Enjoy the great outdoors – National Picnic Month

July is National Picnic month

Now that we can spend more time outdoors with our friends and family, many are keen to ditch the technology and get out into the fresh air of our parks and beaches. We have a handy guide on where to go and what to bring with you this National Picnic Month (July 2021).

What’s the meaning of ‘picnic’?

The Picnic was originally a 17th century French word, picque-nique. Its meaning was similar to today's meaning: a social gathering where each attendee brings a share of the food. The French piquer may have referred to a leisurely style of eating ("pick at your food") or it may, simply, have meant, "pick"

Whatever you do, enjoy your alfresco eating but remember, this is Britain so it may be a good idea to also pack an umbrella, along with the sandwiches, pies - and flask of coffee!

Where to go?

Here we share a few suggestions of the great places across our region where you can enjoy your picnic but remember to check individual venues for opening arrangements as restrictions may vary.

 1. Lullingstone Country Park

Lullingstone Country Park is home to hundreds of ancient trees, some of which are thought to be 800 years old! With beautiful grassland speckled with wildflowers throughout the summer months, this picture-perfect country park is the ideal spot if you’re looking for stunning Kentish countryside. 

2. Trosley Country Park

Covering 170 acres of woodland and chalk downland, Trosly Park is the perfect choice for stunning views of the Kent Downs. There are three walking trails if you fancy stretching your legs before settling down for a picnic (including the Trosley Trail which is an easy access route). 

3. Shorne Woods Country Park

Shorne Woods Country Park is one of the most popular country parks in Kent. With 300 acres of woodland, meadows and wetlands to explore, it’s easy to see why! Take a walk around the natural haven by following one of the walking trails and bring out the sandwiches in an idyllic private spot.  

4. Brockhill Country Park

The peaceful Brockhill Country Park surrounds a stunning river and lake, the perfect recipe for a picnic! There is also plenty of wildlife and flora and fauna to spot at the park, alongside woods, meadows and dedicated picnic and play areas. 

5. Penshurst Place Parkland

Go for a picnic with a view at Penshurst Place Parkland! After exploring the stunning Penshurst Place, you will end up wandering through the vast parklands surrounding the manor house. With cycle routes that have been featured in the VisitEngland top 10 scenic routes in the country, this is certainly a grand spot for a picnic!

6. Sissinghurst Castle Garden

Yet another grand garden to add to your list, Sissinghurst is a favourite for avid picnickers due to the panorama views of the Kentish countryside that can be seen from the dedicated picnic spot.

7. Chartwell

The grassy meadow of Chartwell is the perfect picnic spot. With views of the Kent Weald on one side and the majestic home of Winston Churchill on the other, it’s got something for everyone! Explore the house, roam around the beautiful gardens and enjoy a walk across the estate. 

Nutritious recipes for your picnic

Our Nutritionist, Abir Hamza-Goodacre has provided some recipes and tips for when you head out for a picnic this summer.

A healthy picnic is just as easy to make - or ‘grab’ - if you’re in a hurry. This could feature an array of colourful vegetables and fruit, cold cut meats, hummus, boiled eggs, wholemeal bread or crackers, juices, sparkling water and even a sweet treat for pudding – see the tasty Date, Cacao and Almond Balls recipe below.

Remember to feature all the food groups in any meal you’re preparing; good quality protein, high quality fats and carbohydrates from vegetables (preferably cruciferous greens, which are known as superfoods). Picnic examples include:

  • Protein – Cold cut meats, tinned fish, boiled eggs, fresh cheeses & yoghurt, nuts & seeds, beans & pulses
  • Fats – Extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts & seeds, butter, fresh cheeses & yoghurt
  • Carbohydrates – A rainbow of vegetables, fruit, wholegrain bread or crackers, roasted sweet potatoes, baby new potatoes, quinoa & cous cous (in salads)

If you do like to spend time preparing food, there are plenty of salads that can be made in advance to include a good quality protein – see the quinoa salad below.

Going on a picnic also has the added benefit of vitamin D exposure from sunlight which is important for a healthy immune system and a healthy state of mind. So, get out there, enjoy the sunshine (sensibly) and pack a nutritious and delicious picnic!

Quinoa Salad with vinaigrette dressing

For the quinoa salad (serves 2)

  • 40g quinoa, cooked
  • Large handful kale
  • 1 small cooked beetroot, sliced
  • 1 grated raw carrot
  • ½ avocado, sliced
  • Dessertspoon pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tsp pomegranate seeds
  • 2 tbsp soft goat’s cheese

For the vinaigrette (this makes a large pot that can be stored in the fridge):

  • 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 dessertspoon honey
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Place the quinoa salad ingredients in serving bowl.
  2. For the vinaigrette, combine all of the ingredients in a glass mason jar, then seal the lid and shake until the honey dissolves and the ingredients are well combined. Adjust flavour to taste, if necessary. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to a week and shake well before serving each time.
  3. Pour a little dressing on the salad and combine before serving.

Date, Cacao and Almond Balls (makes approx. 12 balls)

  • 350g Medjool dates, de-stoned and soaked for 10 mins in warm water
  • 120g almond flour
  • 40g cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil, melted
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of cinnamon

Method

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend.
  2. Make into 12 balls.
  3. Roll the balls in chopped pistachio nuts or desiccated coconut.
  4. Store in the fridge.

Find out more about our nutritional therapy servuce

If you’re looking for help to change your diet, our team of specialist staff. Nutritional therapy can help you achieve your health and wellbeing goals. Call our Private Patient Team on 01580 363158 to see what we can do for you.

Published on 19 July 2021