When the weather is so perfect, there is nothing better than a lovely breakfast or lunch alfresco (followed by a good opportunity for the kids to have a run around), and what better way to enjoy this glorious time of year than with a good old-fashioned picnic? From where to go to what to buy to fill those baskets up with, our Picnic guide below brings you the cream of the crop for a fun and fabulous time in the fresh air.
We all love a trip to the beach so why not set up there for the afternoon. With a tasty picnic followed by oodles of space for post lunch activities, you are sure to have the perfect family day out. Don’t forget the bucket and spade!
Sassy Mama loves: Kite Beach, Sunset Beach and The Beach, JBR
Sassy Mama Tip: Sunset Beach is one of the best beaches for breaking waves so for those of you with keen mini surfers, this is the beach for you!
Sassy Mama Tip: Forgot your picnic? Kite Beach has loads of cool new foodie options – plus the SALT food truck is often there if burgers are calling!
For Fridays when mama needs a break too, why not try out one of Dubai’s picnic brunches. They offer a particularly lovely way to spend time with the family without dragging your kids to one of the more lively brunches. Think picnic supplies, lovely soft blankets to sit on and a feast of everything you can dream of.
Sassy Mama Tip: Reform Social and Grill are due to open their Royal Family Picnic with kids activities from 7th February, every Saturday. Don’t miss out!
There is something quite magical about an Arabian trip to the desert and it’s definitely entertaining for the kids to let loose on the dunes. Encourage the children to participate in running races or sand surfing, and then throw out a blanket and feast on your packed up goodies.
Sassy Mama loves: The desert out on Umm Suqeim Street (towards Bab Al Shams)
Sassy Mama Tip: Stick to finger food for your kids to ensure the least sandy tea possible.
Bustling markets provide the opportune shopping experience, from arts and crafts to picnic supplies at the food stalls and topped off with a great playground or open space for the kids – sound perfect? A trip to Zabeel park is a lovely way to picnic. With fun for all the family, this outing is a popular one for sure. The Gardens at Emirates Towers also offers a great market and picnic opportunity.
Sassy Mama Tip: Leave enough time before you leave to pick up your fruit and veg for the week.
Safa park may seem somewhat of a building site, but there are still lots of green areas to explore. There are also other gorgeous parks in Dubai to throw down a rug and open a basket, and with most parks housing little playgrounds, the kids are sure to be in heaven.
Sassy Mama loves: Safa Park, Al Barsha park, Al Mamzar Beach Park and Mushrif Park.
Sassy Mama Tip: Mushrif park is the largest public park in the UAE, and also has an equestrian club. Oh and if you buy your picnic at Book Munch you can gain free entry to Safa Park! Decisions, decisions…
Pack up your picnic and enjoy your feast whilst watching a competitive game of polo. The children will love the thrill as the horses flash by! The entertainment and your delicious feast are sure to be the winning combo of the week.
Sassy Mama loves: Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club
Sassy Mama Tip: Let the children join in with replacing the divots at half time.
Saddle up for some fun and fabulous pony rides for your little ones at Desert Palm and then enjoy picnic tea in the luscious green grass. There is a hill that the kids will love to run up and down afterwards, and you do feel a million miles away from Dubai, even after such a short journey. Tamimi Stables is also perfect for a pony ride and picnic. Rumour has it, it wont be long before it opens again so watch that space.
Sassy Mama Tip: Tamimi Stables also offers pony rides at Ripe Market, Zaabeel park, every Friday morning.
Where to go to buy the gear? Dubai is full of places where you can shop for picnic accessories. Check these out…
This shop is not just for camping and active sports, you can find an assortment of picnic items too. From a picnic rucksack to cooler bags, folding compact tables and chairs all the way down to water bottles!
Adventure HQ, Times Square Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, (+971)(0) 4 346 6824, www.adventurehq.ae
Crate and Barrel
This home ware store is great for every al fresco accessory you can think of. You can find picnic cutlery sets, picnic coolers, melamine plates and cups, and even a collapsible food tent to make sure no insects are attracted to your ever tempting and delicious food spread. Oh and don’t forget to have a browse in their outdoor furniture section. We love the table that folds into a bag – perfect for laying out your picnic banquet.
Crate and Barrel, Mirdif Centre or Mall of the Emirates, Dubai, www.crateandbarrel.com
An affordable one-stop shop for everything under the sun! At Ikea you can find roll up picnic blankets, throws, low cost outdoor cutlery, paper napkins, plastic cups and plates and even a range of travel flasks to keep your tea warm. All you need now is the food to feast on and hey presto, you are all set!
This online shop stocks Classic English Picnics, a brand offering beautiful picnic hampers that are quintessentially British in every way. You can choose between the Lords, Regatta, Ascot, Henley or Epsom baskets, each a slightly different shape and design but all stocked full of essentials for a leisurely day outdoors.
Little Majlis, www.littlemajlis.com
Supermarkets in Dubai are pretty well stocked to cater for those needing picnic items. From paper cups and plates, to knives, forks, napkins and even the basket itself, you can certainly find nice quality products at supermarkets for your adventurous day out. Try Waitrose, Carrefour and Park n Shop!
For original picnic ware to keep and collect, look no further than Titania Tents. This brand offers beautiful hand block printed linens as well as stunning stainless steel cups, jugs and trays that will ensure a rather stylish picnic lunch.
Titania Tents, www.titaniatents.com
Best places to pick up a feast? Here are our top six choices mamas…
Baker and Spice
Whatever you do, you cannot create these dishes at home. They may look simple but trust us mamas, we have tried! Baker and Spice offer the most mouthwatering lunch options (and breakfast too for that matter) that you can imagine. The colourful, perfectly balanced salads and freshly baked breads, as well as the more filling options, may set you back a bit more than the others, but are definitely worth every dirham!
Baker and Spice, Souk al Bahar, Dubai, (+971)(0) 4 425 2240, bakerandspiceme.com
Book Munch Café
Whether you choose the breakfast or lunch picnic basket from Book Munch Café, you are sure to be happy either way. Your feast will include a plethora of goodies certain to tickle those taste buds, from gourmet sandwiches to salads, cheeses to fruit, but make sure you leave space for dessert – you’ll find it hard to beat the healthy treats on offer here!
Book Munch Cafe, Al Wasl Road, Dubai, (+971)(0) 4 388 4006, www.bookmunchcafe.com
A delicious yet affordable choice for those after a relaxed picnic lunch, Circle, now with three venues in Dubai, offer healthy breakfast choices, salads and sandwiches and you can even order online and get it delivered for just 5 dirhams. The quinoa and pumpkin salad is amongst our favourites!
Fortnum and Mason
The queen of luxury hampers, Fortnum and Mason offer a range of signature baskets to choose from, brimming with the finest foods and treats on offer. You can also choose your own contents with the Bespoke Hamper so get ready to settled down to your perfect balance of sweet and savory. Delish!
Fortnum and Mason, www.fortnumandmason.com
Lime Tree Café
One of Dubai’s favourite stomping grounds, Lime Tree Café always lives up to its reputation with a delightful selection of food on offer and some really scrumptious puds for afters. Load your basket up on supplies and get ready for an afternoon of food heaven in the sun.
New sandwich bar, Panifico, is not just perfect for those hard working parents in DIFC! Offering both breakfast and lunch options, with a wide range of sandwiches (hot and cold) and salads to go, this home grown haunt is top of our list for take away food. Expect fresh and fabulous food and don’t forget to try one of their delicious juices!!
Panifico, Gate Village 4, DIFC, Dubai, www.panifico.me
So there we have it mamas. A picnic can be exciting and fun for all… So pick a day and spread out that blanket under a tree to enjoy a morning or afternoon of delicious food and family time in the fresh air.