The best picnic hampers and baskets for summer 2023
A good picnic basket or hamper will make al fresco eating a whole lot more convenient this summer. Discover our top product picks.
You can't beat a traditional picnic, especially if you find the perfect picnic basket. Whether you need a simple basket for transporting food, or something to hold the full works, including glasses, plates, cutlery, a bottle opener, cool bags and more, a good-quality picnic hamper should make eating al fresco a breeze. We have complied our list of the best picnic hampers and baskets for various needs, whether you’re looking for a small hamper for two or a basket with top sustainability credentials.
Get inspired, too, with our comprehensive collection of picnic recipes that includes our crispy chicken & avocado baps, plus we highlight meat-free ideas in our vegetarian picnic recipes and vegan picnic recipes alongside twists on traditional favourites. Or for more impartial buyer's advice from BBC Good Food experts, visit our reviews section.
Best picnic baskets and hampers at a glance
- Best luxury picnic hamper for two: Fortnum & Mason Stripe two-person picnic hamper, £365
- Best picnic hamper for four people: The Colourful Garden Company personalised four-person picnic basket, £119
- Best contemporary picnic basket: Joules Silver Editions two-person nautical hamper, £129
- Best basic picnic basket for extra capacity: Lifestyle rectangular four-person picnic hamper, £99.99
- Best picnic rucksack: Greenfield Super Deluxe Picnic Rucksack for four, £74.99
- Best picnic basket for wine lovers: Les Jardins de la Comtesse Saint Germain picnic basket, £159
- Best picnic basket for keeping food and drink cold: Woodluv Luxury four-person wicker chiller picnic hamper, £54.99
- Best mid-priced picnic basket: ProCook four-person picnic basket, £79
- Best designed picnic basket: Charles Bentley two-person wicker picnic basket, £62.69
- Best small picnic basket: VonShef Deluxe picnic basket, £55.99
- Best for a bigger group: Tower Heritage six-person wicker picnic hamper, £74.99
Which picnic hamper should I buy?
Before buying, you should think carefully about how you'll be using your picnic hamper to ensure you choose the right one. Where are you most likely to go for your picnic? Will you drive to the picnic spot or will there be a hike involved? What type of food and drink will you be taking on your picnic? Chilled items will warrant a cool bag.
We looked for a wide range of picnic baskets at a variety of price points, that could hold enough to serve from two to six people. So which are the best picnic baskets? Here is our line-up of best buys.
11 best picnic baskets and hampers to buy for summer 2023
Fortnum & Mason Stripe two-person picnic hamper
- Available from Fortnum & Mason (£365)
Best luxury picnic hamper for two
- Subtly wire-reinforced for added strength
- Hand-wash-only components
- No rug
Star rating: 5/5
If there’s any brand that knows how to help you channel quintessential British luxury into your picnics, it’s Fortnum & Mason.
The brand is synonymous with luxurious al fresco dining, and this chestnut-coloured wicker has the iconic F&M branding across its side. You pay a premium for the name – this is the Le Creuset of picnic hampers – but quality underpins the key characteristics here.
Aesthetically, it’s pristine. The fastenings are made of real leather with sturdy metal buckles, and on lifting the lid you reveal an extra monogrammed leather tag. It comes assembled, so there’s no faffing around with, for example, removing every piece of cutlery from its own plastic sleeve. Two ceramic plates and sets of cutlery are nicely presented and secured with the same gold popper design as the rivets on the outside.
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As you’d hope for the price, every individual component is quality, and could be used in your kitchen. The two mugs and plates are made from bone china, the bottle opener features a crested thumb rest and the miniature salt and pepper grinders actually twist to grind.
There's also a freezable gel bottle holder with a carry strap to easily keep drinks cool, plus a separate small cool bag that’s wipe-clean and also has a handle – it's just large enough to contain a traybake. The hamper also contains a 750ml flask – this had a new-product smell on unscrewing, and isn’t recommended for transporting ice cubes but for simple hot drinks. It keeps liquids hot for a full eight hours.
The small wicker holder for the wine glasses and mugs are a nice extra touch, as is the wipe-clean drawstring bag for transporting your dirties post-picnic.
The only thing missing is a waterproof picnic mat. It's unlikely that you’d use everything in this hamper all in one go, but whether you’re off for a bottle of bubbly with some snacks or a hot coffee with cake, there should be space to add your own additions.
Fortnum & Mason (£365)
The Colourful Garden Company personalised four-person picnic basket
- Available from The Colourful Garden Company (£119)
Best picnic hamper for four people
- High-quality components
- Can be monogrammed with initials to make for a personal gift
- No accompanying picnic rug
- Needed to trim wicker to fit all glasses
Star rating: 4.5/5
If you’re not straying too far from the boot of your car, this willow hamper for four people is a luxurious ode to the traditional picnic and provides all the trappings. It has classic woven styling, but unlike traditional hampers, its double-lidded design means it can sit and store things upright, an arguably more practical shape.
Three aspects set this picnic basket apart from the rest. Firstly is the quality of each component. They’re the kind you’d buy to furnish your new kitchen and wouldn’t look out of place on a dining table. Four sets of cutlery and a steel bottle opener are slotted into leather loops inside one of the lids, while four miniature plates and the salt and pepper shakers are secured in the other. Linen napkins that match the light interior are also provided.
The central section has been purposed well for holding food for four people. Three-quarters of the space is an integrated cool bag with a wipe-clean interior. The remaining space has been split into four individual holders for the small wine glasses (made of glass rather than plastic).
We had to trim the wicker inside one of these holders to fit the final glass. The last thing you want is to break anything by firmly closing the lid.
Once loaded up with food and bottles, the hamper is weighty and has a sturdy handle, thanks to the tightly weaved willow. A nice touch is that this hamper can be personalised with initials across one side – something that would make it a great gift for weddings or purely just because you love picnics. It also comes nicely gift-wrapped, although if the brand were to swap the cellophane for a more sustainable way of presentation, this would be a five-star hamper.
The Colourful Garden Company (£119)
Joules Silver Editions two-person nautical hamper
- Available from Joules (£129)
Best contemporary picnic hamper
Pros: practical canvas carry straps
Cons: impractical light-coloured fabric outer
Star rating: 4/5
With a woven willow lid and a fabric-covered wooden body, this nautical-inspired addition to our best list is a contemporary take on the traditional picnic basket.
It’s noticeably lightweight thanks to components like plastic wine glasses and the white-handled sets of cutlery. There’s something to be said for the practicality and safety credentials of plastic glasses. Both are robustly made and secured in with two Velcro straps. Each cutlery item slots into its own elasticated pouch, which is also a great feature.
The interior is Breton-inspired in keeping with the hamper’s nautical theme. The hamper includes a navy picnic rug which has space for four and is secured with its own Velcro fastener and carry strap. This can be laid on top of the removable cool bag if the hamper is full, thanks to the hamper’s height. Two large Tupperware boxes can be fitted inside the cool bag.
The hamper's canvas carry straps are robust and mean it can be carried upright, but also tucked away so the hamper can be stacked for easy storage, something not possible with rigid wicker handles.
However, the hamper does have some practicality flaws. If you happen to knock it with jam on your knife, the outer covering can’t be washed. It also wouldn’t fair well on damp ground, so luckily there’s a waterproof picnic mat inside.
Overall, although you forfeit a couple of elements like a quality bottle opener, this hamper offers everything else you need for a great picnic out.
Lifestyle rectangular four-person picnic hamper
- Available from Garden Street (£99.99)
Best basic picnic basket for extra capacity
- Well-designed handles
- Extra wicker glasses holder
- Individually plastic-wrapped cutlery
- No accompanying picnic rug or cool bag
Star rating: 3.5/5
On first glance, this looks like a picnic hamper for six or even eight due to its large size. It warrants three handles – one in the traditional briefcase style plus one on either end, both padded and faux leather. These are immensely practical if you take advantage of its cavernous room and fully load it with food. The size of it means that, when not in use, you could easily use it for storage around the house.
The fastenings are twist-to-open, practical and faff-free. On opening, each component is individually wrapped so you build up the hamper. One particular irk of this is that every item of cutlery had its own plastic wrapping which feels unnecessary and particularly unsustainable. The cutlery itself is stainless steel and lightweight, and is accompanied by an ergonomic wood and metal bottle opener, a set of salt and pepper shakers and four soft napkins. The four ceramic plates are dishwasher-safe.
A real stand-out feature of this hamper is the separate willow wine glass holder, offering practical protection for the glasses. It also matches the hamper weave, but would benefit from a more robust lid. For the price, this hamper is just lacking its own picnic blanket and a removable cool bag.
Garden Street (£99.99)
Greenfield Super Deluxe picnic rucksack for four people
Best picnic rucksack
- Packed with everything you need
- Thermos and tumblers included
- Old-fashioned design
- Picnic rug sold separately
Star rating: 4/5
Picnic rucksacks are immensely practical. While wicker hampers can limit you on how far you can go, just load this up, throw it on your back and you’re ready for an adventure. What this picnic bag lacks in contemporary design, it more than makes up for in sheer practicality.
All the essential bits of picnic kit and some added extras have a place. The bag is made up of two main compartments. The front section contains four sets of cutlery (dishwasher-safe, but recommended hand-wash only to keep their original ‘lustre’), four plastic wine glasses, a corkscrew and bottle opener, tablecloth and napkins (both machine-washable) and four medium-sized melamine plates that would survive knocks and drops.
Some useful additions for making picnics easier also make this bag stand out. The rucksack includes a bottle stopper for saving the rest of your bubbly for later, plus a sharp serrated knife and small bamboo chopping board for slicing up sandwiches.
At the end of a picnic, there’s always the question of what to do with the dirty things – how are you going to transport them without getting it all over the inside of your picnic hamper? An additional reusable bag proved invaluable for holding all the dirties.
The bag’s back compartment is larger and insulated - great for helping keep your food cool. Two lidded stacker boxes come with the bag but you could easily stack five in there and still have additional room. Four stainless steel insulated tumblers fit in the back section and pair with the flask, which has its own insulated pocket at the side.
The rucksack we tested did not come with a blanket, but they are available to purchase separately. The materials used throughout have been used to achieve a relatively lightweight picnic rucksack and for what you get, this is a reasonably priced picnic companion.
Les Jardins de la Comtesse Saint Germain picnic basket
- Available from Sous Chef (£159)
Best for wine lovers
- Quality contents
- Insulated cold section
- Not much room for food
There is no doubt that this looks the part. If you’re going punting in Cambridge or off to watch an opera at Glyndebourne, this classy hamper will see you picnic in style. It’s also ideal for anyone planning a boozy picnic as the open middle section has space for three full-sized bottles of wine.
The contents are comprehensive and stylish. You get four small white ceramic plates (complete with emblem), cutlery, wine glasses (made from glass not plastic) and napkins for four along with a rubbish bag, salt and pepper shakers and a corkscrew/bottle opener. There are leather trimmings and an attractive gingham lining.
The basket has two covered sections, one of which is insulated to keep food cold and closes with a zip. Both compartments buckle up at both sides so the contents feel very secure. There are six slots for knives, forks and spoons so you need to put two in each one, which is a little fiddly.
The insulated section is a little small but we still fitted in three medium containers. Plates and glasses strap in on the side of the other compartment, taking up most of the space. It’s perfect for wine and nibbles rather than a huge picnic.
The quality of the items means that this is quite heavy, especially if you decide to fill all three compartments with wine bottles. It’s better suited as a basket to take just a short walk from the car rather than one to take on a long hike – and one for the grown-ups rather than a family with children.
Sous Chef (£159)
Woodluv Luxury Wicker Chiller four-person picnic hamper with removable bottle cooler
- Available from Amazon (£54.99)
Best for keeping food and drink cold
- Useful chiller compartment
- Separate bottle holder
- Would feel more secure with two straps
This is a picnic hamper that screams summer. The grey and beige trimmings give it a light and cheerful look and this theme continues once you open it up. There’s a beige lining with a sweet cherry pattern on it. The small ceramic plates are white as are the handles of the cutlery, giving the basket a bright and fresh appearance.
While the cutlery, plates and bottle opener fit into the lid, the whole of the main section is one big chiller compartment. Add in a freezer block and the insulated compartment will keep your food cool. Glasses (which are plastic) slot into the corners, which does reduce the space but we still fitted in four containers of different sizes. You can’t overfill this compartment or the basket won’t do up. You could easily remove the glasses and slip them into another bag if you need more room.
The hamper also comes with a separate bottle bag. It’s insulated and big enough for a whole wine bottle so you can take along a chilled white or rosé. This has a strap so you can sling it over your shoulder. It’s adjustable and comfortable and you secure it with Velcro so it does feel nice and safe.
This basket has a PU leather handle which makes it comfortable and the whole thing is reasonably lightweight, even when full. It secures with one central clasp which works fine, but we’d have felt slightly more confident if this had two like most.
ProCook two-person picnic basket
- Available from ProCook (£59)
Best mid-priced picnic basket
- Comfortable to carry
- Plates on the small side
This well-designed hamper has all the essentials for two people and plenty of space inside in an insulated compartment to keep food cool, which zips shut inside the wicker basket. It is compact, at 25 x 40 x 40 cm, but should be able to hold essentials for two.
The basket has just one compartment, but it’s nice and roomy. Ceramic plates, stainless steel cutlery and a bottle opener/corkscrew fit neatly into the lid, secured with straps. Wine goblets go into elasticated loops in the main section. This arrangement leaves a good amount of space for your all-important food. Plates and spoons are on the small side, but not ridiculously so.
As a bonus, cutlery, glasses and plates can all go into the dishwasher so at the end of a day out you can just load it into the machine rather than having to wash and dry everything by hand.
The wicker hamper has a cheerful blue and white striped interior. It is pleasantly light to carry. It also feels very secure – the basket closes efficiently with a central buckle. We also thought that the handle is very well designed: made of faux-leather, it is broad and very comfortable – it’s much easier to hold for a long period than classic wicker.
Charles Bentley two-person wicker picnic basket
Best designed picnic basket
- Plenty of space for two
- Good-quality glasses and plates
- Looks great
- Salt and pepper shakers are tricky to remove
If you’re heading out for a picnic with just one other person, this is a decent-sized hamper with good-quality contents. It makes for a basket that has the wow factor as well as being practical. It’s simple and stylish, with a blue-and-white checked pattern inside. The central strap opens to reveal two sections, which open separately.
One inner section is insulated and designed to keep food cool for four to six hours. This section is pleasingly deep and big enough to carry food for a pair. In the lid on this side is the cutlery – with each item held in a separate strap – plus corkscrew.
The other compartment isn’t insulated so it’s somewhere to keep your fruit and crisps. Glasses also go in here, strapped to the side. Ceramic plates are stored securely in the lid of this section and so are the salt and pepper shakers. The latter are held rather too securely though – we struggled to get them out. You also get two napkins.
This basket comes with a very useful information sheet, advising that plates, glasses and cutlery can go in the dishwasher. You are also advised to use ice packs in the insulated section, and there bare essential hygiene tips and knife safety.
We thought this basket makes very good use of space and particularly liked the quality of the contents. Goblets are made of glass rather than plastic and plates are ceramic. Although these are slightly heavier than plastic options, because it’s only for two people, the hamper doesn’t weigh too much and isn’t hard to carry.
VonShef Deluxe picnic basket
Best small picnic basket
- Comes with picnic rug
- Plastic packaging round the glasses, cutlery and cruet
Designed for two people, this dinky little picnic basket comes with a good-sized picnic rug inside, though you will have to carry it separately if you want to leave enough space inside for food. The rug has a waterproof backing so is fine for dewy mornings or if the grass hasn’t dried after a rain shower.
Inside the basket you get a good range of contents – a pair of melamine plates, plastic glasses, cutlery, a waiter’s friend, two cotton napkins, and salt and pepper shakers.
Most of the contents strap securely into the lid and there is a separate slot for each piece of cutlery which makes it easy to put in and get out. The salt and pepper shakers, unlike some we tested, also came smoothly out of their slots. Wine goblets go in the main body of the basket. The leather strap that secures them has a Velcro opening – no struggling to push the glass in here.
The single compartment closes with two buckle-up leather straps. The carry handle is also leather, which is much more comfortable on the hand than wicker.
We were disappointed with the amount of plastic packaging but there were lots of good things about this hamper. It’s big enough for two (once you’ve removed the rug) but won’t take up masses of space in the car. Cutlery can go in the dishwasher after your day out, though hand-washing is advised to prevent tarnishing.
Tower Heritage six-person wicker picnic hamper
Best for a bigger group or family
- Larger basket
- Comfortable to carry
- Tricky to fit cutlery into the slots
Most picnic hampers are for four people, which means bigger groups or larger families would need to cart two of them about, or pack extra plates and glasses. This six-person hamper is aimed at a bigger crowd. We particularly liked the fact that it’s carefully designed so it doesn’t feel massive to carry, despite the extra requirements.
Inside, you get six small ceramic plates, which are secured in the lid with leather straps in two sets of three. Stainless steel cutlery has an attractive wood effect handle, the colour echoing the internal leather fittings on the basket.
Cutlery comes in cardboard boxes rather than being pre-loaded into the basket, which means you have to figure out how to place it into the horizontal and vertical straps – this involved a bit of trial and error. A downside is that each cutlery item came covered in a plastic wrapper.
Plastic wine goblets strap into the main compartment, secured with Velcro making them easy to put in and take out. There’s also a good-quality bottle opener/corkscrew. There isn't dedicated space for non-essentials, such as napkins and salt and pepper shakers.
Once all the crockery and cutlery are inside, there is still a decent amount of space for food, especially if you pack carefully and avoid too many containers.
The whole thing secures with two leather buckles and is carried with a broad and comfortable leather handle. It’s lighter than you might expect given the contents.
With a smart tartan lining, this traditional-looking picnic hamper is well equipped for a day out. As a bonus, it comes with a confident warranty – one year standard, which you can extend for an extra two years for free on the Tower website.
How we tested picnic baskets
Our reviewer filled the hampers with picnic recipes and tested the picnic hampers in local parks, as well as their own garden. The food varied between mid-morning brunches with cheese and crusty bread and coffee, to grab-and-go feasts of tomato and potato salads, hummus dips with crudités, watermelon slices, homemade cakes and spreads using our foolproof picnic recipes.
While testing, we looked carefully at handle comfort, capacity, the practicality of the design and quality of build, the quality and quantity of accessories, the ease of using the fastening mechanisms and how secure they were. We questioned whether the basket made our picnic stress-free and more pleasurable or proved more a hindrance than a help.
What we looked for in a picnic hamper
Large baskets without a durable handle or shoulder strap to take the weight may result in handles pulling free from their rivets after a few heavy picnics. It's important to consider how long they will last under duress.
Accessories are fun and add to the occasion, but if you have kids, will those glasses really be the best thing to drink from? If you plan to walk to your favourite picnic spot, make sure you consider how bulky and easy-to-carry your basket will be.
Insulated compartments or separate cool bags will mean your food stays cold and safe to eat on a hot day. All those straps and buckles can be tiresome to undo and redo, and while the elastic straps don’t look so attractive, they are definitely a swift solution to securing accessories.
Value for money
Picnic hampers can get expensive, so you’ll want to ensure you're getting the best value for money in terms of quality of the basket and accessories. Materials vary from cheaper plastic to glass and fine bone china, so make sure you consider how you’ll be using the basket before deciding how much to invest.
The appetite of your party or the occasions you'll most often use your basket for will have an impact on which one you choose. It’s all very well having lots of accessories lining your basket, but if it means you have to sacrifice a sandwich or two, then it might not be the basket for you.
Quality of materials
If you want your picnic basket to last and look good, you will want a well-made basket with quality wicker and sturdy handles and straps. The quality of any insulation will determine how long it will keep your food cold and safe. Better-quality materials can also make for a more cumbersome basket, so you need to prioritise and weigh up the ease of carrying against more expensive, quality materials.
Whether you prefer a traditional, classic picnic hamper or something a little more fun and playful, you’ll want your picnic hamper to look good while you’re out and about.
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This review was last updated in July 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have a favourite picnic basket? We'd love to hear your product suggestions…