Hosting a Big Lunch outside

Hosting a Big Lunch outside

Eden Project Communities and Greenspace Scotland have teamed up to share some top tips on bringing your Big Lunch outside!

Greenspaces are the ‘glue’ that connects our communities.  They link houses, workplaces, services and other public spaces to create joined-up places.  Greenspaces like parks, gardens, woodlands or playing fields are great outdoor venues to host a Big Lunch and bring people together to share food and fun.

If you’re thinking of organising an outdoor Big Lunch or an event throughout the Month of Community, here are some things to consider:

Shade and shelter

Whether it’s a rainy day or a scorcher, it’s important there’s some shelter.  Is there a permanent structure like a bandstand or some trees that you could sit under?  Or perhaps someone has a gazebo they could bring along?

Planning ahead

If you’re organising a BIG Big Lunch, look at insurance, licences and check with your local council nice and early about permits and other arrangements.  Here's a helpful guide on arranging insurance, with options for a special Big Lunch insurance deal.

Food (yum!)

Picnic foods are perfect for enjoying outdoors.  Invite everyone to bring along plates, cutlery and something easy to share.  Think about storage and keeping food covered and cool when outside.  Don’t forget about drinks too!

P.s. the recipe for the above pictured Gluten-free lemon drizzle is here.  You're welcome. 

Accessibility and inclusivity

The space should be welcoming and accessible.  Try and pick a spot that has parking nearby, has level access and ideally some toilets.  Ask people to bring along chairs, cushions or blankets or gather around picnic benches.  Encourage guests to bring a range of food for different dietary requirements.

Fun and games

If you’re getting together in a park there may already be a play area for children.  A nature scavenger hunt or sports day competition work perfectly in large grassy areas, or simple craft activity is a great way to bring people together outdoors too.   

Add a little extra

Make the space special - hang bunting or decorations in trees or across your shelter, put up a sign up to direct people, and think about the smaller details.  How about a bowl of water for dogs or some battery-operated lights if your celebration is going into the evening?

Leave the space as you found it

Bring along rubbish bags especially if there are limited public bins.  Encourage everyone to tidy up after themselves and keep the greenspace looking lovely.

Top tip:  Your local park might have a Friends of Park group that you contact to help with your event.  There’s not a central list, but they’re often active on Facebook and Twitter.  Many of the groups in Scotland are listed here.  

For more great tips on holding community events outside, check out greenspace scotland’s Better Outside resources:

Better Outside Resources


Want to read more?

Find out why The Big Lunch has become the signature event for Grow 73with over 200 people getting together annually outdoors in their local park.  Grow 73 strongly believe these events are not only fun, social occasions but they are key to tackling issues such as loneliness and social isolation and can play a big part in developing community spirit.