Best summer picnic spots in Scotland
A good picnic goes hand in hand with a day out while Scotland.
You never know what gorgeous spots you’re going to come across that are perfect for a sit down and a bit of refuelling.
Here’s a few of our favourite picnic spots:
On the bonny banks of a loch
Sunshine beating down, great company, delicious food and the stunning view of a loch with a backdrop of impressive mountains... does a picnic spot get any better?
For a picnic where you can enjoy both the views and a spot of history, Loch Shiel is great spot. Overlooked by the Glenfinnan Monument (where you can get 2 for 1 entry when you show your train ticket) and the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct, it’s a truly special place. You may even be lucky enough to see The Jacobite steam train chugging over the viaduct during the summer months. From Glenfinnan station, take a wander down to the water’s edge or follow the signs to the viewpoints for great views while you enjoy your picnic.
Alternatively, a short train journey from Glasgow takes you to Balloch and the bonny banks of Loch Lomond. Combine your picnic with some time at the Loch Lomond Sea Life Aquarium where Kids can visit free when you show a Kids for a Quid ticket.
As part of a hike
The West Highland Line has lots of stops making it perfect if you fancy hopping off and hiking between stations to find a truly remote picnic spot. For part of the route, the railway runs alongside the West Highland Way, so wherever you start you’re guaranteed a challenging but rewarding hike. One of the gentler sections is between Upper Tyndrum and Bridge of Orchy which takes around 3.5 hours and has spectacular views over the mountains. There aren’t any facilities on the hiking route so you’ll need to bring your food with you. Be sure to pack plenty of water.
Across the water
Along Scotland’s west coast there are lots of stations within a few steps walk of a ferry terminal – Weymss Bay for Rothesay, Gourock for Dunoon and our favourite for a daytrip, Largs for Great Cumbrae.
For a day out on Great Cumbrae simply take the train to Largs, gather together your picnic supplies at one of the shops by the harbour then set sail for 15 minutes. Once off the ferry, take the bus to Millport and set off round the island on foot or hire a bike. Along the west coast of the island there are lots of great spots to stop for a picnic. There are seats, picnic benches and space for a rug, all with gorgeous views over the water and the Isle of Bute. Be sure to pack lots of food, you’ll want to sit awhile.
In the shadow of a castle
While there are plenty of spots across Scotland to enjoy a picnic in the shadow of castle ruins, Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh sits right at the base of Edinburgh Castle. The park itself is lovely with plenty of benches to sit on or lots of space for a picnic rug. And there are lots of shops nearby to stock up on goodies. Just remember that if you’re picnicking over lunch, the one o’clock gun goes off every day except for on a Sunday and it’s rather loud!
On the train
We’re so spoiled with Scotland’s landscapes that you could easily spend the day on the train gazing out at beautiful scenery. There are six Great Scenic Rail Journeys across Scotland and any one of them would provide a mesmerising backdrop for a picnic. In celebration of the humble train picnic, we recently launched the Great Scenic Tasting Box. A picnic packed with gourmet Scottish produce of pates, oatcakes, charcuterie, shortbread, chocolate and a few other goodies. And when in Scotland… wash it down and toast the journey with a wee dram or glass of Edinburgh Gin. Each box comes with a route map so you can know exactly what part of Scotland is providing the views for your picnic. The tasting boxes are on sale at Glasgow Queen Street and Inverness stations for £15.
Wherever you choose to picnic this summer, we’ll keep everything crossed that the British weather provides a sunny accompaniment.