If a summertime picnic sounds like your idea of a great group trip, try taking some inspiration from these unconventional al fresco dining spot suggestions, for both this summer, and those in the future.
The recent spate of hot weather has got Group Leisure & Travel gearing up for the summer season; the sun is shining, the grass is green, and the British countryside is on standby to be the perfect backdrop to your next group picnic.
1. Sandwiches in a sculpture park
The Sculpture Park in Surrey is an eclectic sculpture exhibition with over 300 renowned and emerging artists showcasing 600 modern and contemporary sculpture for sale. Sited within ten acres of arboretum and water gardens, the statues and art installations provide both an atmospheric and intriguing location from which to dine on finger sandwiches, from the comfort of tartan blankets, or deck chairs if you fancy bringing along your own.
2. Scotch eggs in a Scottish monument
The National Monument of Scotland, on Calton Hill in Edinburgh, is Scotland's national memorial to the Scottish soldiers and sailors who died fighting in the Napoleonic Wars. The monument dominates the top of Calton Hill, just to the east of Princes Street, and is said to be modelled upon the Parthenon in Athens.
Pictured: Scotland Monument. (Photo credit: VisitScotland and Kenny Lam).
Not only is the monument full of character, the spot offers panoramic views across Edinburgh. The City Observatory is also located on Calton Hill, as is the Nelson Monument, so there’s plenty to explore between courses.
3. Fruit with cream at a festival
Running from May to August each year is the Glyndebourne Festival, which offers a programme of six operas to be enjoyed while dining al fresco in your fanciest outfits. The scope of the festival is broad and has presented works by a wide range of composers including Monteverdi, Handel, Rossini, Tchaikovsky, Janá?ek, Strauss, Stravinsky, Verdi and Wagner. Groups can enjoy pre-booked picnic hampers stuffed with goods like chicken terrine, crab salad and raspberries and cream. Picnic tables for groups can also be reserved.
4. Sausage rolls in a stronghold
Get into Famous Five mode, don rucksacks stuffed with ginger beer, and head off into the unknown during a visit to the quaint village of Corfe in Dorset. A number of Enid Blyton’s captivating children’s books were set in Dorset; she’s said to have based the fictional Kirrin Castle on National Trust property Corfe Castle.
Pictured: Side view of Corfe Castle.
The castle itself has been a Saxon stronghold, a Norman fortress, a royal palace and a family home, so there’s plenty to learn about during a visit. Climb into the ruins of this once-magnificent fortress, enjoy views across the picturesque region with a sausage roll in hand, and take advantage of National Trust group rates.
5. Wine on the water
Open from 1st February to 30th of November each year is The Magdalen Bridge Boathouse in Oxford, which offers picnics on board its punting boats on the River Cherwell. Groups can book out a number of punts at a time, and travel in convoy past some of Oxford’s most beautiful and famous sites, including the Botanic Gardens, Magdalen College School fields, and through Christ Church Meadows, where Lewis Carroll wrote Alice in Wonderland. Picnics can be requested ahead of booking, and can include treats like wine and champagne.