After months of winter lockdowns, we're all ready to get back out into the great outdoors this spring. Whiling away a lazy afternoon where the hardest decision is whether to sit in the sun or the shade and who gets the last Scotch egg – what could be better? In the next stage of the Government's roadmap out of lockdown, from the 8th March we're allowed to enjoy recreation outdoors with one other person - so it's the perfect excuse to grab your wicker baskets and gingham blankets and head off into the great outdoors for a picnic. Just be sure to take all your rubbish with you so that others can enjoy the space too, and please maintain social distancing.

*Please note that due to the coronavirus pandemic, most of these venues and attractions have made changes to their opening hours, facilities and menus etc, and may be subject to change at short notice. We recommend that you check each venue's website and social media when planning a visit.

Here are our top picks for picnics:


Josephine's Tea Room and Rufford Abbey

The lovely, vintage-inspired Josephine's Tea Room is the perfect place to grab your picnic. We love their Savoury Snack Boxes, filled with scrumptious savoury delights including filled ciabattas, quiches, savoury pastries, plain or savoury scones and a variety of other treats. It also includes a tea of your choice - simply fill a flask at home! £27 per box, ideal for 2 people.

Take your flavoursome feast to Rufford Abbey, a former 12th century Cistercian Monastery and country house and one of the main country parks in the Sherwood Forest area. Take a gentle stroll around the lake, check out the gorgeous gardens and then find your perfect picnic spot on the large grass area at the side of the magnificent abbey.


Delilah Fine Foods and the Arboretum

If you’re looking to impress a loved one, you can’t go wrong with one of the ready-made hampers from Delilah Fine Foods. Their Gourmet Picnic Hamper for two includes two freshly baked sourdough sandwiches, pork pie, pasta salad, cheese, chutneys and crackers, desserts and much more. The hamper costs £47 and can be ordered via their website.

Head through town to Nottingham’s Arboretum, a historic, beautifully maintained park which is home to an important collection of over 800 trees and is rumoured to have been the inspiration for J.M. Barrie’s Neverland. Throw down your picnic blanket on one of the glorious rolling lawns surrounded on all sides by beds of brightly coloured flowers, and listen out for the calls of the exotic birds in the aviary. Bliss!


Welbeck Farm Shop and Sherwood Pines

Why not visit the famously charming Welbeck Farm Shop, browsing their superb range of traditional artisan food products and sampling as you go? Fill your bags with a selection of pasties, pork pies, sourdough bread, cheese, crackers and chutneys and seasonal fruit for the ultimate posh picnic. You can also order in advance using the Contactless Collection form on their website.

Once you’ve filled your boots, a short drive through the stunning Nottinghamshire countryside is Sherwood Pines Forest Park, the largest forest open to the public in the East Midlands with over 3,300 acres to discover. Depending on your fitness level, you can choose from one of several trails through this beautiful woodland and settle down for a picnic beneath the ancient trees.


Thaymar Farm Shop and Thoresby Park

Treat yourself to a Take Home Afternoon Tea for Two from the gorgeous Thaymar Farm Shop. For just £24, you'll get a selection of sandwiches including ham and mustard, cheese and chutney, tuna and cucumber and smoked salmon and cream cheese. You'll also get to choose some cakes for after, including caramel shortbread or Victoria sponge, as well as homemade fruit scones. Pop their Taylor's breakfast tea bags into a flask and off you go! You can collect from 

Take your afternoon tea to the nearby Thoresby Park, a 10-minute drive from Thaymar Farm Shop. The extensive grounds cover over 1000 acres of unspoilt English countryside, making it the perfect place for a secluded and socially distanced picnic. Car parking is £1.00 for the first hour or £3.00 for a full day. 


Homemade Café and Forest Recreation Ground

For the perfect springtime treat, you can’t do better than one of Homemade’s famous afternoon tea boxes. Their Winter Afternoon Tea Picnic box is a proper rustic feast, containing delights such as signature ciabatta sandwiches, sausage rolls, spinach and feta tart, root vegetable crisps and sweet treats such as cranberry and white chocolate flapjack and sticky toffee and stem ginger cake. The box serves 2-3 people, and can be expanded for family groups with add-ons for kids. It's £29.95 per box, and you can collect from the Lodge Coffee Kiosk on the Mansfield Road side of the Forest Recreation Ground.

Enjoy your feast on the Forest Recreation Ground, around a mile north of the city centre and easily accessible by tram or car. Best known for hosting Nottingham’s annual Goose Fair, the ‘Forest Rec’ is a spacious urban park and ideal for a spring day out. Stroll amongst the trees on its sloping banks, let little ones burn off some energy in the pirate-themed play area next to the Pavilion and then find yourself the perfect secluded picnic spot on the lawn.


This blog was written by Sophie Milne, Communications Executive at Visit Nottinghamshire.

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Delilah Fine Foods
Café
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This traditional delicatessen, combined with a tapas style food offering, provides an opportunity to taste, buy and sell thousands of fine foodstuffs, and to demonstrate how these products can be used to create great dishes.

Nottingham Arboretum
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A historic, beautifully maintained park that is home to an important collection of over 800 trees, award winning Nottingham Arboetum is Nottingham's oldest public park and the closest park to the city centre.

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The award-winning Welbeck Farm Shop is found at the heart of a vibrant artisan food community. Two thirds of the shop’s impressive product range is sourced from or prepared at the historic Welbeck estate, described by the Great Food Club as ‘the capital of Britain’s artisan food and drink movement’.

Josephine's Tea Room and Cafe
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Rufford Abbey Country Park

Rufford Abbey Country Park is the estate and grounds of a former 12 century Cistercian Monastery and country house.

Sherwood Pines
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