How to Plan Your Perfect Picnic
Our Pick Of The Best Places To Pick Up A Picnic
Scott’s of Alnmouth
You’ll find all the picnic essentials at this this well-stocked deli-cum-café in the pretty coastal village of Alnmouth. Their special Scott’s Boxes are an obvious choice – packed, wrapped and ready to go for collection or delivery. Try The Best of Northumberland Box – filled with lots of local delicacies – or the Antipasti Box for the flavours of Europe. We’d suggest picking up a bottle of red from the deli to go alongside the latter.
Northumberland Street, Alnmouth NE66 2RS
Heather and Bale
Heather and Bale take the hassle out of picnics by packing their hampers to the brim with little luxuries from local producers. Their Harley Picnic Hamper is a modern take on the traditional picnic basket, packed with sweet and savoury treats. Their Middleton Hamper takes things up a notch with English sparkling wine, Fentiman’s sparkling elderflower, pâté, crispbreads, nuts and crisps to savour, and a box of Davenport Truffles.
Tully’s of Rothbury
This village store has a great deli packed with meats and cheese, and does a great range of homemade cakes so you can easily create your own delicious hamper from the vast choice of produce. Tully’s also do a great line in specialist foods, including wheat-free, gluten-free and dairy-free options which make putting together a picnic for all the family as easy as pie.
High Street, Rothbury NE65 7TB
Roots Farm Shop
As you would expect, this farm shop is packed with delicious produce perfect for packing into a picnic. Fresh bread is delivered daily, and you’ll find loads of Yorkshire cheese, locally-made jams and pickles, in-house-bakery goodies, and beer and wine to wash it all down with. They even do hamper boxes to pre-order if you want to get ahead on the picnic supplies.
East Rounton, Northallerton DL6 2LE
The Mockingbird Deli
This Yarm-based, Italian-style deli is filled with authentic Italian produce. Choose from a great menu offering ready-made sandwiches, delicious ciabattas, wraps and salads, or pick up one of their famous deli platters, with a couple of Italian pastries to round off your picnic.
High Street, Yarm TS15 9AE
Graze & Gorge
Order your own bespoke picnic box ready to pack into the car (or take into the garden) brimming with cheese, charcuterie, crackers, fruit, chutneys, and a myriad of sweet treats. The experts at Graze & Gorge will deliver your choice of luxury platter box – including one with their own take on afternoon tea (and fizz) – direct to your door.
Mainsgill Farm Shop
There’s a vast deli counter at this popular farm shop, stocked with everything you could want, and some things you might never have thought of. You’ll also find their award-winning bakery, and stacks of bottled beer, great wines and other locally-made produce for the perfect picnic, or you can pick up one of their ready-prepared platters which include the Tea Time Cake Collection – loads of their most popular cakes pre-arranged on a platter.
Richmond DL11 7PN
The Morpeth Larder
Expect to find everything you need at this well-stocked deli. Pick up local chutney, cheese, charcuterie and lots of freshly baked treats, and a range of wines and spirits with which to celebrate our new-found freedom, or pre-order one of their great hampers for a special picnic.
Sanderson Arcade, Morpeth NE61 1NS
One of the region’s most popular solely-organic food outlets, this farm shop stocks a huge range of home produced and locally made products (more than 2,000 in total), much of them sourced from the surrounding farms, and that includes anything and everything you might want, from fresh meat and dairy to flour, pulses, jams and veg. Pick up the prefect organic picnic spread and head to the hills to enjoy.
The Green, Piercebridge DL2 3SE
Black Olive Deli
Famous for its sausage rolls and homemade treats, this brilliant little deli on Darlington’s popular Grange Road is the place to pick up a delicious picnic, from fresh sandwiches to frangipane tarts, and we can’t wait for it to reopen so we can stock up. You can also pre-order one of their special hampers for a real picnic treat.
9 Grange Road, Darlington DL1 5NA
The Deli Around The Corner
Find a mix of homemade produce and the region’s best brands in this little deli tucked away in Tynemouth. All handpicked, they use only the best local suppliers, and the goodies here include delicious cheese, freshly-baked bread and pastries, charcuterie and freshly-prepared sandwiches to take to the beach.
61 Hotspur Street, Tynemouth NE30 4EE
0191 259 0086
Urban Terrace Kitchen Sunderland
From picnic-stalwart Scotch eggs and roast beef sandwiches, to sweet potato wedges, salad boxes and sourdough cake, find plenty to tempt you for your picnic at this friendly deli. With a menu crammed full of delicious-sounding dishes, including daily specials, this vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free friendly place is a great choice. The food is fresh, fun and healthy and arrives in convenient takeaway boxes. Oh, and they do great coffee too. (Check out their Facebook page for all the specials).
3 St Luke’s Terrace, Sunderland SR4 6NQ
The Best Picnic Spots
A great place to lose yourself, this is County Durham’s largest forest with loads of opportunities for wildlife watching as well as official mountain biking and walking trails through more than 2,000 hectares of forest, including The Loop, a tricky circuit featuring rock gardens and various obstacles – not for the casual cyclist. There’s a useful visitor’s centre and café but be warned you do have to pay for parking.
Hamsterley DL13 3NL
Allen Banks and Staward Gorge
The largest area of ancient woodland in Northumberland, this 250-hectare site is great for exploring, especially in spring as the area is home to a range of flora, fauna and fungi and is famous for its carpet of bluebells and wild garlic, which cover the woodland at this time of year. If you are lucky you’ll spot red squirrels amongst the trees, and the Morralee Tarn walk is great for spotting wildlife all year round.
Hexham NE47 7BP
Where Hadrian’s Wall hangs on the very edge of the Whin Sill, this dramatic stretch of the wall is one of the highest standing sections which remains. Cawfields car park is a good place to start your walk to the impressive Milecastle 42, which was built by the Second Legion to protect what they saw as a weak spot at the aptly-named Hole Gap. The much-photographed quarry lake is teeming with wildlife and there are plenty of sheltered places to picnic beside the water.
Milecastle, Haltwhistle NE49 9NN
Low Barns Nature Reserve
Originally farmland, this wetland reserve bordered by the River Wear was redeveloped by Durham Wildlife Trust to create the popular nature reserve which is now a Site of Specific Interest. Its three lakes and interconnecting streams, ponds, roadbeds and wet pastureland play host to dragonflies, frogs and newts, and the most patient nature lovers may see otters, kingfishers, foxes, roe deer and stoat. Dogs are welcome (on a lead) and there is ample car parking, a visitor’s centre, café and designated picnic area.
Bishop Auckland DL14 0AG
Birdoswald Roman Fort
Birdoswald is the best place to see the longest still-standing stretch of Hadrian’s Wall and the fort, which is one of the best preserved of the 16 along the wall, is considered to be one of the most picturesque settings along its 73-mile length. It is also the only site where evidence of significant occupation in the post-Roman period has been found. High above the River Irthing, the Roman fort, turret and milecastle are all visible from this lofty viewpoint, and there are plenty of places to picnic here, from the Victorian Courtyard to the Southern Gatehouse viewpoint. You can explore the outside of the fort and learn about Roman life at the visitor centre.
Gilsland, Brampton CA8 7DD
Druridge Bay Country Park
The wide stretch of sandy beach here, which stretches from Amble to Cresswell, is hugely popular for walkers (and birdwatchers) and it is easy to see why, but the Country Park itself is made up of a network of paths through the dunes and meadowland which make up several nature reserves, and there’s a 100-acre lake where you can windsurf or sail. With so much space there’s plenty of choice when it comes to places to picnic, so whether you want sand with your sandwiches or not is up to you.
Red Row, Druridge Bay NE61 5BX
Malton Picnic Area
The wooded riverside path follows the River Browney in this pretty spot just east of Lanchester in County Durham, close to Malton Nature Reserve. There’s an easy circular walking route through a wildflower meadow and an area of wet woodland which is listed as a rare habitat, whilst the riverbank itself is an ideal place to spot kingfishers, dipper, tree creeper and other wildlife. There is a designated picnic area here and plenty of spaces along the river path to stop and enjoy the beauty of your surroundings.
Lanchester DH7 0TH
Preston Park Museum and Grounds
In the heart of Eaglescliffe, this revamped area is close to Middlesbrough yet it still feels a million miles away. The vast grounds and a nature reserve are within easy reach for many, and there’s loads to do here to work up an appetite – from exploring the grounds, to the new children’s adventure play area and the Victorian walled kitchen garden. Head to the Quarry Wood Nature Reserve to seek out a more tranquil picnic spot.
Yarm Road, Eaglescliffe TS18 3RH
Bakethin Nature Reserve
Bakethin, at the northern end of Kielder Water, is a well known haven for wildlife covering 140 hectares of land. Paths lead through the woods to the historic viaduct, Kielder Castle and the Salmon Centre, and to the waterside where visitors are often greeted by tufted ducks, goldeneye, goosander and mallards. Seeing the wildlife on the water has become even easier since the addition of a viewing hide which allows you a unique waterside viewpoint. There’s an information point and seating beside the main car park, or picnic in the forest clearing where the kids can explore the bug hotel and bug periscope.
Kielder Reservoir, Butteryhaugh Bridge NE48 1HF
On the edge of the National Park, this is a mosaic of different habitats; woodlands, wetlands and grassland, all home to abundant wildlife. There are two play areas, a fun trim trail, a sculpture trail and plenty of mapped walks and bike trails to keep you busy. There is a visitor centre, plenty of parking, a café and picnic area too, but you can easily get away from the popular spots to find quieter places to enjoy your picnic.
Pinchinthorpe, Guisborough TS14 8HD
We are all keen to get back out and explore our amazing countryside but it is important that we all follow The Countryside Code. Please do your bit and don’t leave a mess behind. The codes includes:
- Leaving no trace of your visit and taking all litter home
- Not using barbecues as they risk causing wildfires
- Keeping dogs under control, and on a lead when you are around livestock
- Leaving gates as you find them and following instructions on signs
- Keeping to footpaths, bridleways and byways, and following signs where they suggest alternative routes