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My Top 3 Places to Picnic in Derbyshire

By Molly Scott – 21st July 2020

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! And Derbyshire is blessed with many lovely spots to enjoy a squished cheese sandwich. Here are my favourites…

Ashover Rock

Best for picnic with a view, and it being free!

Known locally as ‘The Farbrick’, Ashover Rock is a great location for a free afternoon out. At nearly 300m above sea level there are stunning panoramic views. In late August/early September this hill is covered in beautiful purple heather.

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.

Ashover Rock

Kedleston Hall, Derby

Best for a romantic picnic or a family friendly picnic.

This 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.

Like most National Trust properties, tickets need pre-booking, even for members. Tickets are released for the following week each Friday evening here.

We visited recently and felt really safe. There’s plenty of signage, extra safety precautions and staff to ensure that social distancing happens. Toilets are available and although the café was still closed when we visited there was a kiosk selling takeaway coffees, cakes, ice creams and snacks.

Wildflower borders at Kedleston Hall, Derby
Kedleston Hall

Queens Park, Chesterfield

Best for a people watching picnic.

There’s something special about a good old fashioned park. Chesterfield’s Queens Park is a wonderful Victorian example.

I spent many a happy an hour pushing Lily round the lovely smooth paths when she was in her pram and then pushchair. (Until you have a baby you never think about how smooth paths are). But this would be a good option for anyone with mobility issues. On that note, there are good baby changing facilities, a disabled toilet etc.

There’s lots going – it’s a county cricket ground, there’s a huge duck pond, two decent play areas, one for little ones with a big sandpit and a more grown up affair at the other end of the park. Usually in the summer season there’s a miniature railway that younger children enjoy

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.

Duck pond at Queens Park
Molly Scott Derbyshire
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