Best places to go for a picnic in Northern Ireland!
With new COVID-19 restrictions in place and an extended half term holiday for the kids, there is no better way to make the most of a family day out than packing up a picnic (don’t forget the hot chocolate) and heading outdoors for a walk. With miles of coastlines, forest parks and acres of countryside, we want to share with you our top walks with perfect picnic spots across Northern Ireland.
Bloody Bridge Coastal Route, Co. Down
For those staying in Newcastle for the weekend or those escaping just for a day we suggest you take a short walk along the Bloody Bridge Coastal Route which stretches for a mile and a half south of the historic site of Bloody Bridge. Newly installed picnic benches and brand new public art at Bloody Bridge Car Park make this a fantastic location for an alfresco lunch. For those looking to walk a bit further from this location you can follow the Bloody Bridge trail along the intriguingly named Brandy Pad, an ancient smugglers’ route from the shore to the heart of the mountains.
Florence Court, Co. Fermanagh
Offering miles of glorious walks through parkland, gardens and the surrounding forest there are plenty of reasons to enjoy a picnic at Florence Court. Take a stroll into the forest to visit the blacksmith’s forge and carpenters workshop before relaxing with a picnic in the peaceful gardens whilst enjoying the mountain scenery.
Botanic Gardens, Co. Antrim
Take some time to stop and smell the roses in the extensive Rose Garden within Belfast’s Botanic Gardens where it’s easy to forget that you are in still in Belfast city centre. Home to one of the earliest examples of cast iron glass houses enjoy sitting on the grass eating your picnic in front of The Palm House.
Dungannon Park, Co. Tyrone
A fantastic retreat Dungannon Park has recently been recognised in the prestigious Green Flag Awards. Take some time to explore the woodland and lake before sitting down on your picnic blanket to some hot chocolate and sandwiches.
Rowallane Gardens, Co. Down
A relatively short drive from Belfast, is a beautiful setting for a walk and picnic. Where you can enjoy the many impressive flowers which are on full display in the summer months. Bring your picnic blanket and enjoy one of the many hidden corners of the garden. There are also picnic benches around the grounds so whether you bring your own or pick up a light takeaway lunch from the onsite cafe you’ll be sure to find a spot to enjoy.
Lough Navar Forest, Co. Fermanagh
Take time out next to the Lough or among the trees in the forest. There are many points of interest within the forest including lakes, viewpoints and places of historical interest where you can stop along the way.
Cave Hill, Co. Antrim
Enjoy a walk with a view from the summit of Cave Hill you can sit and enjoy the spectacular panoramic views and munch on a well deserved sandwich or two. On a clear day you can see the city of Belfast and beyond to the Mournes, Strangford Lough and even Scotland.
Gortin Lakes, Co. Tyrone
If you are in search of the perfect picnic bench with a few you are sure to find it at this location where you can enjoy a short stroll and panoramic views.
Castle Ward Estate, Co. Down
With 820 acres of landscaped grounds Castle Ward estate is a great escape away from the hustle and bustle. Take a walk through the woodland, explore the old castle ruins or take a leisurely stroll along the Shore Trail. You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to putting down your picnic rug or take advantage of the many picnic and BBQ areas.
Castle Archdale, Co. Fermanagh
With a variety of walks along the Lough shore enjoy a picnic by the famous Lough Erne, on the tables overlooking the marina, in the wildflower meadow or amongst the butterflies in the butterfly garden.
So what are you waiting for? Make some sandwiches, pack the picnic blanket in the car and get ready to enjoy the fantastic walks during the summer months! Don’t forget to tag us using #WalkNI on social media.