Cambridgeshire is beautiful in just about any weather – but when the sun comes out the county really works its charm.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that much of the UK will get a second mini heatwave this May bank holiday with temperatures reaching up to 24 degrees.
The balmy conditions are well deserved after the recent wintry temperatures, blustery winds and heavy showers.
The sunshine returned today (Thursday) after heavy rain – and temperatures are expected to climb even higher over the coming days.
With all that in mind we've rounded up some of the best parks and green spaces in Cambridgeshire, given it's now the perfect time to dig out those sunglasses and enjoy a picnic.
Wandlebury Country Park
Nestled at the top of the Gog Magog Hills just south of Cambridge, Wandlebury is described as Cambridge's original country park.
With views as far as Ely, the countryside estate offers more than eight miles of wonderful walks through mature woodland and wildflower meadows grazed by Highland Cattle.
A large part of the park is on the remains of a circular historic Iron Age Hillfort – a Scheduled Ancient Monument steeped in myth and legend.
Visitors say there is always something to do at Wandlebury – it boasts a beautiful setting for a picnic or a BBQ, to watch wildlife, build a den, have a gentle stroll or a strenuous hike.
Jesus Green is a park in the north of central Cambridge, and gets its name (surprise surprise) for being located north of Jesus College, hence the name.
It was separated from Midsummer Common in 1890 when Victoria Avenue was built.
The site is also home to Jesus Green lido – one of the few remaining examples of the lidos built across the country in the 1920s.
It is among the longest outdoor swimming pools in Europe at 100 yards (91 m) in length.
In 2001, the Cambridge Beer Festival moved to Jesus Green.
It has been held each May ever since – with last year's event offering more than 200 beers to taste.
If you don't already know about Parker's Piece, you should.
It is one of the best known open spaces in Cambridge. Located in the centre of the city it is bordered by Park Terrace, Regent Terrace, Parkside and Gonville Place.
Its name is derived from Edward Parker, a cook who held the original lease to the land which at the time was used for grazing.
The popular spot known today chiefly as an ideal place for picnics and games of football and cricket.
The gas lamp at the cross roads of the paths, erected in 1893, was nicknamed during the 1960's by students as Reality Checkpoint – and is still known by this today.
Cambridge University Botanic Garden
Covering 40 acres of parkland in the heart of the city, Cambridge University Botanic Garden is a beautiful space in which to while away a few hours.
Since its foundation in 1846 the garden has been maintained to inspire and teach new generations of visitors about the natural world.
It is a leading horticultural research centre, home to seasonal displays of over 8,000 plant species grown within various glass houses.
It's the perfect spot for a picnic or a stroll.
The attraction includes a lake, glasshouses, chronological bed, rock gardens and a collection of mature trees.
Milton Country Park
Milton Country Park is one of the most underrated places in Cambridge. But don't take it from us, go and see for yourself!
The winding woodland is filled with fantastic flowers, including blossom in the spring.
It's certainly somewhere you can get lost for hours, and perfect for a picnic. There are plenty of shady spots too, if you're not too much of a sun lover.
The park includes a visitor centre, two play areas, multiple viewing platforms, a sensory garden and sun clock.
Even better – the park's cafe has just had a new revamp – and it looks lovely.
In other news, Milton Country Park is set to get an enormous double zip wire as part of its new playground makeover.
Since its playground appeal was launched in 2017 the park has received overwhelming support from local people and businesses, including £40,000 awarded by the Amey Community Fund and £60,000 from WREN.
Between the exciting new play structures and delicious homemade cakes, we predict that come summer Milton Country Park will secure its place as a must visit location for families all over the county.
Sheeps Green/Lammas Land
Located to the south west of the city, Lammas Land is bordered by Fen Causeway and Newnham Road. There is a bridge to Sheep's Green.
This is a very popular park in the summer, mainly because of its paddling pool and large play area. There are large areas of mown grass, ideal for picnics and sun bathing.
The area has many ancient willows.
The play area is part of a much larger open space so, if you get bored, you could walk on to Coe Fen and across to the river which is busy in summer with punts, or walk in the more peaceful Paradise Nature Reserve.
Sheep's Green could also be the most ideal place to park in the city.
The City Council Car Park has 100 uncovered spaces and offers free parking from Monday to Sunday, 10am to 10pm.
The common borders the River Cam, houseboats are typically moored on the common's bank and many colleges' boathouses are located on the opposite bank.
Former names for the area include Midsummer Green, Greencoft and Butts Green.
The common is naturally grazed by a herd of bulls between April and October.
Much work has been done in recent years to restore the common to how it originally looked, with the planting of new trees and a new community orchard near the Newmarket Road entrance.
The famous Grantchester Meadows to the south of the city can be reached by walking across Lammas Land by the River Cam, via Paradise nature reserve, along a residential road also called Grantchester Meadows, to the river meadows and the footpath to Grantchester.
There is some beautiful scenery here – the area is also great to spot local wildlife or enjoy a bit of sunbathing.
And if that's not enough, there are some truly brilliant tea rooms.
The tea rooms are so lovely, they even made our list of the best places to enjoy afternoon tea in Cambridge.
Ely Country Park
We couldn't avoid mentioning Ely Country Park – not least for the fact that it has recently been recognised by Natural England and awarded accredited country park status.
Ely Country Park boasts several features including play areas, sculptured walking routes and spectacular views of Ely Cathedral.
Established in 2009, the park is described as a great place for families, residents and visitors to enjoy and explore the fenland landscape and great outdoors.
The award of country park status follows recent developments and successes for the park, including the installation of a new multi-play ship which was opened in during Love Parks Week in July 2017 and its fourth consecutive Keep Britain Tidy Green Flag Award in 2017.