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How to have the perfect picnic in Glasgow

Glasgow's parks are a wonderful setting for a picnic, so why not get out there and enjoy them?

Published: June 3, 2015
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Summer is nearly here and despite the recent weather suggesting the contrary,  it's supposedly going to be a cracker. So what better way to enjoy the rarity of such an occasion than by getting out there and enjoying a picnic. Traditionally, picnics were extravagant affairs, though these days they are slightly less flamboyant and more likely to involve a sandwich from your local supermarket, a can of fizzy juice and perhaps a piece of fruit or two. Perhaps, it's time to bring back the good old days of al fresco outdoor feasts.

With this in mind we've created a guide to getting the best out of your picnic and picked out some of the best places in Glasgow to enjoy them.

What you'll need

Gone are the days of the simplistic blanket and hamper, and now, in these halcyon days of modern technological wonders, even the simple act of going for a picnic has taken on a whole new level of sophistication. We've taken a look at some of the best items and tools you'll need to ensure your picnic is the envy of outdoor eaters everywhere.

Blanket

The atypical picnic item, ensuring you can enjoy your wonderful food and drink in comfort and free from the dangers of grass stains or soggy knees.

The new Fatboy Knapsack is perfect for picnics in the park or on the beach. Easy to carry and surprisingly durable, the  knapsack is stain and water repellent and is also ridiculously comfortable due to its foam filling.

Picture: Fatboy

Picture: Fatboy

Best of all it has a handy pull-cord so when it's time to go home, simply pull and the mat is instantly transformed into an easy to carry handy storage bag knapsack.

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The mat comes in two different colours (red and grey) and can be bought here.

For those of you who like to keep things neat and tidy the Matador Pocket Blanket is a wonderful little option. Tough, lightweight and designed to withstand both water and punctures it even folds up into the size of a crisp packet.

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Picture: thefowndry.com

Perfect for impromptu picnics, it’s available in two separate sizes and won't break the bank, get it here.

Hampers 

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You'll be the envy of Yogi bear with this one. The Luxury Picnic Basket Hamper is perfect for a two people picnic and comes with cutlery, plates and glasses.  Sadly the only thing that's missing is food so you'll have to fill it yourself.

APicnic hamper

Accessories

For the times when you need something more than just a blanket to sit on, you can't go wrong with the amazing Y'Ply outdoor seat and back rest. Versatile and lightweight it's perfect for carrying around and can be used in a number of different poses, either seated or lying down. You'll wonder what you were doing all this time without it.

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Picture: Y.Ply

What's that you say? You don't know what to cook to impress your date on your romantic picnic? Don't worry, we have you covered or more importantly, Annie Bell does. She's the author of the wonderful  The Picnic Cookbook - a book packed with practical advice on everything from essential equipment, how to throw together a quality picnic using a mix of store-bought products and home-made foods, to cooking on location and eating outside in cold weather.

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Picture: Amazon

When it comes to the grill/barbecue debate most people find themselves divided, and although all agree that being able to cook on a picnic adds to the fun not all are agreed on the best way to do so.

For those who prefer the added flavour that comes from a barbecue then the perfect answer could be the Kembla charcoal portable barbecue.

Picture: DIY.com

Picture: DIY.com

This portable BBQ is perfect for picnics in the park or on the beach. The clever lid doubles up as a wind barrier meaning you can keep grilling in the unpredictable (and usually) windy Scottish weather.

Those who prefer the cleaner, smokeless option can't go wrong with the Cobb barbecue cooking system

Cobb

Picture: Cobb

This wonderful little cooker is the  ultimate outdoor cooking system  that also roasts, smokes and  cooks. It stays cool on the outside so can be placed on park tables and benches. It's smokeless as the food doesn't come into direct contact with the charcoal and best of all  it has its own moat into which water or wine and seasoning can be poured to infuse your food with tenderness and flavour.

Finally, it is Scotland after all and although no actual repellent has been discovered that can stop our ever persistent pest - the infamous midge - a suitable alternative has been found.

Skin so soft

Picture: Avon

No it's not just a clever marketing ploy  by Avon. Skin So Soft body spray has actually been  found  to help mitigate the attentions of the Scottish scourge and trust us, if you've never encountered them before, it's best to be prepared.

So now that you are ready, you need a suitable venue. Luckily, Glasgow isn't known as 'our dear green place' for nothing, the city has over 90 parks and open spaces, more than any other city of its size. Many of them contain some of the city's main galleries and attractions, facilities for recreational activities, and many fine examples of Victorian sculpture. So, seeing as you'll be spoiled for choice we have chosen five of the best:

1. Kelvingrove Park 

(West End, Glasgow, accessible by bus or via the underground stations at Kelvinbridge and Kelvinhall underground stations)

Situated on the banks of the river Kelvin, the park is one of the most popular in Glasgow.  An urban haven for all kinds of wildlife, it's a great place to spot some of the rarer animals to be found such as otters, kingfishers and herons.

On the day of the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton a large crowd gathered in Kelvingrove Park Glasgow to celebrate the occasion. . Picture Robert Perry The Scotsman 29th April 2011 .

Home to bowling greens, play parks, skate parks and monuments there is always something going on but the park is big enough to have plenty of quiet spaces where you and your friends can enjoy your own company and set up that wonderful picnic.

2. Glasgow Green 

(City Centre, Glasgow, ten minute walk from Central Station)

The oldest of Glasgow's parks sits just east of the Saltmarket and is not too far from the City Centre. Home to the People's Palace, the The Doulton Fountain and our personal favourite the WEST Brewery. Glasgow Green offers a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

Glasgow Green

3. Pollok Country Park 

(Southside of the city, accessible by bus and train at Pollokshaws West)

Pollok Country Park is Glasgow’s largest park and probably its best kept secret.  In recent years has been named both Britain and Europe’s best park. This green space is home to the world-famous Burrell Collection and Pollok House, one of the area’s most elegant former family homes.

A new addition to the Highland cattle stock at Glasgow's Pollok Park, a bull calf, possibly to be named Bracken Og of Pollok, took his first tentative steps in a frosty world early yesterday (Tues) morning. This youngest member of the champion winning Fold, Bracken Og was born to Chorrach of Pollok, and sired by Barurack Bracken of Pollok - Picture by Donald MacLeod 01.12.09

A new addition to the Highland cattle stock at Glasgow's Pollok Park. Picture: TSPL

Best of all you can check out the Park's resident herd of Highland cattle, these wonderful creatures are great fun and happy to be photographed.

4. The Botanic Gardens

(Situated near Byres Road, accessible by bus or Hillhead underground)

Glasgow’s striking Botanic Gardens is one of the most beautiful parks in the city and is situated near the trendy Byres Road.

Botanic

Site of the amazing A-listed Kibble Palace, an ornate Victorian glasshouse built in 1873 which is filled with tropical plants from around the world, there's always something to enjoy in the Gardens.

5. Victoria Park 

( Situated close to the Clyde Tunnel. Accessible by bus from the City Centre)

Featuring a fossilised grove of prehistoric trees, twice as old as the dinosaurs - Glasgow's most ancient attraction - Victoria Park is a wonderful green space to the west of the city. Victoria Park was named for Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887 and is considered to be Glasgow's prettiest park. It's also one of the best places in Glasgow for floral displays.

Glasgow_Victoria_Park_view

It doesn't end there, we could easily have included many more on this list so there's plenty more waiting to be discovered.

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Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.

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