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News & Advice

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)