Brilliantly British picnic recipe ideas

Karen Booth 

With sunshine finally at our doorstep, what better excuse is there to enjoying a picnic by the seaside, in the local park or even in your garden. Food blogger Karen Booth, of Lavender and Lovage, gives us the lowdown on her top tips and recipes for the perfect picnic.

Just the word ‘picnic’ conjures up visions of peaceful, pastoral countryside, with outdoor games, bottles of pop and fresh sandwiches made with crusty bread, crisp mixed salads and cold cooked chicken served with glossy mayonnaise. But, so often the reality doesn’t quite live up to expectations and soggy sandwiches, limp lettuce, and warm fizzy drinks are all that’s on offer, served with a flask of cold tea.

It doesn’t have to be that way, however, and with a little preparation the night (or morning) before, a picnic can be a culinary triumph and an event that will be remembered for weeks to come.


The picnic food list could include crusty bread with cheese, spicy wraps, fluffy cakes, jam and cream filled scones, muffins, homemade pies, tarts and flans, with artisan fruit cordials and a bottle of fizz included for a refreshing and frivolous libation.

I’m sharing some fabulously tempting and easy to prepare recipes for the perfect picnic, with some top tips on how to make it a fun family activity, no matter what the weather and no matter where you lay your picnic rug and wicker hamper.


Top picnic tips:

  1. Prepare for all eventualities. Pack a brolly or two, with raincoats as well as suncream and insect repellent—you never know what the British weather will throw at you.
  2. Make the sandwich fillings the night before, but to avoid soggy sarnies, put them together on the day of the picnic.
  3. Pack salad dressing separately in an old jam jar, as to avoid the salad becoming limp before you eat it.
  4. It’s always nice to add a flask of soup, tea or coffee; make sure the flask is warmed before adding the liquids, by adding boiling water and screwing the lid for a few minutes.
  5. Pre-cut pies, tarts and flans beforehand, but keep them in their baking containers for ease of travel.


Ten winning picnic recipes:


Quick coronation chicken sandwich

coronation chicken
Image via Pod

Coronation chicken is a classic sandwich, and even better, it can be created using your roast chicken leftovers. Delicious!

Get the coronation chicken recipe from Delicious Magazine



Egg and cress sandwiches

egg and cress
Image via Lavender and Lovage

It just isn't a traditional English tea without a good old egg and cress sarnie. The watercress provides a much needed peppery kick against the creaminess of the egg.

The key is a good, artisan bread for a delicious, traditional snack. 

Get the egg and cress sandwiches recipe from Lavender and Lovage


Individual sausage and egg pies

sausage and egg pies
Image via Good Housekeeping

Another quintessentially British snack, individual pies are a great option because they're easy to transport and eat with the hands—no fiddly cutting required. 

Get the individual sausage and egg pies recipe from Good Housekeeping


Cheese, onion and potato pasties

cheese onion potato pasties
Image via Lavender and Lovage

A childhood favourite, these little pies are made with mashed potatoes, onions, cheddar and a pinch of mustard powder, and they look delightful.

They can even be frozen before or after baking for a delicious picnic snack whenever the mood strikes you.

Get the cheese, onion and potato pasties recipe from Lavender and Lovage



Classic buttermilk fried chicken

buttermilk chicken
Image via Country Living

Another finger-food favourite, why not pack pots of dipping sauce to complete this delicious buttermilk fried chicken recipe? 

They're surprisingly quick to make and are great for feeding large groups. Delicious!

Get the buttermilk fried chicken recipe from Country Living



Green garden salad

green garden salad
Image via Good Housekeeping

This is the ultimate British salad, including delicious avocado, lettuce, courgettes, watercress, spinach or rocket and mustard cress. 

A great choice if you're preparing your salad in advance as it will last chilled for up to two days. 

Get the green salad recipe from Good Housekeeping



English salad in a jar

salad in a jar
Image via Lavender and Lovage

This salad is not only easy to transport, it also looks lovely displayed in clear jars—a real picnic winner.

Another one that can be made the night before, just remember not to dress it until the picnic itself, to avoid soggy salad. 

Get the English salad in a jar recipe from Lavender and Lovage



Victoria sponge

laura ashley
Image via Laura Ashley

Victoria sponge cake is the centrepiece of any British summer. Fluffy and light, there's a reason this delicious dessert is one of Britain's best-loved cakes. 

Get the Victoria sponge recipe from Good Housekeeping



Warming ginger soda

ginger soda
Image via Good Housekeeping

This Victorian drink is perfect for sipping during long summer nights in the sun, and it looks beautiful too. 

Get the recipe for warming ginger soda from Good Housekeeping



Pimm’s jelly jars

Pimms jelly jars
Image via The Crispy Crouton

A fun, fruity twist on an English classic. Every good picnic needs a good boozy dessert and this is just the trick. 

Get the Pimm's jelly jars recipe from Good Food



Karen Burns-Booth is a freelance Recipe Developer, Food and Travel Writer and is a member if the Guild of Food Writers. She writes for her own blog Lavender and Lovage.

You can follow Karen on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Google +