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Do National Picnic Week in style

Posted in FOOD + DRINK By Maggie O' Sullivan

Lancaster London Take Away Afternoon TeaIt’s National Picnic Week this week, but forget the scotch eggs and lukewarm wine – it’s time to think outside the (picnic) box. How about, say, a gourmet picnic served by a butler? Or a breakfast picnic to set you up for the day? Here are five of the Capital’s finest alfresco feasts to inspire you.

Afternoon tea picnic

Skip lunch (and possibly breakfast as well) to make room for Lancaster London’s Take Away Afternoon Tea (£19.50 per person; pictured above). The picnic, packed in a bag rather than a hamper, includes traditional ingredients such as passion fruit and raspberry macaroons, scones (plain and raisin) with home-made strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream and iced tea. Champagne or soft drinks can be added and are charged separately. Find a quiet spot in nearby Hyde Park and tuck in.Charlotte Street Hotel Breakfast HamperBreakfast picnic

At Soho's Charlotte Street Hotel picnics are a serious business. Guests have a choice of three: the Bloomsbury Hamper (£50 for two), the Gentleman’s Hamper (£50) and, our favourite, the Breakfast Hamper (£30). The last comes with a selection of croissants, muffins and pains au chocolat, sandwiches filled with smoked salmon and cream cheese, ham and Gruyère and egg mayonnaise, plus granola bars, fruit salad and smoothies. Alcohol drinks are extra – we’re tempted by the half bottle of Krug (£86). Well, it is National Picnic Week…Dukes hotel picnic with butler servicePosh picnic

There’s no struggling across Piccadilly with a heavy hamper if you order your picnic from nearby Dukes hotel: it comes with the services of a private picnic butler who will also uncork the chilled Champagne and lay out your luxury picnic dishes. Picnics are served in Green Park and you don’t even need to bring a picnic rug: alfresco dining doesn’t get much better than this. From £35 for two; butler service is extra.Rex Whistler Picnic Hamper, Tate BritainPicnic and paintings

You might have already discovered The Rex Whistler restaurant at Tate Britain, but did you know that between June and September it also offers picnic hampers, which you can take out onto The Rex Whistler Picnic Lawn? The Rex Whistler Picnic Hamper (£28.50 for two) contains a selection of British cheeses with ale chutney, smoked duck, salami, smoked salmon pâté, bread, savoury biscuits and olives, strawberries and cream, and scones with raspberry preserve. There is a wide choice of alcoholic beverages available – The Rex Whistler Pimm’s jug (£16.95) sounds perfect.The Great British Picnic, Regent's Park Open Air TheatrePicnic and a performance 

It’s easy enough to buy lunch or supper before a performance at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, but ordering a picnic makes it more of an occasion (plus you get reserved seating). Included in the Great British Picnic (£47.50 for two) are sandwiches, Chef’s Nearly World Famous Sausage Roll (a vegetarian option is also available), Open Air brownies, strawberries and a bottle of Chapel Down Flint Dry white wine. Picnics are available prior to evening and matinee performances. Kew the Music picnic concertsPicnic and pop

Kew Gardens runs a programme of picnic concerts called Kew the Music every summer. On offer for the first time this year are three gourmet hampers (£55-£65 for two) by The Mount Street Deli, packed with delicious items such as herb-roasted salmon with crushed new potatoes, roasted butternut squash and feta tart with toasted pumpkin seeds and caramelised onions, strawberries and cream, and double chocolate brownies. Hampers come with napkins, disposable glasses, cutlery and crockery though you will have to supply your own rug. 

BY MAGGIE O'SULLIVAN

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