There’s no better way to enjoy the warmer weather than with your family out on the heathland or beach, with a picnic hamper in tow. You can’t control the weather, but you don’t want your picnic to be dampened by sub-standard picnic snacks or a soggy sandwich. Read our guide on the best picnic supplies and top tips for keeping the whole family happy out on the blanket.
Look at locations
Food tastes even better with a great view and here in Britain, there are a range of great picnic spots to choose from. Wherever you choose to go, there are a few things to consider.
Litter: you want to be sure that the location you go to has plenty of bins. It’s sad enough when your picnic comes to an end, to then have to bundle all of the rubbish back into your hamper or cool box and take it back home with you.
Space: a picnic is a great family day out because it combines a meal time with play time. It’s important that young ones have plenty of space to run around and enjoy the great outdoors. It’s also a good idea to look for places that are big enough to allow youngsters to play with a frisbee, ball or the dog without crashing their way through your pop up dining area!
Facilities: A remote area might seem appealing based on the space requirement above, but remember to think facilities. If it’s an adults only gathering, remote can be relaxing, but remember that bathroom facilities will be key if you are travelling with children and a sink isn’t a bad addition either – when you’re eating outdoors, it’s likely that all dinner table etiquette will be left at home…
Terrain: The best picnic views are from the top of a summit or hill. This is a great idea, but make sure you stay safe and plan your route. Also, consider the weight of your picnic food hamper if you are walking a long way.
Pack with precision
Your picnic will only go as well as the food and if you open your hamper to find half of it has escaped, your lemonade bottle is dripping with coleslaw and your sandwiches have already curled at the edges, there will be some pretty sad faces in the group.
Before you set off, think about the food you are taking and the containers required. Tupperware boxes are a great idea but make sure they are a shut tight and not overfilled. Shop bought packaging is often a safe bet and accompaniments like potato salad or the aforementioned coleslaw are safest with shop seals still in place. Same goes for your drinks, too!
Think about food safety, do you need a cool bag or box? Or will a wicker hamper suffice? Keep things like your meat, dairy and other usual refrigerated foods cool. Items like quiche or meat pies are best to taken pre-cut or purchased in small portions so that you can serve straight from the box rather than leaving them out in the sun. Carry wet wipes and hand gel to keep little hands clean!
Finally, consider your cutlery and glasses. We’d always recommend taking plastic options for both, your best crystal or silverware stands the risk of getting damaged or thrown away when out on location.
Easy picnic food
Sensational sandwiches: These are a staple of the British picnic and we couldn’t leave them out! We recommend sandwich fillings that are dry and can have any dressing or sauces added on arrival. Pre-packed wet sandwich fillers are delicious, but when transporting sandwiches to a picnic, can turn bread soggy in seconds.
Fantastic finger foods: Sausage rolls, cocktail sausages, scotch eggs and chicken drumsticks are all classic picnic treats because they are easy to eat by hand and travel well. As mentioned, the beauty of these is that they can be added to your picnic hamper pre-packed from the store and in singular portions (mini pork pies, savoury eggs and mini sausage rolls) so these can be eaten straight from the cool box.
Super snacks: We know it’s best to try and think healthy when planning meals, but for a special day out, in an area where they can get active, you can afford to be a bit more liberal with your picnic food for kids, as well as the grownups! There are plenty of sweet treats to take with you, chocolate, biscuits and cakes. But in the same way as your savoury delights, we’d recommend individual bitesize offerings rather than full size so that you can keep them fresh without any extra cutting or risk of melting. Think mini biscuit bites, individual cake slices or boxes of chocolates.
Delightful drinks: you’ll need something to wash your picnic snacks down with, but there’s more to your drink decision than you might think. Fizzy drinks can go flat, they’re heavy and if you are taking something a little stronger, you may need something to open it! Smaller individual drinks like cans or smaller bottles are a good idea to save on weight and the risk of going flat, plus they avoid the difficulty of pouring into a plastic cup that’s resting on an uneven blanket. A separate cool box or bag is a great idea for drinks just in case of any leakage – you may get thirsty in that case, but at least you won’t go hungry…
So there you have it, our top picks for picnic supplies and considerations to make yours the pick of all picnics. Snap on that Tupperware lid, zip up that cool bag packed full of easy picnic food and fasten your seatbelt for a day at the beach or out on the hills. A full range of picnic snacks and picnic food offers are available in your nearest SPAR store.