Reviving the Great British picnic

A new study for the National Trust suggests that we are losing our sense of adventure when it comes to eating outdoors and are at risk of forgetting a national treasure – the great British picnic.

The research reveals that although the majority (91 per cent) of parents and their children say they love eating outdoors, over half (58 per cent) are put off eating al fresco food because of unpredictable weather.

While 41 per cent of families decided to picnic in August last year, only 13 per cent ventured outdoors for mealtimes in March – a time of year when people are afforded beautiful spring views, birdsong and glimpses of new-born farm animals.


Apart from the weather, people are put off eating outdoors because of wasps and other insects (62 per cent) and getting dirt and sand in their food (26 per cent).

The National Trust is encouraging a revival of the proud and stoic British tradition of the picnic, whatever the weather, to help people take advantage of the stunning views across its 250,000 hectares of amazing countryside that includes 200 gardens, 100 orchards, 700 miles of coastline and breath taking hills and mountains.

The National Trust have produced a delicious range of seasonal ‘food on the go’ recipes to counter spring chills and make picnic packing lighter and less messy – a welcome relief as nearly a third (31 per cent) of families said they find it difficult to create varied and exciting meals to eat outside because they don’t want to carry too much. Over two thirds of people (68 per cent) rarely or never take hot food to eat outside.

Brian Turner, their National Food Specialist, has created seasonal stews and soups for flasks, and also recommends some simple tips for planning picnics - such as cooking sausages for hotdogs warm by placing them straight from the pan into a warmed wide-mouthed thermos and carving out a cottage loaf of bread and filling with dips to make an on-the go edible bread bowl.

To find out more about their top 10 ‘food with a view’ sites, seasonal picnic recipes and what to look out for this spring and summer when you’re eating outdoors, please visit: