Venturing into the great outdoors with a heaving picnic hamper is one of the great joys of summer. But before you settle into a shady spot to snaffle your sandwiches and scotch eggs, there's plenty of prep to be done.


Don’t miss out on a moment of the sun with our quick picnic ideas. We have loads of inspiration for you, such as our top 60 picnic recipes, best family picnic recipes and our best ever picnic ideas.

See our picnic hub for the ultimate selection of recipes.

How to pack a picnic

Packing your hamper

  1. Read our pick of the best picnic kit and stow away your spread in style.
  2. Choose your equipment carefully – nothing dampens spirits more than a leaky cool box.
  3. Before you set off, check your containers are shut tight.
  4. Wrap any particularly pungent items in a plastic bag.
  5. If it's a scorching summer's day, a cool box will come in handy for keeping your picnic goods chilled.
  6. Plastic cups or bottles are best for little ones to avoid breakages.
  7. If you're bringing wine glasses for the grown-ups, consider packing a lightweight tray to perch them on during pouring and between sips.
  8. If you're sampling cork-sealed wine, don't forget the bottle opener.
Picnic hamper with cup of wooden cutlery next to a plate of meat and veg and with a plate of the same perched on the top

Food safety

  1. There's no need to risk a funny tummy if you plan and pack carefully. Cool boxes and ice packs are essential to keep refrigerated items as cool as possible. So, store things like meat pies, fish, or dairy dishes properly, and don't delay digging in once you've reached your destination.
  2. While it may look appealing to lay out your fare for all to see, keeping your food on ice for as long as possible will reduce the risk of having to discard anything that's been sitting in the sun all day.
  3. We suggest cutting dishes such as quiche into wedges and serving them directly from the cool box.
  4. Finally, carry some hand wipes or anti-bacterial gel and ensure everyone's hands are clean before eating.

Find out more about how to transport food safely.

Storage tips

Pot filled with pasta and an assortment of rainbow coloured vegetables
  1. Avoid soggy salads and sandwiches by keeping components such as dressings, fillings and optional extras stored away in separate containers.
  2. Chill these components if necessary and only combine them when needed.
  3. Add ingredients like goat's cheese to salad, or pre-chopped fruit to your dessert just before serving.

Discover more handy picnic tips and tricks.

More like this

Picnic food ideas

Picnic centrepiece

Chicken, ham and asparagus pie loaf with a slice at the front.

Make picnic prep more simple by preparing a main dish ahead which can be easily divided. This showstopping chicken, ham & asparagus picnic pie is well worth the effort and will have everyone requesting second slices. For a veggie option, this vibrant, multi-layered rainbow picnic pie is bursting with colourful veg combined with eggs and feta.

More picnic mains...

Quiche lorraine
Coronation quiche
Picnic tortilla
Chicken, sausage & prune pie
Pork & rabbit pie
Fig & Serrano picnic bread
Veggie burrito

Portable snacks

Tray of sausage rolls and a cut open smoked salmon scotch egg

Once you've assembled your apparatus, it's time to plan your picnic provisions. Sandwiches, pies, scotch eggs, sausage rolls and chicken drumsticks are considered classic picnic treats for a reason – they're all finger foods that travel well. Layer up a picnic baguette with salami, spinach, basil, pesto and mozzarella for a mouthwatering bite or create a colourful veggie rainbow sandwich. Make a batch of perfectly portioned mini pork pies with piccalilli, or take inspiration from South America, with these delicious fried beef & chorizo empanadas. Bacon-wrapped or spicy Coronation drumsticks are also guaranteed to please a crowd.

Go gourmet with chorizo scotch quail's eggs and smoked salmon scotch eggs or whip up a lighter batch of vegetarian falafel scotch eggs. We suggest taking your chilled dishes out of the fridge and wrapping in foil, then in bubble wrap before putting into your cool box, to keep them at a safe temperature for as long as possible.

More portable classics...

Ham, pea & mint pasties
Nduja sausage rolls
Air-fryer pork, apple & sage sausage rolls
Cheese & onion rolls
Egg & cress club sandwich
Cauliflower cheese rolls
Pressed picnic sandwich
Super salad wraps

Salads and sides

Green Goddess avocado salad

Pasta and potato salads are perfect for picnics, as the hearty ingredients hold up well, even if they suffer a bit of battering in transit. This super summer allotment salad with English mustard dressing makes the most of any seasonal veg you can find. Crunchy cucumbers, radishes and red onions are featured but why not also throw in some fennel, celery and spring onions. Another picnic staple comes in the form of boiled eggs, which are the centrepiece of this herby parsley & watercress salad.

Dressed, leafy salads can be become lacklustre if left too long, so add the final touches just before serving to avoid wilting. Layer heavy ingredients and sauces on the bottom of your container – try our rainbow salad pots, griddled salad jar or hummus, tabbouleh & feta picnic bowl. To mix it up, switch pasta shapes for an orzo & mozzarella salad or swap plain potatoes for their more colourful cousin in this sweet potato salad.

More salads and sides...

Green goddess avocado salad
Fennel, pomegranate & broad bean salad
Seven ways to perfect potato salad
Egg 'n' bacon dippers
Courgette, green bean & feta salad
Summer salad recipes
Cumin-roasted carrot & cauliflower with green tahini dressing

We've also got plenty more vegetarian and vegan picnic recipes.

Sweet treats

Millionaire's flapjacks on baking paper and two plates

Picnic puddings can be tricky as most desserts either melt or need careful handling, but there are still loads of picnic-friendly puddings to choose from. Traybakes and loaf cakes are ideal – slice before packing if you're not taking a sharp knife. These seasonal blackberry bakewell squares can be transported in the tin and will hold up against a hot, sunny day. Brownies, shortbread and cookies are easy to wrap up and share out. If you're after something more sophisticated, jars make perfectly portioned vessels to transport softer sweets such as these strawberry & cream cheesecakes, jelly jars or peanut butter cookies.

More sweet treats...

Millionaire's flapjacks
Blackberry & hazelnut crumble flapjacks
Easy vanilla cupcakes
Nanaimo bars
Raspberry coconut scones
Rainbow fruit skewers
Red berry & granola yogurt pots
Orange & apricot loaf cake

Thirst-quenching tipples

Three jars of coconut and pineapple juice with fruit inside, on ice

Whether you go for refreshingly fruity or bold and boozy, pack something to sip on when you're sprawling in the sunshine. Family-friendly options such as our pre-chilled coconut & pineapple cooler, blueberry & mint iced tea and zingy blackberry lemonade are sure to please a crowd. Slightly more sophisticated palates will savour elderflower & cucumber G&Ts, or wine based rosy spritzers. On a cooler day, a flask of coffee, tea or hot chocolate is sure to counter chilly fingers.

More delicious drinks...

Summer punch
Rhubarb cordial
Gooseberry & mint lemonade
Mini milkshakes
Refreshing red wine cooler
Watermelon lemonade
Strawberry green goddess smoothie
Citrus iced tea

See our summer drinks collection

Check out more perfect picnic ideas...

Next level picnic recipes
Best family picnic recipes
Top 10 healthy picnic recipes
Best picnic gadgets
Our best picnic tips and tricks
Picnic recipes you can make in minutes
Picnic recipe collection
Kids picnic recipes

Get more inspiration on our picnic hub page.


What are your top picnic tips? Leave a comment below...

Comments, questions and tips

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post