During the summer, picnicking outside in the warmth and grassy air (like in our featured image by Hadi Zaher) is a must. To complement the meal, folks should eat with lashings of ginger beer on hand à la Enid Blyton’s Famous Five. After you’ve eaten, it’s time to relax and sun yourself whilst reading a book. If you happen to be reading one of the books below, you’ll probably think “Whoa, I’m on a picnic and now I’m reading about a picnic. That’s so crazy, perhaps I’m a wizard.”
Box Hill, Surrey, England – Emma by Jane Austen
The famous summit of the North Downs area of Surrey is where Jane Austen’s eponymous heroine is told off for being rude during a picnic, much to her chagrin. As well as the picturesque views here, you’ll see orchids along the slopes and many varieties of butterfly.
Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh, Scotland – One Day by David Nicholls
Arthur’s Seat probably doesn’t need to advertise itself via this popular novel about two lovers running into each other every few years – the mini-mountain sits in the centre of Edinburgh and is pretty much unavoidable. Being in Scotland, the Seat can be a bit chilly, but the views over the city and harbour whilst you munch your picnic grub will certainly make up for it.
Howth, Dublin, Ireland – Ulysses by James Joyce
Joyce’s supernaturally rich text includes a picnic in Howth Head as a spot where Leopold Bloom wooed Molly Malone with a bit of seedcake. In real life, the beach and rocky outcrop of Dublin Bay are idyllic spots to relax when the sun’s out and get away from the bustle of the city.
Chilterns, Oxfordshire, England – Enduring Love by Ian McEwan
The Chilterns cover a large area in south-east England and have official acknowledgement as an Area of Outstanding Beauty. At the beginning of Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love, a couple’s lovely picnic is interrupted by a runaway hot air balloon, an event which somehow leads to them getting their very own stalker. Typical picnic shenanigans, essentially.
Hanging Rock, Victoria, Australia – Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
This book about some girls going missing is a bit sad, but it’s just a story, so don’t let that put you off Hanging Rock itself. It’s a spectacular rock formation with lush greenery all around, nestled in the heart of the enchanting state of Victoria.
Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, England – Women in Love by DH Lawrence
Better known as the hunting grounds of Robin Hood, this leafy area was also the spot of a steamy tension-filled picnic in Lawrence’s scandalous novel. When walking off the food, perhaps take a look at the Major Oak, a spectacular ancient tree supported by struts.