Our Whistle Stop Tour of Watercolour Britain

There are few things we Brits do better than picnic and when the weather is as glorious as it is today, it's hard to think of anything more enjoyable. So with the Summer holidays fast approaching and our newest collection Watercolour Britain making it's own travel plans we thought we would take you on a whistle stop tour of some of our favourite picnic spots. 


As we head off on our journey, picnic basket in hand, our first stopping point is just over the border in Essex, at one of the county's most beautiful locations; Epping Forest.

I went on a picnic and in my basket I took...
I went on a picnic and in my basket I took...

Epping Forest is known as London's largest green space and it sits on the border between Greater London and Essex. A beautiful, ancient location with some trees more than 500 years old. Much of the forest is now accessible to all, including the Visitors Centre, with excellent transport links to the City of London and plenty of parking facilities. What better way to start our tour of Watercolour Britain than sharing a flask under the shade of an old pedunculate (oak) tree.

Click on the image below to be redirected to The View, a particularly family friendly location within the Forest and right next door to Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge. 

Quick Tip: You can't camp in Epping Forest itself but there are plenty of sites nearby for you to pitch your tent.

Norfolk Broads is the next stop on our travels. The joys of canal life have been brought back into our hearts in recent years watching the fabulous Timothy West and Prunella Scales as they travel the country and indeed the World by canal. I was surprised to find that they had not yet embarked upon one of the South's most loved holiday destinations, The Norfolk Broads. With over 200km of navigable waterways, the Broads have been affectionately nicknamed 'Britain's Magical Waterland' and with so many beauty spots along the way it's easy to understand why. The Broads offer fun for everyone and for the more experienced Broaders amongst you, a trip out in the newly restored Spark of Light offers an opportunity not to be missed. 

...our next stop takes us to another destination famous for it's waterways, Cambridgeshire. A veritable feast for picnic spots from the delightfully family friendly Anglesey Abbey to a particular favourite Grantchester Meadows, a location so great Pink Floyd wrote a song about it! (Click on the link to have a listen courtesy of YouTube.) Off the beaten track, this location rewards the adventurer in all of us but don't be caught without a bottle of water and a sunhat!

We're exploring Hampshire next and what better way than by rail. Once used as the method of transporting watercress from Alresford to London, The Alresford Watercress Line was restored by enthusiasts during the 70s and 80s to be once more enjoyed by everyone. For a meal to remember you can choose from one of their extremely popular dining experiences but be sure to book ahead as places fill up as quickly as the train itself and if you're at home in the kitchen why not take along one of our tea towels and lend a hand.

Taken from our design for Essex
All artwork by Diz Andrews
All artwork by Diz Andrews
A beauty spot in Cambridgeshire
Dining with a difference in Hants

If a picnic by the sea is your preferred way to lunch then you'll love our next port of call, to West Wittering in (West) Sussex. Awarded a Blue Flag for it's excellence, West Wittering Beach offers stunning views of Chichester and a warm and welcome reception for our four-legged friends. Thanks to the Windsurf Club wheelchair users can access the beach via their entry slope but bring your strongest constitution as it's all terrain wheels only as the slope is a steep one.

After a good blast of sea air, the tranquility of Nottinghamshire is welcome for an afternoon cuppa. Already synonymous with forests and the legendary tales of Robin Hood, another lesser known treasure in the county is the National Trust property of Clumber Park. With all the facilities and access you can rely on from the National Trust, Clumber Park is also home to a beautiful gothic chapel for those wanting to escape the noise completely. 

With a hop, skip and a jump we find ourselves in the county of Yorkshire. What first springs to mind? The National Railway Museum and stunning York Minster perhaps?  For a great many people across the county it's Betty's Cafe that they see. Betty's Cafe (beautifully depicted below) opened in Harrogate in 1919. Grown from the humble beginnings of a Swiss confectioner, baker and chocolatier by the name of Frederick Belmont. Now Betty's is internationally recognised as the place for afternoon tea and their now world renowned biscuits are available in not just one but six tea rooms in the county including two in York. Fat Rascals we are reliably informed are a firm favourite.

The final stop on our trip together is over the border into Scotland, to historic and picturesque; Leith (a district of the City of Edinburgh.) Built on the shores of the Water of Leith before it flows out into the North Sea via the Firth of Forth (which as well as being a great name is also a terrific tongue-twister! Try it yourself.) Home not only to the Royal Yacht Britannia and Tom Kitchin's Michelin starred restaurant but a wonderfully varied selection of quaint little galleries and bistros like Ritchie Collins Gallery, an ideal choice for those looking for local artwork. Leith is practically brimming over with little nooks to curl up in with a coffee and a good book. What better way to end an adventure than by beginning another...

One of Britain's Blue Flag beaches
National Trust property, Nottinghamshire
A piece of Yorkshire history
Home to Tom Kitchin's 'The Kitchin'

All imagery are extracts from the Watercolour Britain collection designed by Diz Andrews. Products in the range are tea-towels, bags and aprons. We have limited availability for mugs and coasters. There are no trays in the range currently available.

If you would like to place an order for any of the designs featured in today's blog or if you would like to discuss a bespoke design for your County, please contact our Customer Liaison Team on 01473 820018 who will be happy to help. We're open Mon - Fri, 9am to 5pm.

Whichever direction your Summer Holidays take you in, be sure to enjoy yourselves and please remember to stay safe in the sun. As Baz Luhrmann would say "wear sunscreen." 

Happy Travels from everyone here at Stuart Morris Textiles!

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