Home Healthy Eating Al Fresco Manifesto: Top Tips for National Picnic Week

Al Fresco Manifesto: Top Tips for National Picnic Week

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Ten years after its inception, National Picnic Week is back on the 17th – 25th June with picnickers up and down the country enjoying the al fresco feast of the summer. 

Katy Baxter, head of marketing at Baxters of Scotland, said: “Whether you’re picnicking in the local park, by the seaside or in the heart of the countryside, a picnic in the sun is one of the great joys of British summertime. 

“This year, National Picnic Week falls in line with the Summer Solstice (20th June), so why not soak up the longest day of the year outdoors with friends and family?” 

Here are some of their top tips for a perfect picnic: 

Location, location, location 

A picnic is the perfect chance to get out in nature and roll out the tartan blanket in an area of outstanding natural beauty. 

If you’re really looking for the full day out experience, consider a lakeside trip, or a day on the beach, a hilltop or in a meadow. 

Experts agree that that just 120 minutes outdoors can bring a parade of physical and mental benefits including improved sleep, increased energy and improved emotional health. So, if you’re just after the wellness boost, even an afternoon down your local park will do. 

While remote locations can be great fun, you may prefer somewhere with essential amenities such as public toilets, picnic tables and waste bins. 

Ensure to strike a nice balance between shade and sun. Spots with overhanging trees can provide good shelter for your little ones or any sun-sensitive members of your picnic party. 

If you’re looking for some inspiration, the National Trust has compiled a handy guide to picnic spots near you with an interactive map showing those in your local area.

Equipment essentials 

If you’re really looking for that picnic par excellence, then you can’t argue with the superior quality and inherent practicality of a luxury picnic hamper. 

Katy continued: “The perfect picnic has a lot of deliverables – food, wine, cutlery, crockery, entertainment – so a sturdy, easily portable wicker basket is perfect for transporting your treasure trove of goodies. After all, there’s nothing worse than warm wine and soggy sandwiches.” 

On that topic, keeping your wine cool is surely a top priority, so cooler boxes, chill sticks and cooling sleeves are all good options. For a novel £1.90 hack, freeze some grapes and pop them in a cooler bag. Then, place them in your wine glass before pouring. This will chill your glass and keep its contents nice and cool for sipping on in the summer breeze. 

Food and drink 

Of course, food and drink are the heart of any picnic. Finger foods such as sandwiches, wraps, cheeses and fresh fruit are easy to eat and minimise the need for utensils. 

Then, upgrade your picnic with some gourmet touches. Premium products like chutneys, pickles and relishes can really add that extra layer of flavour to your fayre. 

For example, how about a turkey rarebit sandwich finished with a spoonful of caramelised onion chutney? Or a fresh new potato salad complemented by a cool cucumber & dill relish? 

To wash all of this down, it’s best to pack a variety of drinks that cater to all tastes. Homemade lemonade, iced tea and sparkling water are great non-alcoholic options while a light and summery bottle of wine or pre-mixed garden cocktail can provide a nice treat.

Entertainment

While the company of close friends and family will be enough for some, planning some activities can elevate your picnic above the art of conversation.

Pack a few lightweight, portable games like frisbees or footballs or invest in a deck of playing cards to get everyone involved. 

You could also bring along a small speaker to play all of your favourite tunes. Spotify have curated their perfect “picnic playlist” – best enjoyed beneath those sunny skies and on balmy summer evenings.

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