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6 Tips and Hacks for the Perfect Summer Picnic


Picnics have become somewhat of a British institution and one of our most enjoyable summer pastimes, so as soon as the sunshine makes an appearance, the call of the outdoors provides us with the ideal opportunity to host an al fresco feast with friends and family.  National Picnic Week was founded a decade ago to encourage people to get together over the Picnicking tradition and this year runs from 13th-21st June; so as the Picnicking season is well and truly upon us, what better time than now to host one of your own and take advantage of the British sunshine whilst it lasts? We have put together our definitive list of handy tips and hacks to help you create the perfect picnic and have a great day out this summer.

1. Location, location, location

The beauty of a picnic is that you can have one virtually anywhere, so whether you are located in the countryside, by the coast or in the city, you will be able to find somewhere to eat al fresco. There are a host of local beauty spots and national parks across the country with incredible scenic views and on-site facilities that are ideal locations for a picnic; National Picnic Week has listed some of their favourite picnic spots from around the UK so it’s easy to find one that’s close to home. Even if you live in the city, most will have a number of well-kept green spaces and parks to take advantage of and host an urban picnic. Last week, we hosted our very own Country Attire picnic in honour of National Picnic Week and it was a great way to get everyone in the office involved and to bask in the sunshine during our lunch break (we've included a few of our own picnic images to provide you with some inspiration). If you don’t feel like venturing far from home, there is also nothing stopping you having one in your own back garden; it will be especially handy to have amenities close to hand and if the great British weather suddenly turns you can continue with your picnic indoors.


2. Picnic Prep Essentials 

If you have planned your picnic for a particularly hot day and/or you need to travel to your picnicking spot, make sure you have a cool box/bag to keep refrigerated food fresh and drinks cool when it comes to serving. Alternatively, you could use a good old fashioned picnic hamper and place ice blocks in the sides to chill food and drinks; there are also a number of modern styles available such as the Joules Four Person Picnic Hamper that has a foil lining to keep everything cool, they even come ready with all your picnic accessories such as plates, glasses and cutlery. To save on space, you could prepack food into Tupperware containers or mason jars that can be easily stacked and carried in boxes and hampers, they are also handy to serve food on without the need for additional plates; any leftover food can also be easily brought back this way. You could also take along a couple of trays or boards to place food and drinks items on to provide a more stable foundation, especially if the ground is a bit uneven! If you need something more portable than a hamper, the Joules Four Person Picnic Rucksack is perfect if you are planning on travelling further on foot, it still comes with all the picnic accessories you could possibly need - even a cheeseboard, detachable bottle holder and bottle opener!

3. Are you sitting comfortably?

If you have chosen a popular picnicking spot, the chance are that there will be an area with picnic tables free for you to use, however these areas may also be other parties’ first point of call and tables could fill up quite quickly, especially on sunny days and during the school holidays. A cosy picnic blanket will be ideal if you are sitting on the floor as they provide a comfortable layer between you and the ground.  Some blankets now even have waterproof under-layers or treatments to protect against damp grass and spillages, such as the Joules Fold and Carry Picnic Blanket, which also has a handy carry handle and is simple to pack away. If you prefer, you could also consider taking along a couple of foldaway camping chairs to sit back, relax and enjoy the views.


 4. Food, glorious food!

The best part of any picnic is deciding what delicious food to take along with you. If you are organising one with a group of friends or work colleagues, it will be fun to take part in a potluck where each person brings along a different dish for everyone to share – it’s a brilliant way to get everyone involved and to have some fun preparing each dish. For a romantic picnic for two, you may want to take some more sumptuous, tapas style dishes and maybe even some prosecco or champagne to enjoy in the sunshine. For a big family occasion, some kid friendly foods and party food classics are always welcome choices. Whatever you decide to bring, make sure it is something that can be easily eaten, can withstand being transported and is relatively fuss free; we’ve compiled a list of popular picnic foods and snacks to give you some inspiration that you can pick and choose from to suit the occasion:

- Deli style sandwiches, fresh breads and savoury crackers - Cheeses, cured meats and relishes - Pre-prepared summer salads and dressing - Sliced pitta and veggies with hummus for dipping - Savoury pies, tarts and quiches - Sausage rolls and scotch eggs - Various condiments and dips to complement your dishes - Assorted flavours of crisps, pretzels and  gourmet popcorn - Pre-prepared fruit salads and summer berries - Classic scones with cream and jam, mini cakes and cookies - Bottled water and fizzy drinks - Prosecco, Pimm’s or flavoured cider for the adults

5. It's all fun and games

The main aim of a picnic is to get together, enjoy the sunshine and have some fun outdoors. For little kids and big kids alike, taking along some equipment for outdoor games is a great way to keep everyone entertained; it could be as simple as taking a football, bat & ball or a Frisbee along with you, maybe even a rounders or boules set if you have them close to hand. For those who prefer to be spectating, take along speakers to listen to some music or even some magazines/your latest novel to kick back and relax in the sun.

6. Stay safe in the sun

As the British weather is so temperamental, it is easy to forget to stay safe in the sun like we would normally do abroad. If it is a warm day, even if it's overcast, take a bottle of sun cream along to prevent anyone at the picnic burning. It’s also important to stay hydrated throughout the day particularly when it is warm, so take plenty of bottled water for everyone. Another tip would be to also take along a parasol to provide some shade and a cool place to sit for people who have had enough sun for the day.

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