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14 pretty perfect picnic spots in Northants…

It's time to dig out the wicker basket and fill it with al fresco goodies. Northamptonshire has some fantastic picnic gems which are mostly kid friendly (but big enough to not be near them, should you prefer ; )

The sun has suddenly got its hat on so pack that wicker basket and chill the Sancerre. Whether it’s delicate small bites and a glass of vino, or Tupperware-tastic with stodgy scotch eggs, we’ve picked out some beaut Northants’ picnic spots to laze away the afternoon.

Rushden Lakes, Rushden

Perfect for a picnic, (probably following the perusing of M&S shelves for a superfood salad or sushi), Rushden Lakes has a beautiful nature trail which makes it an ideal spot to settle down and relax. With Camper Cones now stationed lakeside in their vintage VW, have a seat on the over enlarged deck chairs and enjoy a well-earned treat after your walk.

Delapre Abbey, Northampton

Still one of Northampton’s best-kept secrets, Delapre Abbey’s grounds are simply stunning, with the park open daily to the public. Why not visit the abbey itself for a quick educational/cultural fix, before having a picnic lunch that you can easily grab from the Orangery café! The walled garden also offers a fairy-tale backdrop for the afternoon of snacking. Oh, and kids admission is free, an added bonus!

Stanwick Lakes, Stanwick

A family favourite located near Wellingborough, Stanwick lakes offers just about everything: nature, walking trails (certainly for those who don’t want to risk the zipwire), as well as never-ending play areas for the rugrats. With 750 acres available, there’s no doubt as to why Stanwick is suitable for picnic enthusiasts, even during the busiest summer months.

Salcey Forest, Northampton

Located between Northampton and Milton Keynes, this woodland area is great for families, or even for a quieter retreat without the kids. Three different trails are on offer (the Woodpecker trail being 6 miles) making the locations for a picnic pretty much endless. Salcey also welcomes pooches (get in). The Forest Café caters for all ages, offering soups, sandwiches, sweet treats and lots of different options on the coffee front (we’re getting right cosmopolitan in the shires, aren’t we)!

The Canal at Stoke Bruerne, Towcester

A Woodland walk, Canal museum, the Rookery Farm and the Blisworth Tunnel: just a few of the things you can do at the Stoke Bruerne canal this summer. Feeling like a picnic, well why not take a chug down the canal on a boat trip before eating? If you are feeling slightly more daring there is also pond dipping and even fishing. Not only are there tables outside the museum, there are also plenty situated along the ponds. Perfecto.

Brixworth Country Park, Northampton

With a view of Pitsford Reservoir, a scenic picnic is most definitely on the cards at this park. You can even hire bikes to soak up all of these views across the reservoir. Stop off at Brixworth for food (maybe get a take away from the gorgeous Workhouse Cafe), or if it’s BBQ weather go to the butchers nearby for some tasty burgers and sausages on the barbie in true British fashion.

East Haddon, Daventry

If you are feeling like a trip out west, venture to East Haddon, a small village near Daventry, settle in a field, (which there are plenty of) and marvel at the view of the Althorp Estate whilst enjoying alfresco goodies. Select an up-hill spot for the best views and have the picnic for dinner to enjoy the sunset (very romantic, even with the kids in tow).

Coton Manor Gardens, Coton

Bluebell Wood – Coton Manor

The Bluebell Wood is definitely worthy of an Instagram snap or two, but the abundance of flowers does not end there. From roses to snowdrops and their Wild flower meadow, Coton Manor Gardens brings the Chelsea Flower Show slightly nearer to home in a much more chilled out setting. There is plenty of space to have a picnic and admire the manor house and the ten acres of gardens that surround it.

Sywell Country Park, Northampton

This park in Ecton (East Sywell) also has a beautiful reservoir and gardens. There are loads of summer events for kids – themed walks and some arts and crafts – probably best attended after devouring the picnic (ring beforehand and book). The park is open all day, it’s big enough to never feel crowded and great for pooches (Muddy Paws loves walking the whole reservoir).

Harpole farm (PYO Strawberries), Northampton

This farm, just off the Upper High Street in Harpole, allows you to pick your own strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and gooseberries. Be sure to check their Facebook page for regular updates about opening times and the amount of fruit available as it varies daily. The freshly picked fruit makes for excellent pudding, so bring the savoury and cream, as this farm has dessert covered.

Abington Park, Northampton. 

This is the oldest park in Northampton, so you know it’s bursting with history! Abington Park is one of the most popular parks in Northampton as it is full of things to do from their lovely café, lakes, flower displays and museum. It’s just a lovely place to spend a sunny afternoon. Their historical bandstand still gets used now and again so be sure to see if there will be any live music when you visit.  

Irchester Country Park, Wellingborough. 

With 200 acres of woodland, Irchester Country Park is a great place to escape and enjoy a day out with the family, with great activities for kids including an adventure course with zip lines, play area and a variety of trails. Their railway museum is open on Sundays and Bank Holiday Monday’s where you can see the trains steam up. The Quarryman’s Rest Café is a lovely little spot to rest over a delicious bite to eat from their menu of homemade and locally sourced food and ice-creams.  

Hunsbury Hill Country Park, Northampton.

One for the explorers, this park is full of hidden trails and tracks to get lost in and guaranteed you will always find something to discover. From their historical Iron Age hill fort to the ancient Banbury Lane (local drove roads) Hunsbry Hill is bursting with history. With a car park on site, just park up and enjoy an easy walk with little effort needed, but still taking in the lovely nature this park has to offer. Before setting off home, enjoy a drink and something to eat at The Drovers Return Café. This is also a very popular walking spot for dog walkers where many locals meet and walk their pooches together.

Milton Malsor Village Park, Northamptonshire.  

Opened in 2011, this is a lovely park that The Parish Council maintain. it’s a popular little spot with good facilities for the children too. There is a picnic area for those summery days, and the park has a variety of things to do, including the popular zipwire. You can play a game of footy using their wooden goal posts and in the bushes to the rear of the park is an adventure path.

Contributing words: Ciaran McGonigle & Holly Lamb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Northamptonshire