As lockdown restrictions begin to ease in Gloucestershire, outdoor recreation is allowed with one other person from Monday 8 March 2021. So, roll out the blankets and tuck in, with SoGlos handpicking 16 of the best picnic spots in the county.
Please note, you must stay within your local area when picnicking.
From lakeside suntraps to beautiful views, the Forest of Dean is full of picture-perfect picnic spots. Take in the stunning scenery from the top of Symonds Yat Rock, wander the sculpture trail at Beechenhurst or hop on your bike at Cannop Cycle Centre – with the sites open for outdoor recreation to those who live locally.
Working hard all year round to keep the Forest of Dean lush and full of life, Forestry England is encouraging locals to bring picnics without packaging by using their own containers and taking their rubbish home, so the forest stays clean and litter-free for everyone to enjoy.
For more information, visit forestryengland.uk.
Stock-up on picnic essentials and make a beeline for Cannop Ponds, if you’re lucky enough to live local to the series of man-made lakes in the Forest of Dean. The grassy area is ideal for picnickers and offers a pretty setting to savour an outdoor lunch while spotting the abundance of local birdlife.
Make a day of it and take your bikes to explore the Family Cycle Trail, a circular route that takes in nearby villages and alternative picnic sites. Just remember to maintain a safe distance from other picnickers while you’re there.
Fancy a bit of alfresco cooking this summer? Book a barbecue and head to Beechenhurst in the Forest of Dean. The Glade site, complete with a large gas grill and picnic tables, is ideal for a family barbecue in the picturesque Forest of Dean setting, while Colliers View has two metal barbecue hearths available.
Visitors can also bring their own disposable barbecues to use in the picnic area at the front of the lodge, as long as they’re raised off the grass and disposed of correctly after use.
Please note, barbecues and fires are currently not allowed to support government guidelines.
As the largest park in Cheltenham, Pittville Park offers an abundance of outdoor space, so there’s plenty of room to enjoy a picnic while practicing safe social distancing. Pick a prime spot outside the picturesque Pump Room, or head towards the lake and spot the swans.
What’s more, the park’s cafés are both open for takeaway treats – perfect for a post-picnic ice cream.
With breathtaking views of the Severn Valley, Coaley Peak, near Stroud, is a picture-perfect spot, whether you want to pitch up on one of the picnic tables or bring a blanket to sit in the wild flower meadow.
It’s also a popular stopping point for walkers along the Cotswold Way National Trail, which passes through the site.
Soak up the impressive array of trees while tucking into your sandwiches at the family-friendly Westonbirt Arboretum, near Tetbury. Work up your appetite with a stroll along the treetop walkway, then head to the café where you can pick up some takeaway nibbles to go with your picnic.
Westonbirt is open for local exercise with social distancing measures in place, so visitors will need to book tickets in advance online.
If you really want to impress someone or fancy a lavish summertime treat, head to Cowley Manor, near Cheltenham, to picnic in style.
With idyllic picnicking spots set amongst Cowley’s 55 acres of parkland, lakes and meadows, hotel guests and day visitors can pre-book picnic hampers – including sourdough loaves, salads, charcuterie, fruit, freshly baked cakes, chilled drinks and more.
Cowley Manor is scheduled to reopen for picnics on Monday 12 April 2021.
With views over the Severn Estuary, the National Trust’s Rodborough Common, near Stroud, offers a beautiful spot to lay down your blanket and spend a relaxing afternoon.
Plus, as it’s home to sweet local favourite, Winstones Ice Cream, indulging in a scoop or two from the parlour shop is a given when picnicking at the Common.
If you’re a fan of horticulture, pack a picnic and combine an alfresco lunch with a visit to the stunningly colourful Hidcote Manor Garden in Chipping Campden.
The National Trust garden offers the chance to see rare shrubs, trees and plants from around the world in an impressively secluded Cotswolds setting that will most definitely inspire green-fingered enthusiasts.
Hidcote Manor Garden is currently open to local visitors and tickets must be booked online in advance.
When the sun is blazing and you’re looking for a sandy spot to recreate that holiday feeling, head to Cotswold Country Park which boasts the accolade of having the largest inland beach in the country.
Little ones will enjoy the paddling beach and playground, while the option of barbecue hire is the perfect addition to a summer’s day outing.
Cotswold Country Park and Beach is currently closed, but hopes to reopen soon.
The Fish Hotel, the latest addition to the estate, can organise a tasty hamper full of treats and will even set up a table and bring the food out to you.
The hotels on Farncombe Estate are currently closed, with a planned reopening date of Monday 17 May 2021.
There’s no nicer way to cool off on a hot day than a dip in the pool at Cheltenham’s Sandford Parks Lido, followed by a picnic on the lawns.
The Lido also hosts open-air theatre and outdoor film screenings throughout the summer, offering a lovely excuse to pack a hamper and indulge in an alfresco evening of entertainment.
It’s hoping to reopen on Saturday 1 May 2021, just in time for summer.
If you want someone else to do the picnic prep for you, The Slaughters Manor House, based in the pretty Cotswold village of Lower Slaughter, offers two delicious menus for picnickers to choose from.
There’s also option of upgrading to include a bottle of wine or Champagne – perfect for a summer birthday treat.
The Slaughters Manor House is scheduled to reopen on Monday 17 May 2021.
With 250-acres of countryside, there’s plenty of open space for locals at Gloucester’s Robinswood Hill Country Park for you to pause for a peaceful snack at one of the many picnic spots.
If you’re feeling energetic, the views from the summit, which stretch as far as the Severn Bridge and the Malvern Hills on a clear day, are worth the effort.
The banks of the River Windrush, which runs through the centre of the quintessential Cotswold village of Bourton-on-the-Water, offer an idyllic location for an outdoor lunch and the perfect spot for duck-feeding.
If you want to add some tasty snacks to your hamper then head to one of the village’s many delis, cafes and ice cream parlours offering takeaways. Just make sure to observe social distancing while you’re there.
Make your way to Stratford Park, Stroud’s 56-acre green space, which has been recognised nine times with a Green Flag Award for excellence.
Although they’re closed at the moment, the park also hosts an array of recreational facilities, including play areas, a leisure centre and skate park, as well as Museum in the Park – after you’ve polished off the picnic.
Crickley Hill is a National Trust site located on the outskirts of Cheltenham in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, offering stunning views of the Severn Vale, Robinswood Hill and even the Brecon Beacons and beyond.
Local visitors can head to the picnic sites to enjoy an alfresco feast before exploring the many walking trails that take in woodlands and sections of the Cotswold Way.
For more information, visit forestryengland.uk.
Monday 01 March 2021
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