Best woods for picnics in the UK
With loads to explore and peaceful spots to enjoy, woods are perfect for family picnics, so we’ve put together a list of our fave woods around the country for an alfresco feast. As well as some lovely spots to spread out your picnic blanket, they all have plenty to see and do if you want to make a day of it.
Tring Park, Hertfordshire
Picnic in the shade of a majestic tree in this huge area of woodland and parkland. The site has lots of waymarked trails – kids will love hunting for the hidden owl in the natural play area of Walter’s Wander. While you’re there, why not discover the wonders of the Natural History Museum at Tring just next door?
Download the Family Adventure at Tring leaflet.
Skipton Castle Woods, North Yorkshire
The woods are a short walk from the town centre and are overlooked by the towering ramparts of one of England’s most impressive medieval castles. Take a stroll round the buggy-friendly River Valley Route and look out for wildlife – don’t forget to download our nature spotter before you leave home. There’s even a Skipton Castle Woods board game to play to learn more about this historic wood.
Hainault Forest, East London
The many surfaced paths of this ancient hunting forest are great for exploring with buggies or bikes. And it’s a brilliant site for birdwatching – 158 species have been recorded there. You can also marvel at the Monster Trail (PDF) with its carvings of skulls, snakes, and even a highwayman, and extend your visit to the adjoining Hainault Forest Country Park with its boating lake, adventure play areas and petting zoo.
Fingle Woods, Teign Valley, South Devon
The picturesque Fingle Bridge over the River Teign is a great picnic spot. Keep your eyes peeled for shy fallow deer, buzzards and kestrels overhead, and the huge woody nests of redwood ants as you wander through these magical woods. And if you’re feeling energetic, you could climb up to the site of Wooston Castle Iron Age hill fort to admire the views.
Old Wood, Sheringham, Norfolk
This enchanting wood has some lovely picnic spots and is just a 15-minute walk from the seaside town. You’ll find lots of easy paths, including a circular explorer path for kids – pick up a leaflet from the Pretty Corner Tea Rooms and follow the carved posts on a magical journey. Each post provides clues about things to spot nearby. Don’t forget to bring a pencil and paper as the carvings are great for rubbings.
Low Burnhall, Durham
Discover the sculptures on the wood’s waymarked trails – can you find the willow tunnel and the stepping stones? You might even settle down for your picnic in the company of a huge wooden miner! The grassy Wagon Way is fine for buggies, or you could look for kingfishers and herons on the riverside walk.
Cwm George & Casehill Woods, Dinas Powys, Glamorgan
This cluster of woods has a great choice of paths to explore. You can also climb up to the ridge, where you’ll find the remains of an ancient hill fort and stunning views over the gorge at the wood’s centre – the perfect spot for a picnic.
Coed Hafod y Llyn, Snowdonia
This oak wood is the ideal destination for young railway buffs as the steam trains of the famous Ffestiniog Railway run around its border. There are views over Snowdonia National Park and a lovely picnic spot overlooking the beautiful Llyn Mair (Mary’s Lake).
Glen Finglas, The Trossachs, Stirling
This ancient woodland is at the heart of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Head for Little Druim Wood, where red squirrels might show an interest in your picnic! You’ll find plenty of accessible paths too, and a play trail with log walks, drumming benches, animal tracks and a secret den. Stop by the Visitor Gateway where you can find lots more information and ideas for things to do and download the play trail leaflet (PDF) to get the adventure started!
Formonthills , Glenrothes, Fife
At Formonthills, you can watch the butterflies fluttering over the colourful wildflower meadow, climb to the high points for stunning views across the Firth of Forth, and admire the woodland creatures carved into the huge totem pole. You could also wander to the nearby Coul Den nature reserve to see the swans and ducks.
Pressmennan Wood, East Lothian
As well as lots of wildlife, Pressmennan is home to the Glingbobs and Tootflits, magical creatures who live in the trees. Look out for the doors and windows of their secret homes as you follow the circular sculpture trail. It’s surfaced so is suitable for buggies. You’ll find picnic tables near the car park and at the viewpoint overlooking the lake.
Download the leaflet for Pressmennan Wood to read a poem about the mystical creatures that live there and where to find signs of them!
Oakfield Glen, Carrickfergus, County Antrim
This enchanting little woodland is just a 15-minute walk from town. Follow the gravel and concrete paths to discover the hidden sculptures on the Faerie Trail and then go on to explore the nature trails in the surrounding area. If you’re making a day of it, you could take in the 800-year-old Carrickfergus Castle, which is only a 10-minute drive away.
Prehen wood, Derry/Londonderry
The ancient woodland hugs the banks of the River Foyle and has some great views of the city beyond. As you enter, you’ll be greeted by some sculptures of woodland creatures. Why not see how many real ones you can spot? Definitely look out for its resident red squirrels. You can find out lots more about the wood by following the Ecotrail too.
Check out our picnic blog for some fun, nature-themed snack ideas and tips for the perfect picnic.
Looking for somewhere more local to you? Search our map to find woods in your area.
Where are you heading this holiday? Don’t forget to share your snaps and your favourite woods for a picnic using #NatureDetectives.