Planning the perfect picnic
15 – 24 June is National Picnic Week in the UK. Founded ten years ago, the celebratory event aims to get more people socialising outside, away from their phones and the TV. That’s a mission we’re happy to get behind!
Picnicking originated in France, but is now enjoyed all over the world as a low-cost way to get together with friends and family. Many children delight in the novelty of eating outdoors and a ‘pick and mix’ approach to food is especially good for toddlers and pre-schoolers.
So if you’re planning a picnic this summer, here are our tips for getting the most out of your al fresco experience:
Pick your spot
Where you choose to go will depend in part on who’s going, and how you’re getting there. If you have babies and toddlers or people with mobility difficulties, a dramatic spot on a cliff top is unlikely to be practical. So think about parking, public transport and the accessibility of paths underfoot.
You don’t have to go somewhere exotic – the simple pleasure of getting together outside to share food is as real in a back garden, the local park or a remote beach.
If you want some inspiration for more unusual settings, here are the top 10 UK picnic spots according to a 2017 survey.
Think about how you’ll transport your picnic kit to your chosen spot. If you’ve got a longer walk, you’ll want to pack tactically so you’re not carrying heavy bags too far. If it’s a short walk, you might want to picnic in more style. Don’t forget to think about:
- Food and drink for everyone (of course!), including ice packs to keep meats and dairy chilled if needed
- Something to sit on
- Plates, cups and cutlery, including knives to cut cakes/pies etc
- Wipes or cloths to keep people clean
- Entertainment and activities
- Sun cream (and a sunshade for babies)
- Waterproofs - check out our summer rain gear
Remember to leave nothing behind once you’ve finished – take a bag for rubbish and food scraps too.
Picnic food can be as simple or fancy as you like. Apparently crisps are the UK’s number one choice for a picnic. You can liven up he menu by browsing the food ideas on the National Picnic Week website. Or adapt some of the ideas we shared earlier in the year for interesting and healthy packed lunches.
Keeping everyone entertained
It can be hard when the adults want a post-picnic snooze or to pick up a book, and the younger crowd want to run around and play. If it’s safe to leave the children to entertain themselves, let them have fun playing tag, hide and seek, or whatever creative games they dream up. A ball or Frisbee won’t take up much packing space and will help the kids run off some energy. And it’s a good idea to pack some paper and pens for colouring and drawing too, if everyone’s had enough of running around.