For most of us, the summer holidays are in full swing. In fact, you might already be lounging on a sunchair as you’re reading this post. But if you’re not and you’re still busy planning fun activities and day trips for the coming weeks, you’ve stopped on the perfect page because in this blog post I want to share lots of ideas, tips and recipes for the perfect picnic, which according to the latest research from independent convenience retailer Nisa is the nation’s favourite thing to do.
Almost two-thirds of Brits (63%) love a traditional British picnic, serving up sandwiches and sausage rolls and basking in the nostalgia and happy memories of their childhood (83%). But picnics aren’t just a treat that fills all the family with happiness and yummy food, it’s also a great way to enjoy a day with family and friends without breaking the bank – something that 68% of all Brits appreciate.
Alex Rimmer of Nisa, commented: “It’s great to see that such a classic family tradition is alive and well and still a popular pastime. It’s encouraging to see that two-thirds of parents say their children think going for a picnic is fun.”
And I couldn’t agree more. Amy loves a picnic and even at 34, I think eating al fresco is so much more fun than sitting at your dinner table at home. If you feel inspired to have a picnic this summer, look no further. I’ve asked the blogging community for their favourite picnic locations, recipes and tips and as always, they’ve come up trumps.
Picnic recipes for all the family
Nisa’s research gives us the ultimate list of picnic foods voted for by the great British public:
Pork pies 11%
Sausage rolls 8%
Scotch eggs 7%
Cold meats 6%
Crisps/snacks Salads 5%
Spicy snacks (bhajis, pakoras, samosas) 4%
I, however, wanted some new ideas for picnics and as my blogging besties, Jenny and Helen are my go-to people when it comes to finding recipes to wow all my friends and family with, I instantly headed their way. And what can I say? When I told them I was writing a blog post about picnic tips and tricks, they instantly had a whole array of yummy treats for me. Check out Helen’s Picnic Loaf with cheese and roasted vegetables, her turkey pinwheel pops and omelette fajitas or her colourful Mexican Jam Jar Salad. It’s not only super fun to look at but also incredibly easy to prepare and transport.
Jenny’s blog offers another twist on the oh so popular pinwheels. For her boys, she makes sausage roll pinwheels, a cheesy marmite oat loaf or these peanut butter and apple granola cookies as a delicious sweet treat.
Wendy from Daisie and Pie has dedicated an entire blog post to all her favourite picnic recipes. I especially love the look of her pesto and chicken salad sandwich, her couscous salad with roasted veg and her gluten-free cheese scones.
Tips for the perfect picnic
To make sure that you get to enjoy your food without having to fight off wasps, ants and other insects, invest in some food tents or follow these clever tricks.
Welsh Mum Christie makes her own insect repellent. She says: “Take a small spray bottle with water and mix a few drops of clove and lemongrass essentials oil into it. Spray it around the edge of the picnic blanket and it keeps away wasps. It only costs a few pence per bottle and smells lovely.”
Ants can be kept away by sprinkling a mix of cinnamon and baking soda around your picnic blanket. Spraying your blanket with a mix of vinegar and water will also make the pesky little fellas run into the opposite direction.
Making sure that your picnic blanket and pillows are in neutral colours instead of bold and colourful prints can also help you enjoy your picnic without any uninvited visitors. Bugs and critters are attracted to bright colours, so try and stay on the low with a more neutral design.
Also, pick a picnic spot that is away from standing water, soggy grounds or wet grass. Mosquitoes love these areas and will most definitely come to spoil your picnic. Instead, go for a place with flowing water and a light breeze. Bugs avoid windy areas and will leave you to enjoy your delicious treats.
It goes without saying, that you can’t have a picnic without a comfy picnic blanket and some cushions for the extra snuggle factor but there a couple of other things I would recommend if you are thinking of having regular picnics this summer.
There are some fantastic picnic baskets or even picnic backpacks out there that already come with blankets and utensils and make carrying everything super easy and I also like using washable snack bags for nuts or raisins or glass containers with lids for any bigger items such as salads, sandwiches or fruit and veg.
When it comes to cutlery, plates and cups, the decision really is yours. Rebecca from The Everyday Mummy suggests to take a pack of paper plates and a rubbish bag, so you can throw away all the messy plates when you come across a bin instead of lugging them around with you but I’ve gotten into the habit of using reusable cutlery and plates and putting them in a big wet bag, so I can wash them once we’re home again.
Victoria from Lylia Rose also suggests investing in some good thermal flasks for both hot and cold drinks, as well as food. She says: “Filling them with cold drinks and ice can keep drinks cool for hours. You can also use them to store a homemade soup and take a crusty loaf on the picnic for something a little different!”
Beautiful picnic locations in the UK
Now that we’ve talked about all the basic, let’s have a look at the best picnic spots and locations the UK has to offer. There are so many beautiful locations you could have a picnic at with a quarter of Brits loving a picnic (24%) by a river or lake, the beach (20%) or the local park (15%) but listing all of them in this blog post would probably go beyond the scope, so let’s focus on five beautiful picnic spots that some of my friends suggested and one that is a personal favourite of mine.
Ashton Court Estate is a historic park just 10 minutes from the centre of Bristol and one of my favourite spots in the city. It covers 850 acres of woods and grasslands and its majestic oak trees give some welcome shade while you’re watching the deer graze during the summer months.
My friend Kirstie from The Mummysphere loves to treat her family to a picnic after a walk in Bedfordshire’s Chiltern Hills. Ivinghoe Beacon and the beautiful, rolling Ivinghoe Hills make a stunning backdrop to every picnic and when are some picnic treats more deserved than after a long country walk?
Helen from The Crazy Kitchen is crazy for Babbacombe Downs in Devon. The grassy area on the cliff tops overlooks the sea allows you to see right across to Portland Bill in Dorset on a clear day. It’s the perfect place to relax and gaze out to sea.
My friend Andrea is not a blogger anymore but still full of tips and ideas. She loves to take her girls to Markeaton Park in Derby. It’s got a paddling pool and boating lake and although it gets quite busy during the day, it’s a great spot for a picnic around tea time.
Another gem in the Berkshire and Hampshire area is Wellington Country Park. Jada from Unique Young Mum loves it because it’s more than just a place to picnic. It’s a place where the whole family can spend all day, with various nature trails, a lake, play areas, animals, and loads of beautiful greenery for those perfect summer picnics.
My friend Diana is German just like me and I swear she has seen more of the UK than most Brits have, so I just had to include her in this write-up. She had tons of ideas but when pressed for her absolute favourite spot to have a picnic is on top of Great Orme in Llandudno/North Wales. She loves the 360-degree view across the sea and what can I say, after seeing photos, I can whole-heartedly agree.
But no matter where you have your picnic, the main thing is that you enjoy it with the people you love and like spending time with.
Are you planning a picnic for the summer holidays? What are your favourite treats and what’s the best picnic spot near you?
This is a collaborative post.