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    Top 5 Picnic Spots in the UK

    As the weather keeps on getting warmer and the sun is making more frequent appearances from behind the clouds, anyone would want to exchange the hustle and bustle of the city for a more serene landscape. And if you add to that some wonderful al fresco dining, what could be better? Luckily, wherever you are in the UK, you don't need to go far to find the perfect setting for your summertime picnic - just hop in a car and head to the countryside! Here, we bring you our top 5 spots for breezy and relaxing picnics in the UK!

    1. Formby Beach, Merseyside

    Formby Beach is a great place to admire the beautiful British coastline, and boasts both golden dunes and rugged coastal pines. Set your picnic blanket down on one of the dunes, which offer marvellous views of the Irish Sea. Some claim that it is even possible to see the mountains of Cumbria after the rain on a clear day. Formby Beach is an ideal location for cycling, kite flying, and horseback riding, or simply strolling along the beach. You can also go searching for prehistoric footprints in the sand - because the beach is experiencing erosion, the tides have exposed both human and animal footprints dating back to the Neolithic era 7,000 years ago.

    How to get there

    You can reach Formby Beach in half an hour from Liverpool via the A565.

    2. Mottisfont, Hampshire

    This stunning estate is a lovely place to enjoy some outdoor dining. The gardens are truly magnificent during the summer months, particularly the famous Rose Garden. Go on a relaxing walk along the River Test, or take in the architectural beauty of the house itself. The historic house has gone through a number of transformations over the years, from an Augustinian priory during the Middle Ages to a Tudor mansion, and later, a favourite of artists from 1934 onwards. The vivid history is still to be seen around the estate, including in the wine cellar, which dates back to the 13th century, and the art gallery on the top floor exhibiting the estate's art collection.

    How to get there

    Mottisfont is a 30-minute drive away from Southampton on the A3057.

    3. Rievaulx Abbey, North Yorkshire

    For a different kind of ambiance, head to North Yorkshire and the Rievaulx Abbey. Hidden away in a secluded valley in the North York Moors National Park, Rievaulx offers a beautifully preserved ruin of a medieval Cistercian abbey. The abbey was built in this remote area to better facilitate the Cistercians' wish to lead a self-sufficient and secluded life of prayer, and, until its dissolution by Henry VIII in 1538, the abbey was one of the wealthiest in the country. Today, the site offers a peaceful hideout from everyday life, and the ruins have an air about them that is both mysterious and celestial.

    How to get there

    Driving along the A19 and then the A170 from York will allow you to reach Rievaulx in an hour. If you are heading out from Leeds instead, driving via the A1, A168, and A170 will get you to the abbey in just over an hour.

    4. Barafundle Beach, Pembrokeshire

    This gorgeous beach with golden dunes is tucked away in a remote bay, between two limestone cliffs on either side and pine trees at the back. The beach is the perfect place to enjoy a quiet and relaxing picnic, as it is only accessible by walking about half a mile from the car park. Barafundle Beach was previously owned by the Cawdor family of Stackpole Court, who used it as their private beach, and built a wall and steps to the beach so that it could be accessed more easily.

    How to get there

    From Swansea, Barafundle Beach can be reached via the A48 and A477 in one and a half hours. The drive from Cardiff is just over two hours when you take the M4 until Swansea, and then follow the same route as you would from Swansea.

    5. Blickling Estate, Norfolk

    Blickling Estate is not only a splendid setting for outdoor dining with its gardens and vast grounds, but also offers a great venue for further exploration. Take the chance to admire the majestic Jacobean red-brick mansion, the 55 acres of gardens including luscious double borders and a parterre, or enjoy traversing the 500 acres of woodlands and parks belonging to the estate. In the past, Blickling Hall was in the possession of the Boleyn family, and historians think it is likely that Anne Boleyn, one of Henry VIII's wives, was also born here. Some say that on the anniversary of her execution, her ghost returns to Blicking Estate.

    How to get there

    Blickling Estate is only 30 minutes away from Norwich, and can be reached by driving along the A140.

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