Make your Picnic a Piece of Cake
International Picnic day takes place on 18th June and with the picnic season well and truly upon us, people across Northern Ireland are getting prepared to pack up their sandwiches and sweet treats to enjoy the great outdoors and time spent with family and friends.
If you are searching for the perfect picnic spot this summer or looking for a change of scenery, the National Trust has shared its top tips for picnicking across spots nearby it’s special places – so this summer embrace nature, set aside time for family and friends and make new memories to treasure forever.
1. Where should we go?
The perfect location makes for the perfect picnic, and with so many breath-taking spots along the Causeway Coast you are spoilt for choice! We know how important these special places can be to you and your family and there really is something for everyone!
• Dunseverick Castle, with its lush green hills, dramatic sea cliffs and ocean views is a beautiful place to enjoy lunch. Stop here for a picnic, snap a photograph and breathe in the history of these amazing surroundings.
• Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge: Take the exhilarating rope bridge challenge and enjoy a truly unique cliff top experience. Set on the North Antrim Coast Road, amid unrivalled coastal scenery, the 30m-deep and 20m-wide chasm is traversed by an amazing rope bridge that was traditionally erected by salmon fishermen. Visitors bold enough to cross to the rocky island are rewarded with fantastic views, pre-booking is highly recommended.
• Why not stop at Rinagree Coastal Park and benefit from its wooden picnic benches overlooking the ocean and a sweeping coastal path?
• Or visit Whiterocks Beach, a Blue Flag Beach with views of the iconic limestone cliffs stretching as far as Dunluce Castle.
• Set within sprawling open grounds Downhill Demesne is an amazing 18th century mansion built by the eccentric Earl Bishop, and the perfect place for a day trip. Bring a picnic and enjoy the beautiful sheltered gardens of Hezlett House cared for by the National Trust.
• A three-mile beach with white sands, WhitePark Bay has stunning cliffs, but the greatest thing about this beach is that you share your sunbathing spot with cows. They roam freely between the green and the sand, which is currently under the care of the National Trust. Plus not forgetting the enchanting Bluebell carpets sweeping the grounds when the Summer season appears.
• Portstewart Strand Beach is the perfect spot to spend lazy summer days and take long walks into the sand dunes, which are a haven for wildflowers and butterflies. Explore the dune system and waymarked nature trail or visit the Barmouth bird hide for fantastic bird watching.
• You’ll struggle to find a more picturesque picnic spot than the coastal village of Cushendun. This quaint historic village has been in the National Trust’s care since 1954 and is steeped in character and folklore with whitewashed cottages lining the harbour. A designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this is a great spot for rock pooling and if you’re lucky, you might just see Scotland’s Mull of Kintyre as you look out across the North Channel.
• Pack up your food and drinks in a picnic hamper, and don’t forget a picnic blanket if you are planning on eating on the grass. Remember to bring glasses, plates, cutlery and napkins and consider the environmentally friendly option of using reusable utensils.
• Protect yourself from the elements with sun cream and hats if appropriate, or waterproofs if needs be! Insect repellent is useful, especially in the evenings.
• Consider packing a football, a bat and ball or a frisbee for some fun, or if you are planning a more relaxed picnic, remember your book or kindle! These are the things that make a picnic memorable and help you create lasting summer memories in places that will stay in your heart forever.
• Don’t forget your binoculars and keep your eyes peeled for all kinds of wildlife which we work hard to safeguard for years to come. Look up to the sky to spot oystercatchers, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and fulmars and see if you can spy basking sharks, dolphins and porpoises between the waves! The National Trust’s sites at the Causeway Coast are teaming with a variety of amazing wildlife that are sure to captivate children and adults alike.
• If you are under 11¾ get closer to nature with our ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’. Number 9 on the list is eating a picnic in the wild so that’s one thing ticked off the list already! Why not head on a scavenger hunt or explore the wonders of a rock pool?
• Pack your walking shoes and enjoy a walk with breath-taking scenery. Experience the Causeway Coast with coastal walks a plenty from dramatic cliff top paths to glorious sandy beaches.
Wherever and however you decide to picnic, be sure to post your pictures to social media and tag @nationaltrustni and use the #NationalTrustNI!