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What better way to spend a warm, sunny day in Dorset than with a scrumptious picnic in a picture-perfect setting?
This beautiful county has an almost never-ending list of stunning locations for an alfresco feast to remember. We’ve chosen some of our absolute favourites from amongst the best picnic spots in Devon, so grab a blanket and your hamper of goodies and let’s get gone.
Here are 5 of our favourite picnic spots in Dorset…
The secluded, 14th century Chapel of St Catherine in the village of Abbotsbury commands an unrivalled hilltop view over to Chesil beach and is superb choice for a picnic location. Built as a retreat for monks’ private meditation, this serene location has retained the same sense of peace and tranquillity for centuries, with only a few grazing sheep to break the silence.
After you’ve finished your picnic feast and taken in the magnificent view, head back downhill to visit the 600-year-old Abbotsbury Swannery, the only managed colony of mute swans to be found anywhere in the world. A few minutes’ drive away, you’ll also find the beautiful Sub-Tropical Gardens, brimming with groves of exotic plant life.
Getting here: a car park is located just off Rodden Row in the centre of the village, a short walk away from Chapel Hill via the path starting on Chapel Lane. It is a ½ mile walk to the chapel up a steep slope, leading through land grazed by cattle.
Entry: Visiting the chapel is free. For more information on prices and opening times for Abbotsbury Swannery and Sub-Tropical Gardens, visit the Abbotsbury Tourism website.
Dogs: must be kept on a lead at all times.
For more day out ideas in Dorset, take a look at our family days out in Dorset guide.
Part of a vast National Trust estate within the Dorset AONB, Stonebarrow Hill is a fantastic picnic location offering spectacular, clifftop views along the Jurassic Coast to the rocky outcrop of Golden Cap.
Once you’ve eaten, there are several short walks across the hill, and you can also walk the longer coastal path to Golden Cap or down to the beach to hunt for fossils.
Getting here: Heading through Charmouth by road, turn onto Stonebarrow Lane (beside Stonebarrow Manor) and carry on over the cattle grid to the top of the hill.
Facilities: Shop and information centre in former radar station at car park open 11am-5pm, Easter-October. Toilets adjacent.
Measuring only a mile across, this charming island in the middle of Poole Harbour is a wonderful place to escape to on a picnic voyage. For so small a place, it’s a gloriously varied natural haven made up of woods, heathland, freshwater lakes and even a lagoon.
Adventure is nothing knew to Brownsea. In the summer of 1912, Lord Baden-Powell set up an experimental outdoor skills camp for 20 boys, which would lead to the foundation of the now famous Scouting and Guiding movements.
Brownsea is home to the endangered red squirrel, as well as Sika deer, bats, peacocks, and an array of wild birds. Keep your eyes peeled for all this wonderful wildlife as you explore the woodlands, peer across the water to Old Harry Rocks and the Purbeck Hills, or wander the South Shore beach.
The serene island of Brownsea is a picnic paradise. Scout’s honour!
Getting here: There is car parking available on Panorama Road, Sandbanks. From there, catch the ferry from Poole Quay or Sandbanks; More information here.
Dogs: sadly not allowed.
For more beach-inspired days out, take a look at our guide to Dorset’s best beaches.
Is there anything more magical than a picnic beneath such a romantic and evocative ruin as Corfe Castle? Standing watch over the Purbeck Hills, this truly iconic fortress boasts 1,000 years of fascinating history and is a wonderful place for telling knightly tales over tasty treats.
Getting here: there is a pay & display car park (free for National Trust members) at Castle View, just off the A351. There is also pay & display parking available on West Street in Corfe village. A park and ride car park is located at Norden, ½ mile away from the castle.
Entry: prices vary throughout the year. For more information, visit the Corfe Castle website.
Dogs: welcome, as long as they’re kept on a short lead.
For more unique days out, browse our iconic places to cross off your Dorset bucket list.
We’re cheating slightly with this one, as Win Green is a handful of minutes over the Dorset border into the Wiltshire section of epic Cranborne Chase AONB – but it’s so lovely a place that we couldn’t resist! The highest point in the AONB, Win Green, with its distinctive, hilltop grove of beech trees growing upon a Bronze Age barrow, is clearly discernible for miles around.
From here, you’re rewarded with panoramas of the Purbeck Hills and the Jurassic Coast to Blackmore Vale and over into Wiltshire. You’ll also be able to spot the Ox drove, one of the country’s longest and most ancient routes, along which farmer have herded cattle to the ports of Hampshire since time immemorial.
A picnic is this venerable location won’t disappoint. Teeming with butterflies and wildflowers, Win Green is a dreamy spot for a foody jaunt.
Getting here: from Ludwell, turn right in the direction of Ashmore. The road to the car park at Win Green will be a short way down on the left.
Dogs: welcome, as long as they are kept under control. Where livestock are grazing, owners are asked to be mindful and use leads.
Other info: Win Green is accessible by wheelchair.
Need somewhere to rest after a day of picnic fun? Our selection of cottages in Dorset is the perfect place for a relaxing break. And why not take a look at our Dorset Travel Guide for some holiday inspiration? Find out where to stay, things to do, events taking place and where is great to go for a bite to eat.
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