Essentials for the perfect summer picnic

Fact – food tastes better outdoors (not a scientific fact, but we’ve decided it’s true), especially when the sun is shining. And nothing says ‘Great British summer’ better than a picnic. The joy of packing up a delicious lunch, a flask of your favourite drink and piling everyone in the car for an adventure. Is there anything better? And even if the weather betrays you, who doesn’t have a fond family memory of scoffing your sarnies in the car while you waited for the rain to stop? To make sure you make the most of the summer days and pack in as many picnics as possible, we’ve filled this blog with lots of tasty picnic inspiration and top tips. So whether you’re off to the park, the beach, a festival or even just the garden, you can enjoy a delicious alfresco feast, without a soggy sandwich in sight.

What do you take on a picnic? 

There are some picnic essentials you just can’t do without, so we’ve come up with a picnic checklist to make sure you’re not caught short when eating outdoors.

  • Picnic basket or bag to transport your food and drink – ideally an insulated one to keep your food fresh.

Picnic plates, cups and cutlery. We don’t suggest taking your every day dinner plates though – the last thing you want is to be taking broken crockery home with you! Thankfully there are lots of great outdoor-friendly options like melamine. Plus there are lots of reusable outdoor cutlery options too.

  • Cutting board – this will be invaluable if slicing up food to share around… or cutting a slice of lime for your G&T.
  • A picnic mat or blanket, to avoid soggy bottoms.
  • Alternatively, a fold-away picnic table – if you’re feeling fancy. Don’t forget the chairs if you’re going for this option.
  • Napkins – you can never have enough of them on a picnic, especially when you’ve got a lot of finger food.
  • Insect repellent – if you’re venturing into the great outdoors, you’ll want something to keep unwanted guests like flies and other insects away from you. To keep them off your food, food covers are good things for picnics too.

6 picnic essentials for the perfect summer outing

If you’re not sure where to start with gathering your supplies, here are our top-pick picnic essentials to help you get organised before you set off on your alfresco adventures.

The best picnic mat for large groups:

Lakeland Water-Resistant Picnic MatWater Resistant Picnic Mat

Your summer clothes will remain dry and grass stain-free with our handy water-resistant picnic mat in your armoury. Easy to wipe clean, there’s no need to worry about those inevitable spills either. And thanks to its generous size, you’ll fit your grub and your fellow picnic goers on there too. It also comes with a handy drawstring bag, making it easy to transport back home.

Price: £24.99

The best non-intrusive insect repellent:

Thermacell Halo Mini Patio Shield Mosquito and Midge RepellerThermacell Halo Mini Patio Shield Mosquito and Midge Repeller

Forget smelly DEET bug sprays and the age-old

flap and swat dance – thanks to Thermacell you can enjoy

the great outdoors without the worry of an insect invasion. Thermacell’s innovative technology creates a 20m Sq. zone of protection to ward off unwanted intruders like small flies, mosquitoes and midges without harming them. Lightweight and sleekly styled, it’s great for the garden, park and even the beach, comes with 12 continuous hours’ protection included and has a weather-resistant lid to protect it from the elements between uses.

Price: £34.99

The best picnic bag for families:

Lakeland Family Insulated Cool Bag 22LLakeland Family Insulated Cool Bag 22L

Lined with reflective aluminium foil to keep food cool for hours, this smart cool bag is made from recycled plastic bottles, so you’ll be doing that little bit extra for the environment. It has a generously sized compartment with a zip fastening – so you can fill it with enough grub to feed the whole family – and three handy pockets on the sides for those extra bits and bobs you don’t want to get lost inside. Lightweight with two carry handles and an adjustable, removable shoulder strap, it’s easy to transport, and it folds down for easy storage when not in use.

Price: £34.99

And you can pop in an ice pack to help keep food chilled for even longer.

The best tableware for the outdoors:

Hazy Days Melamine rangeHazy Days Melamine range

Featuring our exclusive design, our mix-and-match tableware is made from extra-tough, hard-wearing, lightweight melamine, which is as party-proof as it is pretty. With complementing plates, bowls, tumblers and serving spoons, you’ll be the envy of all other picnic goers.

Price: from £3.49

The best glasses for posh picnics:

Crystal Acrylic FluteCrystal Acrylic Flute

Going for a day at the races? Birthday brunch at the park? Some occasions, and drinks, call for something a bit more special than a plastic beaker, but you don’t want to run the risk of breaking your best wine glasses… The solution? Our Crystal Acrylic Flutes. While they might look like costly cut crystal, these sophisticated glasses are a robust acrylic replica that’ll make you feel fancy while you sip your fizz, without the risk of breakages. Cheers to that!

Price: £4.99

You’ll find wine glasses, tumblers and a lidded serving jug in the beautiful Crystal Acrylic range too.

The best flask for families:

Thermos King Grey Large Flask 1.2LThermos King Grey Large Flask 1.2L

This insulated Flask will keep your drinks either hot or cold for up to 24 hours – long enough for any adventure. And the generous size means you can pour out either a refreshingly cold drink or comforting brew for the whole family on your picnic. The twist and pour stopper allows you to pour your drinks easily, with minimal risk of spilling, and the integral handle makes it easy to carry. Better still, it’s virtually indestructible, as the flask’s interior, exterior and cup are all made from stainless steel and will withstand all manner of drops and bashes while you’re out and about.

Price: £30.99

3 of our favourite picnic food recipes

Thai Prawn Mini BakesThai Prawn Mini Bakes

These tasty morsels, with prawns, Thai red curry paste and fragrant lemongrass, are perfect for passing around at a picnic. Made in our Silicone Mini Loaf Mould, you’ll have 24 perfectly formed bites – so there’ll be no arguments over who gets the bigger bit!.

Stuffed Picnic LoafStuffed Picnic Loaf

There’s nothing more disappointing than opening your hamper to discover your sandwiches have gone soggy or lost half of their filling. Our stuffed picnic loaf, with layers of sausage, cheese and tomato, safely encased in a loaf of bread, is a delicious solution to this picnic predicament.

Mini Carrot Sandwich CakesMini Carrot Sandwich Cakes

We couldn’t leave you without a pudding for your picnic, so here’s our unbelievably scrumptious mini carrot cakes. No slicing required – just pop them securely in a food container and pass around. Packed with carrots and juicy raisins and topped with delicious buttercream, they’re sure to go down a treat. This recipe makes 12 of these tasty dinky cakes – so plenty for everyone.

How do you keep food hot or cold on a picnic?

An insulated bag is your best bet, as the reflective lining will keep your food at a similar temperature to what it went in as – so it will keep your warm food warm and your cold food cold. To keep chilled food fresh, adding an ice pack to your bag will help keep everything cold for longer. Don’t have an ice pack? Fill a bottle with water, freeze it and use that instead. Bonus – you have ice-cold water to enjoy at your picnic too. You could do the same with juice, or any other drink you fancy. If you’re transporting warm food, you could also wrap it in foil before placing it in your bag to help keep the heat in for longer.

Did you know your insulated flasks can be used for much more than keeping your drinks hot or cold? If you fancy a refreshing ice cream or lolly on your picnic, or even out on a hike, pop it in a quality insulated flask and you’ll be treated to a frozen treat on the warmest of days.

Stuck for picnic ideas? Look no further

BBQ on the beach – take a portable barbecue, blanket, some burgers and kebabs (or whatever you fancy), drinks and friends down to the beach and you’ve got yourself a fun-filled afternoon or evening. Why not take some beach games, like volleyball or badminton, too? And if you take a fire pit, you can keep toasty late into the evening too.

Romantic woodland picnic – not sure what to do for an anniversary or birthday? A woodland picnic is easy to organise, but with maximum romantic points. Pack their favourite food and drink (maybe some bubbly?), find a beautiful location, and they’re sure to appreciate the effort.

Teddy bear’s picnic – got little ones to keep entertained on a sunny afternoon? Take them on a teddy bear’s picnic! Keep it simple and stress-free by having it in your garden or local park. All you need is a blanket, some sandwiches and nibbles, drinks, their favourite teddy bears. Don’t forget extra cups and plates so the bears can join the picnic too.

And there you have it. Everything you need, from essential kit to tasty recipe inspiration, to enjoy perfect picnics this summer. Now we just need to keep our fingers crossed for good weather…

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