Whether it's a simple garden picnic or a sumptuous beach feast, we're big fans of the great British picnic. To celebrate National Picnic Day on 18th June, we spoke to local food lover Flora Richardson from The Forest Foodie to get her pick of the best picnic spots in and around our beautiful New Forest.
Flora, tell us the secret, where are the best places to picnic in our local area?
"I have a few favourite picnic spots depending on how I arrive at the destination! When I'm not working, I am always out walking my dogs, mountain biking in the Forest, or out on the water sailing or paddle boarding. All of which usually involve a picnic and a glass of rosé, of course!
If I am walking, I love Tanners Lane in Lymington. It is just the most stunning wild beach at the bottom of a country lane with views out to the Solent for miles. At high tide, this is so dreamy for the dogs to swim too, and we seem to be able to whittle away time here very happily. It's a real switch-off haven, often with donkeys and cows shading under the trees.
When out on the water sailing, Newtown Creek on the Isle of Wight is a beautiful spot to stop for a picnic. It is a sheltered anchorage surrounded by National Trust land where you often see seals whilst swimming. Whilst it does get busy in the summer, it is still worth it for the view. We often sail over there and enjoy a picnic on board or paddle ashore to the beach.
Rhinefield, near Lyndhurst, is a great place to cycle to and pause for lunch if I am out on my bike. Here you can find the oldest trees in the New Forest and some of the tallest trees in England. It's amazing how a forest can be so varied in its appearance. It is quite magical here with its hugely tall trees, stunning walks, and gorgeous river meandering through. We love to ride our bikes around here and highly recommend this as a great picnic spot. There are picnic tables, toilets, and an ice cream van, which is always handy!
When I am out on my paddle board, Hurst Spit is a great picnic destination. It's a lovely, gentle paddle up from Keyhaven. We strap a picnic to our boards and head up to the spit near Hurst Castle. If you pull up on the inside of the spit, it is pretty sheltered and a great swimming spot too! It's too far for most people to carry a picnic on foot, so it's usually quiet and very peaceful."
What is your go to picnic?
"For me, it's got to be Surf & Turf. Rare fillet of beef, Local Lobster, Prawns, Bearnaise Sauce, a token bit of salad, and a lovely bottle of wine from The Solent Cellar or Brook Hill Vineyard. I usually manage to justify making some scotch eggs - with runny yolks (always) - for a 'snack'! I might be a little biased, but I did launch The Forest Foodie based on my pure love of food and drink, and all of the picnics we make are filled with things I adore. Surf & Turf is my absolute ultimate."
Who is your must-have picnic companion?
"My husband Ian and our Labradors, Sausage and Otter. Apart from having a seriously fun time together, getting out for a picnic is our switch-off time. Time away from busy screens or kitchens.
In the midst of running a start-up business that is 24/7, it's incredibly important to me to make time for us and head out to enjoy the incredible place that we live - either by the sea or in the Forest."
Thanks, Flora, for your great tips!
At Coastal Garden Buildings, we are huge fans of a beach picnic down on Avon Beach, just a mile or so from our show site in Christchurch, Dorset. If you don’t fancy packing your own picnic, you can always treat yourself to traditional seaside Fish & Chips from The Lobster Hatch or collect a delicious Seacuterie platter from The Noisy Lobster Deli.
You don’t even have to leave home to enjoy a picnic! Create the perfect picnic spot right on your doorstep with one of our wide range of garden buildings, including stunning summerhouses and glorious gazebos. Pop into our showsite next to Stewarts Garden Centre in Christchurch, Dorset, or design your own with our 3D configurator.