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Picnic Time!


Updated June 2021

A picnic is a great way to spend an afternoon without spending a fortune and it can also be a great addition to a day out, helping to keep the costs down and avoid expensive food outlets and restaurants.

For us as a family, often a picnic can be as basic as a sandwich, some fruit and some crisps outside on a rug! It doesn't have to be lavish for everyone to enjoy the experience.  Kids love eating outside and it can be a good opportunity to try some new foods and tastes.

As a mum and the picnic maker in our house, I sometimes find myself thinking we have nothing in for a picnic or I just can't think what to pack. So I thought I'd put together a few ideas to inspire you - and me!

  • Sandwiches - everyone's favourites and extremely versatile but how can they be made a bit more interesting? How about cutting them into shapes with cookie cutters? You could also mix up the breads - a slice of wholemeal and a slice of white. Fillings can be as daring as you can think of. Kids enjoy making their own so get them involved!
  • Flatbreads and pitta breads - these make a nice alternative to sandwiches and can have all the kids favourite fillings!
  • Sausage rolls - these can be home made or shop bought, meat or veggie filling keep it simple or go gourmet! 


  • Pizza Pinwheels- we love these and they are so easy to make the night before a picnic. For speed and ease I use ready made shop bought puff pastry, spread with a layer of tomato puree, top with any pizza style topping of your choice (mushrooms, pepperoni, peppers), some herbs and top this with grated cheese and roll up tightly like a swiss roll. Using a sharp knife cut into slices approximately 1cm thick, egg wash and bake in the oven for around 15 minutes until golden. These are always a winner! 
  • Pasta salad - this isn't a finger food so think if you plan to take bowls and cutlery on your picnic. It does travel well and can be a good way to use up random pasta shapes.
  • Quiche - homemade or shop bought. If you make your own you can use up what ever is in the fridge!
  • CruditiÄ“s- We love these and they are great on a picnic with some dips. We like carrots, cucumber, mixed peppers and apple.   


  • Marinated chicken - it's so easy to get some variety and to please the whole family with chicken. Make some kebabs the night before with chicken thigh or breast meat, marinate with different flavours and share. We like honey and mustard, teriyaki, BBQ, garlic and paprika - the options are endless!
  • Muffins - if you are a keen baker then a selection of savoury or sweet muffins are perfect finger food for picnics. 
  • Pancakes - we like to make scotch pancakes (or you can buy them just about anywhere) which are great with a sweet or savoury topping. 
  • Puff Pastry Stars - these are great finger food, very moreish and the recipe is very flexible. Basically unroll ready made puff pastry, cut into stars (or any shape your children would like), brush with some beaten egg and top with grated cheese. You can add some paprika for a little extra spice or mix up the cheeses for variety. Bake in a moderate oven for 10-12 minutes until golden. 

  • Fruit kebabs - minimal effort required but always fun.
  • Leftovers - a great way to use up any leftovers in the fridge. Pizza, cold sausages, raw vegetables, roast chicken, cold meats etc
  • Yoghurts - buy tubes that can be eaten without a spoon. Less mess! Also, these can be frozen and will help keep the picnic cool.

My top tip for picnics is to always pack a little clean up kit! Mine has wipes, some squares of kitchen roll, hand gel, a bin liner or bag to bring home all the rubbish. It's also a good idea to pack a tea towel or something to throw over the food to keep the flies and bugs at bay! 

So WHERE can you go for your picnic? We have some really lovely venues around the Romford area where you can enjoy a picnic. 

  • Raphaels Park - within walking distance of Romford, it can get busy but there is plenty of space. You can sit near the duck pond and watch the birds or be nearer the play area where the kiosk and toilets are. 
  • Thames Chase - a vast space to explore and there are picnic tables at various places around the area - or you can take a rug and sit wherever you like.
  • Harold Wood Park - free parking and plenty of space to enjoy a picnic without being too close to other families.
  • Belhus Woods Country Park - the huge green meadow by the children's play area is perfect for picnics. There are toilets and a cafe nearby.
  • Langtons Gardens - a lovely area to sit and enjoy the lovely weather. Some shady spots under the trees can be found. 
  • Cottons Park - another park within walking distance of Romford town centre. There are no toilet facilities here but plenty of space for a picnic.  
  • Hylands Park - this park in Hornchurch is already popular with picnic goers. 
  • Bedfords Park - free parking and so much space. Stay near the visitors centre where there are toilet facilities or venture a bit further and enjoy the views.

If you want to plan a picnic at the beach you'll find lots of ideas here!

Please be aware that some venues will still have limited facilities open to the public due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

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