Your Total Guide To eating & drinking

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Total Guide to Picnics in Manchester

Whether you're basking in glorious sunshine or sheltering from the rain in the back of a steamed up car, we've compiled a guide to ensure you have the perfect summer picnic...

Coming Up With A Plan

Whether you’re planning your picnic a week ahead (good luck with this weather) or spur of the moment, every good picnic needs a little bit of thought.

In all the excitement chances are you might forget something, we know we usually do! So a quick picnic check list is essential. You don’t want to be forgetting the sandwiches after all! There’s nothing worse than getting to your picnic spot and realising you’ve forgotten the frisbee or even worse the picnic blanket. If you’re going to make a day of it and meet up with friends, share the responsibilities - just make sure to double check exactly what you’re bringing!

Finding A Location

Manchester has some of the best parks and gardens around, so you really are spoilt for choice when it comes to discovering your perfect picnic location. Alexandra Park, Debdale Park and Heaton Park are some of our particular favourites. 

We’ve also thought up a few things to bear in mind when picking your picnic spot. Firstly, never stray too far from civilisation, if you’ve got young kids it’s definitely an advantage to be closer to a toilet. Whether they’ve drunk too much lemonade or have sticky hands from all those treats, there are only so many times you can go on the hunt for a loo!

Secondly if you’re planning on bringing a game of boules or even a football make sure there’s enough room for the kids (or big kids) to play. You want to be enjoying yourself… not ducking for cover!

Lastly, check the rules of your picnic area. Chances are you’ll be eating al fresco in a family friendly Park, so if you intend to pack Pimms in your hamper, make sure to drink responsibly and be considerate to other Park users! Some parks even have rules against loud music or big sports games, so make sure the location you have chosen fits with what you want to do.

Picking Your Food

This is probably the most exciting and important part of your picnicking experience THE FOOD! Making sure you pack something for everyone, and enough of it, is crucial for happy picnicking.

Make sure you pack plenty to drink. We recommend two bottles of water for every bottle of wine. Especially if you’re taking the kids along! If you’re still worried about dehydrating, we say take twice as much drink as you think you need, this way you’ll never run out.

Easy finger foods go down well with the family. Sausage rolls, pork pies, scotch eggs and mini cocktail sausages are an absolute must! Fresh seasonal fruit like strawberries, pomegranates and melon always go down a treat too.

Choosing Your Wine

How many times have you left the house, got to the park and realised you've forgotten your corkscrew? It's pretty annoying! That's why you can't beat a screwcap wine for a picnic trip and we've partnered with Novel Wines to select a few high quality options for the perfect picnic tipple.

When you're after a fruity, easy-going red wine Austria is a place to look out for. The indigenous 'Zweigelt' grape variety is soft and supple and few do it better than the Eschenhof Holzer Wagram Zweigelt. While the Zweigelt has some tannins, if you're looking for a real crowd-pleaser or something to enjoy with your food, Pinot Noir is always a safe bet. Romania offers better value than anywhere right now and, for under £10, you can grab a bottle of Aurelia Visinescu's Domeniile Sahetini Nomad from Dealu Mare. 

If you have more expensive taste then give the unbelievably yummy Haywire Gamay Noir a try. It's a Canadian red modelled on Beaujolais and would suit summer grazing better than most.

Prefer white wine? Hungary's Furmint grape variety is like a zippier, zestier White Burgundy and the playful St. Donat Tropusi Laguna Furmint is one of the best we've tried. Few wines have that sweet smell you get just before Summer rain and one of them is Riesling. Riesling is also a top picnic partner and we reckon the Rheingau offers the best dry styles (forget Blue Nun!). Try a bottle of the Bibo Runge Riesling for a treat.

Fun & games

If you’re picnicking with the kids make sure you have enough activities to keep them busy all day. Let’s face it, how long’s it going to be before they say they’re bored!  All the best picnic games for kids are simple and easy to set up.

It’s a fantastic idea to bring a football, frisbee and bat and ball. Who doesn’t love a ‘friendly’ family game! There are also plenty of playgrounds for kids to explore. You could even chill out in the sunshine and play a couple games of cards. There are endless tricks and games to play with family of all ages.

Picnic Essentials

Make sure you’re always prepared for whatever the weather throws at you!

You’re probably going to need some high factor sun cream, the spray on kind means that it’s easier to apply and older kids can do it themselves whilst you're plating up. You may also want to keep some sting relief cream handy as well as antiseptic wipes and plasters!

Bring hats for everyone. Long sleeved tees are also a good idea especially if you're planning to spend all day basking in the sunshine.

Another essential is rubbish bags! Take two or three large rubbish bags. You can use one for clearing up and one to store plates and cutlery that need to be washed up. Or if the ground's a bit damp, you can put the extra one under your picnic blanket.

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