Driving Seat

Uncovered: Best Picnic Spots in the UK

If you’re wondering where might be a nice spot for a picnic, look no further!

Did you know, more than a third of families are prepared to travel for more than an hour to enjoy a wonderful view and a jam-packed picnic (excuse the pun), with a dedicated 18%* willing to drive for two hours to reach the perfect location?

From areas of outstanding beauty, to beaches crowned amongst Europe’s best, we’ve done the miles to bring you the best picnic spots in the UK. So pack the pork pies, outdoor games - heck, even the kids! - and sample some of Britain’s perfect picnic locations this summer for a fun filled day out.

Barafundle Bay, Wales

Barafundle Bay in Pembrokeshire, Wales, has been named one of the best beaches in the world. Once Pembrokeshire’s secret golden crescent, now winner of “The UK’s Top Picnic Spot” accolade 2012, Barafundle Bay is now a Country Life magazine favourite and a no brainer, when heading out with your hamper for a day of feasting and barefoot fun. 

Barafundle Bay is accessible only via a half mile walk from the nearest car park (so please bear in mind, it’s not ideal for pushchair or wheel chair access), and is backed by sand dunes and pine trees, adding to its magical appeal. Don’t forget to consider undertaking a vehicle health check before making the long trek to the Welsh coast – no one wants to ruin a good day out with a breakdown!

Richmond Park, London

Richmond Park covers an area of 2,500 acres where you can try your hand at anything from power kiting, horse riding or golf. You can also hire a bike for some off-road cycling along the Tamsin Trail to burn off even the most generous of hampers.

Boarding the River Thames, Richmond Park is an important habitat for wildlife and is a National Nature Reserve. In the park you may also be visited by herds of deer, comfortably roaming the Park, making it one of the UK’s most perfect picnic spots.

There is also the nearby tranquil Kew Gardens which attracts botanical enthusiasts and families with its huge Arboretum, 17th-century Kew Palace and panoramic views from its Treetop Walkway!

Lydford Gorge, Devon 

Boasting the deepest river gorge in the South West, with a spectacular 30m waterfall, there's plenty to see and do at Lydford Gorge, from walks and wildlife to the children’s play area.

You can picnic in the orchard or woods and there are tea-rooms nearby too, if you fancy topping off your homemade picnic essentials with tasty treats including homemade cakes and ice creams. After your picnic, why not finish with an exhilarating walk to see the 30m Whitelady Waterfall and the bubbling Devil’s Cauldron?

Padley Gorge, Derbyshire

Padley Gorge is said to be one of the most mystical and magical places in the Peak District. Grab the cool box before setting off on a short walk towards the river Derwent, or wandering across the moorlands, exploring abandoned millstones from its post-industrial landscape, now veiled in rich woodlands.

It is a fantastic place for children of all ages, with the gently trickling Burbage Brook at the top of the Gorge, creating wonderful areas for paddling and picnics in a safe environment, to the spectacular sight of the Gorge itself, with torrents of water gushing over dark grit stone.

Roundhay Park, Leeds

Roundhay Park is one of the most popular parks in Leeds due to its size, grandeur and array of things to see and do! Three miles north of Leeds city centre, Roundhay Park covers over 700 acres of rolling parkland, lakes, woodlands and gardens and contains several cafes, two playgrounds, the popular visitor attraction Tropical World and much more.

A visit to Tropical World, a tropical island adventure - fun for all the family - would be a perfect end to your picnic stop. Exotic butterflies and birds roam free around the recreated rainforest environment, meerkats and cacti dominate the desert, and as day turns to night, you can venture into the nocturnal zone to meet some animals that only come out in the dark.

Studland Beach, Dorset

Visit the wonderful sand dunes of Studland Beach in Dorset, now part of the National Trust. A truly glorious slice of natural coastline in Purbeck, featuring a four-mile stretch of golden, sandy beach, with gently shelved bathing water and views of Old Harry Rocks and the Isle of Wight.

A location ideal for water sports, as well as being the most popular naturist beach in Britain, the surrounding heathland is a haven for native wildlife and features all six British reptiles. Designated trails through the sand dunes and woodlands will bring an extra helping of adventure to your picnic, with a chance to spot deer, insects and bird life as well as a wealth of wild flowers.

Stretching along part of the southern coast, this beach is definitely a picnic spot worth setting out early for. With many motorists heading in the same direction drive safely this summer to avoid any accidents.

Jubilee Gardens, Beer, Devon

Perhaps not the beer your mind first roams to…The beautiful picturesque village of Beer is located on the UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast in Devon. Surrounded by white chalk cliffs, the shingle beach is lined with fishing boats still bringing in their daily catches and is famous for its mackerel – so if you’re looking for a fresh addition to your picnic, you may be in luck!

Famous for its stunning view of the beach and village from the hillside, Jubilee Gardens were created by the people of Beer to honour Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. These gardens have recently been named as the Top Picnic spot in the UK, by Countryfile and are definitely worth a family roadtrip to this summer.

Enjoy your picnic splendour while taking in the activities along the ‘working beach’, with its brightly coloured wooden boats, nets, winches and neon-coloured floats add to its charm with the added bonus of being able to watch fishermen landing their catches of fresh fish, crabs, lobsters and scallops.

Ayr, Scotland

An award-winning sandy beach stretching for almost two miles from the town of Ayr, this is the ideal Scottish backdrop for sandwiches and sandcastles.

The northern end is the most popular with an esplanade, a huge expanse of grass, and outdoor and indoor children’s play areas. There is also crazy golf, a putting green and several cafes on offer for after-picnic activities, and on rainy days Pirate Pete’s on the esplanade is a treasure trove of gangplanks, scaling nets, ball lagoons and slides for toddlers and young pirates up to age 11.

It's also worth noting that Ayr Racecourse, dating back to the 16th century, runs many National Hunt meetings throughout the year and is particularly famous as the venue of the Scottish Grand National, the Ayrshire Handicap and the Ayr Gold Cup.

Dolbadarn Castle, Snowdonia

If you like the idea of walking in the footsteps of soldiers gone by, a trip to the remarkable ruins of Dolbadarn Castle in Snowdonia will be worthy of your time!

Climb the steep staircase of the circle tower, all that's left standing of what was a formidable fortress in combat. Built by the Welsh Princes, it dates back to the 13th century and built by Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, remains in solid condition. The castle pre-dates the English fortresses of the Edwardian conquest and provides evidence of the extent of Llywelyn's influence and ingenuity.

On a fine day it's certainly a beauty spot with spectacular views up the Llanberis Pass, and even in bad weather worth the walk, if your legs will carry you!

Pack your picnic, we’re taking a trip!

With so much to see and do in the great British countryside, it's easy to work up an appetite wherever you head! If the summer sun has you longing for a weekend away, why not consider taking a roadtrip around the UK? With so much to see and do you’ll be spoilt for choice!

Did we mention National Picnic Week 2018, which takes place across the UK between 16th to 25th June? Do you really need any further encouragement to embrace the great outdoors and enjoy a good old fashioned picnic?

* DisneyLife survey 2017