Top five picnic areas in Berkhamsted
Nestled in the Chiltern Hills, Berkhamsted is a historic market town which boasts a wide variety of history, architecture, shopping and eateries. If you live here as we have done for several years, this will come as no surprise; however, the danger we've found is not to take these things for granted. It seems the longer you live in a beautiful location, the greater the risk of settling into a comfortable routine and not making the effort to keep on seeking out and exploring all the beautiful nooks and crannies in a place with as much history as Berkhamsted.
As a retailer of wool picnic blankets, we thought it would be apt to publish our top five picnic spots of choice in and around Berkhamsted. So, here goes:
1. Berkhamsted Castle
If you're visiting Berkhamsted from out of town, this is one of the most impressive picnic spots and also one of the most convenient, being located right outside the town's train station, less than 40 minutes from London and on the mainline to Birmingham and Crew.
Steeped in history, Berkhamsted Castle dates back to the 11th century and William the Conqueror's quest to rule Great Britian following his invasion and victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
Surrounded by the castles original flint walls, the beautifully curated gardens provide the perfect picnic spot, both idyllic and beautifully protected from the elements. A mott and bailey castle, the original mott and remnants of the castles moat remain, providing plenty of space for families to wander freely and in safety.
If you haven't brought provisions, the town is a five minute walk from the station and is home to at last three supermarkets: Waitrose, Tesco and an M&S foods, so no need to worry.
As well as hosting numerous school groups and yoga classes throughout the year, in the summer the castle hosts to the wonderful Illyria Travelling Theatre Company that normally visits in August. If you have small children who get excited about pirates, picnics and messing around outside on long summer evenings, this is a must.
2. The Ashridge Estate
Comprising more than 5,000 acres of ancient oak and beech woodland and sprawling chalk downland, Ashridge Estate has been managed by the National Trust since 1926. Famed for its bluebells in the spring and the herds of Fallow Deer that roam across it throughout the year, there are infinite picnic spots dotted throughout the estate.
If you are a first time visitor, venturing from London for a day trip or a local looking for some fresh inspiration, we've put together a selection of beautiful places to picnic.
Accessible from either Berkhamsted or Tring train stations approximately 30 to 40 minutes from London Euston, you can visit by foot, bike or horse, taking advantage of the hundreds of miles of footpaths and bridleways.
We have decided to outline three of our favourite picnic spots on the Ashridge Estate, each providing its own unique aspect of the estate.
3. The Bridgewater Monument
Located in Ashridge Estate, the Bridgewater Monument towers above the treetops providing stunning views of the Chiltern Hills and further afield with Canary Wharf office towers being visible on clear days.
There are plenty of spots to picnic on the grass at the base of the monument or even in the field to the rear of the Ashridge visitor centre. If you are looking to bring a barbecue, you are asked to picnic either side of the long road that leads from the main road to the visitor centre's car park.
There is a cafe in the Visitor Centre and a small adventure-style children's play area made out of felled trees. Once you've finished your picnic, you are perfectly located to take advantage of the hundreds of miles of footpaths and bridleways that run through the forest.
4. Ivinghoe Beacon
If you're after stunning views over the local villages as far as the horizon or incredible views of the milkyway, or pretty much any other star constellation at night, then Ivinghoe Beacon should definitely be on your list of picnic destinations. Located at the end of the Ridgeway, Ivinghoe Beacon is a well-known landmark for ramblers taking on the famous 87-mile walk.
A couple of caveats though: if the weather looks as though its going to turn, go prepared as the Beacon is pretty exposed to the elements once you arrive at the top.
Parking is located on the road a short 15 minute walk from the top.
5. Canal Fields - Berkhamsted's Picnic Area
If you prefer a slightly more urban picnic experience, but still want to stretch out on the grass and be next to the Grand Union which winds its way through Berkhamsted, then the Canal Fields park is for you.
Easily accessed from Berkhamsted station, the town or the canal if you're on a boat trip, there is plenty of space to kick back and relax with your picnic blanket. There is even an adventure play ground and a skate park suitable for kids of all ages at one end of the park.
Lunch in the park is a perfect way to break up a visit of the historic town.
If you've already planned where you want to take your picnic, check out our guide to planning the perfect picnic which covers ten tips that'll help you make sure everything goes to plan. If you've not got a picnic blanket we've got some of those too.