Long, lazy lunches on soft grass…summer evenings basking in the sun. Picnic season is here, making every weekend feel like a holiday.
When it comes to places to picnic in Wiltshire we’re spoiled for choice. If you were here forever and a day, you could uncover all the county’s secret and scenic spots. But here are our absolute favourites. 7 heavenly picnic spots, to save you the trouble of searching.
When you stay with us, our garden is your garden. With 2,000 acres of private Wiltshire countryside, you won’t have to travel far for a picnic spot.
A short stroll from our hotel, you’ll discover Bowood House & Gardens (open April – October). The mile-long serpentine lake, designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, is a cooling chink of blue among the green. On a hot day, the lakeside is refreshing. Swans glide peacefully along as a light breeze stirs the surface of the water, ripples reflecting the trees.
If you’re looking for an adventure, stretch your legs on the Calne-Bowood estate circular walk. The loop takes you along a beautiful route through our grounds, conveniently passing the Landsdowne Arms should you desire a local ale or cider.
Wiltshire is primarily a rural county, with the green fields, downs and winding rivers of middle England. But its sleepy air belies a full history, that is perfectly preserved in its landmarks. Take the iconic white chalk horses as an example.
From Bowood House you can enjoy a scenic walk to Cherhill White Horse. The Cherhill house has guarded the hill since 1780, commanding a soaring view of the local area. Hike up the hill to see the Bowood estate from a unique angle and work up an appetite. On the top of the hill, you’ll also discover the Lansdowne Monument; built by the 3rd Marquis of Lansdowne (when it was at the edge of the Bowood estate) to commemorate one of his ancestors, Sir William Petty.
Once you’ve eaten and drunk your fill, it’s just a leisurely stroll back down.
When you visit Lacock Abbey Gardens you are a witness to almost 900 years of beauty. Every custodian of the land has made their mark upon the landscape. Today, the National Trust gardens are a piece of living history, from the medieval medicinal herb gardens to the pleasure grounds of the 18th century.
It’s a stunning place to picnic whether you are a history buff or a nature lover.
In less than twenty minutes you can reach the picture-perfect villages of the Cotswolds AONB. Castle Combe, Corsham, and Lacock are just a few. This is the English countryside at its prettiest. Drive or wander down narrow lanes, stumble upon cobbled streets of wisteria-clad cottages and pick up homemade scones and jam from honesty boxes.
Under a half an hour’s drive will take you to the beautiful former ancient forest of West Woods. In late spring the forest floor is carpeted in a gloriously scented cloud of bluebells.
It’s a wonderfully sheltered oasis, whether you’re after a gentle walk or a place to set down your picnic rug (or both). On warmer days, the dappled shade offers some pleasing respite from the full sun. The woods support a wide variety of wildlife so your picnic will be accompanied by the soft chitter and burr of birdsong.
You’re right, Bath isn’t in Wiltshire, but at a mere 40 minutes from our door it would be a crime to omit it.
You might expect to leave, not enter, most cities when off on a picnic. But Bath isn’t most cities. It’s a World Heritage Site in itself, with Roman Baths that have been in action since c. 60 ad. Centuries later, the city remained the beating heart of England, the most fashionable and elegant of the Regency ‘tons.
Promenade along the Royal Crescent or keep an eye out for Lady Whistledown outside The Holburne Museum. Much of Bridgerton was filmed in and around the city – nowhere does Regency England quite like it.
Victoria Park is one of our favourite places to picnic and people watch. The green stretches from the Royal Crescent to the Botanic Garden. But the most impressive view is to be found at Alexandra Park, and on summer evenings it is not uncommon to see hot air balloon displays from this vantage point.
If you succumbed to Bridgerton fever in January – and you would not be alone – could we tempt you to call on The Duke of Hastings’ home? Wilton House featured as Simon Basset’s home in Bridgerton, with the grounds becoming Hyde Park and various other garden scenes.
Set in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside near Salisbury, Wilton House has been home to the Earls of Pembroke since the 1540s. With an impressive 14,000 acres of grounds, it is little wonder film crews love this real-life estate. You may recognise it from Emma (2019) and The Crown (2015-2020), too.
Looking for a spring or summer staycation to Wiltshire? Our glorious two-night Summer Staycation break includes a delicious Pantry Picnic which you can collect to take out to your chosen picnicking spot. You’ll also enjoy use of the relaxing spa, Two AA Rosette dining in the Shelburne Restaurant and complimentary access to Bowood House & Gardens. Click here to view the offer.