Perfect places to picnic in York and beyond

Even the most boring sandwich tastes amazing when it’s eaten in the sunshine. There’s a lot to love about picnics – the kids can run about, the grass can deal with the crumbs and it’s cheaper (and less stressful) than piling into a restaurant or cafe. Here are some lovely places to picnic in and around York. Make mine a cheese and pickle.

York Museum Gardens

One of York’s most beautiful places, with river views, squirrels and lots of places that kids love to explore. It gets busy, so why not walk around to the back of York Art Gallery where it’s quieter but just as pretty? Free. Museum St, York YO1 7FR. Visit the website.

River Ouse 

There’s oodles of space by the Ouse for a riverside picnic, so just take a wander and see how far you get before hunger sets in. We like the area near the Millenium Bridge, not least because sometimes we can get an ice cream from the Two Hoots ice cream boat and Rowntree Park is nearby too.

Dean’s Park at York Minster

Fancy a Minster view with your sandwich? Then head to the tranquillity of Dean’s Park, just to the left of the main entrance of York Minster and a stone’s throw from Treasurer’s House. It’s a lovely quiet space with lots of room to roam. It’s also perfectly placed for lots of shops and cafes where you can pick up something nice to eat (and maybe an ice cream). During summer 2018, head to Dean’s Park to enjoy the Heart of Yorkshire Festival. 2 Minster Yard, York YO1 7JJ.

Falling Foss near Whitby 

Paddle in the stream, do the woodland walk and pick up an ice cream from the Falling Foss Tea Garden. No admission charge. Falling Foss, Whitby YO22 5JD. Read our review and find out more about Falling Foss here

Fountains Abbey 

Eat lunch among the ruins or new interactive art installations at this iconic World Heritage Site.  Get wildlife spotting too – if you’re lucky, you might even see a deer! Admission charges apply. Fountains, Ripon HG4 3DY. Visit the Fountains Abbey website.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park 

Fancy a bit of culture with your cake? Acres of space, spectacular sculptures and a fab cafe if you forget to pack your picnic. No admission charge, just pay to park. Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield WF4 4LG. Visit the Yorkshire Sculpture Park website.

Brimham Rocks 

Clamber to your heart’s content at this special place in the Dales. No admission charge, just pay to park.Brimham Rocks, Summerbridge, Harrogate HG3 4DW. Visit the Brimham Rocks website. 

Dalby Forest 

Family-friendly walks galore, stunning scenery and a fantastic adventure playground make this a cracking day out. No admission charge, just pay to park. Dalby Forest Visitors Centre, Low Dalby, Thornton-le-Dale YO18 7LT. Visit the Dalby Forest website.

Newby HallNewby Hall Railway - Little Vikings

Drag yourselves off your picnic blanket for a ride on the mini-railway, a play in the adventure playground or a run through the fountains. Admission charges apply. Newby Hall, Skelton-on-Ure, Ripon HG4 5AE. Visit the Newby Hall website. 

The Yorkshire Coast

If you don’t mind sand in your sandwiches, Scarborough, Whitby, Filey, Robin Hood’s Bay and countless other little spots along the Yorkshire coast are beautiful places to picnic. Pack your buckets and spades. Pay to park.

Burnby Hall Gardens

Feed the enormous fish before feeding yourselves! The new play area at this lovely place in Pocklington opens in July. Admission charges apply. Burnby Hall Gardens, 33 The Balk, Pocklington, York YO42 2QF. Visit the Burnby Hall website.

Bolton Abbey

Park up at the Riverside car park for prime paddling and picnicking potential. Older children will enjoy the Welly Walk. Just pay to park. Bolton Abbey, Skipton BD23 6AL. Visit the Bolton Abbey website.

Little Vikings York Picnic food pick and mix: Bored of sandwiches and crisps? Why not take some…Sliced watermelon, breadsticks, dips, grapes, carrot sticks, flapjacks, frittata/Spanish omelette, savoury muffins, sliced apple with peanut butter for dipping, raisins, wraps, strawberries/raspberries, pots of pasta salad…

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