The 50 Best Picnic Spots - Parks and Gardens

Rhiannon Batten finds the perfect places to lay your blanket this summer

Glenkiln Sculpture Park

Set by Glenkiln reservoir, this sculpture park is one of the most remarkable outdoor art collections in Britain. Between 1951 and 1976, the local landowner, Sir William Keswick, bought works by Auguste Rodin, Jacob Epstein and Henry Moore, and scattered them throughout the wild Scottish scenery. Tracking down all six sculptures makes for a memorable day out, with plenty of places to picnic en route.

Getting there: Glenkiln Sculpture Park is set outside the village of Shawhead, around 8m west of Dumfries, with open access.





Barton Farm Country Park

"Bradford on Avon in Wiltshire is a romantic town," promises Mark Scott, who adds that this 36-acre, council-owned country park, just on the town's outskirts, offers plenty of scope for picnicking. "One of the many River Avons in the UK runs right by the farm," he adds. "There is quietness, setting sun (if you time it right) and green surroundings."

Getting there: The park is on the edge of Bradford on Avon.

Entrance to the park is free and it's open daily (01225 713489; www.wiltshire.gov.uk)





Westonbirt Arboretum

For Evie , the "fab" concerts held atWestonbirt in the summer bring the arboretum's trees to life in a new way – and offer lots of scope for an indulgent open-air dinner. "But it's a magical place to picnic in at any time of year," she adds.

Getting there: Westornbirt Arboretum is three miles from Tetbury in Gloucestershire. It's currently open from 9am to 8pm.

Entrance costs £7 for adults and £2 for children (01666 880220; www.forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt)





Pollok Country Park

This multi-tasking pocket of green space features a National Trust for Scotland-managed 18th-century mansion, the Burrell Collection gallery, Highland cattle, Clydesdale horses, a mountain-bike circuit, woodland gardens and a new visitor centre. For the most peaceful picnic, sit by the White Cart Water and watch its cascades and diving kingfishers.

Getting there: Pollok Country Park is 15 minutes from the centre of Glasgow (0141-276 0924; www.glasgow.gov.uk).

General access is free, though some attractions charge fees.





Sewerby Hall Gardens

The grounds at this 50-acre site include traditional English, walled and sensory gardens as well as spectacular views over Bridlington bay.

Getting there: Sewerby Hall is two miles north of Bridlington, in Yorkshire.

The gardens are currently open from 9.30am to 8pm and entrance to the whole site costs £4 per adult and £2 per child (01262 673769; www.eastriding.gov.uk)





Alnwick Garden

There's plenty to see around the pretty town of Alnwick, including a famous castle, but this recently opened garden is one of the best attractions. It has a host of interesting leafy corners for picnicking.

Getting there: Alnwick Garden is in Northumberland. Currently open from 10am to 6pm, entrance costs £9 for adults (01665 511350; www.alnwickgarden. com).

For more general information see www.visitalnwick.org.uk





Verulamium Park

With over 100 acres of parkland to play with, Verulamium Park is one big picnic site, according to Danny. "The park features Roman ruins and an ornamental lake and plenty of room to spread out, relax and play games. There is also a splash area for younger children and tremendous views of St Albans Abbey."

Getting there: Verulamium Park is on the edge of St Albans, in Hertfordshire.

Run by the council, access is free (01727 819366; www.stalbans.gov.uk)





Orwell Country Park

Laurence recommends this relatively new Suffolk park (it opened in 1995) for its 200 acres of easily accessed woods, heath and reedbeds. "Set beside the Orwell Estuary, on the edge of Ipswich, there are three waymarked circular walks, an orienteering course and, crucially, picnic tables," he says. For those wanting a picnic with a view, rest assured that some of the park is also set within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Getting there: Orwell Country Park is on the outskirts of Ipswich, with free access (01473 433993; www.ipswich.gov.uk)

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine