Whether you’re looking for a dreamy setting to enjoy an al fresco supper for two or a wild and wondrous spot to work up the family’s appetite, Scotland has all the ingredients for the perfect picnic.
From rugged cliff tops and golden sands, to woodland playgrounds, we’ve picked the best spots to lay your blanket – and we have some advice on local produce to pack into your basket…
Highlands and Outer Hebrides
Loch an Eilein, Rothiemurchus Forest, south of Aviemore
Voted as one of Britain’s best picnic spots, Loch an Eilein, ticks all the boxes. With views across the Cairngorm Mountains and its 13th-Century island castle in the middle of the loch, you will be captivated by this magical place.
Travel north for a chance to see bottlenose dolphins dancing in the waves of the Moray Firth. Perfect for dog lovers, these expansive sands along the coast of the Black Isle peninsula are ideal for walking off your picnic feast too.
Knockan Crag National Nature Reserve
An amazing story of colliding continents and scientific intrigue, the geopark in Assynt, north of Ullapool, has stunning sculptures, breathtaking scenery and a sense of Scotland’s ancient history.
Clachan sands beach and machair
Escape the mainland and go in search of paradise on the Isle of North Uist. A haven for wildlife, set your blanket down on the white shell sands. The machair, one of the rarest habitats in Europe, runs parallel to the beach and in the summer months is peppered with an assorted variety of wildflowers, including rare orchids. Keep a look out for the elusive corncrake on its migration journey.
The Cruickshank Botanic Garden
Situated on the University of Aberdeen’s King College Campus, is a peaceful and beautiful garden. Enjoy a walk exploring the many rare plants before your picnic, then once you’re finished, pop into the Zoology Museum, the only international exhibition of zoological specimens in the north of Scotland.
Renowned for its wonderfully restored Victorian features such as the bandstand, fountains and boating ponds, this is one of Aberdeen’s most impressive parks. Kids can work up an appetite at one of the two play parks, followed by a stroll about the David Welch Winter Gardens.
You can find all the colours and blooming flowers amongst the peace and tranquillity here. Winner of the prestigious Britain in Bloom award, this romantic setting features a stunning waterfall, glistening streams, and a rustic bridge that make the perfect setting for a picnic.
Dundee and Angus
Enjoy the views over the glistening Tay from the oldest park in Dundee. While you tuck into your feast you might catch a show on its iconic bandstand, which hosts concerts on Sundays during the summer or see light aircraft landing at the nearby airport.
On the dramatic Angus coastline, this stretch of water has all the ingredients for picnic success. Walk in the footsteps of Viking armies and imagine your own battles across the two miles of dramatic sand dunes. The bay is overlooked by the crumbling ruin of Red Castle, originally built for King William of Scotland to repel Viking invaders.
Picnic against the dramatic backdrop of this waterfall in Glen Isla, Angus. Take a walk through picturesque woodland and discover the Black Dub, a dark cave steeped in local legend. This spot won’t disappoint any explorer!
A magical combination of forest trails that dip and weave between tall trees and open sand dunes. Nature lovers will adore picnicking while spotting grey and common seals on the sandbanks. Bird watchers will be in their element spotting eider ducks and oystercatchers, that come to feed on shellfish.
Affectionately called The Glen by locals, the beautifully kept greenhouses, gardens and woodland walks in this park will help you switch off from the world outside, while the playpark will keep little ones entertained. Find a secluded spot for your finger feast and then explore the fascinating Pittencrieff House Museum or venture onto the newly opened Fife Pilgrim Way.
Edinburgh & the Lothians
Offers peace and tranquillity for a romantic picnic for two. Found to the south of Edinburgh, the house and 1,000-acre grounds are steeped in history of one of the most important families in Scotland’s intellectual, cultural and scientific past.
Lodge Grounds in North Berwick
An escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. A great day out for all the family, with its wide-open spaces, natural fauna and children’s play area, this scenic picnic venue has also attained the Green Flag Award for the third consecutive year.
Beecraigs Country Park
Have a short walk on one of the many trails or have a blast at the playpark before your picnic on the banks of the lake, watching the fishermen reel in their catch. Afterwards say hello to the Highland and Belted Galloway cows.
Glasgow, North and South Lanarkshire
Along the Forth & Clyde Canal, this is the perfect spot to sit back with your snacks and take in the hustle and bustle of the waterway and its colourful boats. After lunch, if you’re feeling energetic, take a walk through history to the Antonine Wall, a UNESCO world heritage site.
Chatelherault Country Park, in South Lanarkshire
Breathtaking views across the central belt, Campsie Hills and Ben Lomond. Basking in the glory of the 18th-Century hunting lodge, the former summer house for the Duke of Hamilton, enjoy your fare, then spend the rest of the day exploring the 500 acres of countryside and woodland, over 10 miles of pathways, and an adventure playground.
St Abb’s Head, Berwickshire
The perfect summer picnic spot to give you the feeling of being somewhere wild and remote. Recently making a starring role in Marvel’s latest Blockbuster Avengers Endgame, this nature reserve has a wealth of stunning wildlife and surrounding waters.
A remarkable 14th-Century castle which overlooks the River Tweed, near Peebles. Explore the impressive castle grounds before laying down your spread on a spot of soft mossy grass.
For more on picnic days out across Scotland check out www.visitscotland.com
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