Built in 1621 near where the Thames and the River Cherwell meet, Oxford’s Botanic Garden is the UK’s oldest – and today, you’ll find 6,000 different type of plants, seven glasshouses that replicate everything from an alpine environment to the climate of a tropical jungle, and herbaceous borders aplenty waiting to be discovered.
Best of all, eager picnickers are welcome – and when the sun is shining, it’s a colourful and inimitably English spot to unpack your provisions.
THE FAMILY FAVOURITE
One of the city’s best-loved spots for walkers, runners, cyclists, bird watchers and wild swimmers, Port Meadow is a glorious patch of common land on the banks of the Thames, as it winds through Oxford.
Continuing a tradition that dates back many, many centuries, horsesand cattle graze freely in the meadow but don’t let that perturb you – there are still plenty of secluded spots to put down your picnic rug without fear of being disturbed (or more importantly, without your Scotch Egg being pinched by a hungry horse).
THE HIDDEN GEM
Budding horticulturists and lovers of colourful foliage, look no further: Waterperry Gardens is the perfect spot for you and your wicker picnic basket.
Home to the famous (but somewhat haughty-sounding) School of Horticulture for Ladies between 1932 and 1971, today it’s a celebration of the beauty of English country gardens – with beautiful trees, shrubs, flowers, borders and creative flourishes as far as the eye can see.
And if that’s not the perfect accompaniment to a cup of Fortnum’s tea and an al fresco nibble or two, what is?