Scotland & Northern Ireland’s Perfect Picnic Places
There’s nothing like settling down for a picnic after some holiday activities, is there? We don’t know about you, but when we think of Spring and Summer in Scotland and Northern Ireland, we think of glorious days spent out in the sun getting some fresh air, and fabulous views.
We love nothing more than heading out for the day with a picnic without a clue of where we’re going to wind up. However, if you like to be a bit more organised, we’ve used our local knowledge to collect some perfect places for you to picnic across Scotland and Northern Ireland. Explore the location before you sit down for lunch and you’ll have created a relaxing day trip for all involved!
1. Cambus O’May, Aberdeenshire
Accessible to all with stunning views, shallow lochans, interpretative panels and of course picnic benches, this woodland is a perfect day out in Aberdeenshire. Cambus o’May is one of those places you can visit many times, and you’ll find something new with every visit. Choose from trails that cross a lochan on a picturesque bridge or wind through the Scots Pine, heather, blaeberries and scattered wildflowers. If you really want to take it easy, there’s a grand view of Deeside’s mountains just from the car park.
2. Arthurs Seat, Edinburgh
Want to feel like you’ve earned your picnic? Well, then there’s nowhere better than Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh for working up an appetite. Situated in the vast 650-acre Holyrood Park, the huge hill to the east of the castle is one of seven that stands proud above the city, and it offers a range of graded walks that are suited to ramblers of all abilities. The tallest hill surrounding Edinburgh presents hikers with unparalleled views of the Scottish capital. We promise that you won’t be disappointed, who doesn’t love a view with their picnic?
3. Glasgow Botanic Gardens
Staying in the city but fancy hanging out with nature? Then the botanical gardens are a great way to get your fix. At any time of the year there are pleasant riverside walks, peaceful woodlands and exotic tropical places to explore. Just minutes from the heart of the city, you can shop til you drop and then relax, refresh and fuel up in one of Glasgow’s most tranquil spots. Sit by your favourite part of the gardens with benches dotted throughout the premises.
4. Otters Pool, Galloway Forest Park
Situated in the heart of the forest, Otters Pool is the perfect riverside picnic spot, with plenty of room on the grassy banks to relax, unwind and for the kids to play. Drive halfway along the Raider’s Road Forest Drive to take advantage of this beautiful secluded spot next to the babbling waters. You won’t see any otters, but you will see beautiful scenery and a change in your mood!
5. Loch an Eilein, Rothiemurchus
Nestled in the Cairngorms National Park, near Aviemore, in the Scottish Highlands, Loch an Eilein is hidden in the forest of Rothiemurchus. A truly atmospheric loch, visitors can step back in time and retrace the steps of the Highland castle raiders. Enjoy views of the dramatic and mysterious Highland castle - which rumour has it, is one of the most photographed castles in the world! Back in 2010, the loch was even voted Britain’s favourite picnic spot, however, we think it’s one of the best year on year. If you’re a wildlife lover, look out for the exceptional forest wildlife of red squirrels, Scottish crossbill and crested tits who make their home here. In summer, Ospreys may occasionally be seen scouting the waters for fish.
6. Reekie Linn, Glen Isla
The Reekie Linn is a pair of joined waterfalls along the River Isla. Arguably the most impressive waterfall in the region, it's great power makes it an awesome sight, especially in spate when the falls become one massive, roaring torrent. The very short walk to it is pleasant through deciduous woodland on the rim of a deep and dangerous gorge. You can picnic at the site 200m away from this stunning spectacle – just don’t go too close!
7. Edzell Castle Gardens, Angus
A picnic in the picturesque ruins of Edzell Castle is the perfect spot for history fans. Once owned by the Lindsays, and now under the care of Historic Scotland, the finest feature is perhaps the wonderful walled garden. Added in 1604 and recreated in the 1930s, the garden’s most arresting and original features are its four enclosing walls which contain a series of unique carved panels. These portray the Seven Cardinal Virtues, the Seven Liberal Arts and the Seven Planetary Deities. The was clearly to provide a stimulus both for the mind and the senses, and it certainly does that!
8. Dunluce Castle
Visitors claim this castle is one of the most striking views in Northern Ireland. With a long, turbulent history, the iconic medieval ruins rising above the cliffs will certainly take your breath away. Pitch yourself along the famous causeway coastline for a picnic with a view, and be sure to share the tales of the castle amongst yourselves - there’s plenty of them!
9. Portrush Whiterocks Beach
Away from the busy main Portrush Beach, get that fresh sea air with almost white sands and turquoise waters to immerse yourself in while you enjoy your picnic. Featuring Limestone Cliffs carved over the centuries to create a network of caves and sea arches, sit and spot the distinguishable Wishing Arch, Elephant’s Rock and the Lion Paw rising out of the ocean.
10. Downhill Demesne & Hezlett House
A stunning landscape with a garden to match, Mussenden Temple is one of the most iconic buildings in Northern Ireland. This spot is situated within the grounds of Downhill Demesne, a once magnificent manor house owned by the Earl Bishop of Derry, Frederick Hervey. The splendid views featuring the blue of the sea behind the temple is one of many great picnic places at this enchanting estate.
11. Giants Causeway
Northern Ireland’s most popular tourist attraction is a must-visit for a reason. An area of outstanding natural beauty, sit and enjoy your picnic on the hills that gently arc this precious place. From here you can look down at the thousands of basalt columns. It is a truly sensational sight, with roughly 40,000 of these unusual, hexagonal-shaped stepping stones. This UNESCO World Heritage site dates back to the volcanic age, almost 60 million years ago!
12. Dunseverick Falls
Situated near Dunseverick Harbour, this small but pretty waterfall flows straight into the sea and offers a quiet little spot for a picnic if you’re up for the short walk. A peaceful hidden gem, this perfect picnic place will help you feel like you’ve gotten away from it all, letting the sound of the water wash over you.