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Do National Picnic Week in style

Posted in FOOD + DRINK By Maggie O' Sullivan

It’s National Picnic Week this week, but forget the scotch eggs and warm wine – if you're in London, 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? 

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 HamperAt 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 (£40). 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 in Green ParkTrudging across the grass with a heavy hamper not your idea of fun? If you order your picnic from Dukes hotel, it comes with the services of a private picnic butler who will not only carry it for you, but will lay it out and uncork the chilled Champagne. 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 £39.50 per person; butler service is extra.Great British Picnic, Regent's Park Open Air TheatreYou can buy food 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 (£49.50 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 concertsKew Gardens runs a programme of picnic concerts called Kew the Music every summer, with a number of VIP optional extras available. There are three VIP Picnic Hampers on offer this year: The Waterlily (regular; approx £63), The Palm (deluxe; approx £74) and The Alpine (vegetarian; approx £63). They all contain a selection of savoury items and desserts (alcohol must be bought separately) and come with napkins, disposable glasses, cutlery and crockery. 

BY MAGGIE O'SULLIVAN

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