A picnic provides an ideal opportunity to get away from the hassles of everyday life, head for the great outdoors, and spend quality time with your family.
With National Picnic Week (June 21-30) in mind, we’ve compiled 5 tips for a perfect picnic to help you wind down and have fun as you enjoy your own little party in the fresh air, without breaking the bank.
1. Choosing your picnic destination
With acres of countryside and miles of coastline, the UK offers multiple beauty spots for a perfect family picnic. Here are just a few popular picnic destinations.
In the Midlands, Dovedale – part of the Derbyshire and Staffordshire Peak District – boasts scenic walking and cycling trails as well as idyllic picnic points. (There are a few Moto sites nearby you can make the most of on your way, too; Trowell & Donington on the M1 are the closest!)
Londoners and tourists alike flock to Hyde Park for picnics. It’s one of the capital’s eight Royal Parks and home to landmarks including the Serpentine Lake and Speakers’ Corner.
The Lake District, in Cumbria in the north-west corner of England, abounds in picnic spots among picturesque mountains, valleys and coastline – and, of course, lakes! (Our Burton-in-Kendal site is the perfect place to stop off in your way in and out of the lakes – it’s close, convenient, and boasts some stunning views nearby!)
A little farther north will take you to Loch Lomond, in southern Scotland. The lake is surrounded by wild scenery, areas of outstanding natural beauty, and handy picnic spots. (The Sterling branch of Moto is an hour away, too, so provides a great place for a final pit stop en route!)
In North Wales, Snowdonia offers attractive picnic locations among an extensive network of trails, craggy peaks and lakes.
2. Driving your family to the picnic location
Before the cries of “Are we there yet?” start ringing out from the back seat, get the kids involved in your family picnic excursion by telling them about the fun they can have when you arrive at your destination – but don’t create unrealistic expectations by overselling it.
A car journey isn’t the ideal time to reinforce the idea of healthy eating in your kids. Give them a break and let them indulge – in moderation – in their favourite snacks and drinks, without spoiling their appetite for the picnic itself.
While you don’t want your kids glued to a screen all the time at home, music, games and films on their favourite tech gadget can help pass the time in the car, as can more traditional forms of entertainment such as I-Spy. If you need some inspiration, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite games to play in the car, here.
3. Foods that are good for a picnic
No matter how scenic your picnic location, when tummies start rumbling all eyes will be on the star of the picnic show – the picnic basket. But which foods lend themselves to al fresco dining in the great outdoors?
Besides sandwiches, sausage rolls and pork pies, picnic food favourites that are easy to transport include:
- French bread, cheese and cold cuts.
- Potato salads.
- Pasta salads.
- Fried chicken.
- Fruit and fruit salads.
4. Picnic-friendly drinks
Refreshing drinks add the finishing touch to a picnic, and transporting alcoholic beverages has never been easier, with wine now coming in boxes and screw-cap bottles, and cocktails in cans.
However, alcohol can cause dehydration if you overdo it, particularly when you’re outside in hot weather. To help quench your thirst and stay hydrated – and keep the kids happy – be sure to take along bottles of water and squash, pop and fruit juice.
And remember, if you’re the designated driver, it’s illegal to drink and drive and not only could it put you and other road users in danger if you risk it, but it can land with a hefty driving ban, a fine and even time behind bars.
5. Don’t forget the basics
You can keep your drinks chilled and avoid the risk of food melting or spoiling by using a picnic cooler bag or cooler box. This will make more room in your hamper for essential items such as:
- Picnic blanket.
- Plastic plates, utensils and cups.
- Salt and pepper shakers.
- Bags for rubbish.
- Paper towels.
- Wet wipes.
- Hand sanitiser.
- Insect repellent.
- First-aid kit.
Taking the stress out of your perfect picnic
Picnics are a fun way to enjoy time with your family and friends, and planning ahead will help to make sure everything runs smoothly and ensure a stress-free outing as you get back to nature.
The only problem you’re likely to have when choosing your picnic location is being spoilt for choice. No matter where you live in the UK, there’s likely to be a great picnic spot not too far away.
When it comes to the types of food you want to take with you, simple items like basic sandwiches are easy to prepare yourself – and inexpensive – while you may prefer to pick up more exotic fare from the supermarket, or en route.
When you pack your hamper and cooler, remember the essentials, and ensure the items you need to take out first are at the top – and you’re all set to head off to your perfect picnic.