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Best picnic places in Wiltshire

When the summer months are upon us, we can’t help but dream of warmer weather and spending a day at a great spot to escape our day-to-day. No day trip is made complete without a picnic, so we will run you through some of the best places to picnic in Wiltshire.

1. Stourhead

Stourhead Wiltshire picnic

Stourhead’s gardens are the perfect place to spend a summer’s day. They were described as a ‘living work of art’ when they first opened in the 1740s as a private playground for the Hoare family. Today they are lovingly cared for by the National Trust and boast shady pathways under magnificent tree canopies. The centrepiece of the gardens at Stourhead is the show-stopping lake. We highly recommend picnicking next to the lake on the grassy banks. Take time to walk around the lake and discover follies such as The Pantheon, Grotto and Temple of Apollo.

2. Queen Elizabeth Gardens, Salisbury


Queen Elizabeth Gardens is a flower-filled park in Salisbury that was opened in the early 1960s to mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Since then, it’s been a popular spot for picnicking and outdoor games, next to the meandering river Avon with its weeping willow trees. There is even a nice spot next to the bridge in the river, which is shallow enough to paddle in! This is the perfect place to picnic on a warm summer’s day.

3. Avebury Stone Circle


At Avebury, you can picnic among the standing stones of the largest stone circle in the world. Avebury henge and stone circles are one of the greatest marvels of prehistoric Britain. Built during the Neolithic period, roughly between 2850 BC and 2200 BC. Enjoy a picnic overlooking rolling green hills, standing stones, and long views, the perfect antidote to our busy lives is picnicking in this stunning landscape.

4. King Alfred’s Tower


King Alfred’s tower is on the Stourhead estate owned & run by the National Trust. It’s a great spot to enjoy a picnic, offering enjoyable views across Wiltshire, Dorset and Somerset from this vantage point whilst you tuck in. The tower is believed to mark the site where King Alfred railed his troop in 878. It’s two miles northwest of the central Stourhead gardens, so you can even work up an appetite walking there. Alternatively, a dedicated car park is much closer to the tower if walking is not for you.

5. Lacock


A combination of events has led Lacock Village and the Abbey to be under the ownership of the National Trust. Lacock Abbey is a quirky country house, developed over the centuries around a former 13th-century nunnery and the birthplace of modern photography. It is set in spacious wooded grounds, with plenty of space to picnic, and is recognisable from films such as Pride and Prejudice and Harry Potter.

6. Savernake Forest


Savernake Forest, lying between Marlborough and Hungerford, contains thousands of mature oaks. Walking in the forest offers the opportunity to stumble upon a remarkable tree around every corner. The forest is a Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a registered important historic park, making it the perfect forest for a day out. Picnicking is easy, with no end of secluded & shady spots to choose from.

7. Fonthill Lake

fonthill lake wiltshire

The lake on the Fonthill Estate is featured in the film Chocolat, and it’s certainly a sweet spot for a picnic. The lake was created in the mid-18th century by building a weir. In 1987 the extensive landscaped park, including the lake, was recorded as Grade II* on the Historic Parks and Gardens Register. Take a walk on one of the footpaths to find a grassy spot for a waterside picnic.

8. Woodhenge


Woodhenge is an atmospheric Neolithic site close to Stonehenge. Unlike its more famous neighbour at this site, you can get inside the henge. Initially constructed around 2500 BC, it was formed of six concentric ovals of standing posts. A dedicated picnic site adjacent to Woodhenge is also a site of interest for its botanical value.

9. Wilton Windmill

wilton windmill wiltshire picnic

Set high above the village of Wilton with stunning views, about 9 miles southeast of Marlborough in Wiltshire, Wilton Windmill is the only working windmill in Wessex which still produces stone-ground, wholemeal flour. There is a picnic area at the windmill with breath-taking views across the Downs.

10. Coate Water

Best picnic places in Wiltshire

Coate Water Country Park has a 56-acre reservoir built in the 1820s as a headwater tank for the Wiltshire and Berkshire Canal. Facilities at the popular country park include a splash park, BBQ hire (if you prefer your food hot) and nature reserve from which deer and foxes can be regularly seen in the wildflower meadows. A large heronry has become established, which can be viewed from the bird hides.

Retirement living in Wiltshire

With so much to do and see in Wiltshire, we feel like it’s the perfect place to retire to, which is why we have developed an already-bustling community of like-minded people at Chapters in Salisbury. Homeowners can enjoy a range of communal facilities, while being centrally located to benefit from great transport links, food shops, GP services, and places to eat and drink. Find out more about living at Chapters here.


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