Sit back, relax, and enjoy the view. The National Trust properties in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Berkshire offer idyllic – and dog friendly – spots to enjoy your al-fresco feasts.
Stowe (near Buckingham)
A favourite spot to picnic at Stowe is by Octagon lake, with the ducks and geese gliding idly by and the dragonflies dancing on the water. Pitch your blanket in the right spot and you have a wonderful view of both the iconic Palladian bridge and the Gothic Temple. You might feel like you’ve just stepped into a Jane Austen novel – although we recommend your Mr Darcy keeps his shirt on and his feet dry.
Hughenden (near High Wycombe)
The east slope in the parkland just below the ha-ha is a great place to picnic at Hughenden. A view of the manor is behind you, its imposing red brick façade peeping out between dark green conifers. In front is a sweeping view of the parkland punctuated with mature chestnuts, walnuts and sycamore trees, and the pretty church of St Michael and All Angels. There’s a Chiltern chalk stream flowing at the bottom of the valley then the rise of a typical Chiltern hill cloaked with green fields and woodland.
Basildon Park (near Reading)
The lawn in front of the mansion has been the picnic spot for residents of Basildon Park for generations. You can imagine the Bridgerton-style garden parties here on the wide flat lawns, with far-reaching views over the parkland. In fact, Basildon Park regularly features on screen as a location set for Bridgerton and other period dramas, so don’t forget your parasol, and be sure to take a turn around the pleasure grounds when you’ve finished your picnic.
Greys Court (near Henley-on-Thames)
The upper lawn is a favourite picnic spot at Greys Court as there are lovely views over the Chiltern Hills from there. The house is to your right and it’s a great place to people-watch the comings and goings between the house and walled garden in the foreground. In the distance you can watch the cows grazing peacefully and the red kites swooping over the hills. For families, the flat plateau of the lawn is great for garden games and cartwheeling. (Dogs are welcome but not in the walled garden.)
Waddesdon (near Aylesbury, open Wednesdays to Sundays)
The most popular place for picnics is below the Parterre with a view of the Manor on one side and sweeping views of Aylesbury Vale on the other. There are parkland trees to provide dappled shade if it’s hot. From mid-June, the Parterre bedding will be in bloom and provide a colourful backdrop to a picnic. If you want to upgrade the experience, Waddesdon will be offering click and collect picnics from 17 June.