16 best picnic spots in Gloucestershire

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.

By Annabel Lammas  |  Published
Pack a picnic and head out in the gorgeous Gloucestershire sun, this summer 2023.
Pack a picnic and head out in the gorgeous Gloucestershire sun, this summer 2023.

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…

Picnics at Westonbirt Arboretum

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.

Picnics in the Forest of Dean

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.

Picnics at Imperial Gardens in Cheltenham

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, pick up pastries from The Artisan Baker, or venture down Regent Street to collect a sushi platter from KIBOU to enjoy in the sunshine.

Picnics at Rodborough Common near Stroud

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.

Picnics at Cotswold Country Park and Beach

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.

Picnics at Pittville Park in Cheltenham

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.

Picnics at Hidcote Manor Garden in Chipping Campden

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 Cafe, too.

Picnics in Frampton on Severn

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.

Picnics at the Abbey Grounds in Cirencester

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. The town is packed with places to pick up takeaway coffees and food to go too, including every Instagrammer's dream and sweet treat haven, Luxe.

Picnics at Robinswood Hill Country Park

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.

Picnics at Sandford Parks Lido in Cheltenham

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.

Picnics at Stratford Park in Stroud

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.

Picnics in Lower Slaughter

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.

Picnics at Westgate Park in Gloucester

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. 

Picnics at Hailes Abbey near Winchcombe

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.

Picnics at Crickley Hill Country Park near Gloucester

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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