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13 of the best picnic spots in the Cotswolds

PUBLISHED: 09:37 10 May 2017

Bourton-on-the-Water (c) Caron Badkin / Shutterstock

Bourton-on-the-Water (c) Caron Badkin / Shutterstock

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There are many beautiful spots in and around the Cotswolds to lay your blanket down and enjoy a good old fashioned picnic! Here are 13 of the best…

1. Robinswood Hill Country Park, Gloucester

Robinswood Hill Country Park in Gloucester is a 250 acre of open countryside with pleasant walks and way-marked nature trails. The summit of the hill provides beautiful views of the Severn Bridge to the South, the Malvern Hills to the North and the Black Mountains to the West, as well as an impressive perspective of Gloucester city from up high.

It’s also a habitat for many creatures, such as badgers, foxes and birds including Red Kites. The spot is ideal for a picnic, and includes picnic tables for those without a blanket to sit upon!

2. Along the River Windrush, Bourton-on-the-Water

Perhaps one of the most famous locations in the region, this archetypal Cotswold village is loved by many for its cute-as-a-button, honey-coloured buildings, riverside views and scenery so pretty you’ll want to take a photograph straight away.

Bourton-on-the-Water boasts many pretty picnic spots, especially along the River Windrush, and because of the village’s size, it’s easy to navigate all of its most charming features during a single family outing including the model village and railway, Birdland Park & Gardens, Dragonfly Maze and the Cotswold Motoring Museum which Brum calls home.

There are also great lake-side picnic spots at the Cotswold Carp Farm campsite a mile away from the village centre too.

3. Mallards Pike Lake, Forest of Dean

Most ponds in the Forest of Dean were made to supply water wheels that powered mills and iron forges, however the scenic Mallards Pike Lake was made by the Forestry Commission for the community’s pleasure. It’s an ideal spot for a picnic, and there are plenty of trails for you to walk or cycle too.

4. Leckhampton Hill & Charlton Kings Common

Leckhampton Hill overlooks the regency town of Cheltenham and provides beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding Cotswolds, especially during sunrise and sunset.

But beware – spooky goings-on lie beneath Leckhampton Hill! Legend has it that evil lies deep underground beneath The Devil’s Chimney, a quirky limestone rock formation that peaks over the hill. Visitors used to leave a coin on top of the rocks as payment to keep the Devil underground. Still, putting aside the folklore, Leckhampton is one of the prettiest picnic spots on Cheltenham’s landscape.

5. Blenheim Palace Park, Woodstock

The impressive Blenheim Palace is surrounded by 2000 acres of parkland, some of which is freely accessible to the public for walks or picnics. You can enjoy the wide open fields, the grand oaks, the great lake and the classical bridge which straddles it, as well as views of the historical palace of course.

6. Pitville Park, Cheltenham

A grade II listed ornamental park, Pitville is an oasis of green tucked away from Cheltenham’s busy town centre. Aside from pleasant open fields, a recently renovated children’s playground and a lake, the park also boats its own aviary as well as rabbits, tennis courts and includes the Pitville Pump Room, an 18th century listed building designed to utilise Cheltenham’s spa waters. There’s also a chance to grab an ice-cream after your picnic!

7. Coaley Peak, Dursley

With panoramic views over the Severn Vale and Forest of Dean, Coaley Peak is an ideal picnic site in rural Gloucestershire with 12 acres of grassland, picnic tables and car parking. It’s incorporated into the Cotswold Way national trail, and makes a perfect walk in the spring and summer months with flower-rich grassland and beautiful butterflies.

8. Folly Hill, Faringdon

Up on Folly Hill in Faringdon sits a 4-acre woodland of Scots Pine and broadleaf trees, some over 200 years old. Nestled in the centre and just visible above the trees is the 100ft Folly Tower, an ornamental construction arranged by the eccentric Lord Berners in the 1930s – more to tease the neighbours than anything! The tower itself can be climbed for a small fee, but the pretty woodland, with its quirky sculptures, and surrounding fields often peppered with vibrant red poppies, don’t cost a penny to enter.

The hill, which slopes gently to an elevation of 300ft, provides views of five counties and is an idyllic spot to have a picnic.

9. Hidcote Manor Garden, near Chipping Campden

Located in the village of Hidcote Batrim near Chipping Campden, Hidcote Manor Garden is an immaculately maintained National Trust property with impressive manicured gardens designed by Lawrence Johnston and open to the public.

The Arts and Crafts garden offers many a pretty corner ideal for a picnic, though the best spot is the Wilderness, an area with plenty of shade and pleasant views to enjoy with the nibbles you’ve packed!

10. White Horse Hill, Uffington

The iconic chalk horse, cut deeply into the side of the White Horse Hill in Uffington, is a fascinating relic of British history dating back to the Bronze Age. Though the White Horse is best seen from above, the hill and its picturesque surrounds offer a great picnic spot, and a perfect point from which to visit the remains of nearby Uffington Castle and the ridged formations known as the Giant’s Stair. So, for a family outing with a slice of ancient history, White Horse Hill should fit the bill.

11. Charlecote Park, Stratford-upon-Avon

Overlooking the River Avon on the edge of Shakespeare’s Stratford, Charlecote’s park and gardens are open seven days a week for visitors to come and enjoy. Picnickers are welcome and there’s plenty of room to run around or fly a kite, or just watch the swans and ducks on the river. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the fallow deer herd that has called Charlecote home for centuries; legend has it that a young William Shakespeare was caught poaching at Charlecote.

12. Painswick Beacon, Painswick

Painswick Beacon is an open upland area with fine views out across the countryside and is the site of an impressive Iron Age fort. The fort is a scheduled ancient monument, with coins and other archaeological objects retrieved from the site. The elevated grassy fields of the Beacon lie a short distance from the town of Painswick, and a great location for a rural picnic.

13. Cotswold Water Park, Cirencester/Lechlade

With 150 lakes across an area of 40 square miles between Swindon and Cirencester, you’d be forgiven for thinking Cotswold Water Park was only for water sports enthusiasts.

However, there are three parks within the site offering ideal picnic locations; Cotswold Country Park includes its own little beach beside a lake and a picnic/barbecue area, Neigh Bridge Country Park offers a secluded country environment with lakeside views and features picnic benches; and Riverside Park in the beautiful Cotswold town of Lechlade has ample grassy space to enjoy a picnic beside the Thames.

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