Perfect Picnic Ideas & Essentials

Adam WilkinsonMay 17, '21

The British picnic is the perfect alfresco feast and social activity rolled into one. Fresh air, catch-ups with family and friends, and yummy food. What’s not to love? Although when it comes to picnics, planning all the essentials can be tricky, especially when it comes to making sure you have everything from food and cutlery to musical entertainment. Here are some of our picnic essentials and top ideas for the ideal cost-effective party “on the road”, and away from the house so you can enjoy a perfect picnic in the sun.

Perfect Picnic Overlooking a Lake

Picnic Blanket

Unless you’re planning to go to a location that has picnic tables, bring a blanket. From tradition gingham to funky patterns, any blanket or throw will do to protect you from scratchy grass and to spread out your picnic delights. Try to find one with a waterproof bottom. If it’s a particularly hot day, take along umbrellas or a parasol to keep the sun at bay. Don’t forget the sun cream!

Picnic Basket & Cool Bag

You’ll definitely need something to carry your food and drinks in. A picnic basket or hamper is a charming option but if you plan to take perishable goods, or go on a walk or hike, a cool bag or cool backpack will be best. This 2-in-1 cool backpack, will hold everything you need for a picnic whilst keeping food fresh and drinks nice and chilled. The backpack also doubles up as a stool.

 Picnic Basket


Don’t run the risk of your crockery breaking, instead use plastic or paper plates. Not only are they lightweight but easier to transport too. Don’t forget to pack utensils, napkins, a bottle opener, corkscrew; and a lightweight chopping board if you’re planning a fancy spread with meats and cheeses.

Top Tip: Pack some baby wipes and hand sanitizer as well as rubbish bags to dispose of any rubbish and food waste.

Folding Chairs and Portable BBQs

Picnics in the park or at the beach call for folding travel chairs and portable BBQs, the perfect companions for outdoor hangouts. After all there is only so long you can sit on the ground, right? If you plan on watching the sun go down, and make a day of it then ensure you have somewhere comfortable to sit. Picnics also no longer mean soggy sandwiches, why not have yourself a little BBQ. All you need is a portable BBQ, some sausages (meat or veggie), buns and Tommy K and you're all set. Be sure to check your chosen picnic location allows BBQs on their grounds. Take a look at our Tasty BBQ Recipes for some tasty ideas for the grill. 

 Portable BBQ

Summer Snacks & Drinks

Be sure to pack moreish and portable snacks as well as your sandwiches so your pack-up is inspiring and inviting to eat. Scotch eggs, sausage rolls and chicken drumsticks are easy and obvious choices, finger foods that travel well. How about trying prosciutto wrapped breadsticks, fun salads such watermelon, feta and mint.

Top Tip: Avoid soggy salads and sandwiches by keeping dressings and wetter fillings in separate storage containers or jars and assemble when needed.

Top Tip: Try placing a folded kitchen towel in a tupperware box of pre-chopped fruit or veggies. The towel will absorb any additional liquid and keep your fruit fresher for longer.

 Summer Salads in Mason Jars

Wireless Speaker & Killer Tunes

Let music add a bit of magic to your picnic whether it’s a Spotify playlist or your favourite album. Ensure to pack some wireless speaker so everyone can enjoy the tunes – ideal for outdoor trips at the park or the beach. 

Wireless Speaker at the Beach

Outdoor Games

There is no harm in a little healthy competition. Outdoor games are perfect for picnics to keep the kids entertained and off their iPads, as well as help everyone work up an appetite. Some of our favourites include rounders, badminton, giant jenga or even a simple game of cards – easy to play and fun for all whether you’re in a park, at the beach or in your garden.

Playing Badminton in the Park

For more outdoor dining and party ideas, take a look at our Hosting Garden Parties & BBQ guide, full of lots of top tips and fun ideas. 

Or why not discover the best of Britain with our Staycation Destination Guidefrom the soaring hills of the Peak District to luxury beaches in Cornwall - the perfect places to enjoy outdoor family fun and picnics.

Alternatively take a look at our list of Top Attractions & Places To Visit, and get them on your list of things to do this summer.