Take Some Time for a Summer Picnic

Take Some Time for a Summer Picnic

Picnic Drink ImageSummer is here! And with it comes the perfect excuse for getting outdoors, swatting away those pesky wasps, and having a good-old picnic! As a time-honoured tradition, and a favourite warm-weather pastime for generations, what better way to enjoy the Summer sun? It’s a tradition that actually stems back centuries, to mediaeval hunting parties, which would lay on a spectacular al fresco feast during the day’s festivities. Even Robin Hood and his Merry Men are reported to have enjoyed a good picnic from time to time.

Picnic ImageBut the continued appeal of the picnic is really rather simple: it’s about time spent with great people and the freedom to take your party anywhere you like. The humble picnic offers an escape from the mundane demands of daily life, replacing them instead with relaxation and good company. And the beauty of it is that every single aspect of a picnic can be tailor made to suit you and your own individual tastes, whether it’s the food, the fun or the people you surround yourself with. But let’s start with the where

South Park ImageHere in Oxford we’re really rather spoilt for choice when it comes to magnificent locations in which to settle down to eat, with so many fantastic parks and meadows to choose from. What this means is that a day of lounging in the park becomes much more a matter of, for example, choosing between South Park’s view of the dreaming spires or heading off to dip a toe in the river out in the open expanse of Port Meadow, than a struggle to altogether think up ideas for where to go. But, picnics are portable, so they’re also perfect for a day out—perhaps a long drive in the country to nowhere in particular, or to nearby points of interest, such as Blenheim Palace or White Horse Hill.

Supersoaker ImageWherever you set down your blanket, though, be sure to plan some fun activities to take with you. These are a great way of having fun, but also to keep you active, and it’s a fantastic way of keeping the kids entertained if you’re out with the family. A Frisbee to throw around is an old favourite, and a football or a game of cricket are also popular choices. If its scorching hot it could be the perfect opportunity for a Super Soaker duel, or if it’s a little breezy, why not take a kite out for a whirl?

But the weather may present other issues altogether. Rain (yes, I said it). No one wants to acknowledge the possibility of the “r” word on the day of a picnic, but the British weather does like to keep a few dastardly tricks up its sleeve, regardless of what season it technically is. 

Leaf in Rain Image

So, perhaps your chosen day will be wet, or the sun may not make an appearance as hoped, and these are important factors to consider. A large and sturdy umbrella may be just the thing to save the day, or you may want to take full advantage of the portability of your feast and find a nice indoor spot to settle down—it is, after all, the company and the food that’s shared that makes or breaks a picnic, so why let a little precipitation ruin the day?

Boswells Picnic Basket ImageThe good news is that you can now a have your picnic at Boswells, regardless of what the weather is doing outside. Our 1738 Tea Room is offering a picnic basket chock full ‘o great picnic favourites as part of our new Summer menu, and it can be eaten in the Tea Room or taken away to be enjoyed in the sunshine too (find out more here). But if you prefer to plan your picnic from scratch you’ll be needing a few supplies, starting with must have items such as a blanket, a basket and a cooler to keep your food and drinks chilled and fresh, and then of course there’s the plates and cups…and some napkins never go amiss. 

Picnic Display Image

To make the planning a bit easier, our Cookshop is well stocked with lots of goodies to get you started, and a trusty picnic blanket can be found in our Linen department, freeing you up to concentrate on the most important parts of any picnic: what to eat, and who to invite?! (Read our blog on what picnic essentials to pack).

A picnic is really just a great, relaxing excuse to get everyone together, though. It’s an opportunity to catch up, to bond, and to talk over things, big and small. It has the cathartic benefits of sharing food, making memories and putting your cares to one side for an hour or two. So pack your basket, rally the guests and find a nice spot to really make a day of it!

15th July 2016

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