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An essential bit of kit for summer, a picnic blanket sets the stage for alfresco dining at the drop of a hat, but how do you choose the right rug for seasonal snacking when there are dozens of different materials, sizes and styles to choose from? We’ve collated a selection of the best options including recommendations from the Mumsnet forums to help you prepare for the picnic season.
Whether you’re looking for a traditional throw, a practical blanket for the whole family or a compact rug, we’ve got you covered.
Here are the best picnic blankets to buy in 2021.
1. Best overall picnic blanket: Country Club Recycled Cotton Picnic Blanket
Made from 100% recycled cotton, Country Club’s Recycled Cotton Picnic Blanket is an ideal choice for the eco-conscious shopper – great news for the environment and it also means that no blanket is ever the same. Who doesn’t like to feel unique and the envy of the park? We love the ‘picnic without plastic’ message as well as the classic tartan design. This rug is best used on blue-sky days as there’s no waterproof underside so it offers little protection from dewy grass. In winter it can double up as a throw for the sofa.
- Size: 120 x 150cm
- Material: 100% recycled cotton
2. Best budget picnic blanket: John Lewis Fleece Picnic Rug
"John Lewis which is fleece on one side and water resistant on the other. Be sure to check the sizes. You can get ones that fold up very small but they are also pretty small when unfolded" - CandaceMariePratt
Recommended by Mumsnetters for its fleece layer and roll-up design, this John Lewis Picnic Rug has a wallet-friendly price tag and is a no-frills option that ticks all the boxes. Its water-resistant lining protects against moisture so it's a good option for damp days and it's comfortable to sit on. It folds up neatly and its handle makes it easy to carry. Keeping it clean after crumbs and yogurt spillages is made easy with its wipe-clean design. However, it’s not suitable for the tumble dryer so it’s best to give it a quick wipe over after your alfresco banquet. It should air-dry pretty quickly.
- Size: 135cm x 135cm
- Material: Fleece with polyethylene backing (water resistant)
3. Best waterproof picnic blanket: VonShef Herringbone Picnic Blankets with Waterproof Lining and Faux Leather Carrier Handle
This rustic herringbone blanket is a good investment and a stylish piece. It's affordable and made from hard-wearing fleece polyester so will withstand the test of time. It features a durable waterproof backing that will keep you dry whatever the weather and boasts a roll-up design. It’s available in a variety of muted colour options, including blue and beige; we’re a fan of the spring green blanket with brown leather handles that can attach easily to a rucksack for some impromptu outdoor lounging. It can park up to four bums easily.
- Size: 147 x 180cm
- Material: Hardwearing fleece polyester
4. Best family picnic blanket: LIVEHITOP Fleece Picnic Blanket Waterproof Backing
When the family is in tow, getting the picnic blanket laid out needs to be super easy. This extra-large blanket is a soft and practical option for big broods and can seat up to eight people comfortably. Its sand-proof and its waterproof backing keeps moisture out, making it suitable for the beach or park. Its stripy design will keep you daydreaming of beach days and its Velcro fastener and carry handle make it a convenient choice for on-the-go families.
- Size: 200 x 200cm
- Material: Large size, soft fleece, sandproof and waterproof backing design
5. Best luxury picnic blanket: Fortnum & Mason picnic rug
If you’re looking to score some hefty style points at your next outdoor gathering, then this Fortnum & Mason picnic rug is the one for you. It’s the most expensive on our list but we feel it is a worthy investment. Renowned for their luxurious wicker hampers, it’s no surprise that Fortnum and Mason have created a dashing picnic blanket too. Its traditional design features a combination of deep navy and its signature Eau de Nil colour (pale green) and it oozes luxury as one would expect. It can be rolled up to a convenient size and its leather handle and gold buckles will ensure it’s used for years to come, each time with an elevated sense of occasion.
- Size: 45 x 200 cm
- Material: Wool and polyester, waterproof
6. Best fun picnic blanket: Garden Colour In Picnic Blanket
Peace and quiet in the great outdoors, anyone? This fun, colour-in picnic blanket is an absolutely brilliant option for those with small children. It comes with a pack of starter pens so will keep those busy little hands occupied and little bums still. When you’re done, simply put it in the wash at 40 degrees and you’ll be ready to colour again a few hours later. It’s recommended you use ultra-washable pens like Crayola for the cleanest wash results. You may even be able to snatch some time to read your book while the kids colour and feast on the sarnies. We’ll keep everything crossed for you!
- Size: 145 x 145cm
- Material: Cotton and Polyester (washable)
7. Best extra large picnic blanket: YOYI Beach Blanket
"I wanted one that stayed clean, could be washed, and folded up enough that it wasn't bigger than the picnic basket! One like this has been perfect functionally. It's not the most beautiful thing, but it’s small enough to actually carry round easily and doesn't smell either"
This bright beach blanket comes in neon orange or sky blue so there will be no misplacing your picnic spot on the beach. It fits up to seven adults comfortably (four if using while socially distancing snacking). It folds to fit in a compact bag (16 x 12cm) and is made from quick-drying nylon. This mat also works well to pre-empt any sudden weather changes with four anchor stakes and carabiner clips also included. It scores points from Mumsnetters for hygiene and for its ability to fold down smaller than the picnic basket itself. It can also be bunged in the washing machine too.
- Size: 210 x 175cm
- Material: Quick drying, breathable rip-stop nylon
8. Best washable picnic blanket: Joules Fleece Picnic Blanket
"I couldn't enjoy a picnic on a dirty blanket. It's one of those products where it is obvious you should buy a washable one as it is bound to come in contact with all sorts!" - mountainofdreams
This turquoise, roll-up picnic blanket is made along the shores of Cornwall and comes in three sizes. Its washable fleece makes it super practical and it can be thrown into the washing machine repeatedly at a 30 degree wash without forsaking its quality. Mumsnetters recommend opting for a washable blanket, with one contributor reminding us that “it’s bound to come into all sorts”. Its fleece side will also keep you comfy on bumpy ground and the grass won’t stick to it. We think it’s worth the price tag for its longevity. We are also a fan of its sea colouring – what could be more relaxing for an alfresco lunch?
- Size (three available): Small: 145 x 145cm; Medium: 145 x 200; Large: 145 x 250
- Material: Polyester
9. Best compact picnic blanket: Matador Blanket Pocket
For those that like to venture out with the bare minimum and appreciate lightweight versatility, this is the picnic blanket for you. It will comfortably fit into your jacket pocket without weighing you down, making it a handy and versatile choice. Small certainly doesn’t mean simple here - it’s made from tough, puncture-resistant material so it’s ready for all weather and can be shaken out onto any ground type. It comes in red, black or green and folds down to the size of your purse. It is on the smaller side so it’s a tighter fit for more than a few people. It scores full marks from us for its durability. And yes, it’s waterproof too.
- Size: 160 x 110 cm
- Material: Polyester with waterproof PU coating
10. Best colourful picnic blanket: SONGMICS Outdoor Picnic Blanket
This fun picnic blanket gets a thumbs up from us. It’s lightweight with an insulated backing, perfect for scorching summer days. It also features a water-resistant underlayer so it can survive any sudden downpours. There are eight equally quirky patterns to choose from so finding one to suit your style is not an issue. A group of four can perch or lay out nicely and it folds up with Velcro for easy storage. You’ll be able to wipe it clean in a flash and it’s machine washable. It can even withstand the tumble dryer if you can’t air dry it. See you at the park!
- Size: 195 x 150 cm
- Material: Polyester
With the hard work done, all that is left to do is to get planning for all those summer meet-ups, prepare the Pimm’s and sarnies and soak up the summer vibes. If you’re looking for location inspiration, visit the National Trust to locate the perfect picnic spot for park days and beach trips. And always be sure to follow sun safety to make sure everyone enjoys the sunshine safely when you're out and about.
How to choose the best picnic blanket
When choosing a picnic blanket, it’s worth thinking about the following:
Durability: Keep in mind that your picnic blanket will be exposed to the elements – from sun to dampness to rocky ground, so pick one that can withstand it all by making a smart purchase over an impulse buy.
Size: Your picnic blanket should be able to comfortably accommodate both your family and your food. It’s no fun watching the kids fight for a patch to sit on to avoid a wet bum or competing with the ants for lunch.
Comfort: Ultimately if you are comfortable, then you’re going to be able to relax and enjoy your time outside. Coarse fabrics may irritate your skin. You want a sturdy blanket without compromising softness and comfort.
Style: This is of course where your personality should shine and is dependent on personal taste. Consider how a picnic blanket could reflect your style and run with it.
Convenience: Your blanket needs to be portable and convenient to take out with you. There are plenty of stylish strap or Velcro fold-up options if you like to grab and go, as well as more compact designs that require a bit more patience to fold back up.
Water resistant: A good picnic blanket should withstand a change in the weather so look for one that absorbs rain quickly, but can then dry just as fast.
Are picnic blankets washable?
Not all blankets can survive the washing machine and live to see another sunny day, but if you want one that can, go for a polyester material.
Are picnic blankets waterproof?
Things have definitely moved on from basic tartan-style throws and many picnic blankets now feature a waterproof underlay, which is an important consideration for a great British picnic.
What is the best picnic blanket to buy?
The Country Club Recycled Cotton Picnic Blanket is our best picnic blanket. It’s good value at under a tenner and is made from 100% recycled material, with every blanket possessing its own unique thread. It’s an ideal size for use at the park and is a great pick for warm summer days – our favourite type of weather for a picnic.
How we chose our recommendations
Because we know that there’s nothing like a real recommendation, we first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out which picnic blankets parents were recommending and had bought. We then did some research across the wider web, looking at which picnic blankets had won been featured in ‘best buy’ lists across websites, and what customer reviews said about them. Having collated all that information, we then narrowed our list down to the top 10 picnic blankets on the market.
Why you should trust us
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