You know it’s summer when the slightest hint of sunshine makes everyone roll out the picnic rug, brave the wasps or put up with sand in their sandwiches and enjoy a picnic. Next week is National Picnic Week (13th – 21st June 2015) so we’ve compiled our own top tips for perfect alfresco feasts.
Pick a gorgeous location
The beauty of picnics is you can do them almost anywhere – as long as it’s outdoors. Try not to fall foul of eating your sandwiches in the car park or on the roadside (which we can only imagine is done when you’ve just no time or energy to find a better spot). Picnics are about getting back to nature, feeling the grass or sand between your toes, and breathing in the fresh air. Everything tastes better alfresco!
If you don’t mind a bit of sand getting everywhere (and it will!), a beach is a fantastic picnic spot. Our favourites are the more wild, remote beaches (check out Britain’s best wild beaches for inspiration) including the expansive sands of Holkham beach in North Norfolk where even on a busy day you’ll be able to find a decent sized spot of your own. We also love Rhossili Bay in Wales’ Swansea Bay – described by some as Britain’s best beach and by poet Dylan Thomas as “very near nowhere”.
You can also picnic urban style, particularly as our towns and cities are some of the greenest with well-kept parks and green spaces. London has a phlethora of green spots to choose from including the enormous Richmond Park and Hampstead Heath to tiny community gardens and recreation grounds in every borough. For a central location, we like St James Park for its lakes, wildflower patches, undulating grass and resident pelicans!
Go wildlife spotting
National Picnic Week is encouraging children to get closer to nature and explore their natural surroundings. Visit their website to download a copy of their brilliant Picnic Week Scavenger Hunt – see how many birds, insects, leaves and more you can find when you’re out on a picnic.
Pack a lovely picnic kit
Don’t forget essential kit such as a sharp knife, corkscrew and cloths to wipe mouths (and plates etc). Plenty of water is a must as well as sunscreen, insect repellent and an umbrella or two (don’t let the weather scupper your plans, just be prepared!).
The fun stuff comes with what to eat off and drink out of. We love the outdoor dining and picnic accessories from the eco-friendly brand Yours Sustainably. From beautifully handpainted stainless steel cups to bamboo bowls and spoons, we want the lot!
Create some inspired picnic food
Yes, you can grab ready-to-eat pre-packaged picnic food from a supermarket, or (much better) buy a few handmade edibles from your local deli or farmers’ market. But if you’re preparing the day ahead, why not use it as an excuse to create a few new foodie delights in kitchen? We like ‘A Perfect Day for a Picnic’ by Tori Finch featuring 80 recipes to share with family and friends. We’re also fans of the Guardian’s ‘Cook’ supplement, often filled with plenty of delicious snack and lunch ideas that make great picnic fare.
The National Picnic Week website is full of great ideas including beautiful picnic spots, fun and games, recipes, advice and more. Visit www.nationalpicnicweek.co.uk. Share news and pics of your alfresco adventures on Twitter using the hashtag #picnicweek.