The best picnic spots in Scotland

Last updated: Tuesday, 27 June 2023

Did you know that every year there is a week dedicated to celebrating the humble picnic?

National Picnic Week 2023 runs from June 17 - 25. Fingers crossed that by then there should be plenty of sunshine around. We’re not a fan of soggy sandwiches!

There's something about dining outside that makes food taste better. So why not pack your favourite foods, gather your favourite people and head off to your favourite spot for a picnic. Where would be your dream picnic spot?

On the bonny banks of a Loch

In Content - Loch Shiel - credit to Katia-de-juan on unsplash

There are plenty of places all over Scotland that are perfect for a picnic accompanied by a stunning view over a loch, the sea or rugged coastline.

For a picnic where you can enjoy both the views and a spot of history, Loch Shiel along the West Highland Line is great spot. Overlooked by the Glenfinnan Monument 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.

Alternatively, a short train journey from Glasgow Queen Street takes you to Balloch and the bonny banks of Loch Lomond. Here you can enjoy a picnic on the sand, wander into Balloch Country Park or hop on board a scenic och cruise.

Image credit: Loch Shiel and the Glenfinnan Monument by Katia de Juan

Across the water

In Content - Millport Cumbrae - credit Steve Douglas via Unsplash

Along Scotland’s west coast there are lots of stations within a few steps of a ferry terminal – Wemyss 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 enjoy the relaxing 15-minute sail to the island. Once off the ferry, there should be a bus waiting to whisk you the short distance to Millport. From here you can carry on exploring on foot or by bike. There are a few places to hire a bike from and it's a brilliant way to see the island. There are lots of picnic benches along the route to stop off whenever you fancy, 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.

You can't pre-book the Largs to Cumbrae sailing, but other longer journeys are available to prebook via CalMac .

Image credit: Millport Harbour by Steve Douglas

In the shadow of a castle

In Content - Edinburgh Castle - E Mens via Unsplash

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 and gives some of the best views. The park itself is lovely with plenty of benches to sit on or lots of space for a picnic rug. And with Princes Street a very short walk away, there are plenty of shops, cafe's or supermarkets 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!

Image credit: Edinburgh Castle from Princes Street Gardens by E Mens

Wherever you choose to picnic this summer, we’ll keep everything crossed that the British weather provides a sunny accompaniment.

Fancy a picnic at one of these spots?
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