SCOTTISH weather is notoriously unreliable. But with stay at home rules being relaxed on Friday, and a forecast of sunshine over the Easter weekend, having a socially distanced picnic is a viable way to see friends and family over the Easter break (in groups of four people from two households). What’s more, Scotland has an abundance of picturesque spots in which to eat alfresco, as well as businesses which will provide a hassle-free luxury picnic hamper to bring with you. The only thing to worry about might be the unwelcome arrival of a wasp …

1) ST CYRUS BEACH, NEAR MONTROSE

A wildlife-watching haven, St Cyrus beach offers the chance to spot seabirds, dolphins, seals and even whales. This three-mile-long beach, which is part of the St Cyrus Nature Reserve, has plenty of lovely spots for relaxing on a sunny day, which can be accessed either from the cliff path or the designated visitor centre. Just make sure to guard your picnic from any mischievous dogs sniffing around for a post-swim snack.

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2) BALLOCH CASTLE COUNTRY PARK, WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE

SINCE the construction of Loch Lomond Shores, many visitors to Balloch make a beeline for the waterfront attractions on offer there. But if you go slightly further through the village you will reach Balloch Castle Country Park, a wonderfully underrated park that combines wide open spaces with excellent views of Loch Lomond. There are several benches that look down on to the water, or towards the charming Balloch Castle, but if you aim for the banks of the loch you will find dozens of designated picnic tables perfect for alfresco dining.

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3) PRINCES STREET GARDENS, EDINBURGH

LOOKING for a picnic spot where you can get away from it all and eat your lunch in peace? Then Princes Street Gardens isn’t for you. But what it lacks in solitude it more than makes up for in views, with a wonderful perspective of both Edinburgh Castle and the iconic Scott Monument. Princes Street Gardens also has plenty of opportunities for people-watching, with a whole host of Edinburgers using the gardens as an escape from city life.

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4) CAMBUS O’MAY, BALLATER, ABERDEENSHIRE

CAMBUS O’May forest, in Ballater, has a wonderfully varied landscape. You can picnic in the dense woodlands if you want to get away from it all, in the open fields for a lovely view of the Cairngorms, or at the riverside if you want to admire its suspension bridge. It was damaged in a storm and is currently being repaired, but this 100-year-old structure is still lovely to look at.

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5) PEEL PARK, KIRKINTILLOCH, EAST DUNBARTONSHIRE

IT MIGHT be small, but Peel Park packs a punch when it comes to views. Being positioned on top of a hill means this Kirkintilloch park offers a wonderful view over to the Campsies and surrounding countryside. There’s plenty of designated benches where you can set up your picnic, with the option to seek refuge in the charming Peel Park bandstand if it starts raining.   

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6) LOCH LUBNAIG, CALLANDER, STIRLINGSHIRE

FULL disclosure: the pebbly beaches on the shores of Loch Lubnaig aren’t exactly comfortable to plonk yourself down on. But provided you come prepared and bring your own chairs (or you strategically sit on one of the large rocks on the shoreline) you will benefit from having a far quieter picnic than at some of Scotland’s other, more popular lochs. Meaning “crooked” in Gaelic, Loch Lubnaig is a far cry from the wide expanses of Loch Lomond or Loch Ness, but its narrow, weaving shape makes for a spectacular view from its banks, as the hills rise steeply ahead of you and peek around the corners of the horizon.

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OUR THREE FAVOURITE LUXURY SCOTTISH PICNIC HAMPERS TO BRING WITH YOU

Picnic Selection Hamper from Scottish Gourmet Food

Based in Lethen, near Nairn, Scottish Gourmet Food have access to some of the best produce in Scotland. And that is what forms the basis of their luxury picnic hampers: which include smoked salmon, a chicken pie, smoked duck breast, Argyll ham, oatcakes, chutney and the option to add some wine, champagne or craft beers.

HeraldScotland:

www.scottishgourmetfood.co.uk

Custom Hamper from Scottish Hampers

If you are struggling to create a picnic spread that will appeal to fussy eaters, then Scottish Hampers offer you the chance to pick exactly what you want in your hamper. Simply head to their website to build your own hamper, choosing anything from champagne, to cheese, to chocolate, even Irn Bru!

HeraldScotland:

www.scottishhampers.co.uk

Picnic Lunch Box for Two, from the Olive Tree Deli in Biggar

An independent, family-run deli, The Olive Tree is one of the most popular lunch spots in Biggar. They’ve also developed a fan base beyond the town itself– thanks to their collection of picnic hampers and takeaway boxes. The contents of each hamper will be handpicked by the Olive Tree’s ‘Hamper Queen’, Sue, with the option to collect it in-store or have it delivered to your door via courier.

HeraldScotland:

www.theolivetreedeli.co.uk