Our top tips for putting together the perfect picnic

The Spring and Summer of 2021 will be characterised by staycations.

Across the country, Brits will be heading out into the sunshine, and making the most out of the great outdoors.

Instead of jetting off abroad, the majority of us will be taking advantage of the fields, forests, parks and beaches that we’re lucky enough to have on our doorstep.

On a previous year, we may have scoffed at this idea, thinking that a staycation couldn’t possibly live up to the excitement of a holiday in another (almost certainly warmer) country. But this year, we know better.
If the ups and downs of the pandemic have taught us anything, it’s that the UK has a lot to offer us, and that there’s really no need to travel so far for our holidays. After all, not to sound corny, but the best thing about a holiday is the people who come with us.

If you’re planning an at-home staycation this year, one of the key activities that you’ll have in mind is a picnic.

Picnics are an absolute sunshine staple. Picture the scene - you and your loved ones sat on a gingham blanket, soaking up the sunshine, and tucking into a basket of fresh and seasonal goodies.

Few activities boast this same level of quaint, outdoorsy and wholesome charm.

So, as part of our series of fun family Spring and summer ideas, we’ll be dedicating this blog post to helping you put together the best picnic possible.

Below, you’ll find our picnic guide split into three sections - helping you to find the perfect blanket, food and boxes. These are the three fundamental elements to achieving the best picnic, and making the most out of the warmer weather.

Preparing for your picnic

First things first, you’ll need to know what’s going in your basket.

So, we’ve provided a handy checklist, which is sure to keep your plans well-organised, and everyone there comfy, cosy and (most importantly) well-fed.

Our key must-bring items for your picnic are:
  • The hamper itself
  • A cool bag
  • A picnic blanket
  • Plenty of water
  • Plates
  • Drinking classes
  • Cutlery
  • A chopping board and a knife (if needed)
  • Any other utensils that you may need (for example, a bottle opener). This will depend on the food you are bringing
  • Sun cream
  • Food - filling sharing dishes like sandwiches, sausage rolls, fruit and salads
  • Sharing dishes - these larger food options make for a fantastic picnic centrepiece, too
  • Nibbles - sweets and crisps are always a winner
  • Dessert - cakes and buns will certainly go down a treat
  • Drink - fruit or fizzy drinks for the kids, and maybe a bottle of something special for the grown ups
  • Rubbish bags (to help you clear up afterwards)
  • Wet wipes
  • Chairs
  • Cushions

Searching for picnic blankets

Picnic blankets are an absolute staple - they not only ensure everyone is comfy, but they also keep the food off the grass, too.

The internet is completely filled with different varieties of picnic blanket, but how do you find the best option on the market?

When choosing a new picnic blanket, there are 3 main questions to ask yourself:
  • How big is it? Will it comfortably fit everyone who’s going to be there?
  • Does it have a waterproof layer? This feature will better protect your food (and your bums!) from getting damp or muddy. Plus, this will keep your blanket in top condition for longer.
  • What material does it use? Choose a soft, comfy blanket that is enjoyable to sit on. It’s worth investing in a good quality fabric, especially if you’ll be sitting there for a few hours.

Top tip: when you are packing your picnic basket, you can wrap any breakable items (like bottles or glasses) in the blanket. This will protect them from any knocks or bumps when you are on the move.


Choosing the perfect picnic food

Finding the right food to please everyone present may feel a bit daunting. But, the great thing about picnics is the fact that this activity has a range of its own staple dishes, which everyone will naturally be expecting to see.

As a result, it’d be very hard to disappoint anyone with these go-to picnic classics.

For your upcoming picnic, our favourite (in our opinion, unbeatable) food to serve up to your loved ones would include these decadent dishes.

Our easy picnic food list is as follows:
  • Bread
  • Cheese
  • Crackers
  • Sandwiches - varieties like salmon and cucumber, cheese and tomato, and ham and mustard are always popular
  • Sausage rolls
  • Pork pies
  • Salad
  • Olives
  • A centrepiece - like a quiche, pie, a giant pork pie (topped with berries), or a pizza
  • Fresh fruit
  • Crisps
  • Dips
  • A sharing cake
  • Scones, fairy cakes or iced buns
  • Cookies
  • Fizzy pop
  • Fruit juice
  • Water
  • A flask of coffee and tea
  • Wine, beer, a bottle of bubbly or cocktails

Certainly don’t feel like you have to include all of these options! This list is just designed to give you some inspiration for your menu, and some easy ideas that will keep the whole group happy.


Investing in a dependable picnic box

Now, you just need something to carry it all in!

A sturdy and hard wearing picnic box is a great investment, which will last you for many more picnics to come.

When choosing your picnic basket, think about how many people it needs to serve, and what your budget is. There are a huge range of picnic baskets available on the market, but being specific about what you want will really help you to narrow down your search.

We would also recommend that you have a read of BBC Good Food’s best picnic baskets and hampers list, which gives you some great tips and some of the best ideas for picnic 2021.

Alongside a dependable picnic basket, another fantastic tool to have on hand to help you with your picnic planning is a FridgeCam. This intuitive piece of kitchen technology will ensure that the food and drinks for the day are thoroughly well-managed.

The FridgeCam has a range of intuitive features, which are designed to help you keep tabs on the food in your kitchen. For example, when you are out at the supermarket buying supplies for your picnic, you can check what you have in your fridge at home on your phone, through the Smarter app. With the FridgeCam, you can also link your shopping list to Amazon Fresh, so that you can order any goodies you need quickly and easily.

You can find out more about the FridgeCam on the Smarter online store. We’ll have your FridgeCam with you ready for the start of the picnic season.

Written by Josephine Walbank