The long-awaited restriction free summer is upon us, and what better way to celebrate than with a picnic? With UK weather still seeming to be gracing us with sporadic sunshine, now is the perfect time to enjoy a picnic with family and friends, whether in a local park, your back garden, or in the grounds of one of these exquisite stately homes. However, no matter the location, the perfect picnic takes some planning. Here are our tips for the perfect al fresco dining experience!
Choose the perfect picnic basket
While not all of us may be able to get our hands on a charming vintage picnic basket, choosing and packing up the perfect picnic basket is the most important task for any picnic goer. The best baskets are those that are both attractive and sturdy, offering enough space to carry everything you need without being too heavy to carry to your destination. Choose a classic vintage silhouette, fitted out with leather straps and handles, or opt for a more contemporary design with insulated pockets for the perfectly chilled bottle of wine.
The Downton 4 person hamper, £235, The Vintage Hamper Company
Greenfield Collection 4 person willow picnic hamper, £110, Selfridges
Bembridge forage basket, £50, Garden Trading
The Picnic Cooler Basket, £120, Twiin
Navigate River Filled Wicker Picnic Hamper, £69.99, John Lewis
Lay out a picnic blanket
Essential to any picnic is the blanket. The best blankets are those that are light and compact, so look for those that have a strap or roll-up style, which can come in handy when burdened with heavy picnic baskets and outdoor games. Those that are machine washable are great in case you spill some of your food or drink, and blankets with waterproof underlays are perfect for keeping you dry on damp grasses.
Neutral Check Recycled Wool Picnic Blanket, £95, Liberty
Picnic Blanket made with Liberty Fabric Donna Leigh, £180, Coco & Wolf
Picnic Blanket in Green Floral, £49, La Redoute
Tweedmill Leisure Picnic Rug, £44.95, Black by Design
Cotton Gingham Check Picnic Rug, £8.99, Homescapes
Get comfortable with some throw pillows
Throw pillows are a great addition to any picnic, taking it from practical to posh, keeping yourself and your friends cosy all afternoon long. Feel free to coordinate them with your picnic blanket, or mix and match to show off your personal style – the possibilities are endless.
Printed Floral Floor Cushions, £35 each, Graham & Green
Designers Guild Tapestry Velvet Cushion, £54.99, Etsy UK
Orange Round Velvet Cushion, Mint & May, £24
Morris & Co. Strawberry Thief Square Velvet Cushion, £55, John Lewis
Serve it all up with some statement tableware
If your picnic basket doesn’t include its own set of cutlery, remember to bring some plates and napkins to serve your food on. Melamine and acrylic plates and glassware are great picnic options, providing an unbreakable, easy clear-up option. Don’t forget larger serving plates for impeccable presentation!