Stunning National Trust picnic spots in Surrey
- Credit: Nickos / Getty Images / iStockphoto
With the warmer weather finally here (well, we hope!), it’s time to pack up a picnic and head into the Surrey countryside. Here, on behalf of the National Trust, Emma Brien brings us their pick of the most picturesque picnic spots.
Make sure to book your visit in advance via the National Trust Website.
Tadworth KT20 7LF
; BoxPicnics were becoming more and more popular when Austen wrote her novel at the turn of the 19th century. Today, we encourage ramblers, nature lovers and sightseers to bring their own picnics to Box Hill, where they can enjoy the magnificent views.
Hascombe Rd, Godalming GU8 4AD
If you're looking for somewhere with one of the finest collection of trees and shrubs in England, then Winkworth Arboretum is the fairest picnic spot of them all. The brightly coloured magnolias are a sight to behold during the height of their flowering in June.
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Claremont Landscape Garden
Portsmouth Rd, Esher KT10 9JG
Enjoy watching black swans, Egyptian geese, and vibrant Mandarin ducks float past as you tuck into a tasty hamper of treats. You might even spot a parakeet flying past overhead in a streak of green.
Great Bookham, Dorking, RH5 6BB
From mid-June to late July, visitors to Polesden Lacey can enjoy the annual Polesden Lacey Rose Festival. Why not wander the gardens inhaling the heady floral scent of many plush roses and find the perfect spot for a bit of lunch.
West Clandon, Guildford GU4 7RQ
Clandon Park boats stunning formal gardens, woodlands and the remains of the 18th-century grade I listed Palladian-style mansion currently being restored in one of the UK's biggest heritage projects.
While your strolling through the gardens, be sure to look out for Hinemihi, the traditional Māori meeting house or wharenui that came to England at the end of the 19th-century. Māori meeting houses still hold a significant role in Māori culture, and there are only 3 other such structures outside New Zealand.
East Clandon, Guildford GU4 7RT
With over 400 acres of beautiful grounds to explore, there is much to see at Hatchlands Park.
The National Trust is also looking to re-open the house in May, so be sure to pop in to see the fantastic Cobbe Collection, which among many instruments, includes what is believed to be one of only two surviving portraits of William Shakespeare.
Hindhead Commons and the Devil’s Punch Bowl
London Rd, Hindhead GU26 6AG
Finally, we can also recommend the wide views and pretty walks of Hindhead Commons and the Devil’s Punch Bowl, where the countryside is teeming with wildlife. Plus, there is the National Trust-run cafe located at the Devil’s Punch Bowl open for takeaway if you're looking for a light spot of lunch.
For more details of the National Trust countryside in the Surrey Hills and beyond, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk.
Share photos of your favourite Surrey picnic spots @ www.surreylife.co.uk/photos
The National Trust's top ten tips for the perfect picnic
1) Make sure you bring slightly more food and drink than you think you will need. Appetites can expand greatly in the fresh air, especially after a long walk.
2) Make plenty of different sandwiches and bring a good selection of fruit and desserts so that everyone can have a choice of what they would like to eat.
3) If you have a child who is wary of trying new foods, try again during a picnic. They may be more willing to try something new if they are relaxed and enjoying a meal outdoors.
4) Involve the whole family in making your picnic. Decide together what you would like to eat and discuss where the food comes from to make up the picnic.
5) Don’t forget to bring food, and especially water, for your dog. Dogs can become just as dehydrated as humans if they are not properly refreshed during a hot day’s outing. Never leave them alone in the car while you eat or go for a walk.
6) Remember to bring a bag to put any rubbish in as there may not be a suitable bin in the immediate vicinity of your picnic spot. Never leave rubbish behind – it can be harmful to resident wildlife.
7) Create a theme for your picnic. You could choose foods from a certain country or culture and decorate paper plates and serviettes to match. Or try to just have foods beginning with a certain letter.
8) If several families are getting together for a large picnic, have each set bring a course. That way, the work is shared out, and there will be some delicious surprises, too.
9) Don’t forget to plan for wet weather. In this unpredictable country, rain is never far away, and a sudden outburst could easily dampen your spirits. Bring anoraks and perhaps an umbrella or two and put food into waterproof containers with well-fitting lids.
10) Finally, bring a camera to capture the fun and laughter – and enjoy being in the great outdoors this summer!