The best picnic blankets for stylish summer eating

Guard against bumpy ground and wet bums with our pick-of-the-bunch picnic blankets, featuring everything from luxurious wool to a blanket you can fit in your pocket

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It’s all very well and good dusting off the melamine plates, preparing the tiny sandwiches and fervently checking the weather forecast, but without a good picnic blanket, eating or entertaining al fresco is an uncomfortable affair indeed. We love picnic season here at RealHomes, so in anticipation of the sun finally making an appearance, we’ve made our pick of the best picnic blankets from across the shops. 

When the ground is guaranteed dry, there’s nothing better than a traditional wool picnic blanket in a summery scheme, like our first-choice pick from Fortnum & Mason, or very close second from local makers Atlantic Blankets. Warm, luxury wool and durable leather are long-lasting materials that’ll make for proud investment pieces you can use year after year, and their luxe look means they look miles away from the usual camping gear, but if you’re still not totally comfortable with the unpredictability of the British weather, look for a picnic rug that has a waterproof backing to stop water soaking through.

If you’re in need of something a little more… well, washable, there’s soft yet low-maintenance fleece, a puncture-resistant pocketable blanket, and even a colour-in cotton version to keep little hands occupied on long summer afternoons. See? There’s a surprising amount of variety out there, so to find the one that’ll make your summer, keep reading.

The best picnic blanket

1. Fortnum's Picnic Rug

It doesn’t get much more traditional than tartan, or more luxuriously British than F&M

Specifications
Best for: Luxury
Size: 145 x 200cm
Material: Wool and polyester
Carriage: Leather handles
Reasons to buy
+ Lovely heritage design + Soft, warm wool and poly blend 

There’s no mistaking the standout eau de nil shade (that’s pale green, to the rest of us) of this Fortnum & Mason blanket, the brand’s signature colour, and one that’ll score you significant style points on your next al fresco outing. With a combined construction of wool and polyester for softness and composite leather straps in contrasting tan, it doesn’t just have a handsome traditional vibe (although it does, in spades) it’s also surprisingly practical, so if you’re looking to treat yourself, and justify it, you’re welcome. 

Atlantic Blankets Wool Picnic Blanket

2. Atlantic Blankets Wool Picnic Blanket

Handmade luxury with just the right amount of practicality

Specifications
Best for: Pretty and practical
Size: 150 x 183cm
Material: Wool
Carriage: Leather straps
Reasons to buy
+ Premium British wool construction + Durable leather straps 

Grey and yellow has long been a favourite colour pairing of those in the know (ahem, us) and we think it’s perfect for a picnic blanket – after all, it’ll match whatever the weather decides to do! Handcrafted in Britain, from 100% British wool by makers Atlantic Blankets at Not on the High Street, it features gorgeous natural fibres for that plush feel. For added practicality, there’s also durable leather straps and a waterproof backing, just right for protecting unsuspecting derrieres from wet grass or sand. 

Beau & Elliot Raindrops Picnic Rug

3. Beau & Elliot Raindrops Picnic Rug

Colourful, comfortable and convenient: now that’s a combo we can get on board with

Specifications
Best for: Modern design
Size: 150 x 135cm
Material: Fleece
Carriage: Top handle and shoulder strap
Reasons to buy
+ Soft fleece construction + Two ways to carry 

Plaid or herringbone not your thing, or allergic to wool? Not to worry. This cute and colourful picnic rug by Beau & Elliot is something a little more modern than our first two picks, but that’s not to say it’s lacking in those little touches. First, it’s darling to look at it, with its case’s colourful graphic raindrop design and subtle silver branding; second, the trendy grey rug inside is made from snuggly fleece, perfect for those after-lunch naps; and third, it features both a top carry handle and an adjustable shoulder strap for when you’re overloaded.

Eggnogg Ltd Colour In Picnic Blanket

4. Eggnogg Ltd Colour In Picnic Blanket

Keep children (and big children) entertained with this activity picnic blanket

Specifications
Best for: Kids
Size: 145 x 145cm
Material: Cotton and nylon
Carriage: Bag
Reasons to buy
+ Blanket and activity in one + Washable pens to use again and again 

If you’ve got restless kids in your pack, you’ll know it can be an entire day’s work just to keep them entertained. But when there aren’t enough for rounders or it’s too chilly for rockpooling, this colour-in picnic blanket steps up. Featuring all-over line drawings of yummy picnic food, buckets and spades, bottles of pop and more than a few creepy crawlies, they can doodle on this cotton canvas picnic rug to their heart’s content with the included washable pens. Washable’s the key word here: if they’ve managed to get pen all over themselves, or are regretting going off-piste and colouring that starfish blue, everything can go in the wash and come out good as new.  

Joules Whitstable Floral Picnic Rug

5. Joules Whitstable Floral Picnic Rug

Grown-up gorgeousness for the beach or the back garden

Specifications
Best for: Comfort
Size: 146 x 132cm
Material: Polyester
Carriage: Grab handle
Reasons to buy
+ Plush quilted design + Waterproof backing 

The quilted design of this Joules picnic blanket already sets it apart as ultra-plush, making it our best pick for comfort, but it’s so much more than that too. With its unmistakably Joules-esque print of large colourful florals on a refined grey background, it’s a thoroughly grown-up blanket for festivals, picnics, outdoor concerts, or even just catching some rays in the back garden. Got an unpleasantly damp grass situation? The waterproof backing will take care of it, ensuring no wet seats or soggy sandwiches. 

Matador Pocket Blanket

6. Matador Pocket Blanket

Ultra light, ultra compact, it’s a blanket in your pocket – the future is now

Specifications
Best for: Camping
Size: 160 x 110cm
Material: Polyester
Carriage: Sleeve
Reasons to buy
+ Compact, pocketable design + Weighted corners with optional pegs 

“Put yourself out there” is the cheery command you’ll find on Matador’s branding, and this picnic blanket of theirs encourages that notion completely with its ready-to-go design. A blanket you can fit in your pocket is ingenious – compact and lightweight, it’s one less thing to worry about fitting into, or strapping onto, your camping pack. It’s also superbly strong for its feather-light weight, and features a puncture-resistant construction and weighted corners for maximum practicality whether you’re on rocky terrain or a windy beach. 

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