Jun 14

Cheap picnic ideas

Reading Time: 7 mins

Create cheap picnics for you and the family and make the most of the hot weather. There are loads of simple, cheap ways you can have picnics and some fabulous items around to help you do it in style if you can pay a bit more.


Cheap picnic ideas

Family picnic

You really can do a picnic on very little cash. Here are some ideas:

  • Boiled eggs, cooked sausages, rolls with butter, cherry tomatoes – take them in their own bags with a couple of apples and a bottle each of whatever you want to drink and it’s a simple but tasty meal.
  • A selection of sandwiches from egg mayonnaise, cheese and tomato, ham and pickle, humous and grated carrots. Add a bag of crisps and something to drink and there you are.
  • If you have some nice plastic boxes do one with chopped up lettuce, cucumber and green pepper, another with tomato and onion salad (chopped up) and another with grated carrot, grated apple, finely chopped salad onions and lemon dressing…and a few forks. Add some cooked sausages or scotch eggs and you have a cool meal!
  • Or a few rolls or crackers, some cherry tomatoes a pack of Boursin and a knife and you’re sorted!


Cheap and cheerful picnic products

Plastic picnic dinnerware

If you want to have a picnic but don’t want to spend a fortune there are plenty of cheap and cheerful items on the market that will fit the bill quite nicely.

You can get a cheap but stylised picnic gear from Sainsbury’s Home range. For example they have have a nice looking cooler bag for just for just £8, great for keeping your food fresh and your drinks cold.

Morrisons also have a great range of cheap and good looking picnic equipment. For example they have a 3 piece barbecue tool set for just £1. And sets of reusable plastic cups and plates for just £6.

You can find lots of colourful, cool utensils and plastic crockery from most major supermarkets, have a search and see what you can find.


Stylish but good value

If you want to ramp up the glamour in your picnic, there are lots of products on hand to help.

Marks and Spencer Dovecote Picnic Hamper

M&S offer a range of filled picnic hampers such as the Dovecote Floral 4 Person Flap Top Hamper for just £59.99 The set comes complete with:

  • 4x ceramic plates
  • 4x plastic wine glasses
  • 4x sets of cutlery
  • 4x napkins
  • salt & pepper shakers
  • 1x bottle opener

VonShef 4 Person Blue Tartan Picnic Basket


Tesco have this VonShef 4 person Blue Tartan Picnic Basket for just £39.99 which includes:

  • 1x Lined wicker picnic basket
  • 4 x Stainless steel knives/forks/spoons with polypropylene handle
  • 4 x 7″ Ceramic dinner plates
  • 4 x plastic wine glasses
  • 4 x Cotton checked pattern napkins
  • 2 x Salt & pepper shakers
  • 1 x Bottle opener with polypropylene handle


Cook outside


It’s getting easier and easier to have your own bbq anywhere, anytime. You can get disposable ones (mostly a tray with a grill and some charcoal) from the supermarket. Or, go up a notch and get this complete bbq cooking system from Lakeland which also roasts, smokes and cooks, all for £109.99. It’s an amazing piece of kit that can smoke salmon, roast (and marinade) a joint and even cook pizza. Not just your bangers and burgers! It’s an investment item so worth getting if you like to cook and eat outdoors a lot.

Light-n-go bonfire log

Then there’s this clever little fellow, the Light ‘n Go portable bonfire…yes, bonfire! It’s a real piece of log with an embedded wick so that you can light the log with just one match. It has a nice cord handle but beware, it’s quite heavy to carry!

The Light ‘n Go Bonfire is available from for £14.99.

Disposable bbq tray

Then of course there’s the good old favourite; the portable tray BBQ. These are totally brilliant, actually work and only cost a fiver. What’s not to like? You can get them in supermarkets and independent retailers The Bar-Be-Quick instant barbecue (standard size) retails for just £2 at ASDA. It’s a one-off BBQ and can only be used once but it’s a great addition to beach or country picnics where you would like something hot too!


Picnic food recipes

Once you’re out in the open, you can go mad with the food…or not, as you wish!

Here are a few recipes to get you going. Firstly some quick and easy ideas to pop into a basket or bag on your way out:

  1. Cheese cubes/batons, ham/Parma ham, chorizo slices.
  2. Veg crudités + hummus/tzaziki/guacamole. Waitrose do a fab cannellini bean and lime hummus at the moment, and you can get fancy hummuses with lemon, pesto, pine nuts etc – really moreish.
  3. Fruit – cherries and blueberries are very portable. Apple is good too, cored and cut into wedges (the Pink Lady variety doesn’t seem to go brown too much either).
  4. Oatcakes with butter and Marmite, or oatcake sandwiches with any filling – tuna mayo etc.
  5. Tortilla (see recipe)


Then, from the people at Branston pickles who have brought out a new range of fun relishes…

Beer Braised Brisket, Blue Cheese Slaw Tortilla with Branston Smoky Tomato & Chipotle Relish

cheap picnic ideasIngredients

  • 500g Beef Brisket
  • bottle of dark beer
  • 1tbsp honey
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half
  • 100g Danish Blue cheese, crumbled
  • 150ml buttermilk
  • 1tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1tsp garlic powder
  • pepper
  • 1/2 head of Savoury cabbage, core taken out
  • & thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 med carrot, peeled & grated
  • 4 x large flour tortillas
  • 8 x baby gem lettuce leaves washed
  • Branston Smoky Tomato & Chipotle Relish
  • 2 sliced medium fresh Jalapenos or green chillis


  1. In a small saucepan, small enough for the beef to be covered in juices, marinade the beef overnight in the beer, honey and garlic.
  2. The next day, preheat the oven to 120C/Gas 1/4. Cover the saucepan with beef and place in oven. Braise for around 3-4 hours until cooked and very tender.
  3. Carefully transfer the beef to a bowl, strain the cooking liquor to a pan and reduce to a glaze. With 2 forks pull the brisket apart and pour in the glaze and fold in. Test for seasoning.
  4. In a large bowl mix the cheese, buttermilk, vinegar, garlic powder and pepper until smooth. Add the cabbage, carrot and red onion and stir to combine.
  5. To serve, gently warm each tortilla in a large skillet. Into each tortilla lay in 2 leaves baby gem lettuce; spoon in the slaw and then top with brisket. Squeeze over the Smoky Tomato and Chipotle Relish; sprinkle with sliced jalapenos. Fold in the bottom, then fold in the sides, wrap in foil and serve warm.


Then our ideas:

Tortilla (Spanish Omelette)

4 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
6 eggs
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
150ml olive oil
Salt+ pepper
75g cheese (optional), grated
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and then gently fry the sliced potatoes until almost soft, stirring. Add the onion and green pepper and fry till all the vegetables are soft. Beat the eggs and season with salt and pepper, plus cheese if using. Pour over the veg in the frying pan. Shake from time to time so the omelette doesn’t stick. Once the bottom has set, turn the heat down low and cover the pan. After about ten minutes, turn the omelette by placing either a flat plate or saucepan lid on the frying pan and quickly turn over. Gently slide the omelette back into the frying pan and continue frying, once again shaking the pan from time to time so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom, until it has set all the way through. Cool a little and cut into wedges. Wrap in foil or clingfilm to transport – lovely still warm!


Grilled Marinated Peppers

Yellow/Green/Red peppers on a barbecue grill


  • 2 red, yellow, green and orange peppers

For the marinade:

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • Freshly chopped thyme, rosemary, oregano
  • 100ml of olive oil


Cut the peppers in half, remove seeds and white release skins, wash and pat dry. Cut the peppers into wide strips and place in a dish.

For the marinade, crush the garlic and stir in a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the freshly chopped herbs and lemon juice. Stir in olive oil and mix the whole thing with the peppers. Leave to marinate for a few hours before heating on the grill. Add additional coatings of the marinade for extra flavour!

What About Dessert?

For pudding, how about cake?? We have some great cake recipes here so check them out.


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Thanks for sharing amazing ideas. I like the cook outside section! I am going for a picnic next month and your ideas helps me lots.

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