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The Best Picnic Spots in the UK this Summer

Friday 21 July 2023

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Throughout the Spring and Summer months, we're all itching to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather while it lasts. Luckily, in the UK, there are hundreds (if not thousands!) of beauty spots to take a picnic and enjoy being outdoors with friends and family, whether you want to lay your blanket in a city park, on a relaxed beach, or out in the countryside.

Check out CrossCountry's guide to some of the best picnic spots in the UK, all of which are handily located within a stone's throw from our train stations. Simply buy your Advance ticket, hop on board, and dig into your hamper.

If you plan to enjoy a picnic with your little ones, you can teach them about the world around them using our printable I-Spy game - play while you picnic!

Groups of friends gathered in a park having picnics, surrounded by grass and trees.

Morrab Gardens, Penzance

Home to bright and beautiful subtropical floral and fauna, as well as lush Mediterranean plants, the peaceful Morrab Gardens in Penzance is a hidden gem in the heart of Cornwall. Situated just a 10-minute stroll from Penzance station, Morrab Gardens is accessible to Cornish locals and tourists alike to enjoy a relaxed bit of lunch in the open air. If you forget your picnic blanket, you can enjoy your picnic in the Grade II listed bandstand, which offers a shady retreat in the hot Summer sun. For an authentic Cornish experience, make sure to head to one of Penzance's bakeries for a freshly baked pasty.

Perfect for... romantic dates & small groups of friends.

Don't miss... the flowing fountain and gorgeous gardens.

Port Meadow, Oxford

This particular picnic hotspot offers a little something special for all its visitors. This sprawling meadow, located a short bike ride from Oxford station, offers picturesque views of the flowing River Thames, with grazing horses and cattle to marvel at too. It’s the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of Oxford’s thriving city centre and nibble on a homemade sandwich, surrounded by a sea of golden buttercups, white clover, and yarrow.

Adults with an adventurous side can enjoy wild swimming in the water, which is one of the UK's few designated river bathing sites. Learn more about how to wild swim safely with Oxford City Council's guidelines. If you're travelling with young children, there is plenty of meadows to explore to get the wiggles out before heading home. Kids will love to spot wildlife and explore the Thames towpath.

Perfect for... families with young children who love to explore.

Don’t miss… the nearby wetland that is home to spectacular flocks of resident and migrating birds, including teal, lapwings, plovers, swans, and geese.

Castle Park, Bristol

Right in the heart of Bristol city centre, less than a mile from Bristol Temple Meads station, sits Castle Park. An expansive green space with a floating harbour on its southern border and a gorgeous ruined church to explore, Castle Park is a Bristolian favourite when it comes to al fresco picnics in the warm summer months - and it is definitely worth the journey. In between sandwiches and cocktail sausages, you can enjoy wandering through the tree-lined common and admiring the artworks dotted around.

Perfect for... groups of friends enjoying the Summer sun.

Don't miss... Kate Malone's distinctive Drinking Fountain artwork.

The Marl & Cardiff Bay, Cardiff

Cardiff Bay is undoubtedly one of the UK's most picturesque sites, with a marine view of the bay, scenic walking routes along the River Taff, and historic buildings surrounding it. Combined with the Marl nearby and situated close to Cardiff Central station, this is a perfect place for a picnic. 

The Marl boasts 9.5 acres of green space to enjoy, with adventurous activities to get involved with - whether you're travelling with little children or big kids! When you've finished your picnic, discover the skateboarding park, tennis courts, football pitches, and children's play area to make the most of your day. If you opt to picnic around the bay, make sure to visit the Aqua Park to enjoy the cool water - if the weather allows, of course!

The kids can let off some steam. You can soak up the peace and quiet in the great outdoors. The best thing about an al fresco meal on a blanket is that it’s the perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon – from a romantic date to a family day out!

Perfect setting for… families with kids & groups of friends

Don’t miss… rent a canoe at the Cardiff Bay Water Activity Centre and go rowing along the River Taff.

A family playing and eating a picnic, with a flask, hamper and plates surrounding

If you plan on visiting some of the best picnic spots in the UK, don’t forget to book an Advance ticket via our website or the CrossCountry app. If you need more information, you can contact us here.

The UK is bursting with fun activities. Whether you’re visiting one of the best historical places in the UKthe best forests in the UK, or the best cinemas in the UK, you can always travel by train. CrossCountry has services running up and down the country to ensure you can get to the places you need to be.

Written by Julia

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