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Lashings Of Ginger Beer!

Lashings of Ginger Beer!

Every year when I was a child, we travelled cross country to spend a holiday with grandparents. Back then cafes and restaurants weren’t very child friendly and my parents didn’t have much money anyway. So, we picnicked our way from Kent to Cornwall! I remember munching my way through lots of treats. Home- made Scotch eggs and pies. Slightly soggy cheese and tomato sandwiches. Sausage rolls. Crisps. Apples. We even had fizzy pop as a treat. Looking back across the mists of time, it was a huge adventure and felt a bit “Famous Five go outdoors”!

Those childhood picnic meals were brilliant. My love affair with picnicking developed then and all these years later we’re still great picnickers.

Whether you dine al fresco in style by packing up a posh hamper with proper plates, cutlery and glasses, quiches, wine and salad (I just love doing this)- or just bunging a few sarnies in a plastic bag, it’s that time of year when all you liberate the damp proof picnic rug, get on your bike or in the car and head off into the lazy, hazy sunshine to explore, dream, read, sleep, chat – whatever relaxes you. Above all, enjoy a lovely meal outside.

Here are some recommendations for our local picnic spots.

In Milton Keynes, we have more ‘shoreline’, around our lakes and rivers, than there is on the Isle of Wight! So, if picnicking next to gently lapping water is your thing, head for the Great Ouse or one of the lakes.

As well as the two Willen Lakes, with the Peace Pagoda, water sports and other attractions, there are other, quieter lakes that offer a more secluded option.

Here in Stony Stratford we have the Nature Reserve, off Queen Eleanor Street. It’s a great picnic spot with lots of creatures, great and small, hide and a small lake.

Mount Farm Lake, off Bond Avenue, Bletchley, is home to a heron who you can spot, swooping in a heart-stopping fashion, over the murky water below. The lake is not too big, the perfect size for a lunchtime stroll in fact, and there are a few picnic tables, so you don’t have to get up too close to the lake’s geese, ducks and swans.

Or you could take your picnic rug for a day out to the Blue Lagoon (off Drayton Road, Bletchley), Tongwell Lake, Linford Wood (off the H3 Monks Way), Shenley Wood (off Merlewood Drive) or the extensive Ouse Valley Park.

And there’s lots of choice if you go a little further afield.

Stowe Gardens have been attracting visitors for over 300 years. The glorious gardens make a superb location for an afternoon picnic in the sunshine. Described as ‘an earthly paradise’ you can take shelter in the temple’s shade to enjoy your outdoor lunch.

Wrest Park, Silsoe is another nice peaceful picnic spot. The gardens are big and generally it doesn’t get too crowded. What you see of the house is lovely (unfortunately only a few rooms are open), there is a nice walk down to the pavilion and there are plenty of trees if you need some shade.

Towards Dunstable, Ivinghoe Beacon in Ashridge Estate is the best place to enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding countryside while tucking into your picnic. Follow the pathways where you will see a variety of wildflowers and butteries during summer and spring, that thrive in the chalk grassland. Enjoying your picnic while taking in the vast and breath-taking views of the Chilterns is well worth climb.
Great picnicking starts here!

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