Top tips for the perfect picnic

Turn this favourite British pastime into a truly special occasion with these inspirational picnic ideas

Whether it's a garden get-together or a seaside soiree, no summer picnic would be complete without a treat-filled hamper and colourful blanket in tow. In celebration of National Picnic Week (16-25 June), we'll show you how to make the occasion even more special with these inspirational ideas.

Making it an overnight trip? Read our Camping hacks.

1. Research the perfect spot

 beaches are perfect spot for picnic

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From tranquil meadows to beautiful beaches, a picturesque setting is key. Think about the weather too; shade your picnic spot with a floral fabric canopy or use waterproof sheeting for unexpected showers.

2. Make sure you'll be sitting comfortably

comfortable sitting on foldaway chair or linens and blankets

(Image credit: TBC)

Think about what you'll bring for guests to sit on. Layer up linens and blankets or choose pretty foldaway chairs for comfort. Large picnic baskets double up nicely as a handy side table, or somewhere to pop a portable radio.

Inspired? Check out our: Picnic blankets – our pick of the best

3. Travel in style

travel in style with bicycle and avoid car

(Image credit: TBC)

Forget the car if you're not going far, cycle instead! Invest in a stylish pannier bag to hold essentials, then fill up your basket with fresh food and drink - make sure everything is well protected to stop any spillages along the way. Strap a blanket on the back and enjoy the ride.

4. Pack up perfectly

properly packed cutlery with crockery and table linens

(Image credit: TBC)

Proper cutlery, crockery and table linens create a nostalgic atmosphere, so invest in a classic wicker hamper to transport it all safely. With chic leather straps to keep everything in place and a smart striped interior, this 4-person hamper, £150 from John Lewis is our favourite buy.

For more options: Picnic baskets – our pick of the best.

5. Prepare delicious treats

delicious treats such as sandwiches pies and cakes

(Image credit: TBC)

Mini finger foods such as sandwiches, pies and cakes are popular picnic fare. As well as looking pretty, vintage tins keep home bakes fresh and rustic mason jars are just the thing for holding salad and fruit. Tie up sandwiches in paper wrapped with twine to make your treats feel extra special. Pop in ice packs and coolers to keep everything cool – there's nothing worse than luke-warm lemonade on a hot day.

6. Bring games to play

outdoor activities such as egg and spoon and sack races

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Keep little ones (and big ones!) entertained with outdoor activities. Classic team games such as rounders and croquet are fail-safe options. For big groups, add interest to the tried-and-tested by arranging all-day tournaments with inexpensive prizes at the end. For something a bit different, why not organise a traditional sports day with egg-and-spoon and sack races. No sacks to hand? Get everyone to bring an old single duvet!

7. Settle in for the day

settle in for the day camp out space in a shady spot

(Image credit: TBC)

Staying for a while? Create a relaxed camp-out space in a shady spot, complete with layered-up linens, colourful cushions and cheery bunting. Create a wigwam with bamboo canes and a sheet to provide yourself with extra shelter from the sun.