The best picnic spots in the UK have been unveiled.
The beauty spots, which span the length of the country, have been picked for their outstanding natural beauty and historical significance.
The areas were chosen to celebrate eating al fresco as part of National Picnic Week.
Adam Cox, founder of National Picnic Week, said: “The winners were chosen due to variables including their scenic locations, cultural significance and either popularity or reputation as being a ‘hidden gem’.”
If you can't get to one of these, we have picked our own favourite picnic spots in Birmingham here.
1) Jephson Gardens, Leamington Spa
This beautiful formal Victorian park in the centre of Leamington Spa is a 45 minute drive from Birmingham.
It has 14 acres of garden, including lots of colourful flowerbeds and interesting sculptures, and is described as being: “The perfect place for a relaxing stroll or family picnic that makes for a great day out.”
Jephson Gardens and Mill Gardens have won both the Green Flag Award and Green Heritage Site Accreditation every year since 2006.
In 2016, the gardens also won two special awards. They were one of 19 parks nationally to be presented with a Bees’ Needs Award, in recognition of recent work done to help pollinators throughout the park. Additionally, the Sensory Garden was one of 15 projects nationally to receive a Special Award for Innovation.
Newbold Terrace, Leamington Spa CV32 4AA
2) Ryton Pools, Bubbenhall
Just 30 minutes from Birmingham, Ryton Pools Country Park was named the West Midlands’ runner up in the picnic list.
Located in Ryton on Dunsmore, the park occupies an area of about 100 acres and contains four pools, the largest of which covers around 10 acres.
It’s a beautiful spot for walks as well as picnics.
Ryton Road, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Coventry, CV8 3BH
3) Padley Gorge Trail
Padley Gorge is described as a "fairy glen of a place, with moss covered tree roots creating hiding places for imaginary folk”.
It’s also great for dog owners, as dogs can be let off their leads, and hailed as being a place for the children of all ages, with the gently trickling Burbage Brook at the top of the Gorge, creating wonderful areas for both picnics and paddling too.
But there’s more. It also boasts a bigger adventure of the Gorge itself, with “torrents of water gushing over dark grit stone” being a “really spectacular sight.”
Padley Gorge Trail, Sheffield, S11 7TY
Situated in the spectacular setting of the Staffordshire and Derbyshire Peak District, Dovedale is a beautiful and great place to explore par of the famous area of the White Peak.
It’s one of several key areas that are well worth a visit in this area. Others include the Manifold Valley; Ilam Park; Ecton Mine, Stanton Moor Edge; Miller’s Dale and Ravenstor; and High Wheeldon.
All boast great walking and cycle trails as well as picnic spots. In Dovedale there’s a host of things to explore including the Stepping Stones, Milldale, Wolfscote Hill and Biggin Dale.
Thorpe, Ashbourne, DE6 2AY
5) Barafundle Bay Beach
Barafundle Bay isn’t easily accessible, but that is probably why it is so beautiful - and why we recently chose it as a hidden beach worth trekking to from Birmingham.
Surrounded by rugged coastline and dunes, it is a half a mile walk from the nearest car park and don’t expect any cafe's or facilities.
But the big plus is that it has bags of natural beauty.
In fact Passport Magazine describes it as a “visual overdose of beauty”.
The post on the magazine’s website states that: “Barafundle Bay, part of southwest Wales’ Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, is a revelation - all the more so for the process of arriving there.
“As you approach by car, rolling countryside turns more dramatic, sheer and craggy cliffs dropping precipitously to the sea.”
A walk over sand dunes will lead you to the “shimmering bay” that is Barafundle.
Address: Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Stackpole, Pembroke SA71 5LS
6) Hyde Park
Hyde Park is of course world famous so it’s no surprise to see if lift the London title of best picnic spot.
Every year millions of Londoners and tourists visit Hyde Park, one of the capital’s eight Royal Parks.
It covers 350 acres and is home to a number of famous landmarks including the Serpentine Lake, Speakers’ Corner and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain.
As well as offering various recreational activities, such as open water swimming, boating, cycling, tennis and horse riding, it’s also a great place for people watching while you sit and enjoy the outdoors.
Address: Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH
7) Corfe Castle, Dorset
Corfe Castle in Dorset, cared for by the National Trust, took the South East title on the back of its “enduring ruins” which you can explore at your leisure.
Steeped in history, the dramatic ruins of Corfe Castle, which date back in some form to the 10th century, stand on a natural hill guarding the principal route through the Purbeck Hills.
It is known for having guarded the gap between the south of Purbeck, where Purbeck marble was once quarried, and the rest of England.
It’s claimed that at one time “Nothing could pass in or out without going past the Castle.”
There’s also a lot more to see in Corfe that just the castle. You can find out more here.
Address: The Square, Corfe Castle, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5EZ
8) Lydford Gorge
Chosen for this accolade because of its “spectacular” 30 foot waterfall, Lydford Gorge, which is the deepest gorge in the South-west, is another feather in the National Trust’s cap.
It’s no surprise to hear that’s it’s been chosen as the South West’s best picnic spot because it’s an amazing place to visit.
Here you can not only picnic by the river, or in an orchard, but also in the magical sounding pixie glen rest area. There’s even picnic tables provided for you to enjoy eating al fresco too.
Address: Lydford Gorge, Okehampton EX20 4BH
9) The Fairy Pools in the Isle of Skye
Even hearing just the name Fairy Pools conjures up images of picnics enjoyed in an idyllic, magical spot and I can reveal that it was indeed chosen for this prestigious title for its breath-taking views.
Located at the foot of the Black Cuillins, near Glenbrittle, the Fairy Pools are beautifully, crystal clear blue pools on the River Brittle.
The Isle of Skye’s website boasts that these famous pools entice visitors from all over the world, as they make some great “wild swimming’ for those who are brave enough to enter the cold water!
And there’s still a lot to be had here for the less adventurous as these magical Fairy Pools make a perfect backdrop for some magical photos to capture wonderful memories to look back on.
You can find out more about the walks you can take here.
The Fairy pools, Glenbrittle, Isle of Skye IV47 8TA
Chosen as Northern Ireland’s best picnic post it not only treats you to dramatic vistas, it will also get your adrenaline pumping.
For it’s here that you can venture - if you’re brave enough - over a rope bridge, which was first erected by salmon fishermen 350 years ago, which is and connects two cliffs over the Atlantic Ocean.
And for those you take up the challenge they will be rewarding with a certificate to prove they have a head for heights.
119a Whitepark Rd, Ballycastle BT54 6LS
11) Loughcrew in Co Meath
Awash with hidden secrets this spot was chosen for its Neolithic tombs which are part of what is known as the Loughcrew Complex which is located in Ireland’s Ancient East.
The complex is believed to have being constructed 3,500 BC as burial chambers - and is believed to have once been home to over 200 underground tombs, some of which have not yet been explored.
Visitors can see rock art and scribes inside the tombs which archaeologists say is key to understanding the post’s many unexplained mysteries.
Loughcrew Cairns, Corstown, Oldcastle, Co. Meath, Ireland
12) Saint Herbert’s Island in Cumbria
St Herbert’s Island is the largest of the Derwent Water islands, which is cared for by the National Trust.
The islands span between four and five acres and are named after the saint of the same name who brought Christianity to the area in 685 AD.
St Herbert is said to have used the island as an hermitage, and after his death, the area became a place of pilgrimage.
A little interesting fact is that St Herbert’s was also the inspiration for the fictional Owl Island in Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin.
Saint Herbert’s Island, Keswick, Cumbria
13) Gibside in Newcastle
Chosen for its historic Gibside Hall, and maze, Gibside features “stunning” 18th-century landscape garden and is a “haven for nature”.
Now in the hands of the National Trust , it features over 600 acres of woodland, gardens, paths, ruins and a chapel. It also hosts open air theatres performances over the summer and includes a wild willow orchid maze so no wonder it’s a perfect picnic spot.
Rowlands Gill, Gateshead NE16 6BG
14) Wimpole Estate
This spot was picked for its fascinating Gothic architecture and according to National Picnic Week organisers a visit there is “like travelling back in time”.
A working estate, cared for by the National Trust , it’s include an impressive mansion with beautiful and unexpected Georgian interiors, as well as a glimpse into life below stairs, a colourful parterre garden and landscaped pleasure grounds, a walled garden, and a traditional farmyard.
There’s a host of things for families with children of all ages here too, from den building on a woodland walk, geocaching and a trail challenge, woodland adventure park and mini pedal tractors amongst the things to enjoy.
Wimpole Estate, Arrington, SG8 0BW
15) Rievaulx Abbey
As a stunning regal abbey of historic importance it’s no wonder this location, cared for by English Heritage , won hands down for the Yorkshire title.
Rievaulx Abbey, which wins a 4.5 rating from Tripadvisor reviewers, is described as being the “impressive ruins of one of England’s most powerful Cistercian monasteries”.
Close to the chocolate-box town of Helmsley, amongst the things to explore here is the museum, which unveils previously unseen artefacts which tell the story of the rise and dramatic fall of the first Cistercian abbey in the North of England.
Visitors can wander through the extensive ruins of the abbey and take in the stunning views from the visitor centre at a location that once commented on that there was “”.
Rievaulx Bank, Rievaulx, Helmsley, York, YO62 5LB
16) Jubilee Gardens in Beer, Devon
Beer in Devon is a perfect picnic spot for several reasons.
They include that the views across the bay from Jubilee Gardens, situated above the beach are described as nothing short of “stunning”.
The gardens were created by the people of Beer to honour Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and adjacent to them is a children’s playground and Beer also boasts Beer Beach which is a natural suntrap.
The waters in the bay here are sheltered by the imposing limestone cliffs. Never a dull moment as it’s a working beach you can quite happily while away your time watching the picturesque paraphernalia of the fishing industry here as you tuck into your picnic.
Jubilee Gardens, Beer, Devon
Runners up for other best UK picnic spot titles were:
Highgate Park, London
Hare Hill, Cheshire
Downhill Demesne and Hezlett House, Co Londonderry
Errisberg, Co Galway
Colby Woodland Garden, Pembrokeshire
Avon Valley Country Park
Petworth Park, South Downs
Brancaster Beach, Norfolk
Roseberry Topping, North Yorkshire
Souter Lighthouse and The Leas, Tyne and Wear
Glenkin Sculpture Park, Dumfries, Co Galway
More picnic spots
For more ideas on great spots to picnic across the UK and Ireland with friends and family click here.