THE shortlist: PICNIC SPOTS

In London ...

Wimbledon Cemetery, SW19. This urban hideaway celebrates its centenary this year. Open from 9am in the week (10am at weekends and Bank Holidays) until 30 minutes before sunset. Entrance on Gap Road. Tube: Wimbledon Park.

Stave Hill Ecological Park, Rotherhithe SE16. A wildlife haven lying in urban sprawl and former Thames dockyards. Home to 30 species of butterfly. Entrance from Timber Pond Road through Bacon's College. Open 24 hrs. Free (tel: 0171 237 9165)

Bunhill Fields, EC1. Tranquil old burial ground for non-conformists, Daniel Defoe and William Blake among them. Entrance on City Road. Free. Tube: Old Street; open weekdays 7.30am to 4pm, weekends 9.30am to 4pm.

Chiswick House Gardens, W4. Try the Royal gardens, the Italian gardens, or the temple, and listen out for the tawny owl. Free entrance on Burlington Lane. Tube: Turnham Green or Chiswick BR info 0181 995 0508.

Camera Obscura, Edinburgh Roof-top terrace with fantastic views of the Firth of Forth. Open 9.30am to 6pm weekdays; 10am to 6pm weekends. Adults pounds 3.30, students pounds 2.65, senior citizens and unemployed pounds 2.10, under 16s pounds 1.70, families pounds 9.90 (tel: 0131 226 3709).

Ashton Memorial, Lancaster. Baroque domed folly built by Lord Ashton in memory of his wife. Entrance to park and ground floor free. Other areas: adults pounds 2.75, senior citizens pounds 2.25, children pounds 1.50, under fours free, families pounds 8. Jct 34 on M6. Open 10am-5pm seven days a week insummer (tel: 01524 33318)

Cadbury World, Birmingham. Be Willy Wonka for the day at this shrine to chocolate, which includes picnic areas and numerous "tasting points". Open 10am -5pm every day until end of Oct (tel: 0121 451 4159).

Oban-Mull Ferry. Just enough time to unwrap your sandwiches during this 45-minute trip. Daily sailings (check times with Caledonian MacBrayne ferries on 01631 562285). Return fares: pounds 6.10 per person (pounds 5.15 if you stay three nights on Mull), pounds 37.30 for small car.

Killington Lake Services M6, Cumbria. Idyllic spot on the edge of the Lake District with good views over Killington Reservoir. You'd never know you were yards from one of Britain's busiest motorways. Between junctions 36 and 37.

Compiled by Matthew Brace

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