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Expert Tips for Outdoor Entertaining

Feature: Long Read
Words by Grace Cain

Stricken with fear at the prospect of throwing a garden party? Filled with regret because you agreed that everyone could come over for a crisp glass of rosé? If you’re breaking out in a cold sweat at the very thought of playing host, take a deep breath and listen to us: it’s going to be okay. We asked four experts with serious hosting credentials to give us their top tip for entertaining guests at home; from curating the perfect garden bar to setting a summer tablescape.

Edgardo Osorio

Founder and Creative Director of Aquazzura

“I love long tables, like the one I curated for Aquazzura's 10th anniversary party at Villa Astor in Sorrento [below left]. Add lots of flowers in many different sizes and heights to add dimension (peonies are my favourite, but in summer I love bougainvilleas). I also like to use fruits as decorations.”

Aquazzura Set of 2 Secret Garden Dessert Plates (22cm) primary image


Set of 2 Secret Garden Dessert Plates (22cm)


“Bring life to your table with vivid linens, colourful glasses, lots of candles and printed plates (like our Secret Garden service).”

Rebecca Udall

Founder of Rebecca Udall

“For an alfresco dinner party, add interest to your table through colour (think vibrant glassware and hand-painted crockery), or texture in the form of patterned linens. Rattan items are especially suited to this time of year – woven placemats and bread baskets will make for simple, elegant styling. Remember to vary the height on your tablescape with different charger plates and flowers. Finally, place candles in hurricane vases or lanterns and dot them around your garden to create ambience into the evening.”

“An extra tip when hosting outside: bring your bar trolley with you, so you don’t have to constantly head back inside for top-ups.”

For Your Summer Tablescape

Bring bright colours and a whole lot of fun to the table with our edit of crockery, candles and linens. Feeling extra adventurous? Serve every meal with a side of escapism thanks to our travel-inspired tablescape schemes.

Richard Brendon

Designer and Founder of Richard Brendon

richard brendon

“When it comes to a garden party, I always keep the drinks menu relatively simple. A Tom Collins is a real favourite of mine – it’s like grown-up lemonade! To keep things easy, premix a big batch that you can pour over ice and top with sparkling water; it's best served in a cut-crystal highball. Of course, wine is also always a great crowd-pleaser. On warmer summer evenings I lean towards white Burgundy, or a high-quality Godello from northern Spain. Whatever your wine of choice, our Jancis Robinson One Glass will always serve you well.”

prism serge

For Your Garden Bar

Cheers to an outdoor bar stocked with the most stylish glassware and accessories. In need of more bartending inspo? Quench your thirst with our favourite summer cocktail recipes.

Tom Kerridge

Michelin-Starred Chef

Chef's Choice

“An alfresco dinner party for me has to be a barbecue. Nothing beats the thrill of cooking with fire outside and it’s so versatile. You can slow cook big joints for groups and prepare delicate seafood, as well as grilling a range of spring greens and summer vegetables. Experiment and have fun with it.”


“One of my favourite dishes is a whole fish barbecued in newspaper. You must soak the newspaper first as that creates the steam to cook the fish and also stops it setting on fire – so be careful! – but then you can add aromatics like lemongrass, ginger or lime. It’s delicious.”

If you like Chef Tom Kerridge's style, give yourself a break from hosting duties and book a table at Kerridge's Fish & Chips in the Dining Hall.

Discover & Book

For BBQs and Alfresco Dining

No Michelin star? No problem. Check out our gourmet BBQ food ideas if you have the thrill for the grill, and browse our edit of everything you need host the perfect summer dinner party.

Entertaining at Home

Be ready for every eventuality this season; whether it's intimate dinners, lavish feasts or catering for impromptu guests.