A picnic is the perfect way to while away an afternoon in the sunshine. With such a variety of National Trust places across Lincolnshire it’s easy to be spoilt for choice when trying to pick a spot to lay down a blanket and enjoy a summer feast.
Will it be amongst the sweet smelling roses in the gardens at Gunby Hall, settled by the Mirror Pond at Belton House watching the moorhens swim by, or sat in the cooling shade of the battlements at Tattershall Castle?
Most of us think of a picnic simply as a meal with friends and family outside, but did you know that in years gone by it meant a gathering of people in any location where they would share a meal that they had all contributed to? It wasn’t until the early nineteenth century that the word picnic had stronger links to a meal eaten outdoors. Of course the concept of alfresco dining dates back much further to the medieval hunting parties of the fourteenth century, where they would have enjoyed cold meats and game and celebrated for days rather than just a sunny afternoon!
Although the enjoyment of a summer picnic hasn’t changed over the years the types of food and how it was served has. For example the humble sandwich wasn’t introduced until the eighteenth century and there is some evidence of different picnicking paraphernalia in National Trust collections. Alison Mitchelson, National Trust Collections Registrar for the Midlands, said:
There are lots of unusual quirky things in National Trust houses in the Midlands and these include a number of objects connected with picnics. From photos and paintings, to picnic baskets and tea services. One of the many examples is a small wicker picnic basket at Belton House containing seven horn drinking mugs, each neatly engraved with the letter ‘B’ under a coronet on the side. You’ll be amazed at what you can discover when you visit.
Not sure where to go on the next summer picnic? Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/midlands-picnics to see the National Trust’s top ten picnic spots in the Midlands.
Alternatively, just pack up a hamper, backpack or cool box with all your favourite treats and check out the National Trust places near you to find your own top spots!