There’s nothing more pleasant than sitting down to a delightful picnic on a summer’s day. Surrounded by tasty treats and scrumptious snacks, this typically English pastime really makes you feel like you’re living the life of leisure!
As George exclaimed in Five Go Off In a Caravan (and what can be more of a barometer for ‘Britishness’ than Enid Blyton’s Famous Five?): “I don't know why, but the meals we have on picnics always taste so much nicer than the ones we have indoors” – and never a truer word could be said!
Here’s our favourite picnic spots:
Pack up a picnic and head over to the Cow Tower situated on the bank of the River Wensum, close to the stunning Norman Cathedral. This artillery tower may not be picturesque as such, but it’s a real slice of history – it was built in the late 14th century to defend the city from attack, and went on to play a role in Kett’s Rebellion of 1549. Today it stands as a shell (but an impressive one!) and the surrounding grassland makes a great spot for picnicking.
The newest installment in our series of films about Norwich, titled ‘The Rambler’, tells the story of local resident Mike King’s love for the beautiful green spaces around Norwich. A few perfect picnic spots feature in this film; Whitlingham Country Park, which boasts over 280 acres of wildlife and natural landscape to enjoy, and Mousehold Heath, a 200+ acre nature reserve with amazing views over Norwich. Both are beautiful pockets of nature just a stone’s throw away from the city centre.
Well, we couldn’t start a post like this without mentioning one of the city’s most picturesque spots! We’ll sing this gem of a garden’s praises day after day for a number of reasons, not least because it manages to emit a real air of tranquillity and calmness despite being only 10 minutes’ walk from the city centre – you’d never know if we hadn’t told you! £2 in the honesty box brings a day of lazing on the lawn: spread out a blanket and enjoy those finger sandwiches and scotch eggs in peace, all surrounded by flowers, trees, greenhouses and an awe-inspiring gothic fountain!
The museum itself is set inside a stunning building (with a flint wall which is part of the original house, dating back to the 14th century!) and its courtyard is no different - a real suntrap in the summer and the perfect place to enjoy a civilised pop-in picnic (you can enjoy your lunch in the courtyard for free). Afterwards why not peruse the wonderful displays inside!
Our very own Castle, right in the centre of the city, boasts some wonderful green spaces with panoramic vistas right across the city - perfect for a picnic with a view! The gardens are in what was originally part of the Castle’s ditch, and during the summer they also play host to free outdoor theatre performances. There are lots of lovely benches dotted around, but we’d recommend spreading out a blanket on the grass and spend a relaxed hour or two people watching!
This charming building dates back to the 14th century and is a fascinating place to visit – and on a nice day their gardens are a real treat! Though you’ll need to pay the entrance fee, it’s worth it to enjoy your picnic in their impressive 17th century knot garden (although on quiet days they have been known to occasionally let a few people into the garden for free, in the hope that a few might be tempted to then buy a ticket to look around the museum – which we’d definitely recommend doing!) Breathe in the wonderful lavender aroma as you snack and, depending when you visit, you might be able to enjoy some al-fresco entertainment as you relax! [link to Shakespearean Summer article]
If you’ve yet to visit the ‘jewel in Norfolk’s crown’ - Holkham Hall - then you’re in for a real treat! There’s a variety of terrain suitable for picnicking here; the Holkham Estate’s grounds offer 3,000 acres of parkland, as well as woodland adventure areas to keep young visitors happy and a walled garden which is currently being lovingly restored to its 18th century magnificence. Holkham Beach –also managed by the Estate - is a wonderfully unspoilt stretch of beach (one of the largest National Nature Reserves in the country) with white-gold sand, perfect for spreading out a blanket on!