15th - 24th June is National Picnic Week is a perfect reminder to ditch your phone, head into the countryside and enjoy a tasty lunch al-fresco with family and friends. The French started the modern fashion for picnics when they opened their royal parks to the public after the revolution of 1789 and, today, the average person enjoys three picnics every year.
For a last-minute picnic, or if you have young children or older relatives, the local park can be all you need. If you're planning ahead, check out this list of perfect picnic spots from the National Trust. Don't forget to research parking arrangements if you have lots to carry.
We've been busily collecting the most mouthwatering and impressive picnic recipes on Pinterest. Give classics a modern twist by preparing frittata in cupcake tins, pressed sandwiches and summer desserts in individual jars.
Invest instead in enamel plates and re-usable rigid plastic glasses. If you're catering for a crowd and really can't face washing up, choose biodegradable plates made from paper or palm leaves with wooden cutlery. Bin bags for taking litter home are often forgotten.
Outdoor games are a fun addition to any picnic, from a simple bucket and spade or a frisbee to more challenging options. Our family favourite is Smite, which is a twist on skittles and suitable for all ages, or our recent discovery Spike Ball, which is a bit like volleyball but played by bouncing balls off a low circular net.
Don't forget to pack sunscreen, drinking water and a parasol if there won't be any natural shade. These tips from The Food Standards Agency are important for keeping picnic food safe to eat in hot weather.
This summer, The British Blanket Company has its biggest collection of picnic rugs ever. They have a pure wool top to sit on and a practical waterproof backing to protect you from damp ground. Real leather straps make them easy to carry as you seek out your perfect picnic spot.