How to picnic like a Pro! Hints & Hacks for Al Fresco Adventures

What could be better, when staying in London for business or pleasure, than al fresco dining in one of the capital’s abundant picnic spots.

This is a quintessential English experience.

Which means your picnic is best served from a wicker basket, on a tartan rug and should include fine finger food and chilled beverages.

Curled up sandwiches and a flask of British “bricklayers tea” will not suffice. A true English picnic should be brimming with delicious morsels, as carefully prepared as any in-door culinary extravaganza.

There are blogs elsewhere on Merino Hospitality’s website to help you to narrow down a great location for a picnic in London, including the city’s stunning royal parks and hidden gardens. But what should you include in a London picnic to make your meal a special occasion?

You may be delighted to learn that if you are enjoying a relaxed break in central London accommodation, there are plenty of places to buy a ready-made picnic. Complete with a wicker basket to keep!

Fortum and Mason Hamper

If you want a London luxury picnic that will be an unforgettable feast, then look no further than this world-famous store.

A Fortum and Mason picnic hamper could include the “ultimate banquet” for £320, which includes caviar, lobster, beef wellington, handmade chocolates and fine wine. Even the lovely picnic rug, seasoning shakers and glasses are provided.

Fortum and Mason also have a range of less costly hampers too, including a signature cool bag with containing a champagne and strawberries ramblers picnic for one.

Harrods Hamper

Of course, globally renown store Harrods also offers hampers of top notch food for picnic pleasure in London. This includes options to select your own contents from the unmissably wonderful Harrods food hall, with its banquet of world delicacies and delights.

Deli Delivery

Staying in serviced accommodation in central London also puts you close to a smorgasbord of wonderful deli shops, many of which deliver. You could select your own delicious finger food for your picnic, whether its luxury delicacies, sushi, vegan cuisine or even a detox feast in the fresh air.

Local produce

If you are staying in well-equipped and centrally located Merino Hospitality accommodation, you also have a great selection of shops and markets selling fresh produce nearby. That means you can start the fun by compiling your picnic in your kitchen.

There are several London shops that sell picnic supplies; wicker baskets, cool boxes and picnic cutlery and plates.  This includes John Lewis, a retailer offering a great selection of picnic equipment including a handy rucksack for if you want to explore London before you break for lunch.

Traditional Picnic food ideas

When putting together your own London picnic feast you might want to include some traditional British favourites.

Scotch eggs are boiled eggs surrounded in sausage meat and then seasoned bread-crumbs.  These British delicacies really have to be experienced while you are in London.   You won’t find these savoury treats anywhere else.

The British love their pies too – often meat ones like steak’n’Guinness – covered in a shortcrust or puff pastry. Mini pies are perfect picnic nibbles. Or you could include mini Cornish Pasties – a semi-oval meat and vegetable favourite and another uniquely British snackable food.

For dessert there are few sweet treats more iconically English than fresh strawberries and cream.

For a wonderful history of picnics and more inspiration, the BBC has compiled lots of interesting information here.

Picnic Hacks

Let’s face it picnics can be tough, there are so many different components that need to align in order to ensure success.   Once you decided on your picnic kit and established that the weather will be sufficient you still have to deal with insects, potential injuries, food storage etc etc anyone of these can impact the success of your picnic.   We ran a quick poll around the office and came up with these ‘hacks’ that I hope you might find helpful.

    1. Dips always go down well at a picnic and can be stored in seal tight jars in your picnic basket, then served with strips of cucumber, carrots and pepper. Jars are also handy for mini personal salads or desserts.
    2. To avoid having a sharp knife (avoid accidents!), pre-slice apples, cheese, watermelon and so on, then seal them in plastic boxes in a cool bag to stay fresh.  The image below demonstrates a great way to keep apples fresh but easily handled by everyone.

    1. Mason jars are great for no spill drinking glasses or to seal up chopped items too.
    2. Put soft drinks or water in the freezer the night before your picnic. Then when you put them in your basket or bag, they not only stay refreshingly cold they also help to keep the rest of your food chilled.
    3. Frozen grapes are great to have along, to pop in to your fizzy wine. Not to be used in children’s drinks though, as they represent a chocking hazard.
    4. England – just like everywhere – does feature pesky insects. So, take cupcake cases to slip on top of drinks glasses and some handy netting or a paper cloth to place over your food spread. Shops in London also sell food covers – pyramid or domed shaped devices to protect food when you are outdoors.
    5. If you are worried about being overwhelmed by fly’s another great trick is to add 4-5 tarnished pennies to a glass of water (or 3) and place around the food.  It requires a PHD to understand ‘why’ but it works so that’s all that matters.
    6. Use wax paper and kitchen cord to bind sandwiches and hotdogs to ensure they don’t fall apart en route.  This is especially handy for baguettes.
    7. Muffin cooking trays can be quite handy for transporting and serving things like devilled eggs or condiments for burgers or hotdogs.

  1. Pop some baby wipes in your picnic bag and antiseptic hand gel, to cope with sticky fingers and to clean up children before they sit to eat.
  2. If there is a chance the grass may be damp (and there are no handy picnic tables) opt for a plastic backed picnic rug. Or take along a separate plastic sheet to place on the ground.   Ironically a shower curtain works brilliantly for this and they are easy to find.
We'd love to hear from you
Merino Hospitality

+44 (0)203 397 7767
What's New
Latest Tweets
What's New
Latest Tweets

    Last Tweets

    • Thank you for your review Donna! It is humbling to know that you and your family have enjoyed a nice and restful ti… ,
    • RT : If you're looking for self catering accomodation in central London check out - they were the perfect ba… ,
    • How do you get the best of a city in a short amount of time? has some super helpful advice for having… ,
    • What can you expect from a stay in one of our apartments? Check out the reviews from our guests over on our website… ,
    • Planning a trip to a city as vibrant as London can be every bit as daunting as it is exciting. This guide will help… ,
FAQ / terms of use / privacy policy

© merino hospitality 2020