7 picnic spots across Suffolk for your group of six

Fun in the sun at Nowton Park, Bury St Edmunds Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

People enjoying Nowton Park last summer - Credit: Charlotte Bond

As of Monday March 29, people across England will be permitted to meet in groups of up to six – or two households – in both parks and private gardens.  

With the Easter bank holiday just around the corner, here’s a handful of picnic locations across Suffolk that are perfect for you to reunite with your friends and family following the easing of restrictions.  

As per current Government guidelines, ensure you do not travel outside of your local area.  

Quiet Holywells Park, in Ipswich, during the coronavirus lockdown Picture: ARCHANT

Holywells Park in Ipswich - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Holywells Park, Ipswich 

With over 67 acres of picturesque grounds to explore, this historic park is handily located just on the outskirts of Ipswich’s town centre. A designated Regionally Important Geodiversity Site, there’s plenty to see this spring, including gardens, ponds, vast fields and a woodland – all home to a wide variety of wildlife. 

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Holywells Park is home to a number of trails that are worth exploring, including the tree trail which showcases 24 different trees, ranging from English oak and weeping ash, to grand fir and corkscrew willow. 

Also inside the park are a walled garden, sheltered picnic areas, a state-of-the-art children’s play area and a bowling green.  

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To help you stock up on picnic essentials, the park’s The Stable Café is open every day between 10am and 4.30pm from March to October. It serves brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, hot and cold drinks and a selection of cakes and snacks available for takeaway.  

Autumn Lime Avenue at Nowton Park, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

Lime Avenue at Nowton Park - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Nowton Park, Bury St Edmunds 

For anyone looking to picnic in the West Suffolk region, Bury St Edmunds’ Nowton Park is the ideal spot this spring. With 200 acres of land, there’s plenty of space for you and your bubble to enjoy as the weather warms up and the flowers begin to show.  

Nature lovers can explore the park’s arboretum, which is home to a number of trees from around the world including Australian eucalyptus, paperbark maple from China and Kentucky coffee trees.  

Nowton Park is also home to a bird feeding area, two ponds, a wildflower meadow, and the lime avenue - a stretch of path lined with majestic and towering lime trees. Be sure to also catch a glimpse of the 100,000 daffodils that bloom beneath the trees every spring, too. 

If you’re looking to grab a bite to eat, Wright’s Café in Bury town centre is doing its very own ‘pandemic picnic’. Available Friday to Sunday between 10am and 4pm, for £12 per person, you and your social bubble can tuck into a selection of rustic baps, quiche, sausage rolls, cakes, a salad box, pickles and kettle chips. A vegetarian option is also available.  

Make your way up the hill to have a gander at the Norman castle ruins in Clare Picture: Clare Castle

The Norman castle ruins in Clare Castle Country Park - Credit: Clare Castle Country Park

Clare Castle Country Park, Clare 

With sprawling grounds and a 13th century castle to gaze upon, there’s no better place to dine al fresco this spring than Clare Castle Country Park.  

Nestled on the banks of the River Stour, the 36-acre park is home to two large ponds, a stream, grassland, woodland, a number of paths and Grade II-listed Victorian railway buildings – giving you and your family plenty of space to sprawl out on. 

The park’s star attraction however is the stone castle remains, which sit atop a 60ft high motte that overlooks the area.  

In terms of refreshments, the park’s Platform One Café is currently open for takeaway Thursday to Sunday between 9am and 4pm, serving hot and cold drinks, light lunches and snacks such as homemade soups, quiches and tarts. Alternatively, just up the road is Honey Hill, an independent eatery that specialises in Italian pizzas, pastries, paninis, and coffee. Takeaway pizza is available Wednesday to Saturday between 5.30pm and 8pm. 

Rendlesham Forest

Situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Suffolk’s Rendlesham Forest is over 3,700 acres of majestic woodland and has plenty of space for the whole family this spring.  

Various picnic areas can be found throughout the forest, alongside biking trails, walking trails, and children’s play areas. It is open seven days a week between 9am and 5pm.

The forest's on-site cafe Bear Grills serves a variety of hot and cold snacks, tea and coffee, soft drinks, cakes and ice creams. 

Dunwich Heath

Dunwich Heath - Credit: Mick Webb/iWitness

Dunwich Heath, Dunwich 

Serene and spacious, Dunwich Heath is a true gem on the Suffolk coast, and is the perfect location for a springtime day out.  

There are a number of picnic tables throughout, and the heath’s kiosk is open Friday to Sunday between 10am and 4pm, serving hot and cold drinks and a range of light refreshments. Alternatively, why not stop off at Dingle Hill Tearooms? Only a stone’s throw away from the heath, it will be open seven days a week between 9am and 5pm as of Monday April 12, serving takeaway cakes, scones, puddings, quiches and sandwiches.  

Nothing rounds off a relaxing picnic like a spot of birdwatching, so be sure bring your binoculars as Dunwich Heath is a prime location for species galore – including Dartford warblers, nightjars and woodlarks. 

Plenty of space at Nicholas Everitt Park in Oulton Broad. Picture: Mick Howes

There's plenty of space at Nicholas Everitt Park - Credit: Mick Howes

Nicholas Everitt Park, Lowestoft 

For anyone in north Suffolk, Lowestoft’s Nicholas Everitt Park is a great way to get you and your family embracing the great outdoors this season.  

Surrounded by stunning floral gardens, and coupled with views of the expansive and tranquil Broads, this park provides enough space for picnics and ball games galore. Additionally, there is also a children’s play park on site. The park is open seven days a week, and also has tennis courts and a bowling green for visitors to enjoy. 

Situated close to the park is No 142 Café, which sells a variety of breakfast, brunch and lunch dishes, alongside cakes and charcuterie available to takeaway.

Cattle grazing on Sudbury Water Meadows.

Cattle grazing on Sudbury Water Meadows - Credit: Archant

Sudbury Water Meadows, Sudbury  

Immortalised in the works of Gainsborough and Constable, Sudbury Water Meadows is one of the county’s most idyllic spots thanks to its rich flora and fauna, and relatively unspoilt beauty. 

One of the highlights of picnicking here is that the meadows’ cattle roam freely, grazing and gently wandering across the land. To walk off your lunch, why not amble down the three-and-a-half mile Meadow Walk, a circular route which really takes you to the heart of the Suffolk countryside.  

For an al fresco lunch, Sudbury’s Dough & Co is just down the road from the meadows and is currently serving takeaway pizza every day between 12pm and 11pm.  

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