7 beautiful spots in the west of Scotland perfect for a picnic in the sunshine

We've picked out seven of the best places in the west of Scotland for those days when the sun is shining and only a picnic or barbecue will do.

Published 2nd Jun 2016
Updated 18 th Sep 2023

So it's summer and we are being optimistic in the hope that there will be more than a few sunny days - judging by how many we've had so far, this might just be the case - and of course you'll want to take advantage.

So, to help, we've picked out seven places in the west of Scotland that are perfect for a day trip, BBQ or picnic in the sun.

Fist off, make sure you have all the essentials you'll need for a fun picnic when you get there with our checklist:


What you'll need for the perfect picnic.

  • Plates
  • Cutlery
  • Cups
  • Fold-away chairs
  • Picnic blanket
  • Cool box for drinks and food
  • Kitchen towel or napkins
  • Wet wipes
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Portable barbecue - if you decide you want to use one, make sure to use a stand or bricks to stop it scorching the grass.
  • Bag for rubbish

Loch Lomond


Picture: Geograph

Most of those who are based in the bustling metropolis that is Glasgow will probably take for granted just how good the scenery is not far from their doorstep.

Loch Lomond really does capture the imagination in terms of what beautiful Scottish scenery should be. The sheer size and scale of the mountainous terrain and lochs will take your breath away and provide some of the best backgrounds on a sunny day for any picnic.

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Grab a boat from Balmaha and visit the island of Inchcailloch, this island is the largest of the Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve and offers a magical location filled with wild flowers, trees and wildlife.



Not far from Glasgow lies the distinctive wee steep peak of Dumgoyne, perfect for a wander and a picnic, the hill offers wonderful views of Glasgow and the surrounding areas.

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Be warned, sturdy footwear is advised as in some places it can get quite marshy.

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Should you work up enough of a thirst you can always pop down to the Glengoyne distillery at the foot of the hill, there’s even a Whisky and Chocolate Tour if you forgot to bring dessert.

(If you are looking to drink, don't worry there are plenty of buses that run regularly from the centre of town that will drop you at the door of the distillery.)

Loch Fyne

A catch of mussels is harvested on Loch Fyne

A catch of mussels is harvested on Loch Fyne. Picture: Loch Fyne Oysters

Not far from Glasgow and offering some of the best roads to drive along on the way, is the beguiling Loch Fyne.

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This loch is famous for its seafood and should you decide not to bring a picnic, you can always purchase some stunningly fresh seafood from Loch Fyne Oysters or take a wander over to the brewery and buy some cracking beers at the excellent Loch Fyne Brewery.

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Looking to keep the family entertained, then head over to the Ardkinglas estate and check out the Gruffalo Trail.

The short trail uses boards showing selected extracts from the Scots version of the famous book to link the story to the setting of this special corner of the Woodland Garden.


Whiting Bay, Isle of Arran. Picture: Geograph

Whiting Bay, Isle of Arran. Picture: Geograph

Just a short train and ferry ride from the centre of Glasgow, is the isle of Arran. Known as 'Scotland in miniature', the island is a wonderful place to go with a family and offers plenty of amazing spots for a picnic. Best of all there is a plethora of outdoor activities available from gorge scrambling, mountain biking to abseiling and archery.

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This is also one of the best places in Scotland for enjoying walks, the island itself has walking routes to suit all abilities, including routes around the coast, across the island and around the main villages and clachans.

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If you have time you can visit the brewery or the distillery for a fun tour, both are surrounded by amazing scenery and offer the chance to sit back and relax while having the chance to catch of a glimpse of eagles, deer (including the legendary white stag) and grouse.

Saltcoats Beach

Saltcoats and Arran as seen from the dunes south of Ardeer. Picture: Geograph

Saltcoats and Arran as seen from the dunes south of Ardeer. Picture: Geograph.org.uk

The West coast, like the rest of Scotland, offers some truly picturesque beaches to enjoy including Ayr, Troon and Largs, but our choice - Saltcoats - offers one of the best sandy beaches, with impressive background views of Arran.

Not only that, but the water is shallow enough for a long way out from the beach to enjoy some safe paddling for the kids, under supervision of course.

There are lots of decent facilities around the beach itself and of course, the Scottish seaside tradition of enjoying fish and chips or simply some ice cream is well catered for in the town itself.

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The North Ayrshire Heritage Centre is the perfect place to while away an hour or so with the kids, learning about the history and culture of the surrounding area.

Seamill Beach 

Picture: Wikimedia

Picture: Wikimedia

One of the most beautiful beaches on the Ayrshire coast, Seamill beach is located close to the towns of Seamill and West Kilbride.
This Ayrshire beach boasts lovely views across to the Isle of Arran and down the Firth of Clyde.

A sandy beach with some rocky areas - perfect for some rock pool foragingm - the beach is backed by grass, which is perfect for a picnic should you not want to get covered in sand.

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A sunset at Ardneil Bay, the light pours over the entire area languidly, bathing the bay in Golden light, the perfect way to end the day.

Rothesay, Isle of Bute


The Waverley at Rothesay. Picture: Wikimedia

The traditional Glasgow day trip of 'going doon the watter' will see you follow in the steps of Glaswegians of old, who would make regular trips to places like Largs, Millport and Rothesay.

And it's the major town on the Isle of Bute that we are recommending here, not only does it have some great scenery, there's also much to do in the area, so that once you finish your picnic, you'll be spoiled for choice.

With castles, gardens and even Victorian toilets, Rothesay offers a fun day out for the entire family and planning in advance means you might even get there on the Waverley, the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world.

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Mount Stuart, this stunning Victorian mansion is a favourite with Trip Advisor users and rightly so. Check out the neo-gothic mansion itself before exploring the gorgeous grounds.

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