by Annette Kellow

What could be more summery than a delicious picnic Hamper, a very sunny green park and scotch eggs galore? Add champagne and your best friend into the mix and there is not much else that could top a perfect summers evening.
This week I had the pleasure of being invited to what can only be described as a very quintessentially English affair by the historic Dukes Hotel.

Winner of Worlds Leading Classic Hotel at the World Travel Awards, since 1908 the Hotel stands on one of the most historic areas of St. James and they have recently introduced summer picnic hampers to their award winning menu.

The hotel has been a favourite of both the Queen Mother and Diana, Princess of Wales, and the Royal connection is still strong, with the hotel's emphasis on tradition being one of its biggest draws.

The Dukes Picnic Hamper is specifically targeted as a luxurious service. Indeed on arrival we were greeted by a very friendly butler who had impeccably organised everything for us, from the plates to the food to the oh-so important blanket (of which I had a mild panic en route as I realised I didn't bring one for my friend and I!)

I was joined by best friend and fellow chatterbox Millicent who was in need of some relaxation after she had been working solidly for 8 hours!

Expecting to have to walk across Piccadilly to get to the Park, we were delighted when our lovely butler slipped us through a Dickens style alley tucked behind the hotel, straight in to the lush grass of Green Park. He even had our spot perfectly picked out (under a tree, near the walkway and not too near other people).

annette

Often with picnics you expect to be slightly comatose after eating as they are often filled with copious amounts of bread, cakes and general naughtiness but we were delighted to see our picnic was healthy indulgence!

Poached Loch Duart Salmon, New potato salad with tarragon mustard and chickpea salad with cucumber, feta and mint. Also chicken brochettes, Chorizo & goat's cheese scotch eggs and British artisan cheese with chutney and oak cakes- it was all too good! We popped the cork of our bottle of champagne and got straight down to the business of having a good natter.

As it was a warm summers evening there was lots of people also relaxing close by and my dog Dorothy took it upon herself to go and introduce herself to as many people as she could, on one condition- that she could roll over and they would stroke her. After doing that to at least four separate groups, then running around like a mad thing, she took a stick over to a man who was asleep and woke him up by putting it on his chest! This was followed by then rummaging around our chicken leftovers and running off with part of a scotch egg. Clearly she had not read her Debretts handbook of etiquette that day, so we had to constantly rescue her from mischievous scenarios much to everyone else's amusement!

Luckily our champagne bubbles combined with warm summers air made it quite a breeze and followed by our lemon posset to finish, it was exactly what one would expect from a beautiful summers evening- A quintessentially English affair.

Dukes Picnic Hampers are available throughout the summer and can be booked at 0207 318 6574