Top 8 picnic spots in the South East

Picnic Bench in the Forest

Fantastic forest picnic areas in the South East

As the sun beams down on the beautiful English countryside, it's officially picnic season. Dust off your picnic blanket, slap on the suncream and head down to these stunning picnic spots near you in South East this summer.  

Pond side path on open grassland

1. Thames Chase, Essex

Looking to escape the city? Just 20 miles east of central London, escape to Thames Chase for a peaceful picnic amongst meadows, ponds and orchards. With open area and surrounding woodlands, there are plenty of opportunities for kids to let their imaginations run wild. An unforgettable day out for all! 

2. Alice Holt Forest, Hampshire

It only takes a taste of the great outdoors to crave continuous adventure. A picnic at Alice Holt, near Guildford, is no exception! Go Ape, wildlife walks, woodland play areas and outdoor sculptures are waiting to be discovered after you pack up your picnic blanket. Where will you explore first? 

Lodge Pond Alice Holt
Butchershole at Friston Forest woodland

3. Friston Forest, East Sussex

If you go down to the woods today you’re sure of a… peaceful picnic. Nestled between Brighton and Eastbourne, Friston Forest is the perfect place to park up, enjoy some tasty treats and take a moment to relax in the sweeping South Down hills. 

New to our forests? Check out the Forest Code.

4. Bedgebury Pinetum, Kent 

Ditch the 11 hour flight and satisfy your wanderlust without leaving the country. With Giant Redwoods to rival the greats in California and 350 acres of rolling Wealden countryside, Bedgebury Pinetum is a wonderful world of trees filled with species from all over the world. Add a touch of home to your picnic by visiting the Bedgebury Cafe to pick up some locally sourced treats and iced cold drinks.

Summers day in the forest with bright greenery and lily-pads in pond
Sunlight streaming through the Beech trees
Simon Bound

5. Wendover Woods, Buckinghamshire

Known for its peace and tranquillity, a picnic at Wendover Woods will really help you get away from it all. Situated in the beautiful surroundings of the Chilterns, stop by the cafe for a range of hot and cold food and drinks to level up your picnic. 

6. Jeskyns Community Woodland, Kent 

Step into your very own fairy tale picnic at Jeskyns, found just outside the M25. Get lost in the magic of the fairy forest, see if you can spot the Gruffalo and his friends or wave hello to the local cows.

The treehouse play area at sunset
Forest floor covered in bluebells at Abbot's Wood

7. Abbots Wood, East Sussex

Situated in the heart of the South Downs near Polegate, you won’t be lonely when you come for a picnic at Abbots Wood. Home to nearly thirty species of butterfly, bats, glow worms and the elusive nighjar, be sure to pack your binoculars so you can get spotting from the comfort of your picnic blanket.

8. Birchden Wood, Kent

Birchden Wood is a blank canvas for picnic fun. Found just south of Royal Tunbridge Wells, come and eat beside the Harrison's Rocks before adventuring into the woods and discovering the sculptures along the easy access trail

Broadleaf autumn canopy

Explore all of these forests and more with Forestry England national membership

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