There's a real sense of occasion when you're eating outdoors. With the tang of roast meat in the air, the kids playing round your feet and the hum of friends and family chatting, it's an event that feels really special.
But, let's face it, the British Bank Holiday weather doesn't always co-operate with our plans. So here's our fun guide to al fresco eating - whatever the weather!
Pick enjoy-anywhere food. If you're planning a BBQ, don't forget that pretty much everything that can be slapped on the barbie can also be slapped under the grill. Choose lots of side dishes that can easily be made in advance, like salads and dips. Or make a great big curry or chilli the day before, which will be delicious with baked potatoes. For picnics, stick to simple, cold savoury food like ready-made quiches or pies - they're as easy to prepare and eat sheltering under a tree as they are sitting on a picnic blanket! And fruit's a lot easier to eat in a rain shower than elaborate trifles or ice-cream.
Be flexible. Before you set off on your picnic, research local cafes or pubs where you can decamp if things get really wet. And have some indoor activities for the kids if your barbie gets rained off - a few kids' DVDs or a big box of Lego will always go down well.
Plan ahead. For example, if you think it's going to rain on a BBQ day, try borrowing a gazebo from a neighbour, or buying one - the basic models aren't very expensive and always come in useful. That way you'll still get that fabulous BBQ flavour but won't have to get a friend to stand over you with an umbrella. Make sure the family have waterproof jackets if you're going to have a picnic in the park or a walk - just having the right equipment can make all the difference. Or if you're planning a picnic at a festival, air show or agricultural show, a picnic blanket with a waterproof backing and a nice big beach umbrella will ensure that everyone stays as dry as can be expected!
And finally...don't let the weather spoil your fun. Fish and chips on a windswept beach or hot soup from a flask under a tree on a rainy moor can be just as much fun as al fresco eating on a cloudless day. So pack your sense of humour along with your coolbag and you'll still have some wonderful memories.
Michelle Sanders from Ryvita says: "I'm hoping for good weather as I'm planning a barbecue but I'll certainly be using these tips to plan ahead. What are your tips for dealing with the great British bank holiday climate? Let us know!"