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Top places to picnic in Harrogate and beyond

What better way to spend a sunny day than packing up a picnic and heading to a picturesque spot to lay out your sandwiches and sausage rolls and enjoy them al-fresco in beautiful surroundings.

We’ve put together a list of great places to picnic so you can pick your perfect spot.

Valley Gardens, Harrogate

The Valley Gardens, located in the centre of the Victorian spa town of Harrogate is the ideal place to lay down your blanket, bagsy a picnic bench or set up your camping chairs to enjoy a picnic in this beautiful English Heritage Grade II listed garden.

Picnic Valley Gardens 3

Just steps away from the town centre, you can fill up on delicious picnic treats from the many retailers here, or grab a refreshment from the on-site café Magnesia Well Café and the Games Pavilion.

After you’ve eaten up your picnic, why not take part in the wide variety of outdoor games on offer such as tennis, pitch & putt golf, crazy golf, boating pool, paddling pool and a children's play area. The outdoor games season runs from April to October.

Valley Gardens, Harrogate
Extract Fountains couple walk

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, Ripon

We can’t talk about picnic spots without mentioning the glorious Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden in Ripon. You’ll be hard pushed to find a more magnificent spot to enjoy a day out than here.

Fill up your picnic hamper and find a spot within the expansive grounds to marvel at the ancient abbey ruins or settle down beside the awe-inspiring water garden – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Open seven days a week, there is also an on-site café, shop and playground to enjoy. Dogs are welcome so your pooch can picnic too. Entrance fees apply.

Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Water Garden

Knaresborough Castle grounds

For a picnic spot with an unrivalled view, head to the grounds of Knaresborough Castle. Make your way along the riverside, spot the rowing boats dotted along the River Nidd (or even have a go yourself), before weaving through the medieval streets and scaling the stone stairway to find a picture perfect picnic spot. Overlooking the river and out to the imposing railway viaduct across the Nidd Gorge, make sure you grab a selfie before you settle down for your picnic in grounds of the grand Knaresborough Castle.

Knaresborough Castle Mike Hine 1901974842

For musical accompaniment to your al-fresco meal, head there on a Sunday afternoon between June and August from 2pm – 4pm to hear bands and musical groups play as you picnic.

Although 60 miles from the sea, this lovely market town feels like it could be by the coast, so don’t miss your opportunity to promenade with an ice cream from one of the many local ice cream parlours. If you visit mid-week pop into the market square, where every Wednesday, you can pick up tasty produce, treats, plants and flowers from Knaresborough Market.

Knaresborough Castle & Museum
Horseshoe Field Riverside picnic

Knaresborough Conyngham Hall & Horseshoe Field

For another pretty picnic spot in the area, make your way to Conyngham Hall, where you will find picnic benches dotted along the river, there is even places to head down and have a paddle on warmer days. Venture a little further into Horseshoe Field, given its name because the river makes a sharp horseshoe around it and make this wildflower meadow your perfect place for a picnic or a leisurely stroll, it is also great for spotting kingfishers on the river.

Conyngham Hall Park, picnic area and vehicle charging

Pateley Bridge

In the centre of an area of outstanding natural beauty, Pateley Bridge is an idyllic market town that has everything you need to pack the perfect picnic hamper full of local produce, including deliciously irresistible pies! Once you have explored the many independent shops selling everything from baked goods to the oldest sweet shop in England, you can head out to the many picturesque picnic spots in the surrounding countryside.

IMG 20150709 201533

Pateley Bridge is the starting and finishing point on the Nidderdale Way, a circular route that loops around the Nidd Valley. Renowned for its floral beauty and charm, you will be spoilt for choice here for stunning scenery to accompany your picnic. Some suggestions from us include Yorke's Folly (known locally and Two Stoops) & Crocodile Rock or Scar House Reservoir.

Pateley Bridge
Swinton Park and Walled Garden

Swinton Estate, Nr Masham

If you are looking for a more exclusive picnic spot, which is catered for you, we suggest you add a picnic experience to your stay at the scenic Swinton Estate near Masham. Head into the moors to dine at the remote Bothy Hut, enjoy the intimate atmosphere of the private Lake House accessible by cable boat, enjoy family-friendly picnic benches amongst the colourful plant life or picnic with the deer in the Deer Park. Created by the Swinton chefs, a picnic here is a truly unique

Note: Picnic experiences are available for residents only.

The Swinton Estate

If you have suggestions for the perfect picnic spots in and around Harrogate, let us know by using #MyHarrogate.

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