Picnic blankets at the ready! SoGlos has selected some of the most scenic spots for alfresco eating in Gloucestershire, from feasts in the forest to picnics by the riverside.
Brimming with scenic spots and pretty parks, as well as plenty of places to pick up food to enjoy alfresco, Gloucestershire is perfect for summer picnics – whether you’re firing up the barbecue or going all out with the sandwiches and sausage rolls.
So, roll out the blankets and get feasting in some of the most gorgeous picnic spots in the county…
Tuck into your sarnies under the canopy of a magical tree garden at the family-friendly Westonbirt Arboretum, near Tetbury. Work up your appetite with a stroll along the 300-metre STIHL Tree Top Walkway, then head to the theatre-style smokehouse to pick up a pizza or choose some takeaway treats from the grab-and-go pantry kiosk.
With several visitor sites in the Forest of Dean, Forestry England has picnickers covered for sunny days. Paddle in the brook at Wenchford, right by the shaded picnic area; book a barbecue for a family cookout at Beechenhurst; or make a beeline for Cannop Ponds, where there’s a grassy area that’s ideal for outdoor lunching.
A pretty spot for a picnic, with manicured lawns and bright bedding plants, Imperial Gardens can be found just behind the Town Hall in central Cheltenham. With lots of amenities nearby, lunchers can pimp up their picnic with drinks from the Garden Bar, take away a pizza from Bosco, or venture down Regent Street to collect a sushi picnic box from KIBOU to enjoy in the sunshine.
Boasting views over the Severn Estuary, Rodborough Common offers a picturesque spot to unfurl your picnic blanket and while away an afternoon. It’s also home to sweet local favourite, Winstones Ice Cream, so indulging in a scoop or two from the parlour shop is a must when picnicking at the Common.
When the sun is blazing and you’re looking for a sandy spot to recreate that holiday feeling, pitch up at the UK’s biggest inland beach, Cotswold Country Park and Beach. Little ones will enjoy paddling in the lagoon and exploring the adventure playground, while grill masters can hire a barbecue for the ultimate summer feast.
As the largest park in Cheltenham, Pittville Park offers an abundance of outdoor space, so there’s plenty of room to enjoy a picnic. Pick a prime spot outside the scenic Pump Room or head towards the lake and spot the swans – with takeaway treats available from its trio of cafés.
If you’re a fan of horticulture, combine an alfresco lunch with a visit to the stunningly colourful Hidcote Manor Garden. Wander around the intricate outdoor spaces to admire the beautiful blooms, before tucking into a picnic under the lime avenue where you can soak up panoramic views. There’s the option to buy light refreshments from the on-site Winthrop’s Café, too.
Roll out your picnic blanket on what is said to be England’s longest village green in Frampton on Severn, with approximately 22 acres of green space to enjoy an outdoor lunch. Walk it off with a stroll along the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, which runs to the west of the village, or wash it down with a refreshing pint at The Bell Inn or The Three Horseshoes, which both sit on the green.
Behind Cirencester’s central Market Place and parish church, picnickers will find lots of open space to enjoy an alfresco lunch in the Abbey Grounds. Grab a takeaway coffee or a brownie for dessert from Lunchbox Coffee, the mobile barista coffee van that’s parked up in the grounds; while Cirencester is packed with places to pick up food to go, too.
With 250-acres of countryside, there’s heaps of open space at Gloucester’s Robinswood Hill Country Park to pause for a peaceful picnic. For those feeling extra energetic, the views from the summit are well worth the effort – stretching as far as the Severn Bridge and the Malvern Hills on a clear day.
There’s no nicer way to cool off on a hot day than with a dip in the pool at Sandford Parks Lido, followed by a picnic on the lawns. The Lido regularly hosts open-air theatre and outdoor film screenings in the summer months, too, if you need an excuse to indulge.
Offering 56 acres of luscious green space, Stratford Park in Stroud is a popular spot with local picnickers. The park has all kinds of recreational facilities for families to make a day of it after polishing off their picnics, including a play area and skate park, miniature railway and even its own Museum in the Park.
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One of the Cotswold’s prettiest gems, Lower Slaughter is a top choice for romantic picnics – with plenty of room to lay your blanket on the grassy banks of the River Eye, against the backdrop of honey-hued cottages. The equally adorable village of Upper Slaughter is just a 20-minute stroll up the river for a scenic post-picnic walk.
Affectionately known as the Boating Lake, Westgate Park serves up green space by the river in Gloucester city centre, along with a dedicated picnic area. With footpaths leading to Alney Island, picnickers can work up an appetite wandering around the wetland nature reserve before digging in. Or, check out SoGlos’s pick of places to enjoy an urban picnic in Gloucester for more alfresco lunch spots in the city.
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Enjoy an atmospheric picnic in the shadow of Hailes Abbey, taking in the ruins of the former Cistercian abbey while you snack on sandwiches and finger foods. After lunch, check out sculptures, stonework and other archaeological finds in the museum – including a rare fragment of spectacles that once belonged to a 14th-century monk.
Immerse yourself in Gloucestershire’s glorious countryside, with waymarked trails and impressive views over the Severn Vale at Crickley Hill Country Park. There are lots of great picnic locations, complimented by a café that stocks wildlife-friendly producers from the local area, including the likes of Cotteswold Dairy and Kitchen Garden Foods.
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