Play Hard

10 perfect North East picnic spots…

…and how to win a picnic bundle worth £200!

Written by High Life North
Published 14.07.2021

Picnic season is here!

Time to shake out that blanket, dig out that Thermos flask, get the sarnies made and head to one of the many gorgeously scenic picnic spots we’re so lucky to have right on our doorstep here in the North East.

With our award-winning coastline, the plethora of historic sites we have dotted around the region, and the absolutely stunning scenery we have out in the countryside, we really are spoilt for choice – which can delay our decision-making slightly!

That’s why we thought we’d put together a little list of the most picture-perfect picnic places in the region – to make sure that whenever you’re off on your next alfresco date, you’re sure to settle on somewhere special.


Oh, and what better way to help you on your way than by giving you your very own picnic bundle to take with you?! That’s right, in our latest competition we’re giving one reader the chance to win a hamper full of goodies worth over £200! (We treat you well, don’t we?)

What do you have to do to win? Simply visit our competition page to enter, and the winner will be announced 28 July 2021. Good luck!



Bamburgh Castle

Once voted one of Britain’s 10 best picnic spots by Kingsmill, Bamburgh Castle is surrounded by stunning scenery that’ll take your breath away. The castle’s history stretches all the way back to 420AD and is England’s second-largest inhabited castle. Impressive, right?

There’s a picnic area in the castle’s west ward, or you can stroll down to the beach and eat while taking in one of our favourite views in the region.

Bamburgh Castle, Bamburgh, NE69 7DF

Jesmond Dene

Right in the heart of Newcastle lies this little hideaway. With waterfalls, a ruined mill, dainty bridges and woodland walks, Jesmond Dene offers plenty of spots for a pretty picnic.

HLN top tip: Our favourite spot is sitting on the rocks listening to the waterfall while watching the world go by. Aaaand relax…

Jesmond Dene, Newcastle, NE7 7DZ


Kielder Water & Forest Park Reservoir

Did you know that Kielder is home to England’s largest forest? Making it perfect for a quiet break away from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life.

Whether you’re keen to get the heart pumping with a cycle or kayak session in and round Kielder Water, or you just fancy a little stroll through the trees, we can guarantee that whatever you decide, you’ll have some stunning scenery to soak in while you munch your sarnies.

Kielder Water & Forest Park Reservoir, Kielder, Hexham NE48 1ER


High Force Waterfall

Not sure about you, but there’s something so relaxing about being near the water. The River Tees has been plunging into this gorge for thousands of years but the rocks it reveals are far more ancient – with their origins dating back over 300 million years. Wowee!

A gentle and pretty woodland walk leads you to up to this spectacular sight at the base of the falls. Spoiler alert – it’s also the perfect backdrop for a selfie.

High Force Waterfall, Forest in Teesdale, County Durham, DL12 0XH



Penshaw Monument

Built on top of a hill between Washington, Houghton le Spring and Sunderland, the impressive Penshaw Monument – based on the ancient Temple of Hephaestus in Athens – is visible for miles around.

Park at the bottom then climb to the top of the hill and you’ll have definitely worked up an appetite for your picnic – meaning it’ll taste even better because you’ve earned it!

Penshaw Monument, Chester Road, Penshaw, Houghton le Spring, Sunderland DH4 7NJ

Warkworth Castle

Step back into medieval times at Warkworth Castle and feel like a queen for the day in this mighty Northumberland fortress. Learn more about the history that lies within its walls and see how the powerful Dukes of Northumberland lived in times gone by.

Don’t forget to visit the gorgeous Warkworth village too, where you can treat yourself an ice cream or a pint in The Castle Brew House after strolling along the River Coquet. Days out don’t get much better.

Warkworth Castle, Castle Terrace, Warkworth, Morpeth, NE65 0UJ



Bolam Lake Country Park

Just like the setting of The Notebook, Bolam Lake gives you a peaceful and tranquil spot for your picnic. You have the choice of picnic benches with lake views, benches tucked in the woodland, or open, grassy areas to enjoy your grub.

Take a leisurely stroll around the lake, explore the woodland and discover the wildlife which makes Bolam Lake so special. Keep your eyes peeled for red squirrels, roe deer, great spotted woodpeckers and nuthatch. A world away from the city!

Bolam Lake Country Park, Newcastle NE20 0HE

Tyne Green Country Park

As this park is spread across 19 hectares of land, there’s plenty of room to stretch your legs and enjoy your own space at a picnic here. The River Tyne runs along the picnic fields, with a wonderful walk along the banks providing plenty of opportunities to spot some local wildlife.

There’s a cute little bridge across a stream before you get to the river, which is ideal for adorable selfies. And there are a few easy walking and cycling routes that’ll help you blow those cobwebs away, too.

Tyne Green Country Park, Hexham Auction Mart, Tyne Green, Hexham NE46 3SG


Souter Lighthouse

There’s nothing like a sea breeze to help you feel refreshed. Here’s another picnic spot where you can enjoy a brisk walk first to get your appetite worked up. (Bonus: you’ll be carrying less on the way back).

Start off in South Shields before making your way along the seafront at the top of the cliffs, then walk along to the beach around Marsden. Some of the beach rock formations around here are extraordinary and, as you continue to walk, soon the beautiful sight of the inimitable Souter Lighthouse will emerge.

Souter Lighthouse, Coast Road, Sunderland SR6 7NH



Durham University’s Botanic Garden

Do you love your plants and flowers? In that case, we’ve found the perfect picnic spot for you!

Durham University’s Botanic Garden is nestled among 25 acres of wonderful woodland and is home to plants from all around the world. Fancy learning about them? Take an educational walk and you’ll be guided around the garden.

Open year-round, picnic benches are dotted all around here so you’ll never struggle for a perch among the posies.

Durham University’s Botanic Garden, South Road, Durham DH1 3DF


Prize Details


  1. One picnic bundle will be offered, through three different businesses, and the closing date for entries will be 28 July 2021. Winners will be chosen on that date and will be contacted directly.
  2. If you have not been contacted by 28/08/21, please assume that, on this occasion, your entry has not been successful.
  3. The bundle items cannot be exchanged for money or resold in whole or in part. They are non-exchangeable.
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