Free-range kids the biggest threat to picnic peace

Free-range children and wayward footballs are ruining our enjoyment of public parks, according to new research.

A third of park users have had their afternoon ‘gatecrashed’ by an unaccompanied child, disturbed by amateur guitarists or wrecked by portable speakers blaring out music.

The study of 2,000 people also revealed one in seven has been forced to move by smoke from someone else’s barbecue.

Despite these annoyances, 88 per cent of people still enjoy eating outdoors, with 70 per cent claiming that having their meals outdoors makes them feel happier.

The poll was carried out by food delivery service Deliveroo to probe the nation’s al fresco dining habits.

Spokeswoman Kate Thomas said: “As the sun comes out it’s tempting to take our dining experience outside to make the most of the summer. Of course, this comes with its own set of problems.

“It’s great, then, that so many people are still forging on through the barrage of Frisbees, footballs and other picnickers in order to set up their own gingham feast.”

Most annoying park characters

1. Random, unaccompanied children gatecrashing your space


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2. People playing music too loudly

3. Litterers

4. Footballers

5. Noisy groups


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6. Wandering dogs

7. BBQ users smoking out nearby park-users

8. Frisbee players

9. Unwelcome guests


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10.Amateur musicians

When it comes to other picnic annoyances, 43 per cent of park-goers have planted their behinds on a patch of wet grass, almost half have had to defend their picnic treats from a wasp attack and 46 per cent have returned home covered in bug bites.

Inclement weather has been the undoing of a picnic for a third of park-goers, while 12 per cent have come under-prepared for their guests and had to leave mid-nic to get more supplies.

Picnic etiquette is another area of concern as the weather gets nicer. For 57 per cent, leaving litter around the site is the biggest mistake you can make, while soggy sandwiches are seen as a major faux pas.


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Almost a third of those polled can’t stand it when a guest brings too many of their own friends, while 20 per cent think napkins are a must.

Kate Thomas added: “Nowadays there are more rules than ever surrounding picnic etiquette and pulling off the perfect outdoor dining experience, but rules are made to be broken.”