Park Life: A guide to the perfect day out in the park
Ideas and inspiration on games to play, food to take, clothes and accessories to consider, sun safety and alfresco fun such as rounders and outdoor games.
The perfect day
A sunny weekend is a great excuse to pack up a picnic hamper and gather together friends and family for a day in the park. From what to eat, to what to play, here are all the ingredients for a perfect day in the great outdoors (bring your own sunshine).
What to eat
A picnic is a must for a day in the park. Go back to basics with finger food (Sainsbury's) that is filling, not fussy, and that is easy to graze on throughout the day. Think pork pies, chicken drumsticks, falafels, hummus, scotch eggs, pitta bread, cherry tomatoes and sausage rolls (or vegetarian equivalent). Keep sandwiches simple - family favourites like egg mayo, tuna or ham and cheese are best. Avoid soggy sandwiches by keeping salad dressings and fillings in individual containers. The best picnic puddings are the simplest – cut up watermelon, strawberries or other British berries that always taste better outdoors, or serve up individual jellies, a plate of meringues or a fruit pie to satisfy the sweeter toothed picnicer.
A picnic hamper (eBay) not only makes you look like a picnic pro, it means you have all your tableware ready to go without having to scratch around looking for odd plastic glasses and bits of cutlery – eBay has an extensive range, fit for a simple spread or a grasstop banquet. Ice boxes may not look quite as chic, but they are essential to ensure perishable items are kept cool – try this picnic hamper style cool bag (Argos) that is a unique twist on a must-have. And don’t forget a picnic blanket, opt for one with a waterproof backing to keep any lingering damp off, like this colourful one from Sainsbury’s.
If you’re lucky enough to be picnicking under a cloudless sky, pitch up near shade where you can take cover during the hottest period of the day. Sun cream (Sainsbury's) is as essential as the cheese sarnies - and don’t be deceived if it’s cloudy, dangerous UV rays will still penetrate. Apply sun cream liberally (around three tablespoons for your entire body) and top up throughout the day. If it’s particularly hot day, you may want to wear a hat – this wide-brimmed floppy sunhat will keep you shaded with elegance.
What to wear
The number one rule of picnics is comfort but you also have to be prepared for whatever the unpredictable British summer is going to throw at you. Don’t get caught out in a rain shower or taken unawares by a cool breeze – pack a waterproof and a spare jumper just in case.
What to play
Work off those sandwiches with a game of giant jenga or a few rounds of boules (eBay). If you’re feeling particularly active, organise a cricket (Argos) or a (possibly more) gentle croquet (eBay) match – these park-perfect kits provide all the equipment you need for a day of fun and games.