Is there anything more synonymous with British summertime than a picnic? Would you like some inspiration for perfect picnic spots? I must admit, I am not very lucky with picnics. I’m more a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants/buy-something-from-the-café type. When I have bothered to prepare a picnic it invariably rains and we end up eating it in the car. Nevertheless, it’s national picnic month! Derbyshire is blessed with many lovely spots to enjoy a squished cheese sandwich. Here are my favourite Derbyshire picnic spots, from the cheap and cheerful to the luxurious, from the romantic to the most family friendly, I’ve got you covered!
9 Perfect Picnic Spots across Derbyshire
Picnic Site in South Derbyshire
- Near Ticknall
- FREE for National Trust members or an adult ticket for the park & gardens only is £6.50
- Toilet facilities
- Refreshments available to buy
- Dogs welcome in parkland, gardens and stableyards – full details here
Calke Abbey is probably the most family friendly National Trust property in Derbyshire and a perfect picnic spot. There’s a good adventure playground for younger children right near the main car park – which is also close to the toilets and café. Children might also enjoy exploring the long tunnel and the ice bunker.
Prior to arriving at the main car park, turn right to ‘Calke Explore’, a new outdoor recreation area. There’s a woodland play area with lots of things children can climb on and explore. Once you’ve finished there you can drive (or take a 15 minute walk) up to the main car park for the house and gardens. You can picnic throughout the grounds at Calke Abbey but one insider tip is to park in the overflow car park facing the parkland to enjoy your own idyllic little spot (and save you lugging the food around with you all day). If you don’t wish to picnic there’s a café serving light lunches, cake etc.
Calke is marketed as the ‘unstately stately home’ and there aren’t the opulent interiors you might expect. So we rarely bother with the house itself and instead enjoy exploring the extensive parkland. The walled garden features an array of beautifully maintained flowers. Interiors fans will swoon with delight at the faded beauty of The Orangery (it’s very Instagram-able!).
Derbyshire picnic spots in Amber Valley
- Near Derby
- FREE for National Trust members or an adult ticket for the gardens only is £8
- Toilet facilities Refreshments available to buy
- Dogs on leads are welcome throughout the Kedleston gardens and parkland – see more here
Kedleston Hall is a lovely National Trust property on the outskirts of Derby has numerous places for a delightful picnic. There are some picnic benches just by the car park, but I would recommend taking a blanket and either heading to the beautiful wild flower borders at the back of the house, or walking away from the house towards the bridge where you will be able to find a quieter spot.
Picnic spots in the Derbyshire Dales
- Near Bakewell
- FREE to picnic in the parklands although pay for car parking, an adult ticket to just the garden is £14
- Toilet facilities open to everyone paying to use the car park
- Well-behaved dogs on leads welcome throughout the garden and park – read more here
I adore the gardens at Chatsworth and there are numerous picturesque spots for a picnic. However, you can save paying the entrance fee to the gardens by picnicking in the beautiful parklands. The 1,000-acre park on the banks of the River Derwent was designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown in the 1760s. Climb up to the hunting tower for spectacular views, or sit across the river with a beautiful view of the house. You’ll still need a car parking ticket.
Alternatively, if you’re in splurge mode, treat yourself to a Chatsworth picnic hamper full of delectable treats. Order in advance and collect from the Cavendish Restaurant in the stables.
Perfect picnic spots in North Derbyshire
- No toilet facilities (but there are at Longshaw)
- Suitable for dogs – keep on lead on the Longshaw Estate due to grazing cattle. Read more here (scroll to the end for detailed info for dogs).
Padley Gorge is perfect for paddling and really quite magical. One of the most popular sites within the Peak District national park, be aware that parking is extremely limited at peak times so you might want to get there early. You can park at Grindleford and scramble up Upper Padley. Or park at Surprise View car park. From here cross the road and head through the rocks until you get to Padley Gorge. Otherwise, it’s possible to park at the Longshaw Estate and take a flat path, way marked trail route past the pond and down to Padley Gorge. This is a lovely family walk. There’s a café, toilets etc at Longshaw Estate.
If you’d rather not picnic nearby Grindleford Station café is famous for its chip cobs!
- No toilet facilities
- This is open access land so dogs can walk on footpaths if on a lead and under close control
Known locally as ‘The Farbrick’, Ashover Rock is a great choice for a picnic site and a free trip out. At nearly 300m above sea level there are stunning panoramic views. There are a few benches but it can get busy so do take a blanket. On a quiet day you can park for free in a lay-by and just walk up the short but steep hill to the rock. Find it by entering “Alton Lane, Ashover” in a sat nav.
To incorporate a bracing walk, and for more extensive parking, park for free at Ashover Parish Hall.
Queens Park, Chesterfield
- Toilet facilities including disabled and baby changing
- Dogs welcome – but should be kept away from children’s play areas and kept on leads in certain places
Chesterfield’s Queens Park is a wonderful example of a traditional Victorian park, complete with bandstand, two playgrounds and large duck pond. The paths are beautifully smooth so this would be a good option for anyone with mobility issues or with prams, buggies, scooters etc. For more pushchair friendly walks click here. On that note, there are toilets including good baby changing facilities, a disabled toilet etc. There’s a decent café serving light bites – the coffee and ice cream are particularly good.
All the car parks are pay and display. Chesterfield residents can park for free all day Sundays and early morning and after 3pm but do make sure you display your pass as the traffic wardens seem to be exceptionally keen around here.
- FREE for National Trust members, otherwise an adult ticket is £16
- Toilet facilities
- Dogs on leads are welcome to explore the parkland and stableyard (the main visitor area) – but not the formal gardens. Read more here.
Hardwick Hall is a Elizabethan country house created by Bess of Hardwick in the 1500s. Bess was a fascinating figure. Coming from relatively humble beginnings she rose to being one of the most powerful women in Elizabethan Britain. Most recently Hardwick provided the inspiration for Malfoy Mansion in the Harry Potter film.
There are numerous places to picnic in and around Hardwick. The National Trust website has several specific suggestions. Hardwick is an excellent choice when the weather is less than ideal. The Stableyard has a good selection of picnic benches and if you’re looking for shade or shelter to enjoy your lunch. There’s also a café (currently open for takeaway only) and toilet facilities.
- Near Chesterfield
- £20.95pp for a luxurious picnic
- Toilet facilities available
- It looks like well behaved dogs are welcome (double check when booking) – or check out their pampered pooch experience.
For something a bit more luxurious why not picnic in the beautiful grounds of Ringwood Hall? Admittedly I think this option lends itself more to a romantic, adults only picnic (I’m sure well behaved children are welcome – I’m just not convinced my own child would appreciate what I would end up spending). However, this would be a wonderfully summery date or indulgent day out with the girls!
Ringwood Hall Hotel is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a traditional picnic and a few hours relaxation. Relax and let the chefs at Ringwood do all the work! Picnic baskets are available for use in our grounds or on the terrace between 11am to 5pm at only £20.95pp. This includes a delectable selection of picnic foods including a selection of sandwiches, lots of savoury options such as pork pie, sausage roll, hummus and crudités, quiche and a slice of cake and an apple. And a flask of either tea or coffee and a large bottle of mineral water. Bespoke picnic menus can also be created. Booking essential.
Pavilion Gardens, Buxton
- FREE (pay for car parking – cash only?)
- Toilet facilities
- Dogs welcome
Twenty three acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and play areas including an extensive children’s play-park (including an accessible, specially made swing) adventure playground, outdoor gym, miniature railway and boating lake.
Picnic packing list
Picnic blanket (and chairs if you’re exceptionally well prepared)
The food is obviously completely up to you. You can go as extravagant as you like and cater to the specific tastes and dietary requirements of your party. But as basic minimum I would suggest:
- Sandwiches (cheese is my favourite)
- Something sweet – whether that’s fruit and/or cake or a biscuit.
- Something to drink. I like a bottle of water and a flask of tea/coffee
To ring the changes you can add or swap in: sausages rolls, quiche, olives, cooked meats, houmous and carrot sticks/breadsticks – or whatever your heart desires and/or fridge yields!
Or, why not consider supporting a local business by picking up a takeaway treat from your favourite deli, bakery or coffee shop?