20 of the best family picnic spots

The best places to get out and about for a family picnic

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A poll run by the National Trust revealed that while more than 9 out of 10 families said they loved eating outdoors, more than half were put off by unpredictable weather. Hey, isn’t that just life in the UK…

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Parents were also concerned about what to about wasp stings and insect bites, not knowing where they were allowed to eat outdoors, finding it hard to think what to eat outside and getting dirt and sand in their food.

So here’s our top 20 places to eat outside. If you have any great tips you’d like to share, let us know

Avebury Stone Circle, Avebury, Wiltshire, SN8 1RF

A National Trust site, home of the world-famous stone circle and on-site museum at the heart of a prehistoric landscape. Avebury Manor has just reopened following a major transformation for BBC series The Manor Reborn.

Avon Valley Country Park, Bristol, BS31 1TP

Covering 50 acres of beautiful countryside adjoining the River Avon, this country park has plenty to offer both children and adults. Children will love the adventure park, which has a mile-long junior assault course, and if you want a more relaxing day, there are peaceful riverside trails to walk with beautiful picnic spots.

Barafundle Beach, Pembrokeshire, Wales

This little-known Welsh beach has been described as the best-kept secret in Pembrokeshire and has been ranked among the best beaches in the world, with its sand dunes,  steady drop into the sea, and wonderful rock pools and caves for children to explore once the tide has gone out. It’s the perfect picnic spot!

Beecraigs Country Park, Linlithgow, Scotland EH49 6PL

Nestled high in the Bathgate Hills near the historic town of Linlithgow, Beecraigs caters for a wide range of leisure and recreational activities within its 913 acre site, including archery, canoeing, kayaking, orienteering and skiing. There is also a beautiful deer farm and fishery and idyllic picnic spots.

Brownsea Island, Poole, Dorset BH13 7EE

Nestled in the arc of Poole Harbour, the car-free island is a peaceful escape from the mainland noise. The ferry ride to its pretty sandy beaches adds to the fun, and the grassy flats with harbour views make an ideal picnic spot. For young adventurers, there are plenty of outdoor pursuits, including archery, canoeing and orienteering to keep the children busy while you set up the picnic.
Ferries run from Poole Quay and Sandbanks Jetty run from 10-5pm (call 01929 462383 for ticketinformation).

Clywedog Valley & Trail, Wrexham

The Clywedog Valley & Trail is a 7-mile walking trail, dotted with picnic spots . Stop at the Minera Lead Mines – a testimony to the area’s industrial heritage with an engine house, surface workings and small museum. Along the trail you’ll find a giant reconstruction of a mole tunnel, complete with worms, and a children’s play area.

Horniman Gardens, Forest Hill, London, SE23 3PQ

Situated next to the fabulous Horniman Museum, the Horniman Gardens are a wonderful place for a family picnic. Offering spectacular views of London, the 16-acre garden puts on free shows for children at the bandstand in the summer months. Afterwards, take the children into the museum, where there’s a full range of events and activities for children.

Ragley Hall, Warwickshire, Alcester, Warwickshire, B49 5NJ

Home to the Marquess and Marchioness of Hertford for nearly 350 years. Set within 400 acres of playground, Ragley Hall is the perfect picnic spot and family day out. There’s a Kids Zone, adventure playground with a 3D maze, trampoline and climbing frames, and a peaceful picnic area by the lake, where you might see a few peacocks roaming around.

Richmond Park, Surrey, TW10 5HS

Richmond Park  was voted London’s favourite picnic spot for two years running in 2008, beating off competition from Hyde Park and Hampstead Heath. Plenty of deer to spot and gorgeous open spaces to charge around in, play ball or simply lie back in the grass. There’s also a playground at Petersham Gate.

Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA

If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of London for a picnic with your family, Somerset House is the place to go. This 18th century Neoclassical palace has a huge courtyard where you can sit and relax, and there’s plenty of space for children to run around – they’ll love ducking in and out of the fountains. Once you’ve finished eating, take a look around the spectacular building and the exhibits and collections inside.

Wellington Country Park, Riseley, Nr Reading, Berkshire RG7 1SP

Wellington Country Park is set in 350 acres of beautiful Hampshire countryside, making it a perfect picnic spot to enjoy with your family. Children will love the miniature railway, adventure playground, giant snakes and ladders, play trail and crazy golf, and the beautiful nature trails and lakeside walks make a perfect relaxing day. There are also BBQ areas, and camping areas if you want to prolong your stay.

National Trust best spots also include:

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Kynance Cove, Cornwall
Stourhead, Wiltshire
Box Hill, Surrey
Tennyson Downs, Isle of Wight
Dunwich Heath, Suffolk
Croome, Worcestershire
The Kymin, Monmouth
Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, North Yorkshire
Fell Foot, Cumbria

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