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;

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;

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;

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;

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

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;

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;

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
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

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas