The 50 Best Picnic Spots - Coastal
Rhiannon Batten finds the perfect places to lay your blanket this summer
Saturday 26 July 2008
Made up of around 40,000 black basalt columns, and taking its name from legends of giants striding over the sea to Scotland, the Giant's Causeway is the only UNESCO World Heritage site inNorthern Ireland. It can get very busy in high summer but it's still a great spot for an outdoor feast. There are designated picnic tables around the site, or just find a quiet perch on the grass outside the visitor shop.
Getting there: Giant's Causeway is two miles east of Bushmills, in Antrim, with free access (02820 731582; www.nationaltrust.org. uk)
Jurassic Coast, Devon and Dorset
The UK's first Natural World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coast combines seaside and countryside and runs 90 miles from Dorset to east Devon. "The area around Lyme Regis is spectactular, but try to go out of season to enjoy it all to yourself," advises Mark Price. Mark Scott also suggests picnicking in this part of the country, though he prefers the beach north of Studland for its "brilliant views, gently sloping beach and good amenities".
"One of the most natural and most symbolic landmarks in the country, thewhite cliffs of Dover are a great place to walk and offer spectacular views across the channel," sums up Mark Price. "For a picnic, I like Langdon Bay, which is just a short walk east – look for a sheltered spot and enjoy the views".
Getting there: Langdon Bay is outside Dover in Kent, with open access. For more general information on the local area see www.visitkent.co.uk.
Holkham National Nature Reserve
"This is the most extensive, diverse and dramatic nature reserve on a coastline famous for nature reserves," enthuses Laurence. "The mix of habitats and the blend of wildlife make Holkham a unique place and there is much space here for kite flying, picnic-taking, walking and playing."
Getting there: Holkham National Nature Reserve is three miles west of Wells-next-the-Sea, in north Norfolk, and access is free (01328 711183; www.holkham.co.uk)
Bigbury on Sea
"Whenever there is the opportunity I try to get down to this spot in Devon, which is perfect for a picnic on the beach," promises Laurence. "It enjoys not only one of the most beautiful, large white beaches in the whole country but is in a sheltered position so the sand shouldn't get into those sandwiches. It even has its own island, Burgh Island, home to an Art Deco hotel, which you can walk to at low tide."
Getting there: Bigbury on Sea is in south Devon, around 12m from Salcombe. For more general information: seewww.visitsouthdevon.co.uk
Famous for its string of long, sandy beaches, the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that stretches from Tynemouth to Berwick-upon- Tweed offers plenty of choices for picnicking. "Pick a spot, any spot, and enjoy a picnic with plenty of space and nature around," says Laurence, though he suggests Bamburgh Beach for "mile upon mile of long, golden sand overlooked by the magnificent Bamburgh Castle".
Getting there: Bamburgh is around 32km south of Berwick-upon-Tweed.
For more information: on the area visit: www.northumberland-coast.co.uk
This small beach on the south coast of Cornwall is among the prettiest in the region. Pack a pastie or a crab sandwich and make a day of it. If you time it right, you can also take in a show at the Minack Theatre, high above Porthcurno's shimmering turquoise water.
Getting there: Porthcurno is around 5km southeast of Lands End.
"At only threeand- a-half miles long, walking to the end of Lundy island from where the boat comes in will build up a good appetite for a picnic," advises Evie. "When you get to the furthest point, follow the path down rocky cliffs and you'll find a perfect spot for a picnic."
Getting there: Lundy island is off the north Devon coast. From Bideford and Ilfracombe the boat takes less than two hours and costs £30 for a day return.
Visit: www.lundy island.co.uk
"This might sound like a bit of a classic choice, but Whitstable has always been a family favourite," says Evie Pace. "If you live in London, it's close enough to the capital that you can get there and back on just a day trip, but it's also far enough away to enjoy bracing sea air. And, if you forget your picnic, you can always have fresh fish and chips by the beach instead".
Getting there: Whitstable is in Kent.
Visit: www.seewhitstable.com, or contact the local tourist board (01227 275482; www.visitkent.co.uk)
"There are so many spots for a picnic on and around this beach," enthuses Evie. "Choose from anywhere along the vast beach itself, climb atop the rock stacks (if the tides are in your favour), wander along the clifftop path or head out to somewhere in the depths of the nearby nature reserve," she advises. If you've got a head for heights, Bosherston is also a popular climbing spot.
Getting there: Bosherston Beach is around 5m south of Pembroke in southwest Wales.
For more information contact the local tourist board (01646 622388; www.visitpembrokeshire.com)
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