I’m starting to get excited about our family trip to Center Parcs – we’re off to Whinfell forest next month for the weekend courtesy of the Tots100 Center Parcs family blogger club. I booked all our activities and spa treatments this week and have been sent our final itinerary, so it’s all on paper where I can see it, which is making it feel much more real. As members of the Center Parcs family blogger club we are taking part in their monthly challenges, and this month Center Parcs want to know about your perfect family picnic. Well so far the geek family have not been particularly good at picnics – the best we’ve managed is to put the picnic blanket down in the back garden for the kids to have their tea on – so I thought I would share instead my essential apps and websites for planning the perfect picnic…
How’s the weather?
The first thing you need to know when planning your picnic is what the weather will be like. There are many weather apps available on the app stores, but my recommendation is Accuweather (available free on both iOS and Android). One of my favourite features of this app is an hour-by-hour weather forecast, so if rain is forecast on your chosen picnic day you can check the hour it is expected to hit, and plan your day accordingly.
Where to picnic?
I was surprised when researching this article that there was a shortage of apps that would allow you to find a great picnic location. Searching on Google maps for “picnic” brings up nothing. The best I’ve been able to find is the English Heritage Days Out app (available free on both Android and iOS) which allows you to search for English Heritage properties that have picnic facilities. Of course there are many more places to picnic in the UK, so my other recommendation is the Country Life Great British Picnic website which has a good selection of picnic sites across the country (but may be a little out of date – the copyright notice is from 2011, and it mentions an app which doesn’t seem to be available any more, sadly).
App developers take note – there’s a gap in the market here!
What to eat?
For iOS users there are several apps named “Picnic Recipes” available, but they are of very varied quality. My favourite is Picnic Recipes (available for £1.49 on iOS) which contains about 5000 recipes, and allows you to browse through the recipes or search by specific ingredient. I also recommend a couple of more generic recipe apps – Big Oven (Android and iOS) and Epicurious (currently iOS only) – putting “picnic” into the search box of either app returns hundreds of recipes suitable for your day out. Please note these apps all use US measurements – if you need an app to help you convert to UK measures then I recommend ConvertBot for iOS or ConvertPad for Android.
So there you are. My essential apps (and one website) for planning the perfect family picnic. Now we just need some decent weather and we’re ready to go!
The Center Parcs team are still looking for bloggers to join their family – if you join in with this month’s challenge you could win yourself a spot. All details are available on the Tots100 website, but you’ll need to be quick as it closes at the end of the month.
This blog post is also available in enhanced audio format – you can listen in the player below, or, if it’s not available, click on this link to listen on the Audioboo website.
Disclosure: we are receiving a Center Parcs Mini Break in return for featuring their competition activities through the year and blogging about our experience.