Best picnic blankets: top 5 buys for lunching outdoors

These are the best picnic blankets to guard against bumpy ground and wet bums

best picnic blanket: Argos Home
(Image credit: Argos)

Looking to buy the best picnic blanket? 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 al fresco is an uncomfortable affair indeed. 

We love picnic season, so now is the time to get the best picnic blanket for summer. What are you looking for? One that's easy to fold up and carry away, one that's water resistant so you stay dry – and it stays dry when it inevitably rains and you have to shelter under it or make a dash for it – and one that's easy to clean afterwards.

Once you've picked the blanket of your dreams, complete the look with our best picnic baskets, from traditional wicker to handy backpacks, 

The best picnic blankets

The best picnic blanket: Fortnum's Picnic Rug

(Image credit: Fortnum & Mason)

1. Fortnum's Picnic Rug

Best picnic blanket you can buy: 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. 

  • Buy the Fortnum & Mason picnic blanket

best budget picnic blanket: Argos Home

(Image credit: Argos)

2. Argos Home Coastline Fleece Picnic Rug

Best budget picnic blanket: for when you don't feel like spending a lot

Specifications
Best for: Value
Size: W135 xD135cm
Material: Fleece with waterproof backing
Carriage: Polyester handle and strap
Reasons to buy
+Soft fleece +Waterproof backing+Great value
Reasons to avoid
-Design is pretty basic

Don't feel like spending ££s on a picnic blanket? We hear you: if you only get out for a picnic occasionally, you may not want to spend a lot, but when you do have a picnic, you still want something comfortable to sit on. The Argos Home blanket won't set you back by much, but it boasts a thick, soft fleecy fabric with waterproof backing, and is very lightweight and easy to carry. We can't think of anything we don't like about this one, though it's a shame that the cute crab pattern is only on the handle part. 

  • Buy the Argos Home Coastline Fleece Picnic Rug

John Lewis & Partners Fusion Woven Picnic Rug

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

3. John Lewis & Partners Fusion Woven Picnic Rug

Best textured picnic blanket: colourful, comfortable and convenient: now that’s a combo we can get on board with

Specifications
Best for: Textured fabric
Size: W135 x D150cm
Material: Polyester
Carriage: Strap and handle
Reasons to buy
+High-quality woven fabric+Not itchy to sit on
Reasons to avoid
-Polyester is not the most sustainable fabric

Some of us like the feeling of wool, but for many of us, a wool blanket + bare legs in the summer = itchy skin. This textured blanket from John Lewis is very pleasing to the touch, with its subtle pattern, but it's smooth and won't irritate the skin, while providing lots of comfort. We also like the slightly exotic design – a bit more interesting than a plain one. Polyester is not the most eco-friendly fabric, but the quality of this blanket is very nice. 

  • Buy the John Lewis & Partners Fusion Woven Picnic Rug

Navigate Summerhouse Coastal Extra Large Striped Picnic Rug

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

4. Navigate Summerhouse Coastal Extra Large Striped Picnic Rug

Best large picnic blanket: big enough for the whole family

Specifications
Best for: Families
Size: W140 x D200cm
Material: 600D polyester with polyurethane waterproof backing
Carriage: Bag
Reasons to buy
+Large sized+Pretty design 
Reasons to avoid
-A bit thin

Ever find yourselves huddling on a picnic blanket that's just too small for a family and the picnic? This lovely picnic blanket is two metres long, which should cover most people's picnic needs. It's nice and smooth to the touch, and the striped design makes us think about seaside holidays. It's not the thickest blanket, but it would be too bulky to carry if it was much thicker than it is.

  • Buy Navigate Summerhouse Coastal Extra Large Striped Picnic Rug

Best picnic blanket for camping: Matador Pocket Blanket

5. Matador Pocket Blanket

Best picnic blanket for camping: 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. 

  • Buy Matador Pocket Blanket

What is the best picnic blanket you can buy?

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,.

How to buy the best picnic blanket

The right material

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 are miles away from the usual utilitarian camping gear. But if you’re still not totally comfortable with the unpredictability of 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.

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