If you go down to the woods today – or the park or the beach for that matter – don't forget to pack an all-important picnic blanket
A picnic isn’t really complete without a picnic blanket. This trusty canvas will save both you and your food from having to sit directly on the ground, protecting your clothes from grass stains and your bottoms from troubling twigs and stones. The main requirement of a picnic blanket is to provide a comfy surface to sit on, but there are other factors to consider when deciding which of this season’s must-have designs to buy.
Lots of blanket designs have handy carry straps, or adaptable zips and handles. This makes them super easy to pack them away and transport on day trips. There are also ultra-convenient deigns that fold up small enough to pop in your back pocket. They’re ideal for festivals or impromptu days out, when you don’t want to be weighed down with baggage.
If you’re looking to complete your picnic look, be sure to check out our pick of the best picnic baskets.
1. The print to be seen beside the sea
Made from a wipe-clean coated cotton with a waterproof underside, this blanket is ideal for day trips to the seaside. Beautiful coastal inspired illustrations make it all the more perfect for the beach. And it’s a distinctly different look from the traditional floral prints we’ve come to expect from Cath Kidston. Once it’s neatly folded away, carrying straps make this design easy to transport. Dimensions: 145 x 130cm.
Buy Now: Lobster & Friends Picnic blanket, £35, Cath Kidston
2. The blanket for your back pocket
Picnic blankets don’t come more handy than one you can pop in your pocket! This clever design is small enough to squeeze in your pocket, but once opened out it can comfortably seat two people. It’s ideal for festivals and day trips on foot when you need to keep belongings to a minimal. At last, taking a blanket no longer means you have to sacrifice packing something else. Small but mighty, this blanket also boasts weighted corners to stop it blowing around, loops that can be staked in the ground if camping, and a water-repellent coating to protect from spillages. Dimensions: 63 x 44cm.
Buy Now: Matador Pocket Blanket, £22.95, Cuckooland
3. The personalised picnic choice
What a great gift idea! This beautiful blanket by Delightful Living is made in Wales from a super soft wool-mix. It’s finished in a traditional check print, with the added charm of a personalised tan leather tag. You could have your own family name printed on it to ensure you don’t lose it, or create a thoughtful gift for a loved one who loves outdoor adventures. Dimensions: 150 x 120cm.
Buy Now: Personalised Picnic Rug, £58, Not on the High Street
4. The floral carpet
We’re big fans of the Dovecote accessories by Marks & Spencer, mainly because we’ve fallen for the charm of its meadow-esque floral print. A sure winner for a country fête or day out exploring National Trust gardens, this pretty blanket rolls up into an easy-carry rug thanks to the the attached strap and fastening buckles. The design is wipe clean, so again it’s ideal for grassy areas as any traces of dirt can be easily removed. Dimensions: 150 x 135cm.
Buy now: Dovecote Floral Picnic Blanket, £19.50, Marks & Spencer
5. The rainy-day special
Here’s hoping the decorative raindrops are the only kind you see at your picnic – we like to think they look more like contemporary abstract leaf motifs anyway. This Beau & Elliot design features an adjustable shoulder strap, a practical and cosy dark grey fleece on one side and a waterproof raindrop fabric on the other. So even if it does get a bit damp, your derrière will stay dry. Dimensions: 150 x 135cm.
Buy Now: Raindrop Picnic Blanket, £15.99, Wayfair
6. The perfect spot
It’s all about the case with this Ashley Thomas design. The cover is highly decorative with it’s watery multi-coloured polka dot print, yet the blanket, although still a beauty, is a plain fleece finish. The on-trend aqua tone makes a statement without being too overpowering – in fact, its soothing pastel shade should add a tranquil feel to proceedings. The underside is a waterproof layer in a darker colour, so it won’t look dirty after use. The holdall is complete with an adjustable, over-the-shoulder strap and velcro fastenings for easy transportation.
Buy Now: At Home With Ashley Thomas Fleece Picnic Rug, £18, Debenhams
7. The dirt disguiser
Turn to the dark side with this grey blanket. Not only is it totally on-trend, it’s also highly practical for a picnic blanket – think about the food and drink spillages that could occur! This delightful quilted Joules design features a blue trim and floral pattern, adding a soft accent colour to pop against the dark grey. The quilted design provides a little extra comfort, with the waterproof backing making it resilient, too. Dimensions: 146 x 132cm.
Buy Now: Joules Grey Floral Picnic Rug, £29.95, John Lewis
8. The ‘who’s a pretty boy then?’
Add a party feel to your picnic with a little help from this joyous parrot and bunting design. The colour palette is quite subdued considering how totally tropical and vibrant the parrot vibe could have taken the design. The colour combination of red, white and blue feels more coastal than tropical. Whatever the outdoor occasion we feel this pretty blanket is sure to add some cheer. Finished with a wipe clean coating. Dimensions: 150 x 135cm.
Buy Now: Parrot Picnic Rug, £25, Laura Ashley
Whether you keep your blanket in the car or by the front door, be sure to always have it to hand, so you’re ready at a moment’s notice to enjoy the sunshine. Although the name might suggest it, these blankets aren’t just for picnics. They can simply provide a comforting spot to relax outside – no food required.