Nothing says ‘happy summer’ like antipasti. Embrace the nice weather with homemade, fresh Italian dishes from Carluccio’s. They’re great for veggies, too – the vegetarian option features an antipasti selection, homemade olive focaccia, a delicious, nutritious salad of pearl barley with grilled aubergine and rocket, as well tarts filled with pancetta and taleggio. Follow with chicken supreme and courgette, mint and ricotta frittata and a fresh salad of leafy greens with aged, Italian balsamic dressing. Dessert is individual strawberry shortcrust tarts and traditional Piedmont biscotti. Add a bottle of fruity Italian red and drink yourself happy.
Chapters, the modern South London brasserie, has just launched a special takeaway picnic menu that includes a selection of charcuterie with piccalilli, shredded salt beef and green beans and bread with hummus. The main event comes in the form of slow-roast belly of pork with salsa verde and mangetout with fennel, orange and hazelnut salad. For pudding, dig into chocolate brownies with English strawberries and cream, and watch the sun set. Chapters is located in the heart of Blackheath Village and opposite the glorious heath – a perfect picnic site looking Canary Wharf in the eye and a stone’s throw from Greenwich Park.
Price: £45, which includes the wicker hamper.
For a fantastic bespoke Italian hamper, try Valentina Fine Foods, one of the UK’s biggest selection of Italian deli products. You can build your own picnic with a wide range of Italian meat, cheeses and wines to choose from. Every hamper is bespoke – no left-over sandwiches here – so you choose exactly what you want for your picnic and create a fantastic summer hamper of your favourite foods in a lovely, traditional wicker basket. Choose from a selection of fresh parmesan, the finest prosciutto, freshly baked ciabatta, white truffle honey and giant olives.
Price: starts from £25 for hampers
Firmdale’s Oscar Restaurant makes lazy picnics in the park a real delight. There’s a hamper for everything – filled with a selection of sandwiches, desserts and treats as well as fresh fruit juice, iced tea and top-notch tipples. For breakfast, try the Breakfast Hamper with croissants, muffins, smoked salmon and cream cheese – and amazing sandwiches, such as ham and gruyère and egg mayonnaise. The sweet fix comes in the form of granola bars and fruit salad. For lunchtime, try the Bloomsbury Hamper with tuna and watercress, chicken roll, reuben sandwiches, cheddar and tomato sandwiches, as well as healthier options of caesar, and tomato and mozzarella salads. Finish it all off with a mixed berry salad, chocolate tiffin, cupcake, fruit tart and macaroon.
Price: £40 for Breakfast Hamper, £50 for Bloomsbury Hamper
The Churchill at Hyatt Regency allows you to make a personalised hamper with perfect English snacks, including chilled cucumber and mint soup, scotch eggs, ham hocks, finger sandwiches and a selection of meats and cheeses, all available alongside fresh-baked breads and an assortment of homemade preserves. Those with a sweet tooth can end their experience with a trifle or eton mess. It’s easy, too – select the dishes you’d like to enjoy and they’ll be delivered to the table in a carefully packed picnic hamper. Perfection.
A fancier option, each picnic hamper from Corrigan’s restaurant in Mayfair is freshly prepared to order ,and contains not one, not two, but seven seasonal dishes, as well as homemade bread and hand-churned butter. There’s no fuss here, as the crockery, cutlery, glassware and a blanket are also included. Expect only the finest British food – fish including grilled sardines, new potatoes, Heritage beetroot, goat’s curd, and smoked mackerel. No picnic is complete without an English pudding; and this one includes summer berries, shortbread and creme fraiche. How very refined.
Price: £100 for 2
What could be nicer than whiling away an evening in London’s tranquil Lincoln’s Inn Fields? Pizza, that’s what. Rocket Holborn’s new Picnic in the Park pizza delivery service allows you to enjoy the oasis of calm away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city, with the addition of melted cheese. The purveyors of some of London’s leading pizzas will put on a perfect alfresco dining experience this summer – sending picnickers in the park cocktails, pizzas and chilled water as well as a blanket to sit and enjoy it all on. Pop into the Holborn restaurant that backs onto Lincoln’s Inn Fields to place your rode,r and Rocket will bring you a cocktail and pizza each, as well as a bottle of water, cutlery and glasses to your chosen picnicking spot for only £20 per person.
If you’re staying at Sofitel London St James this summer, order a mouth-watering French-inspired picnic hamper that includes Secretts Farm heirloom tomato salad with tapenade and basil, Forman’s smoked salmon and cucumber with dill cream in a seeded baguette. There’s also Cannon and Cannon sausages with pickles and delicious Camembert cheese and crackers, if that wasn’t enough. To round things off, indulge in sweet madeleines and refreshing fruit salad – the perfect accompaniment for hotel guests to enjoy in the neighbouring Royal Parks. Don’t miss their weekend brunch, too… it’s the stuff of legends.
Price: £50 for 2, with £75 deposit for non-guests
If you fancy a break from London, escape to Ascot’s Coworth Park and try their new picnic basket menu. Set within 240 acres of picturesque Berkshire, with a beautiful wildflower meadow, it’s the ideal place to enjoy the very British treat. The picnics are open to guests and non-residents alike. There are three basket options, ranging from a sandwich picnic menu to deluxe. For a real treat, try the deluxe hamper, that includes half a Scottish lobster, English cheese, waldorf salad and freshly baked rolls. Finish it all off with English strawberries and chocolate and orange mousse for the full experience. And, of course, a glass of champagne.
Price: £65 per person for the Deluxe Hamper
The iconic Tate Britain restaurant, Rex Whistler, has launched a brand new seasonal picnic menu which comes complete with Clovelly hamper and picnic blanket, as you laze out on its lawn. The delectable picnic hampers are filled to the brim with the best of British produce, all hand-picked from artisan suppliers from across the country. Expect Dedham Vale beef and horseradish sandwiches, Burford Brown scotch eggs with leeks, Pinney’s of Orford smoked salmon and cream cheese and a selection of British cheeses. Picnickers can also enjoy fine wines from the restaurants’ award-winning wine list, as well as specially-crafted Rex Whistler Pimms – the perfect summer tipple.
Price: £28.50 for two people and wine starts at £14.00 for a half bottle.
Written by Angelica Malin, Editor-in-Chief of About Time Magazine and freelance journalist.
You may also like…
Five of the best ways to picnic this summer
The best UK foodie destinations for 2015
Great British Inns: the best British pubs with rooms
5 great food festivals over the august bank holiday weekend, 2015
The five best UK restaurants for 2015