As the sun returns and summer holidays beckon, picnics are an increasingly popular al fresco experience in gardens, parks, woodlands and beaches around the UK.
With lockdown looking likely to scupper overseas plans for a while longer, don’t just settle for moth-eaten blankets and mouldy old rucksacks… our pick of pack-tastic paraphernalia is perfect for fun and fabulous occasions, and all make useful additions to your home and garden when you’re not out and about, as well.
Prices correct at time of writing.
Setting the Scene
The clever design of the Anywhere Chair by Eurohike means it can fold flat for transporting, and then opens up into a cushioned seat to place on the ground or other flat surfaces. Your own bodyweight on the seat anchors it so you can lean back in the chair without toppling over. It’s much lighter than a traditional camping chair to carry around and it’s surprisingly comfortable!
Price: Was £20, now £10 from Millets.
If you prefer a more traditional deck chair, this stylish seat evokes Mediterranean memories, even if you can’t make it abroad this summer. This print was born from a collaboration between La Redoute Interiors and Bergamotte, the florist. Made from Acacia wood from controlled sources, with a natural finish, and a 100% polyester canvas (machine washable), it has an adjustable back – four positions.
Price: £70 from La Redoute.
Designed, printed and handmade in the UK by Celina Digby these cushions are perfect for picnics and can be used in the garden at home too. They are water resistant and have an anti-fungal coating making them perfect for al fresco dining.
The fabric used for the cushion covers is strong and water / dirt repellent with the design printed on the front of the cushion, and the back in a colour to complement the front. Size of the cushion: 43x43cm / 17″x17″. Comes complete with padding – ready to go!
Jazz up your picnic site with some beautiful bunting – and because this is the UK, this bunting is waterproof! Handmade in 100% woven cotton covered in PVC, it can be left outside during a soggy British summer and easily wiped dry. There are nine flags, each measuring 14cm wide and 19cm long, sewn to a 2.5 metre (including 40cm ties) length of sturdy 100% cotton tape. The pattern is printed on facing side only.
Price: £9.99 from xxx via Etsy.
Bring your own sunshine to your picnic with this vibrant yellow picnic rug, designed and made in Cornwall.
Featuring a 100% wool body, waterproof polyester belly and attractive leather handle; style, beauty and practicality are seamlessly combined. Dimensions are 130cm x 200cm.
For privacy or a bit of a wind break, this screen can be placed around your beach or garden picnic site. You can carry it around and set it up anywhere easily – it folds up and down in a jiffy! Hand crafted in Europe it features striped cotton canvas with a storage pocket, Eucalyptus frame with a natural finish and comes with a pure cotton shoulder bag. Dimensions: Length: 270cm, Height: 90cm.
Price: £99 from La Redoute.
If you need shade for your picnic, this crank and tilt garden parasol stands 249cm tall with a canopy diameter of 270cm. Sturdily made with a powder coated steel shaft and canopy arms, it comes in two pieces for easy storage when not in use.
Use the crank handle to open and close the parasol, and it also has a push button tilt function, so when the sun moves around you can angle the canopy to still provide your shade without having to move the parasol itself.
Price: £39.99 from Selections.
It might look like plastic but this set is actually made from plant materials derived from corn – 100% natural materials without the use of plastic and any artificial bonding agents, it is 100% biodegradable so it can be fully recycled.
This 28-piece set comes in a mixture of colours: aqua, coral, citrus and storm. Each coloured set includes a plate, bowl, cups and a cutlery set, which includes a teaspoon, fork, knife and dessert spoon. This provides a complete set each for four people – perfect for a multi-coloured feast with family or friends.
Avoid glass bottles with this beautiful hand painted metal jug with lid. Ideal for water, juice, Pimm’s etc. The enamel interior keeps drinks cooler for longer.
This piece is a one off and finished by hand, so no two pieces are exactly the same. Each jug is hand painted in Kashmir by talented artisans. Beautiful, vibrant colours and designs are sure to bring a ray of sunshine and style to any occasion!
Hand wash only. Pitcher capacity: 1.8 Litres
For hot or iced drinks, picnic in style with this thermo jug made from stainless steel with a chrome plated screw-on-lid and handle. The inner liner, also in stainless steel – and non-breakable – is coated to prevent the taste of coffee and tea lingering in the thermo jug.
Based on a design from 1938 by Swedish royal prince Sigvard Bernadotte for Georg Jensen, it might look pretty but it has functionality as top priority. The large Bernadotte thermo jug was launched in 2002, and in autumn 2011, a second smaller version was introduced. This second thermo jug is closer to the 1938 design and holds 0.8 litres.
Price: £129 from GEORG JENSEN via Yoox.
These salad servers have been hand made from a windfallen tree in Liverpool, by Eddie Thomsen. They have been carved using only an axe and a couple of knives. The handles have been painted with food safe milk paint that is durable and incredibly smooth.
The handles have facets running down the entire length to ensure it is comfortable in the hand. The rims are thin but strong to ensure they withstand many years in the kitchen, and serve many salads!
Each spoon is unique – the patterns in the grain vary due to the position the spoon occupied in the log, and the nature of the tree itself. The servers have been lightly treated with three coats of raw, food grade linseed oil to protect them.
The servers are approximately 24.5cm long and the bowls are 5.5cm wide.
For serving dishes try these bowls, handmade in Vietnam, each from a natural coconut shell, polished with organic coconut oil. An independent British company, Jungle Culture works with local farmers and communities to provide them with a secondary income from the shells, which would have previously been discarded as waste from the coconut oil and milk business. They also pledge 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment.
Available as a Single Bowl Set (one bowl plus one hand carved ebony wooden spoon); Twin Bowl Sets (two bowls, two poons, plus one Bamboo Straw with 1 Straw Pouch and Brush); or Quad Bowl Sets (four bowls, four spoons, two straw sets).Each bowl is 13–14cm (Width) x 5–7cm (height). Available plain or in an extensive range of boho designs.
Typhoon Pure Green is the New Black bottles offer robust steel shapes that will keep liquids cold for 24 hours, and hot for 12 hours. Featuring double walled insulation and a wide neck to fit ice cubes.
The environmentally sourced materials allow you to reduce single plastic use whilst maintaining a stylish look!
Price: £19 from La Redoute.
For sandwiches all round, Typhoon Pure Green is the New Black lunch boxes are made from fully compostable bamboo fibre.
Not just for picnics, these boxes can be used again and again for packed lunches and snacks wherever you go.
La Redoute has a selection of bamboo lunch boxes in different patterns and colours so you can have a different one for each member of the family!
Price: £16 from La Redoute.
Perfect for covering food, whether prepping for your picnic or saving leftovers to take home again.
This set of three handmade linen bowl covers are by Helen Round. Can be used in the fridge and let food breathe, unlike cling film. Machine washable at 30 degrees so they can be used again and again.
Diameters up to 18cm, 22cm and 30cm.
Price: £20 from Joules.
Carry On Picnicking
Handmade from woven water hyacinth this large basket with a choice of finish for the handles, will hold plenty of picnic supplies – and makes a great storage basket when not in use, at home. For the handles, choose from natural finish or black leather trim with black cotton stitching.
Approximate dimensions: 55 x 30 x 39cm / 21.5 x 12 x 15.5in (excluding handles); 19cm / 7.5in (handle height).
For every woven maxi bag you buy, £17 will be donated to an NGO that works to decrease poverty in Vietnam and Cambodia by providing microloans to families who live on less than $1 a day. The weavers behind these bags represent just 12 of over 200,000 lives this organisation has impacted.
These 12 women are experts in woven water hyacinth, and this business not only ensures they have sustainable employment they can do from home, but also maintains and develops their wonderful craft.
It looks like a classic metal toolbox, but the bright red box unfolds to reveal itself as a portable BBQ. The steel construction is treated to withstand high temperatures and the box contains a central stainless steel grill section sized 8” x 15” allowing you to cook a few burgers, sausages or vegetables at once.
The grill comprises a removable fuel tray where charcoal can be loaded, whilst an adjustable vent controls the flow of oxygen over the hot coals for safety and to maintain heat.
The nifty contraption also includes a heat rack that warms up burger buns and sweetcorn at the same time as barbecuing. A fold-out storage tray allows you to hold cooking utensils and condiments. A carry handle, which doubles up as the base, provides convenient portability.
Keep kids busy during a woodland picnic with this Forest School Den kit that packs into a satchel.
Containing sturdy den-building equipment, camouflage netting and face-paint, an insect aspirator for safe capture of mini-beasts, and a quality compass – each top quality tool offers opportunities to learn new skills, engage with nature and enjoy hours of fun outdoors.
Icing on the Cake
Take your sounds with you, with this palm-sized portable speaker. Place it on your picnic rug or hang it from a branch; with up to 24 hours of playtime, the cute and compact Bluetooth speaker has True360 sound, ensuring a balanced dispersion of your music from wherever you put it.
With a peak power of 2×140 Watts you don’t have to sit close to enjoy it, and the rounded aluminium grill is not just for looks: paired with the double-moulded polymer base, it forms a strong protective shell that makes your Beoplay A1 splash and dust resistant.
It also has a powerful built-in microphone for making and taking crystal clear voice calls. You can even use the microphone to activate voice commands for Apple Siri and Google Assistant simply by pressing a button.
Create the wow factor for special occasions with Belle: a beautifully elegant way to display and serve fruit, cakes and snacks.
Made with a varnished ash wood base and a brass-plated steel cover, it is durable and perfect for preserving the centerpiece of a picnic party.
Designed by Ilaria Innocenti to interpret the elements of traditional Italian bakeries and gelaterias, with contemporary colours and shapes.
Price: £111 from Yoox.
This lightweight sunscreen with SPF 30 is very water-resistant, perspiration resistant and sand-proof. The invisible, non-sticky formula is designed to nourish skin while providing sun protection.
One of the oldest cosmetics companies in the world, Shiseido boasts over 145 years of Japanese beauty experience. The ASOS Shiseido edit includes foundations, lipsticks and moisturisers alongside the brand’s glowy Aura Dew highlighter and rejuvenating Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate.
PRICE: £35 for 100ml, Body care by Shiseido from ASOS.
Available as a pair, enjoy your favourite wines from these statement wine goblets.
With a hammered silver plate finish, there’s no need to worry about breaking glass outdoors, and they add some beautiful bling to the occasion – special or otherwise!
Sturdy waterproof gazebo for creating shelter from sun or rain. Standing over two-metres high with a durable steel frame construction, it’s just as good on the beach or in the garden.
Made from waterproof Hydrafort 70D flysheet with 3000mm hydrostatic head, and taped seams, a durable steel frame and fully fire retardant fabrics.
Features internal pockets and lantern hanging points, multiple vents to allow air flow, bright guy lines for extra visibility and expandable storage bag allowing easy packing and unpacking.
These crooks simply push into the ground to give you instant hanging hooks wherever you go – use for bunting, portable music speaker, car keys or lanterns.
The hooks and poles are made from durable powder coated steel which makes them weather resistant, and the end of the hooks have a protective rubber stopper to ensure they are safe around children.
Available in various sizes and packs.
For evening picnics, add light and ambience with these lantern tealight holders. Designed so the wind can’t blow out the flame, they can stand alone or hang from crooks (see above).
Crafted in Galvanised Steel with a matt coated finish. Suitable for standard sized tealights. Height 20 cm, diameter 9cm.
Price: £12 from Joules.