There’s nothing like a sunny summer picnic to bring the family together and get some fresh air into your lungs. From Craig Tara in Scotland to Perran Sands in Cornwall, the UK is full of beaches where you can bed down with your basket – all you need to do is choose what goes in it!
This can be easier said than done: what food should you make, how do you stop things breaking and what essentials do you need? Let us lend you a helping hand with our guide to packing for the perfect beach picnic.
1. Invest in a sand-proof blanket
Food aside, the most important thing to pack into your picnic basket is a blanket. After all, nobody wants grains of sand sneaking into their sandwiches! Take a nice, thick blanket for optimum comfort, or go one step further and invest in a sand-proof version. Made using multiple weaves, grains of sand fall straight through the top layer of the blanket, while nothing can get up through the bottom.
2. Freeze your drinks
Nobody likes lukewarm sandwiches, so why not get creative when it comes to keeping your food cool? Rather than a bulky cool-box, use your drinks! Stick them in the fridge the night before you head to the beach, pop them in your picnic basket and, and by the time you arrive at your sandy haven, your drinks will have melted and your food will be chilled.
3. Shun paper plates
We’re going to be a little controversial and say ‘no’ to paper plates. They might be convenient, but they’re light as a feather and could easily blow away when you least expect it. If this happens, you won’t just lose your food: you’ll clutter up a beautiful beach. Instead, invest in a set of bamboo plates. As well as being sturdy and easy to stack, they’re disposable, so you’ll save on washing up once you get back home. Most importantly, they’re biodegradable, keeping your beach picnic as eco-friendly as possible.
4. Take more than enough napkins
Well-stuffed sandwiches, salads in delicious dressings and melty chocolate can get everywhere, especially when you’re dining alfresco with little ones. But napkins don’t just come in handy for mopping up slops and spills. From brushing sand from your skin to wiping leftover sun cream from your hands, they’re a useful thing to over-pack. Stick a good stack into your picnic basket.
5. Sit comfortably
One of the perils of picnicking can be aches and pains in your back and shoulders, especially if you can’t find a dune to sit up against. Thankfully, there are gadgets like the Y.Ply Support at your disposal. Compact enough to be carried in a shoulder bag, all you need to do is pop it up, sit back and enjoy your delicious picnic treats! You’ll never bother with bulky fold-out chairs again.
6. Make a giant sandwich
Rather than slaving over a variety of different sandwiches, why not make a Muffuletta? It’s basically a giant sandwich, and it’s perfect for sharing.
Take a loaf of bread, hollow it out and fill it with whatever fillings take your fancy. A classic Muffuletta includes Italian meats, cheeses and olives, but there’s plenty of room to get creative and stuff the bread with your favourites treats. Chicken, halloumi, jalapenos: anything goes.
7. Take simple staples
Fancier picnic food is nice, but it’s always good to start with a few simple staples that everyone can dig into. Houmous tastes great with carrot sticks and crackers, and is super simple to make. You could even add extras like roasted red peppers, coriander or spices to put a twist on a classic. Then there’s quiche – it doesn’t get any simpler than this classic Mary Berry recipe for quiche Lorraine.
8. Decant seasonings
Salt, pepper and spices can add that little something extra to picnic food, but jars of seasonings can soon take up room in your basket. Instead, why not decant your seasonings of choice into empty Tic Tac boxes? As well as taking up less space, you can take only what you think you’ll need.
9. Put a twist on picnic favourites
Picnic food doesn’t need to be beige and boring – why not bring it up to date by putting a twist on classic favourites? Swap Scotch eggs for Scotch egg pie, greek salad for a refreshing watermelon salad and sausage rolls for beef empanadas.
10. Finish with something sweet
When we think of picnics, we think of scones, and they’re just as suited to dining on the beach as they are in the countryside. Serve them with sticky jam, fresh strawberries and clotted cream for a truly tasty treat.
11. Let there be light
Our beaches are so picturesque that you’d be forgiven for relaxing on your picnic blanket until well into the evening. But once the sun sets and the only sound is the whooshing of the waves, there’s no need to pack up and leave. Light up the LuminAID PackLite Inflatable Solar Lamp.
Lay it on your picnic blanket to charge while you eat, and when the light starts to fade, switch on the Solar Lamp for hours of eco-friendly illumination. Coupled with portable speakers or some family games, you’ll have an evening you’ll never forget.
What do you think makes the perfect picnic? Let us know using the comment box below!