Al and fresco are two words that come into our vocabulary with some regularity whenever the sun is out. Warm weather drives our need to make sandwiches, salads then pack them all up to eat outside, sitting firmly on some grass, drinking increasingly warming beverages. But where are the best spots to picnic without having to sit back to back with other merrymakers? Whether you want to find somewhere in the city, or take a daytrip to a countryside location, we've picked our favourite picnic spots.
Words: Victoria Gray, Images: Rex, Facebook
Where exactly? Keats House
Hampstead Heath is an endless source of picnic spots - with one and a quarter square miles to play with, you would expect there to be one or two places to rest yourself. But the grounds of John Keats' house at the bottom of the park make a restful space to picnic - and you might even find yourself inspired to write a spot of poetry.
Heaton Park, Manchester
Where exactly? Western Pleasure Ground
Finding green space in Manchester is difficult, but if you travel to the north of the city, you will hit Heaton Park, the grounds of a former stately home, which is now a huge park with activities a-plenty, and home to the Parklife festival every year. Head to the Western Pleasure Ground in the centre for a picnic with a great view over the city.
Victoria Park, London
Where exactly? Western Boating Lake
Victoria Park - the jewel of East London, is a wonderful spot for people watching. Tucked away from the road that runs through it, picnicking on the edge of the boating lake gives a view of the famous pagoda - but is close enough the the edge of the park if you didn't actually bring a picnic.
Studland Beach, Dorset
Where exactly? Old Harry Rocks
Sandy Studland Beach stretches for four miles along the Dorset coastline - ideal for a seaside day out. But a short walk out of the town brings you up to the Old Harry Rocks, broken off from the edge of the iconic white cliffs, making a breathtaking picnic spot.
Calton Hill, Edinburgh
Where exactly? The Athenian Acropolis
Calton Hill is home to Edinburgh's observatories, and rightly so, because it offers a splendid view. A short walk out of the city centre, it's not as high as Arthur's Seat, but offers fantastic vistas, without the wind that comes from being on a hilltop. Sit in the shadow of the unfinished Athenian Acropolis to Nelson's defeat at Waterloo and enjoy.
Kew Gardens, London
Where exactly? The Azalea gardens
The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew are a wonder of the gardening world. But amongst the exotic and tropical plants, the grounds themselves offer a number of lovely areas to eat your lunch - the Azalea gardens, filled with the bright flowers of the same name are just one of many. Remember that you need to pay to enter the gardens, so make a day of it and visit all the greenhouses too.
Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire
Where exactly? By the river
A short drive from Leeds and Manchester, Bolton Abbey, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales is one of the most beautiful spots in the country. The ruined abbey and riverside location makes the fields around it a lovely place to settle down with a picnic after a long walk.
Holland Park, Kensington, London
Where exactly? The Kyoto Gardens
One of the most peaceful spots in London, the Koyoto Gardens are hidden away in the depths of Holland Park, and constructed in true Japanese style, with a waterfall with koi carp swimming around its base. Once you've eaten a picnic, enjoy the open air opera and plays that are also staged in the park throughout the summer.
Roundhay Park, Leeds
Where exactly? Waterloo Lake
Roundhay Park, in the north of Leeds, is the city's largest park and worth a trip away from the modernity of the city centre. Its star attraction is Tropical World, but the peaceful lakes and Victorian monuments are just as lovely to sit and while away an afternoon beside.
Greenwich Park, London
Where exactly? Greenwich Hill
Greenwich Park is one of London's best spots for getting away from the buzz of the city - while still being able to admire its skyline. The beautiful cherry blossom avenues, and hilltop views of London make it the place to indulge in old-fashioned picnics, with a hamper and everything.
Devil's Dyke, near Brighton
Where exactly? On top of the hill
The Devil's Dyke, the deepest valley in Britain, runs along a huge section of the South Downs Way, making this spot - at its highest point, offering panoramic views right down to the sea - a wonderful picnic stop as part of a long walk, or a cycling trip.
Avon Valley Wildlife Park, Bristol
Where exactly? Riverside
Avon Valley Country Park is a delight for all the family - with a boatload of activities aimed at children including an adventure playground and petting zoo. But it's also home to a peaceful one and a half mile riverside walk, with numerous picnic and barbeque spots dotted along it, making for a perfect excuse to take a trip out of the city.
Regent's Park, London
Where exactly? St John's Lodge
At the centre of Regent's Park sits an imposing manor, originally home to an aristocrat in the 19th century. It remains a private residence, but its gardens are open to the public - but the imposing gates are still in place, meaning few dare enter. But once you do, it's a peaceful picnic spot, away from the crowds.
King's Heath Park, Birmingham
Where exactly? The pool
This small park, to the south of Birmingham City Centre, has been the location for gardening programmes since the 1970s and is suitably good looking, with a restored pond area, lots of green space for picnicking and a Victorian tea house for if you forget your sandwiches.
The Horniman Museum, Forest Hill, London
Where exactly? By the bandstand
The Horniman Museum is a quirky anthropological museum, with a natural history (aka stuffed animals) exhibition, as well as tributes to man's development around the world. But the real highlight is the six acres of garden around it, with a beautiful pavilion and bandstand, which offer fantastic views of London and plenty of spots to spend the day. The bandstand often features live music events too.
Jesmond Dean and Vale, Newcastle
Where exactly? Near the ruined mill
Jesmond Dene is perhaps the most out-of-the-city city park in the UK. Just fifteen minutes from central Newcastle, you reach what appears to be country roads, with a stream and endless greenery to walk through. Pitch up for a picnic by the ruined mill, and forget all your city troubles.
Where exactly? Within the stone circles
Avebury is a village surrounded by megalithic stones, arranged in a henge, similar to Stonehenge, originally erected by Neolithic people, and restored by archeologist Richard Keiller around the village - located in the centre of the stone circles. Protected by the National Trust, the flattened area and stone circles are just an hour's drive from Bristol and make an impressive picnic location.
Richmond Park, London
Where exactly? Pembroke Hill
Richmond Park is huge. The largest of London's Royal Parks, it's home to woodland, platations and deer alike. A fantastic view over all that greenery can be found on the top of Pembroke Hill to the east of the park. The Georgian mansion Pembroke Lodge nearby also boasts a quaint tearooms with delicious scones, if you're feeling more genteel.
Battersea Park, London
Where exactly? The Rosery Gardens
Battersea Park has everything you could ask for – a riverside location, a boating lake, a zoo, and also these beautiful gardens right in the centre, which make the perfect place to settle down for the day with a big basket of food.
Fell Foot Park, Windermere
Where exactly? Lakeside
The Lake District is the place to go for a proper picnic experience, and Fell Foot Park at the edge of Lake Windermere offers the most serene picnicking areas. The lakeside location offers breathtaking views, as well boat trips to enjoy once you're done eating.