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Picnics take some organising, from making easy food choices to finding equipment that's going to make your gathering a walk in the park (pun intended). A sturdy picnic basket or hamper is the bedrock of a stress-free picnic experience.

From there, you can accessorise with eco-friendly reusable plates and cutlery, clever contraptions for keeping food cool, and the all-important picnic blanket.

While summer may see us take a whole new approach to al fresco dining, lots of people are opting for socially distanced picnics. Others are adapting and taking to their gardens to host a picnic with no less ceremony than usual.

We've rounded up essential buys for picnic success, wherever you lay your blanket. For more inspiration, see our picnic recipes.

Best picnic accessories and equipment to buy 2023

Waterproof backed herringbone picnic rug

National Trust sites are ideal for picnics, so their picnic blankets seem like a natural pick. This picnic rug is made from a patchwork of recycled wool end-cuts (minimising textile waste), with a practical brown waterproof backing to keep you dry.

Available from:
National Trust (£40)

Campos 29-litre cool box

Rated 4/5 by our appliance testers, this budget cool box is super wallet-friendly and does the job well. It’s got a generous 29-litre capacity but remained lightweight and retained the temperature well with good insulation. Read our full guide for more cool box reviews.

Available from:
Argos (£25)

Nautical picnic hamper for two

This nautical-themed picnic hamper would be great for seaside picnics. It comes complete with everything you need, from a picnic rug and Tupperware boxes to cutlery, plates, napkins and even a corkscrew, plus a chilling compartment to keep things cool. Read our full guide for more picnic baskets and hampers reviews.

Available from:
Joules (£125)

M&S orange picnic dinner plates (set of 4)

We love these cheerful orange melamine plates for picnics – more eco-friendly than buying disposable plastic or paper plates, and they can be popped in the dishwasher for easy cleaning afterwards. If you want your picnic set to match, there’s bowls or smaller side plates to match.

Sarah Campbell melamine tumbler

These colourful melamine tumblers are available in two bright floral patterns – a striking black and blue or a ditsy red print. Get a combination of both for a cheery al fresco tablescape.

Pioneer 2-litre pitcher

Keep drinks cool for garden picnics with this cleverly designed bargain plastic pitcher. The central chamber can be filled with ice to keep your drink cool without diluting it (handy for juice or fizzy drinks), and keeps the ice within the jug rather than splashing into glasses. Perforated at the base of the chamber, you could also fill it with fruit to gently infuse.

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Rainbow picnic drinks dispenser

If you’re hosting a crowd in your garden, this fun rainbow picnic dispenser is perfect for serving up a summer punch. The generous capacity saves you repeatedly filling up glasses and is better than a jug for preventing anything falling in your drink. Matching rainbow plastic glasses in a range of styles (including champagne flutes, wine glasses, gin glasses and tumblers) are also available.

John Lewis melamine snack pots (set of 2)

Extra handy if you’ve got kids who need snacks on the go, load up this set of budget-friendly and colourful snack pots with picnic extras.

Sistema stackable lunch box

Don’t ruin a picnic with soggy sandwiches: this clever lunch box has a divider tray in the lid so you can store sandwiches in the bottom layer, then add fruit, salad or extra snacks to the top without the flavours mixing or anything going soft.

Expanding cake carrier

Having a birthday picnic or celebration? Keep a birthday cake save with this expanding cake carrier – it has two locking side clips to keep the cake secure and expands to suit a variety of cake heights. Plus it has a handle for transporting safely to the perfect picnic spot.

Partner in Wine insulated bottle and tumbler

Partner in Wine tumbler and bottle

Keep a bottle of wine chilled all afternoon with this sleek insulated bottle from Partner in Wine. With capacity to hold a whole 750ml bottle of wine (or fill with any of your favourite picnic drinks) and keeping drinks cool for 24 hours, you'll still be sipping chilled white or rosé even at the end of the lengthiest picnics this summer. Take your pick from the simple stainless steel, white or pretty pink finishes. The matching tumbler (£20) is perfect for shorter catch ups on sunny evenings.

Le Creuset wine accessories cooler sleeve

Le Creuset is a brand renowned for producing high-quality products that last. Available in black and orange, its fabric-finish cooler sleeve is adjustable to accommodate a range of bottles and will prevent any condensation from seeping into your picnic basket. For the best results, store it in the freezer.

Zuperzozial Take-3 cutlery set

Useful for camping and packed lunches as well as picnics, this reusable cutlery set is made from sustainable bamboo and corn.

Available from:
Forma House (£6.95)

BBQ toolbox

If you're heading to your picnic by car, this portable barbecue is an ideal alternative to disposable versions that you can only use once. Read our full review of portable barbecues.

Buy from:
I Want One Of Those (£44.99)

Picnic recipes and tips...

How to pack the perfect picnic
Our best picnic recipes
Vegetarian picnic inspiration
Family-friendly picnic recipes

The best picnic hampers
10 of the best picnic rucksacks
The best canned wine
The best cool boxes
The best portable barbecues
The best supermarket picnic food
The best gas barbecues

This review was last updated in April 2022. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk


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