Picnic etiquette: Being considerate to other people and nature

September 27, 2019


One cost-effective way to enjoy the summer weather with your family is to go out for a picnic! Fresh air, exercise, and home-made food all make for a great day out. But when the day is done, there are certain behaviours that should be followed to ensure that your picnic spot is left in a suitable manner. This article will serve as a how-to guide for the perfect picnic etiquette. After all, you’re not the only one enjoying the sunshine!

Consider the comfort of your family and guests

The first thing to plan for is the people at your picnic. You want them to be comfortable and looked after; after all, picnics are all about being relaxed!

Some top tips to keep your family and friends happy are:

  • Location — The park you go to might be a little crowded, so do your best to find a spot a little further away if needed. That way, you have privacy and you’re respecting the privacy of other people too.
  • Shade as well as sun — Make sure your spot has ample access to some shade too. Not everyone does well in the heat, and everyone needs to head to some shade every so often to cool off and to protect themselves from the sun.
  • Pets on leashes — if you’re bringing the dog along, be sure to keep it on a leash for the comfort of those around you. Also, be ready to clean up after it.
  • Prepare for rain — Pop a few umbrellas in your bag before you set off; your guests will appreciate the effort if the weather turns quintessentially British.
  • Prepare for it all — A first aid kit is an overlooked essential for a picnic, or indeed, any day out. Keep one on hand for any bumps or bruises that might occur during the day’s games and running around, especially if you have kids.

If you’ve been invited to a picnic, be sure to follow these tips to keep your host happy:

  • Mention allergies/dietary requirements before you go — Your host can pack things to suit your dietary needs, but you need to let them know in advance! It can be a bit of a problem if you don’t mention that you’re allergic to something, don’t eat meat, or avoid dairy until the day!
  • Bring something along to contribute to the picnic basket — Whether it’s a nice bottle of wine or selection of nibbles, it’s good manners to bring something to the picnic and not leave it all to the host.


Consider the comfort of those around you

If the sun’s out, the chances are that the vast majority of Britain will be out in their shorts, making the most of the precious sun time. It’s important to be courteous and respectful to other picnic-goers too.

  • Skip the garlic — Or, at the very least, try to keep it to a minimum. Smelly, messy foods not only make a state for you to deal with outside, but it can impact on other picnics going on around you. Not everyone wants to have their sandwiches wrapped in the distinctive odour of devilled eggs that have warmed and spoiled in the sun.
  • Privacy — Make sure your kids know not to run up to other picnic-goers and to stay in your little ‘campsite’ in the park.
  • Keep the music low — It’s okay to want to have a picnic to the peppy beat of Taylor Swift, but not everyone in the park might be as much of a fan of her or your ability to recall every lyric flawlessly. Keep the volume low so you’re not interfering with other people’s conversations.

Be ready to clean up after yourself

You should always aim to leave the park in a better state than you found it. This means tidying up after yourself and your group.

  • Pack cleaning items — Take refuse sacks, wipes, and napkins to clean everything up. If you can, take a separate bag to gather up recyclables and take them home for sorting if there aren’t any facilities at the park.
  • Squeaky clean — A little bottle of hand sanitiser or a packet of trusty baby wipes can be very helpful to pass around before and after the meal.