This species occurs from France through central Europe to Turkey, Scandinavia, Russia and Mongolia.
Although present in England, Wales and Scotland, Chorthippus parallelus is absent from Ireland and off-shore islands. This indicates it was a post-glacial arrival from the continent, its normal inability to fly restricting its distribution range.
The meadow grasshopper is found in a variety of grassland habitats, including roadside verges, parkland, marshland and moorland.
It occurs in higher numbers on coarser, rougher grass but also in short turf on heaths, chalk slopes, dunes and cliffs.
It may occur alongside other grasshopper species but is often the only one present.