The holidays are the perfect time to get the family together and enjoy long, lazy lunches in the sunshine. While restrictions are starting to ease and eating indoors is once again an option, nothing quite beats al fresco dining. And if you’re looking for relaxed and informal outdoor dining ideas and ways to elevate your garden table décor, then we’ve got some lovely suggestions to get you started.

Setting the Scene

When it comes to choosing tableware for your outdoor dining area, it’s important to select pieces that work well within a natural setting and make your table more inviting. Designed to bring the outdoors in, our stunning new Sophie Conran for Portmeirion collections, Arbor and Floret, will look just as good in your garden as they do in your kitchen and make setting the table a joy not a chore.

At Portmeirion we’re all for keeping it casual and with two soft colours to choose from, why not mix and match for a relaxed dining experience that will look gorgeous on your garden table. The range has everything you need for outdoor dining, from different sized bowls and serving platters to 12-piece dinnerware sets in Dove Grey and Creamy White, so why not pop it all on the table and let everyone tuck in.

Featuring organic designs, inspired by natural elements from Sophie’s kitchen garden, the stylish range is crafted from hardwearing stoneware, incredibly durable and perfect for use outside. It’s also dishwasher safe so cleaning up afterwards couldn’t be simpler.

Fun Desserts for the Whole Family

This summer we’re keeping it simple with fun desserts that are perfect for little fingers and big appetites. The ultimate crowd-pleaser, deliciously chewy meringues are easy to make and even better to share. Don’t spend hours slaving in the kitchen while the party’s going on outside, fill your outdoor table with homemade meringues, heaps of fresh berries, different flavours of ice cream (honeycomb and salted caramel are two of our current favourites) and a selection of toppings such as sprinkles, chocolate chips and crushed biscuits so that everyone can create their own flavour combinations. Ideal for even the fussiest of eaters.

Outdoor Eating Essentials

Whether you’re picnicking in park with friends or braving the elements with a BBQ, make sure you’ve covered off the basics with our list of outdoor dining must-haves. A picnic blanket, preferably with a waterproof backing, is essential for extending your eating area or providing seating when table space is limited. And don’t forget to throw in a few rugs for keeping warm when the sun goes down.

Keep food cool with ice packs and if you’re worried about breakages, especially where little ones are concerned, invest in some pretty melamine pieces. Our Sara Miller London Portmeirion Flamingo melamine dinner sets are sturdy yet stylish, easily transportable and ideal for BBQs and family picnics. We have a range of melamine dinner sets that are sturdy yet stylish, easily transportable and ideal for BBQs and family picnics. Last on the list but an absolute necessity, make sure no one goes thirsty by packing a corkscrew or bottle opener and a selection of your family’s favourite tipples.

A Taste of Nature

Food always tastes better outside, especially when it has been freshly picked from your garden. And this is something that designer, cook and mother of two, Sophie Conran, knows only too well: “I create all of my recipes for family and friends and love to use what’s growing in the garden, it is always seasonal and that means it’s at its very best. It has no air miles, it could not be fresher, and it is packed with flavour, giving a totally different experience; I find it very exciting and rewarding.

“My recipes are not complicated as I want to encourage everyone to experience the complete joy of cooking and eating good homemade food.”

Take inspiration from Sophie and use homegrown herbs, vegetables and fruits to create a simple salad in minutes, just as nature intended. Why not get the kids involved in the picking, washing and chopping – it’s a great way to encourage them to fulfil their five-a-day. With large serving bowls and salad plates from our naturally beautiful Sophie Conran for Portmeirion collections, Arbor and Floret, your salad will take pride of place on your garden table. Serve with baked potatoes, barbequed meats and halloumi for an easy family supper.

We’d love to see how you’ve incorporated our collections into your outdoor dining décor so make sure you tag us on Instagram using the hashtag #SophieConranForPortmeirion.