start of the Cleveland Way. It's a fab one for sandcastles too!

A picnic blanket and food set out in the sand dunes overlooking the sea

No traffic

While a roadside picnic bench does the job, it's not exactly the ideal spot to soak up the atmosphere as you eat your lunch!

That's where Trails set entirely in parks and gardens come into play, and Cheltenham Pittville is a perfect example. Pittville, originally built as the 'new' spa town to rival Cheltenham itself, is a delightful blend of wide, open spaces, elegantly laid out residential squares and long, straight walking paths.

Starting at the birthplace of the composer Holst, this Trail leads you along traffic-free pathways through Pittville Park along ‘The Lawns’ with its convenient year-round café before you cross the water via the footbridge. Pause to let the children have fun at the designated play area and discover the aviary close to the famous Pittville Pump Rooms. You might even be entertained at the bandstand – what better place to picnic?!

Shelter from wind

While adventures up on coast paths, moors and hilltops may seem to tick all the perfect picnic boxes, there's one thing to contend with - wind. The last thing you want is for your bag of crisps to blow away as you tuck into your sandwich!

Take Ilkley, a historic spa town named the best place to live in the UK in 2022, famously visited by Charles Darwin and fairly well-known for its cold winds. Though this detective mystery Trail takes you along the edge of the moor and up to White Wells House, a picnic isn't out of the question. 

You do go past a specific picnic spot on the moor - a fantastic place to stop with views of the town below, but also slightly more sheltered from the wind. Make sure you've got your hat on you and, if it gets a bit too blowy, pause for a warming hot chocolate at White Wells when you reach it.

A young woman sat on a picnic blanket reaching for food

Close to extra activities and refreshment stops

If your young explorers haven't quite run out of steam by the time you've paused for your picnic, it's good to have a few options to turn your Trail adventure into a full-blown day out. It's also wise to have the option of shops and cafes to duck into if there's anything you've forgotten, and somewhere for a post-quest ice cream always comes in handy!

Try Lymm Ducks and Drakes, based around the town centre. There are a couple of excellent picnic spots and lots of opportunities for duck feeding (currently, lots of babies - very cute!) and photography.

Or, what about Elford Treasure Trail? The lovely little village of Elford is packed with history and has a bright, modern playground in its midst, where there are undercover picnic tables for adults to relax whilst the little ones play. Alternatively, there's a restored walled garden to enjoy. If you see three cars in total, it’s rush hour!

A young girl feeding a large flock of swans

The most important thing...

As long as you're relaxing and enjoying the scenery in company with scrumptious foods, you are practising the art of picnicking! You can be confident that most of the time, if you carry your picnic with you on a Trail, there'll be a nice spot to stop and enjoy.

For ideas on what to pack for the perfect Trailing picnic, check out this blog post.