How to Plan the Perfect Picnic

28 Apr 2022

picnic in garden

The sun is shining, and the evenings are getting brighter meaning picnic season is here and with any luck, it’s here to stay. Al fresco fining is one of summers great joys. Food seems to taster better in the open air and the quintessential picnic is no exception.

The key to a truly successful picnic is plenty of planning. From choosing an idyllic location to packing your picnic basket like a pro, we’ve curated a collection of top tips to help you plan the perfect picnic so you can sit back, relax, and perhaps keen an eye on the British weather...

Location, Location, Location

beach picnic
Lumina Images/

Whether you prefer a secluded spot under the trees or basking in the full sunshine at the beach, location can make or break a picnic. To be safe, just make sure you consider the needs of everyone and you can’t go wrong.

Perfect for sport-lovers and sun-worshippers alike, a beach picnic is guaranteed to keep everyone happy. Keep the sand away from your sandwiches with a large picnic blanket or beach towel, wicker placemats and plenty of tightly sealed containers and keep your drinks fresh with a waterproof cooler bag. Remember to pack some flipflops and a game for some post-picnic fun.

forest picnic
bernardbodo /

With rivers to paddle in, rocks to climb and plenty of space to explore, the forest is the perfect place for all the family to enjoy. Popular forests often have picnic tables so it’s a good idea to get there ahead of lunchtime to claim your spot. If you’re heading out later in the day, bring some warm blankets to curl up under when the sun dips below the trees.

Perhaps the most traditional choice, the tried and tested picnic in a park never fails to disappoint with plenty of space available for all your friends and family to get together. Pack your hamper, grab some outdoor games, and settle down in your local park or meadow for a fun-filled al fresco fiesta.

What Do I Need to Pack?

beach picnic
Royal Doulton
Royal Doulton

Without a doubt, the culinary creations you pull from your picnic hamper should steal the show, but it can be difficult to know what to put on your packing list.

Whilst picnics are delightful, cleaning up afterwards and dealing with sticky fingers or stained clothes isn’t so try and stick to foods that can easily split, cut up, or shared. Alternatively, forgo any cutting altogether and opt for delicious bite-size treats that work for everyone.

Picnics are supposed to be casual and should be just as enjoyable for the host so make sure you create a buffet spread you can layout and tuck into everyone else. Throw in breads, smoked salmon, potato salad, crisps, and sliced carrots to satisfy every taste.

picnic set up

Sandwiches, savoury treats like scotch eggs and sausage rolls, and classic desserts like brownies, cake slices, and cookies are favourites for a reason. They’re delicious and easy to eat outside so why not put your own spin on these classic picnic hits for your next outing?

No matter what you serve, dipping sauces are always a must. Purchase a pint-sized set of classic condiments or decant them into small, air-tight containers to avoid any spillages.

Cocktail sticks are a small and incredibly useful addition to your picnic cutlery. Nibbling on olives and cheese with cocktail sticks is much more civilised and less messy than fingers. Throw in a few bin bags to ensure an easy clean-up and include some sandwich bags so you can pack away any leftovers.

How to Pack Your Picnic Basket or Hamper

picnic basket

Ensure your tasty treats are safe and secure by investing in a high-quality hamper, basket, or cool bag that you can use year after year. With plenty of room to store the essentials, pack your food in some stackable air-tight containers and opt for a hamper with internal compartments or built-in picnicware to make the most of your storage space.

Don’t forget to factor in the temperature when packing your picnic. Oily foods cope well in warm climates so look to include sun-dried tomatoes, olives, or anchovies if you’re heading somewhere warm. Sandwiches can quickly dry out in the heat so it’s best to keep them well sealed and away from sunlight.

Pack your cold foods last to keep them fresh. Move them straight from the bridge into cool bags and line the sides with plenty of ice packs. Take leak-proof water bottles and if you’re taking chilled drinks likes soda, juice, and iced tea, remember to surround them with ice packs to keep them cool. A full cool bag will stay colder for longer than one that is half empty so try and pack as much as possible with the heavier, more perishable items at the bottom closest to the ice.

Finishing Touches

picnic set up

Don’t forget about those all-important details to make sure your picnic is an Insta-worthy occasion.

Make sure your picnic blanket is roomy enough for all your guests to stretch out and enjoy the sunshine and if it’s not, borrow a few more especially if you’re going to the beach. A windbreak or camping shelter also comes in handy as they can double as sun guards if it’s a hot and sunny day.

Put away the glass and china and invest in some reusable picnicware. A plastic, melamine, or bamboo picnic set is much more durable, easier to carry and will survive the journey in one piece.

grapes and wine on picnic blanket

Add a level of luxury to your picnic with some linen napkins. Not only are these more stylish than their paper cousins but they’re also an eco-friendly option that can be used time and time again.

For added comfort, scatter a few outdoor cushions across your picnic setting. Why not experiment with different styles, shapes, and colours? There are no rules when it comes to styling a picnic. Just make sure they’re washable and suitable for outdoors.

Try as we might to find a flat piece of grass to picnic on, drinks may spill, and bowls may tip if you don’t bring a tray or serving platter. These have the added bonus of looking effortlessly stylish while bringing order to the potential chaos.

Ready to dine al fresco? Get set for summer and explore our full collection of picnicware and accessories.

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