It’s National Picnic Week and shock horror the weather has eluded us, the five days of summer have been and gone and we’re left here wondering were our balmy British sun has gone!

Fear not, we’re all about positivity here at Social 101. Sure the weather might not be cracking the flags, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t pack out picnic hampers and head to a scenic spot with friends or a loved one to take in the great British outdoors.

Here’s our round up of the best spots for a little bit of picnic action, either this National Picnic Week, or any other time that tickles your fancy:

Tatton Park

Tatton Park is a firm favourite when it comes to family days out and it’s not hard to see why as it’s beautifully located in 1,000 acres of the most beautiful deer park.

The glorious Gardens are the perfect picnic spot to sit down, relax and take in the stunning surroundings.

Chorlton Water Park

Chorlton Water Park

Chorlton Water Park is located in South Manchester around a central lake surrounded by meadows – ideal picnic fodder if ever we’ve heard of any!

In addition to palatial parkland, visitors can also enjoy water-sports including dinghy sailing, canoeing and windsurfing.

Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens

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The ‘Friends of Fletcher Moss Park and Parsonage Gardens’ group was formed in early 2006. They’ve dedicated their role to ensuring a sense of ‘ownership’ of the park by local people and by many others from further afield who loved and valued the Fletcher Moss area – its Gardens, Stenner Woods and Millgate Fields, its beauty and tranquillity. Boy has is absolutely paid off!

These efforts have produced significant results: the Alpine House behind the Old Parsonage has been completely transformed – what was once derelict has now one of the best collection of alpines in the north of England; safety rails and signposts have improved the area in and around the rockery gardens; noticeboards have been erected at the Visitor Centre and in Parsonage Gardens; plants and trees of many varieties have been introduced throughout the park; and a Local Nature Reserve with a Nature Trail has been established in Stenner Woods and Millgate Fields. It’s a lovely setting to settle with a picnic basket and a good book to take it all in.

(Note: Fletcher Moss Park and Parsonage Gardens are open every day of the year from dawn to dusk. Entrance is free. Dog restrictions apply in some signed areas.)

Dunham Massey

Dunham

A self proclaimed: “garden for all seasons, an ancient deer park and a house filled with treasures and stories”

Encircled by its protective wall, Dunham Massey is a green oasis nestling between the urban sprawl of Manchester and rural tranquillity of Cheshire.

For those looking for a picnic spot to pole vault all others, we think it’s important that you relax in the garden and explore its historic features such as the Orangery, Pump House, Victorian Bark House and the remains of an Elizabethan Mount. Best of all, we’re assured that in summer, guests will be able to see the celebrated rose garden take centre stage.

A herd of fallow deer, (yes deers) wander amongst the ancient trees of the deer park, how devine!

Platt Fields

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Platt Fields was created in Edwardian times.  It was created and landscaped by the working (and unemployed) people of the area. It is regularly frequented by students and local residents alike!

 

Platt Fields is one of Manchester’s principal parks. In the heart of inner city Manchester, it serves a very large concentration of people of all ages and from a myriad of different cultural origins, living less than 15 minutes away.

 

It is situated at the junction of three wards: Rusholme, Fallowfield and Moss Side.

Now we’ve got the locations covered, here are some healthy snacks to pack for your picnic:

 

Exotic Dried Mango – A little taste of summer, Forest Feast Exotic Dried Mango is a PREDA Fairtrade product that makes a deliciously refreshing snack that is packed with vitamins and minerals, fat-free, free from artificial additives and preservative. This sweet, tangy treat is the perfect way to sneak in one of their five-a-day into your child’s picnic lunch!

 

Coco Mango – A unique fusion of exotic rich Carabao mango with tropical fresh coconut rolled into single serve bites for a mouth-watering snack.  The creamy coconut and the succulent mango will have kids choosing these healthier option over other tempting treats.

 

Cavendish Banana – Free from added sugar and additives this delicious dried fruit is the perfect grab-and-go snack for families on the move. The banana is naturally sun ripened and slow dried to provide a rich, deep banana snack – making it a picnic treat that can be enjoyed by the whole family!

 

Wonder Fruit Bars Recipe – Get the kids involved in making these delicious bars. The bars include oats, seeds, and a wonderful mix of berries, such as cranberries, goji berries and strawberries. This healthy recipe not only provides kids with a tasty snack, they can also enjoy making them with their parents and learn about the ingredients that go in to them.

All Forest Feast products are available online and from leading retailers nationwide. For more information and recipe suggestions, visit www.forestfeast.com.

Here’s a healthy salad recipe to whet your appetite:

Curly sweet potato & parsnip fries

 

Serves 4-6

2 sweet potatoes

2 parsnips

2-4 tbs olive oil

1-2 tsp smoked paprika

1-2 tsp garlic powder

Rosemary sprigs

Sea salt & ground black pepper

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C.
  2. Spiralize the sweet potatoes and parsnips on the thickest setting.
  3. Spread the curly fries out on a large baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, and gently toss the vegetables so that they are evenly coated .
  4. Season with salt, paprika, rosemary, and garlic powder.
  5. Roast for 20 minutes in the oven, giving them a gentle toss at the halfway mark.

Be sure to keep an eye on the fries to prevent burning. If they begin to burn, toss those pieces gently, or just cut off the burnt bits at the end prior to serving.

  1. Serve with your favourite dip or ketchup (I recommend cashew mayonnaise, preferably homemade!)

 

TIP: If you really want these to be super-crunchy like the original mccoy “naughty” fries, you will have to deep-fry them. Be mindful that this will put them back into the “seriously naughty” category. Or try putting them under the grill, make sure they’re not too oily.

There is an exclusive collection of spiralizers available to suit all budgets and tastes, available at http://www.ukjuicers.com/healthy-kitchen/spiralizers.

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