The earliest picnics in England and France were medieval hunting feasts in the 14th Century. They were once only reserved for wealthy hunters and country people out on their estates. The Victorians popularised the picnic and made it commonplace.
According to Food writer Georgina Ingham, “The Victorian picnic was a way of taking the meal in its entirety outside, whereas the modern picnic is about fuss-free easy to eat food, that can be enjoyed whilst in good company and enjoying the short-lived British summertime”.
Despite the fact that picnics are fuss-free now, the picnic location is still very important. A beautiful grassy spot with plenty of sunshine is ideal for a lovely day. A comfortable picnic rug is also important: if you don’t like the way grass tickles your back, you can lie on the perfect rug to have a nap under the sun.
Some great places for a picnic in London are: Greenwich Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens and Primrose Hill.
Authentic British Picnic Food:
Although many bakeries sell sandwiches, fruit and pastries, the British are not happy with this ‘fast food’. They prefer to prepare their own traditional British snacks and food to make their picnics special.
Wrap a hard-boiled egg in minced meat and deep-fry it with breadcrumbs—you just made yourself a perfectly delicious scotch egg! The scotch egg did not actually come from Scotland. Rather it is an abbreviation for “scotched”, which in English means hacking or roughly mincing meat.
Covered in golden puff pastry, British sausage rolls are small and delicious—suitable and convenient for any picnic.
Pork pie is a very traditional British dish, usually served with salad. This is a “cold” meat pie, so we don’t need to worry about it getting cold and unpalatable at a picnic.
Strawberries and cream
Eat strawberries with cream, you don’t even need to make it into a cake to taste delicious! This classic match is a favourite British dessert. It is also the unofficial designated dessert for watching a Wimbledon tennis match: regardless of whether people are at home or actually at Wimbledon, they would prepare strawberries and cream in advance and take them as snacks during the competition.
Scones (with clotted cream and jam)
“No wonder scones are so famous, they are smoother than cakes, with smaller flour granules and softer taste, sweet and delicious but not greasy. ”
(a quote from a very famous writer Eileen Zhang describing how good a scone is)
The scone was one of Eileen Zhang’s favourite British pastries. It tastes like a combination of biscuit and cake, and it leaves behind a thick milky flavour. It is an essential dessert for English afternoon tea and picnics.
Glyndebourne Festival & Luxurious Garden Picnics
Glyndebourne Festival is an annual opera festival held at Glyndebourne, an English country house near Lewes, in East Sussex, England. Under the supervision of the Christie family, the festival has been held annually since 1934 (except during wartime).
Apart from the amazing shows offered at Glyndebourne, a luxurious garden picnic is also a quintessential part of the Glyndebourne experience. Guests can prepare their own food or they can order from Glyndebourne’s official caterer Leith’s and enjoy fine outdoor dining.