7 perfect picnic spots around the world

Scotch eggs, cheese and wine might sound like the perfect picnic but throw in views of a rose garden, the ocean or a wildebeest stampede and it’ll be extra special

3 mins

1. Wildlife picnic in Kumana National Park, Sri Lanka

Kumana National Park, Sri Lanka (Ayu in the Wild)

Kumana National Park, Sri Lanka (Ayu in the Wild)

Set your picnic basket down on the banks of the river that flows through Kumana National Park, an hour’s drive from the surfing mecca of Arugam Bay on Sri Lanka’s east coast. As you sip on a flask of Ceylon tea you might spot deer, wild buffalo, elephant or leopard quenching their thirst in the river. Alternatively, lay down a blanket in Kumana Villu – a 202-hectare mangrove swamp where painted storks feed their fledgelings in tree tops and pheasant-tailed jacana splash around floating nests. The area is best explored between April to September, to escape the annual monsoon. The luxury tour operator Ayu in the Wild designs bespoke trips with a focus on sustainable and slow travel – and it can even arrange a picnic.

2. Beach picnic in Rapid Bay, Australia

Rapid Bay, Australia (Jem Cresswell)

Rapid Bay, Australia (Jem Cresswell)

Legend has it, when the explorer Colonel Light landed in Rapid Bay in 1830 aboard HMS Rapid, he said he’d hardly seen a place he likes better, and it’s hard to disagree. Just a 90-minute drive from Adelaide on South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula, the bay’s sandy beach is set beneath cliffs which overlook the ocean. The water is at is warmest between October and May, so after you’ve feasted on local cheese, bread and McLaren Vale wine from neighbouring vineyards you can rest on the beach before going for a swim. You can also snorkel or dive to see leafy sea dragons under the bay’s jetty and cowfish, pufferfish and the occasional bull ray around the coral nearby.

3. Rose garden picnic in Sacramento, California

McKinley Rose Garden, USA (Visit Sacramento)

McKinley Rose Garden, USA (Visit Sacramento)

Nicknamed the Farm-to-Fork Capital, Sacramento is home to California’s largest farmers market, so stock up on local produce and wine made in Napa and Sonoma Valleys nearby. Once your picnic is taken care of you can enjoy it on the benches in McKinley Park Rose Garden in the east of the city, which features more than 1,000 rose bushes and tree roses. New varieties are planted each year. To see the blooms at their best, visit between March and May.

4. Cherry blossom picnic in Tohoku, Japan

Picnic under cherry blossom, Japan (Tohoku Local Secret Tours)

Picnic under cherry blossom, Japan (Tohoku Local Secret Tours)

If you thought a picnic in a rose garden was romantic, try tucking into an obento lunch box with a glass of sake at a table beneath hundreds of pink cherry blossoms. Book a private hanami (flower viewing) picnic with Tohoku Local Secret Tours in the grounds of the 1,200-year-old Shiogama Shrine in Sendai, in the Tōhoku region of northern Japan, and a local musician will serenade you on a three-stringed shamisen. After your picnic you can explore the grounds of the shrine.

5. Bush picnic at Sanctuary Kusini, Tanzania

A bush picnic near Sanctuary Kusini, Tanzania (Sanctuary Kusini)

A bush picnic near Sanctuary Kusini, Tanzania (Sanctuary Kusini)

How does a picnic while watching wildebeest stampede past you sound? Sanctuary Kusini is the only permanent camp in the remote south of the Serengeti in Tanzania, and it overlooks grassy plains populated with predators all year round. You can have a picnic in the main lodge which is set around a cluster of kopjes (rocky outcrops), guaranteeing front-row seats for when the Great Migration passes through at full throttle. Alternatively, you can request a hamper and dig into your picnic in the bush.

6. Desert island picnic, French Polynesia

A pink sand beach (Shutterstock)

A pink sand beach (Shutterstock)

Stock up on local treats in Tetamanu village on the eponymous island then hop in a boat to Les Sable Roses, a nearby beach on the Fakarava atoll in Tahiti. Formed from broken coral, the beach is famed for its rosy hue, but as its only accessible by boat, you may have it to yourself.

7. Mountain picnic near Aspen, California

Sunrise at Maroon Bells near Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort (Jeremy Swanson)

Sunrise at Maroon Bells near Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort (Jeremy Swanson)

It’s worth waking up early to drive up Mt Snowmass near Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort in Colorado in time to watch the sunrise, which creeps over the horizon around 5am in summer. Work up an appetite by hiking 45 minutes up a steep, rocky path past Maroon Lake up to Crater Lake for a spectacular view of the 4,267m Maroon Bells’ peaks. After your picnic, return to Maroon Lake to see the Bells reflected in the water at dawn.

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