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Alcohol consumption in public

We will be picnicking most lunches on our trip this summer, and I was wondering if it would be in bad form to have a bottle of wine if we were in a public park. On several of our picnics in France we had a couple glasses of wine with our lunch and it was lovely - so I'd love to recreate the experience, but not at the cost of breaking local laws. Unfortunately my googling has not brought me a good answer beyond that there are local ordinances. In the US it is the same, but 99% of those local ordinances seem to prohibit it. I didn't know if in England it was usually okay, or usually forbidden.

Should I leave the corkscrew out of our picnic set?

I know this is the England forum...but if anyone knows the rules in Wales and Scotland too, that would be great!

Thanks!

Posted by
626 posts

It would be bad form if you didn't crack open a bottle of wine.

Posted by
4368 posts

Feel free to drink whatever you fancy, wherever you fancy in England, Scotland and Wales. No-one is going to bat an eye if you're sat in a park enjoying a picnic with a bottle of wine. Alcohol laws are a lot less strict in Europe.

Posted by
4749 posts

You are assuming that the weather will be good enough every day for picnicing?! Probably a reasonable prospect for London but brave for Wales and Scotland!

Many wine bottles here are screw topped so you won't need a corkscrew.

Wine is much cheaper in France than the UK.

Posted by
4666 posts

As far as I know the only major tourist area with a public drinking ban is the Bankside area around the Globe Theatre and Tate Modern.

Posted by
4528 posts

It would be useful if you listed where you are going so people can give you the information. Any restriction is at such a local level.

Posted by
351 posts

A rain jacket and waterproof ground cloth will let you picnic anywhere! And in my mind there is nothing more enjoyable than a pint sipped in soft English rain. OK, maybe a pint sipped in the sunshine, but still.

Posted by
1291 posts

As Philip and Marco point out if it is prohibited this will be by local by law. The signs should be clear, knowing where you are planning to go would help.

Posted by
257 posts

The alcohol is OK on royal parks web site, but the glasses look like they are frowned apon, to avoid chance of broken glass causing injuries. (I like the hard cider there, myself :) Cheaper than wine. Happy Travels!

Posted by
23 posts

Motorgirl- you underestimate the British rain...there is nothing 'soft' about it!

You should be able to drink alcohol in most placed unless there are signs expressly telling you not to. Parks tend to be just fine. Just watch out for City Centre areas that are built up, you may not be able to drink there. If you do, the police will more than likely confiscate your alcohol and move you along, but drink at your own risk in these areas, it's generally bad form to do so.

If you are consuming in alcohol, I would recommend plastic glasses, as you don't want to have any accidents. I don't see the harm in taking a cork screw, but most wine in England comes with a screw top...also, try the cider, it's much better than the wine!! Also, make sure you take your rubbish (garbage) with you :)

Hope that helps, from a native!

Posted by
4368 posts

"....I don't see the harm in taking a cork screw, but most wine in England comes with a screw top...also, try the cider, it's much better than the wine!!..."

I beg to differ. Whilst a lot of wine is available in screw tops the majority is still of the corkscrew variety. Cheaper, mass produced (mainly American) wine often comes in screw top although some decent wine, particularly Australian, is now being bottled in screw tops. The majority of 'old world' wines are still clinging on to the cork tradition.

As for the assertion that cider is much better than the wine that clearly is a subjective view. Two very different drinks and if you don't like cider......

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you everyone!

We have plastic "glasses" so no worries there. Screw tops would be great - but its no bother to carry around a corkscrew and bottle opener just in case.

As to the where, we have multiple day stays in Bath, York, Edinburgh, Edinbane (Skye), Lavenham and London.

We will also be visiting several other cities in Wales and Northern Scotland, but since we will be driving shortly before or after those stops, alcohol is obviously off the menu.

We know weather may be an issue, but we've decided to plan for the best, and be flexible if we are handed the worst.

Again - thank you for your insight and input!

Posted by
17 posts

Danielle - We depart for London tomorrow--the temperature for the next 5 days is 75 F ++! 80 on Saturday!

Picnic sounds wonderful!

Posted by
4368 posts

".....Danielle - We depart for London tomorrow--the temperature for the next 5 days is 75 F ++! 80 on Saturday!

Picnic sounds wonderful!...."

It's fantastic weather at the moment, absolutely perfect for a picnic.