The Idealist

National Picnic Week: 12 Fab Finds for Picnic Perfection!

Fans of picnicking rejoice – National Picnic Week takes place across the UK this June. Time to fine tune your sandwich making skills, stock up on bubbly and summery savouries and create a picnic kit to ensure maximum al fresco comfort and enjoyment for you and your guests. No need to sacrifice style. We’ve sourced some great coordinated looks to kick your picnic design game up a notch.

Mixing and matching the freshest colours is always a great way to coordinate a coherent picnic look. Pick a palette – straw/rattan/wicker, pastels, bright tropical prints and solids, a single bold colour such as red (stay away from bulls tho) or all white for a Victorian garden party feel. Or, opt for our easy peasy favourite, crisp navy and white – it’s a classic combo that will never let you down at the beach, on the lawn or in the woods.

Bottoms Up!

Many people prefer to pack plastic for their picnic refreshments (and in fact some parks and reserves prohibit the use of glass dishes). Nonetheless we like to use real wineglasses where possible. It just feels better. And for some of us, full on china, silver and glass stemware are actually part of a picnic ethos. This glassware from Lexington is sturdy enough for outdoor use and can simply be washed up once you’re back home. £16 each

If you are restricted to using plastic, you could do worse than these attractive acrylic glasses from John Lewis. Options include champagne flutes, highballs and basic tumblers as well. £4 – £4.50 each

The Blues

Why use paper plates when unbreakable dishes are so much more beautiful than they used to be. Consider these Royal Doulton melamine dinner plates in shades of white and blue. They’re lightweight, forgiving of drops and travel bumps and gorgeous enough to build a design theme around. £24/four

Wicker

The wicker hamper is synonymous with Edwardian and Victorian era daytrippers – who arguably elevated the act of picnicking to a fine art. This elegant 2-person hamper is equipped with almost everything you and your BFF need for an intimate meal outdoors, including a corkscrew. Just add a bottle of bubbly and nibbles. £125

This well-appointed white-washed wicker hamper has more of a Little Red Riding Hood vibe, but is equally handy (and romantic) for toting paté, cheese and a nice baguette. £57.50

Backpacker’s Delight

If you’re walking to your picnic site, you’ll love this compact 2-person navy and white backpack picnic hamper with padded straps and a handle. It includes basic dishes and utensils (again the corkscrew) and has an insulated section for keeping items cool. £40

Earn Your Stripes

Soft textiles are a great way to add style and comfort to the proceedings. Deck a dubious picnic table with this classic striped tablecloth (or even use it on the ground) for an instant upgrade. Made from 100% cotton, it’s easy to clean when the party’s over. £89

This pretty Joules picnic blanket has a water resistant backing so lunch won’t be ruined by creeping damp. It folds neatly into itself and has a self carry handle. £29.95

Match ground coverings with these blue and white jacquard cotton napkins – a touch of luxury that will surprise and delight picnic guests. £10 each

Lap of Luxury

Effective lounging is more likely when there are pillows to lean on and cozy blankets in case of a cool wind. We love this French-style striped fabric cushion, especially made for outdoor use. £20.58 Pack several alongside a soft all-cotton throw or two in midnight blue. £63.20

Swingtime

You can string up a hammock for relaxing anywhere there are two trees not too far apart. Everyone will want to take a post-prandial turn in this blue and white striped hammock. It’s great for hot weather lethargy as well as, piled with cushions and throws, cuddling up for a nap on cooler days and nights. £98

Pay tribute to one of summertime’s best and most enduring collective pastimes by committing to regular and stylish picnic parties. Good company, delicious food and smartly designed accoutrements; everything is just better outdoors.

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All photos courtesy of respective locations.


  • Joan is an interior design project planner and freelance writer from Boston Massachusetts who lives with her husband and two bulldog terriers outside Wellfleet on Cape Cod.

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