This Saturday, April 23rd, is National Picnic Day, a day when everyone is encouraged to pack up their lunch and take it outdoors. Picnics are a terrific way to enjoy a meal outdoors in the company of friends and family.
There are a variety of ways to take part in a picnic. This meal hearkens back to mid-18th-century al fresco French dining when all you needed was a bottle of wine, a loaf of bread, some cheese, and fruit and you could have a party under the sky.
The fresh air tends to rev up our appetite, so getting in some physical activity while enjoying a picnic is nice, too. Games of footie, frisbee, catch, or flying a kite add to the fun of the day.
So where are the best places in Swindon to go for a picnic?
Lydiard Park on the western edge of Swindon is the perfect location for a picnic. Enjoy the natural beauty of the tranquil lake, rolling lawns and woodlands before settling down in the expanse in front of Lydiard House for your cucumber sandwiches and Pimm’s.
Coate Water Country Park sits on the eastern side of Swindon, a couple of minutes’ drive from the M4 and the A419. A Nature Reserve and a Site of Specific Scientific Interest means that the park is bursting with interesting bird and wildlife species and offers both fishing and birdwatching – a great way to build up an appetite.
Stanton Country Park is a hidden gem and the holder of a Green Flag award. It has 36 hectares of parkland that includes the lake, woodland and grassland and is home to an exceptionally wide range of habitats, such as hedgerows, wildflower meadows, wetlands. Yummy!
Barbury Castle is an Iron Age hill fort with wide ranging views. It is one of several such forts found along the ancient Ridgeway route. The Ridgeway has been in use since prehistoric times and its 87-mile-long route passes through ancient landscapes, secluded valleys and woodland and is reputed to be Europe’s oldest road. All that enticing history makes us feel hungry!
The Town Gardens in Swindon’s Old Town boasts beautiful Victorian gardens, a rose garden, an aviary and a lovely Grade II listed bandstand. It’s even got its own café if you haven’t packed enough food for your picnic!
Queen’s Park is close to the centre of town and this large urban oasis features a lake of around 2 acres. It is home to many species of wildfowl and contains a diverse range of ornamental trees and shrubs. Don't forget to toast Her Majesty with your champers!
GWR/Faringdon Park is a simple large expanse of green close to the centre of Swindon, with ornamental gardens and a children's play park. The park dates from the 1840s when It was a popular venue for the railway workers' community and sporting events and later, holding fetes and rallies. Kids will love running around the park and tackling the play area before their grub.
Last but not least, The Lawns is parkland with woods, meadows and lakes and features the remains of an Italian sunken garden and the site of Swindon’s original parish church – Holy Rood. The beautiful walks offer fantastic views across the town to enjoy while eating your picnic.
So there you have some great locations for a picnic in Swindon, all you need to do is bring the fried chicken, cheese and pickle sandwiches, the pasta salad, the boiled eggs, the brownies and the lemonade!