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Aspinal's Guide to the Perfect Summer Picnic

When summer arrives, it's time to round up your friends and gather in the sunshine for an al fresco feast. A picnic can be a much more sophisticated affair than a few sandwiches in the park, so let Aspinal of London inspire your outdoor dining with our guide to creating the perfect picnic.

The Setting

England is rich with idyllic picnic spots. If you are staying in the city, head to the picturesque surroundings of Kew Gardens; it even has a designated picnic area. Elsewhere, the Japanese gardens in Holland Park are stunning in their tranquillity, and don't overlook Hampstead Heath. It may be popular but the vast acreage guarantees that you will be able to find a quiet corner in which to set up camp.

Away from the hustle and bustle of London, there are an endless amount of beauty spots that will provide the perfect backdrop to your picnic. Spread your blanket among the grassy sand dunes of Formby beach, take in the exquisite views of Windermere, or enjoy the sprawling woodland of Headley Heath in Surrey.

The Food

You cannot go wrong with a classic selection of scotch eggs, sausage rolls, quiche, pork pies and an assortment of spreads. The traditional English picnic banquet has stood the test of time; however you can update it for modern palettes with a gourmet twist. For a delicious menu which appeals to the most discerning tastes, consider scotch quails eggs, chicken and chorizo pies, or perhaps even sausage rolls with a hit of chilli.

To liven up the feast, include a few unexpected additions such as a fruity tabbouleh or some gazpacho for dipping fresh bread.

The Drinks

Homemade punches are a chef's beverage of choice for a picnic and they're surprisingly easy to whip up with just a few fresh ingredients. Try a refreshing cucumber, mint and melon punch to truly capture the taste of summer. If you like to wash down your meal with a dash of wine, a zesty white will complement the delicate tastes of a picnic spread.

The Accessories

Not only are wicker picnic baskets a timeless style, they are on-trend for summer, so opt for a sturdy woven hamper and don't forget to pop a few cool packs down each side. A cosy blanket is another essential. Mix luxury with practicality and invest in a fine, woollen blanket with a waterproof reverse; durable leather straps and handles will make for easy transportation. And last but certainly not least, don't forget the bottle opener!

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