Pick of the picnics

Summer’s here, the weather’s set fair – what better time for a picnic? And with so many beauty spots in the region, the only problem is deciding where to go. So here’s a helpful guide to the best places around when you pack that hamper.

Stowe (near Buckingham, see picture above)
A favourite spot to picnic at Stowe is by Octagon lake, with the ducks and geese gliding by and the dragonflies dancing on the water. Pitch your blanket in the right spot and you have a wonderful view of both the famous Palladian bridge and the Gothic Temple. You might feel like you’ve just stepped into a Jane Austen novel. Dog friendly.

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 set between dark green conifers. In front is a sweeping view of parkland, punctuated with mature chestnuts, walnuts and sycamore trees, and the pretty church of St Michael and All Angels. There is 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. Dog friendly.

Basildon Park (near Reading)
The lawn in front of the mansion has been a major 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. Dog friendly.

Greys Court (near Henley-on-Thames)
The upper lawn is a favourite picnic spot at Greys Court, as there are impressive views over the Chiltern Hills from there. The house is to your right and it is 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 red kites gliding over the hills. For families, the flat plateau of the lawn is great for garden games. (Dog friendly, but dogs are not allowed in the walled garden.)

Nuffield Place (near Henley-on-Thames, open Wednesdays to Sundays)
In the Arts and Crafts-style garden at Nuffield Place, the old tennis court beside the house is a favourite place for a picnic. It feels weirdly naughty, billowing your rug across the invisible lines of the court, but don’t worry, there’s no umpire to tell you off. The flat grassy area is a perfect play area contained by perimeter planting for little ones to crawl or toddle around safely. There are long views over the wildflower meadow and the option to picnic there with older children who need for more space for running around chasing butterflies along the mown paths. Dog friendly.

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 is hot. From mid-June, the Parterre bedding will be in bloom and provide a colourful backdrop to a picnic. Waddesdon will be offering click-and-collect picnics from Saturday 17 June. Dog friendly – and dogs are now permitted on the Parterre.)

Pictured:
View of the Palladian Bridge and Octagon Lake at Stowe.