How to plan the perfect picnic

How to plan the perfect picnic

As we get well and truly into summer that means warmer weather and the sun shining bright (although as we Brits know that’s not always the case). But when we do get those rare days, boy do we take advantage with a summer picnic! In light of National Picnic Week starting on the 16th of June and running until the 25th, we thought we’d do a rundown on how to plan the perfect picnic. We’ve got a whole bunch of outdoor picnic ideas all the way from yummy food suggestions to what you need to remember to bring along with you!

What is a picnic?

Of course, you can’t just dive straight into planning a picnic without knowing exactly what a picnic is and the difference between that and a garden party, so let’s find out.

A garden party is more of a planned sit-down meal in your garden where you can either put on a spread, have set dishes, or do some sort of posh BBQ or tea party. We’ve got a whole other blog delving into how to organise the perfect garden party if you’re interested in finding out more.

Whereas typically with a picnic you pack ‘more casual’ food to take to another location, usually a park or another spot with beautiful scenery and nature. However, this isn’t to say you can’t host a great picnic in the comfort of your own garden.

Garden picnic ideas

Now you know exactly what is and isn’t a picnic, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty parts of planning. But if you don’t think you’ve got what it takes to plan a picnic yourself, don’t worry, we’re here to help!

Don’t forget to bring…

Now, it wouldn’t be a perfect picnic if you forget to bring something with you which is why we’ve come up with a checklist so that this won’t happen to you:

  • Container – First and foremost, you need something to pack the food and drinks into (probably some sort of picnic basket, hamper, or any other sort of storage container).
  • Picnic blanket – Another necessity is a picnic blanket (or any sort of blanket or sheet really). Even if you’re in a totally dry area, it’s worth having one just in case, plus it’s a lot comfier to sit on.
  • Plates, utensils, and cups – While you can eat most picnic food with your hands, plates and utensils are good to have and make things easier. And obviously, you need a couple of cups or glasses for the drinks.
  • Napkins and wipes – Similarly, for any mess that you might make it’s worth having some napkins and wipes to hand.
  • Cooler or ice packs – It’s important to bring along some sort of cooler or icepacks if you have any food or drinks that need to stay cold.
  • Sun cream and sunglasses – If the sun is out, you’ll want to have sun cream and sunglasses on you to protect yourself from those harsh UV rays.
  • Plastic bags – Don’t be a litterbug and bring some plastic bags to put all your rubbish into afterwards.

Yummy picnic food and drink ideas

Onto the best part about any picnic – the food and drink! One of the great things about picnic food is that you get to enjoy a full assortment of everything. Below, we go through what we think some of the staple picnic choices are.

Picnic sandwiches galore

Without a doubt, the quintessential picnic food is sandwiches! It will only take a few minutes to prep as all you need is bread, optional butter, or other spread, and all your desired fillings.

Some possible sandwich options include a classic cheese and ham, BLT, mozzarella and tomato, and tuna mayo – the possibilities are endless! Our only tip here is to avoid really soggy fillings (because nobody wants a soggy sandwich).

Other nibbles

A lot of the rest of a picnic is made up of picky bits and sides. Think sausage rolls, quiches, and salads. You can get pretty inventive with whatever you decide to bring here and there’s always bound to be something for everybody. You can check out BBC Good Food for their collection of picnic snack recipes.


Every picnic needs a sweet treat, but it’s easy for food to become messy when carrying it around. That’s why traybakes are ideal. From flapjack or rocky road to caramel slice and lemon drizzle cake, you could even go all out and bake a couple of options.

Homemade lemonade

You can’t beat a refreshing drink on a hot day and homemade lemonade well and truly hits the spot. But if you’ve never made it before then you can follow this popular recipe courtesy of Allrecipes.

Finding the perfect picnic spot

Now you’ve sorted out what you’ll be taking with you on the picnic, all that’s left to do is find the perfect picnic spot. No pressure! This does depend on whereabouts you live or are travelling to, but in terms of the ideal places to picnic, here are a few things you might want to consider:

  • Pick somewhere fairly quiet. The last thing you want when you’re trying to have a relaxing summer picnic is to be surrounded by other groups of noisy people.
  • Appreciate nature. Typically, you should be looking for a grassy area to have your picnic. Think either a field or park.
  • Look for somewhere that isn’t too windy. A bit of a tricky one but the worst thing that could happen is your picnic blanket blowing all over and the wind knocking over your food and drink.

That’s it, we’ve covered pretty much everything you need to know when it comes to picnic planning, you can enjoy the perfect summer picnic with friends. And if you’re attending a cute picnic for someone’s birthday, don’t forget to pick up one of our lovely birthday cards.

Or if it’s more of a children’s picnic, why not take a look at our post on how to throw the best teddy bear’s picnic. For even more reads like this one, you can check out the rest of the thortful blog, where we have a whole how to and lifestyle articles.