The best places to park your picnic
Pack your scotch eggs and lashings of ginger beer - we're heading to these 12 outdoor beauty spots across Warwickshire to enjoy lunch al fresco in time for sun this weekend.
Charlecote Park, Wellesbourne
Bag yourself a bench or spread out on a blanket overlooking the river in front of picturesque Charlecote House – perfect for a day out and some great shots for the ‘gram. Just watch where you put your blanket as this National Trust site is also home to a herd of fallow deer and pedigree Jacob sheep. Well behaved dogs are welcome (don’t forget to pack their sandwiches too – or is that just me?) Entry is £10 for adults or £25 for a family ticket.
Burton Dassett Country Park, Southam
If you want to feel miles away from it all, Burton Dassett is the place to go. Rolling, rugged hills with views for miles – you’d think you were in the middle of the Welsh countryside instead of little old Warwickshire. You can stick to the beaten path or enjoy carving your own. Stop off at one of the benches dotted around the park for your picnic or plonk yourself down wherever the view takes your fancy. There’s usually an ice cream and coffee van parked up too for an extra treat. Well, if you insist.
Coombe Abbey, Coventry
For a big family day out, Coombe Abbey gets a big thumbs up. There’s picnic places a go go here, along with plenty of play areas, so the kids can let rip, giving you some peace to pop open the fizz. Keep them extra entertained by signing them up for high ropes fun with GoApe. Cheers to that!
Hatton Locks, Hatton
Hatton’s ‘stairway to heaven’ flight of 21 locks is a wonderful, peaceful location to scoff your sarnies and watch canal boats as they pootle along the Grand Union. It might sound like a bit of a trek, but the walk is only around two miles – but you may aswell fortify yourself with that extra slice of quiche, just in case. Expect a ‘hello’ or two along the way from the friendly boaters.
St Nicholas Park, Warwick
A picnic in the shadow of Warwick Castle? Don’t mind if we do. There’s plenty to keep the kids busy here – a round of mini golf, a splash in the outdoor pool or give them some coins and listen to the squeals as they encounter the Fun Park. If you’re feeling really brave, let your little daredevil loose for a roll about on the skate park – or maybe avoid the latter if a trip to A&E isn’t top of your agenda.
Abbey Fields, Kenilworth
While not as well-known as its counterpart in nearby Warwick, it’s well worth making the trip to Abbey Fields for the views of 900-year-old Kenilworth Castle. Wander around the 68 acre park, check out the lake and take your pick of the play areas, just make sure you roll out your blanket in a prime spot overlooking this former medieval fortress and Elizabethan palace.
Ryton Pools, Bubbenhall
Active picnickers will get their boxes ticked at Ryton Pools. Explore the 100 acres by foot or get on your bike – there’s plenty of trails to follow, with lots of gorgeous spots to stop for your al fresco lunch. There’s a sensory trail too or kick back and relax as you chug along on the mini railway.
Jephson Gardens, Leamington
There’s a reason Jephson Gardens has won a Green Flag award every year since 2006 – it’s blimmin’ gorgeous! These formal gardens were once a place for the wealthy to ‘take the air’ and ‘be seen’ – oh err. With the River Leam meandering through, and often a brass band playing in the newly-renovated bandstand, it’s the perfect place for a lazy afternoon picnic. Plus there are plenty of bars to dart into should you feel the urge to refuel with a cold glass of Sauv Blanc. Bottoms up!
Kingsbury Water Park, North Warwickshire
Water babies rejoice, this park in North Warks has not one, but 15 lakes in 600 acres of country park. Though swimming isn’t recommended, there’s plenty of water sports to try your hand at including pedalos and sail boats, and for the slightly more adventurous, jet skis and power boats. After a thoroughly good soaking, dry off and refuel in one of the secluded picnic spots next to the lakes.
Bancroft Gardens, Stratford Upon Avon
The RSC may still be closed (sob) but look across to this beautifully manicured park and you’ll probably see some budding thespians at work. Open air performances often take place here, and even better, they’re free. Shakespeare with egg sarnie chaser? Now you’re talking! There’s also pedalos to hire, so you can splash down the Avon on a hot day. When you’re back on dry land, take a wander through the scented gardens – just dreamy. Park in one of the council-owned car parks for a cheap day out that really feels like a treat.
Hartshill Hayes, Nuneaton
In spring Hartshill Hayes comes alive with bluebells, but it’s a gorgeous park to visit all year round, with some 150 acres of woodlands and hills. Brace yourself for a climb – the views over the Anker Valley are corking – on a really clear day you can even see across four neighbouring counties. Now that’s what we call a picnic spot. Another freebie except for parking.
Compton Verney, Warwick
You’ll be hard pushed to choose the best picnic spot in the Capability Brown-designed landscape of Compton Verney. Benches are dotted around the 120 acre site, which is home to a 18th century mansion, now an award-winning art gallery. There’s a huge lake to gawp at, and to keep the kids amused, there’s a woodland playground and labyrinth -let’s see how long you can lose them for in that! Tickets cost £5 for a grounds pass.