10 beautiful places in Somerset perfect to enjoy a picnic
PUBLISHED: 10:02 25 April 2017 | UPDATED: 10:02 25 April 2017
Gather family and friends, a selection of tasty treats, a gingham blanket and a bottle of something refreshing and head off to some of Somerset’s top picnicking spots. We pick 10 picture-perfect spots to enjoy a good old fashioned picnic!
For a picnic with a view, it doesn’t get much more beautiful than the scenes from the top of Brean Down. Standing at 97m high, expect to see out towards the Somerset Levels and over the Bristol Channel from the top of the dramatic cliff. After tucking into sandwiches and cakes, make your way to the foot of the Down where you could easily while the afternoon away building sandcastles or even take an exhilarating 1.5 mile walk along Somerset’s greatest natural pier at the top.
Top tips: For those driving, parking can be found at the bottom of Brean Down. The Down is reached by an extremely steep climb from the car park – we promise the views are worth huffing and puffing your way to the top! You can always enjoy a ‘sand in your sandwiches’ picnic on Brean beach if you don’t fancy the climb.
What could be more relaxing than a summer’s day spent next to the canal watching the boats go by? Nothing beats relaxing in the sunshine with riverside views and plenty of nibbles to tuck into. Children will love following the Somerset Space Walk along the canal path, which is a scale model of the solar system and its planets. If you don’t have time to pack a suitable picnic, the Maunsel Lock Tea Shop is also perfect to enjoy a coffee and cake, or a spot of lunch.
Top tips: Toilets and parking can be found at the Maunsel Lock Canal Centre and Tea Shop while other car parks include Lower Maunsel Lock at Banklands, North Newton (TA7 0DH) and also at Creech St Michael (TA3 5RZ). Standards Lock, south of Bridgwater (TA7 0AR), is only accessible via the towpath, but is well worth the visit. There is disability access from Maunsel Lock Canal Centre.
3. Landacre Bridge, near Withypool
Sometimes known as Lanacre Bridge, the Grade II listed building and Scheduled Ancient Monument crosses the River Barle on open moorland in the Exmoor countryside. A lovely spot for a picnic or a paddle, or even to see an Exmoor pony, a homemade spread in this location is a truly scenic, and peaceful, affair!
Top tips: The six-arch bridge is two miles from Withypool, with toilets and pubs in both Withypool and nearby Simonsbath. There is little room for parking so please take care. The flat area next to the river is the perfect spot for picnics.
When an 11-year old Princess Victoria officially opened this park in Bath she was so impressed she designated it the ‘Royal Victoria Park’. Just a few minutes from the busy city centre, the 57 acres of green parkland boasts a plethora of attractions including a well-used bandstand, bowling greens, crazy golf, skateboard park, tennis courts, children’s play area, wild meadows, duck ponds and wonderful botanical gardens.
Top tips: Royal Victoria Park is situated just north-west of the city centre on the Upper Bristol Road Facilities. Managed by Bath and North East Somerset Council, the park has a Pavillion Café (open throughout the year 8am-5pm) and toilets in the Play Area and at Charlotte St Car Park (20p entry).
5. Blagdon Lake
On a sunny day, soak in the tranquillity and beauty of Blagdon Lake, lying at the bottom of the stunning Mendip Hills. With the lake and surrounding grassland amassing 440 acres, there’s plenty of room for a few of you to lay out a spread and enjoy a bite to eat. Watch fishermen make their catch of the day as boats float by and immerse yourself in the pretty wildflower meadows that line the water.
Top tips: For those travelling from Bristol, Blagdon Lake can be found roughly ten miles south of the city. Find amenities in the nearby village of Blagdon, and public toilets can be found at Woodford Lodge and Picnic Areas 1 and 2.
This 24-acre nature reserve in Broomfield is managed by the Somerset Wildlife Trust. It is home to a number of woodland birds and plants including the greater spotted woodpecker, stock dove and jackdaws, as well as lesser celandine, lords-and-ladies and red campion. After bird-spotting, and exploring the countryside of the nearby Quantock Hills, take the time to relax, soak in the pretty surrounding land and tuck into a hamper of nibbles.
Top tips: Broomfield is between Taunton and Bridgwater on the Quantocks, and Fyne Court is signposted from North Petherton, Kingston St Mary, Enmore at the Pines Café at the top of Buncombe Hill. There is car parking (donation appreciated). Fyne Court has toilets, a self-service tea room and a little wildlife shop.
The largest gorge in the UK, and a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, Cheddar Gorge is a truly remarkable sight whether you’re staring up from the bottom or admiring the breathtaking views from the top. After rambling your way to the top, take a well-deserved break and lay out your picnic blanket and have something to eat! You may even see the famous mountain goats that line the cliffs of the Gorge.
Top tips: With the charming village of Cheddar nearby, there’s plenty of opportunity to pick up local fare perfect for your picnic, enjoy a bite to eat at a tea room or pub and public toilets can be found in the village centre. The easiest way to visit is by car (with plenty of places to park), and there are regular bus services running from Weston-Super-Mare’s train station.
Ham Hill in South Somerset was crowned the region’s best picnic spot in the 2008 Warburton’s Picnic Awards, and it is easy to see why! The country park has peaceful, leafy woodlands and glades, grassy meadows, and a landscape of hilly mounds left from Victorian quarrying days. The views stretching over the rolling greenery of the Somerset countryside are spectacular to behold.
Top tips: Stoke sub Hamdon is at the foot of the hill and then it’s a short but steep walk up Ham Hill Road. There are public footpaths but people on foot are free to go anywhere, however there may be old quarry workings or fencing crossing your route. An all-access trail goes past the stone circle and up to the war memorial. Toilets next to the Ranger’s Office are open during office hours. A key is required for the disabled toilet, available from the office when manned (call 01935 823617 for more information).
9. Porlock Weir
Arguably one of the most beautiful spots on the Somerset coast, Porlock Weir, sitting roughly one and a half miles from the picture-perfect fishing village of Porlock, is a small settlement around a quiet harbour. After taking a leisurely stroll around the harbour, the four mile stretch of shingle coastline is a lovely spot to enjoy a contemplative walk and lunch in seclusion. The only sound you’ll hear will be the lapping of waves against the pebbles.
Top tips: Forgot to pack the picnic? Enjoy food and drink in either The Bottom Ship or The Café, in the centre of the hamlet. It is easiest to drive to Porlock Weir but there are bus services (number 39) running from the busy town of Minehead.
10. Crowcombe Park Gate
Crowcombe Park Gate near the small village of Crowcombe is a wide expanse of countryside that’s perfect to settle down for a picnic. Soak in the views of the local countryside and Quantock Hills, and while away an afternoon exploring, once you’ve had your fill!
Top tips: The village of Crowcombe can be found between Williton and Taunton. Both towns have plenty of shops, pubs and public toilets. Find Crowcombe Park Gate along a small road away from the village centre and park once you reach open ground from the steep hill.