Top spots for picnics at Calke Abbey

Picnic at National Trust Calke Abbey, Derbyshire

With over 600 acres of parkland to explore, there are plenty of spaces to enjoy a good old-fashioned picnic at Calke – whatever the season. Enjoy spring and summer days, autumn colours and crisp winter lunches in the park.

Park and picnic

At the far end of the main car park, not far from one of our popular bird hides, we have several large picnic benches overlooking the Deer Park. This is a lovely spot to sit and gaze at the herd of Red and Fallow deer when they’re around, and you might even spot the rangers at work as they look after the herd.

There are more picnic benches at the top of the car park – a handy spot if you’re carrying a family-sized hamper from the car.

All our picnic benches are a short distance from the restaurant, shop and toilets in the Stableyards, and have easy access to the wider parkland so you can walk off those sausage rolls.

Peaceful picnics in the Pleasure Gardens

If you’re visiting the house or gardens, enjoy your picnic in the Pleasure Grounds that surround the house. Find a shady spot beneath the trees or spread out a picnic blanket on the sloping hill overlooking the front of the house.

If you forget to bring your blanket along, you can buy one of our classic National Trust blankets from the shop in the Stableyards.

Don’t miss the deckchairs in the gardens, where you can sit back and relax in amongst the bright and fragrant flowers. During the summer holidays, the Garden of Imagination is the perfect place for family picnics inside the Walled Garden, which is transformed into a natural outdoor play area.

Get the family together for summer days outdoors
Picknic at National Trust Calke Abbey in Derbyshire
Get the family together for summer days outdoors

Don't get grilled

You can light up the BBQ on Ragg's Close, which is the open grass area just beyond Middle Lodge, beyond the park admission hut. BBQs are also permitted in Little Town Leys, the meadow area just past the car park at Calke Explore.

Unfortunately BBQs are not permissible anywhere else on the estate because of fire risks in historically sensitive and significant areas. Please help us to look after the green spaces at Calke, by taking your litter home with you.

Walk off those sandwiches

Calke Park is also a great place to explore post-picnic with lots of woodland trails and wide-open meadows to enjoy.

If you fancy a longer walk, take a wander down to the Limeyards and discover Calke's rich industrial history, or try the Tramway Trail, our recently extended circular trail passing through countryside, woodland and the occasional tunnel.