Flea1

From May onwards, most of our weekends feature at least one meal eaten outdoors. I'm not such a fan of barbecues at home (the beach is so much more scenic than my pitiful back garden), but I love proper picnics.

Fortunately, Flea shares my love of eating outdoors – for her, any day out becomes at least 50 times more enjoyable if it involves our trusty picnic blanket and a cool bag. In fact, if Flea knows we’re carrying a picnic, she’s unable to focus on anything else until the picnic has been served. We have lots of conversations like this:

“Gosh, I’m feeling a little bit hungry now. What time is it?”

“It’s 10am, Flea. You just had breakfast 15 minutes ago.”

Pause.

“When we get there will it be time for our picnic then?”

“No, we’ll get on the boat, sail to the beach, then it will be time for our picnic.”

“What if I’m hungry on the boat?”

“You won’t be hungry on the boat.”

“I might be.”

“Flea, would you like to have your picnic before we go on the boat?”

“Ooh, that’s a brilliant plan, Mummy.”

Our favourite picnic spots are free, which also helps.

If you’re in the North of England, the river bank at Bolton Abbey is great for paddling and finding crayfish, and you can have a walk in the Strid woods after eating (during December you can picnic here and then visit Santa in the woods, which is pretty cool).

We live just down the road from St Annes, which has a great beach in the summer. I love hanging out on the beach and sometimes we top up the picnic with barbecued sausages or grilled kebabs (we just bought a portable Outback gas barbecue for a bargain £30, which is rapidly becoming my favourite ever summer buy). If I take Flea's bike, a football, and a good book, we can be perfectly happy there all day.

Another of our favourite spots is Brockhole on Windermere, which has an amazing adventure playground and a lovely walk down to the lake, and you can usually find a quiet spot for picnic by the water’s edge. In summer, they also have a range of kids’ sporting and climbing activities, and on the way home, we drive right by the Lakeland Limited store, which is always a bonus.

Flea2 This weekend, we headed off to Skipton Castle, which isn’t quite free, but it was only £6 for the pair of us, which isn't bad. Skipton is a great castle for kids because it’s all unfurnished and open, with all the rooms leading off a central courtyard, so you can turn the kids loose and they can just run off and play knights for the day. Be warned, the guide thinks it's the height of humour to turn off the lights while you're in the dungeon. Ho ho. When they're worn out, there’s a lovely picnic spot in the grounds with views over Skipton Woods and the town. 

I'm really looking forward to getting out and about some more now the weather finally, finally seems to be looking up. So, would you mind sharing your top picnic destinations? Or do you have a must-have picnic recipe that we could try out?

About 

Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She's also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world's coolest ten year old.