10 best picnic baskets and hampers

Celebrate National Picnic Week with a stylish carrier to transport your food to the park, beach or back garden

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The Independent Online

There can hardly be anything more quintessentially British on a hot summer’s day than a good old fashioned picnic – and if you want to get really traditional, then you’ll need a good wicker picnic basket. We’ve shaken out our picnic blankets and made sandwiches, salads and cakes galore to test out this year’s top picnic baskets.

1. Marks & Spencer Spring Bloom 4 Person Flap Wicker Hamper: £59.50, Marks & Spencer

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This is a great-value bit of picnic gear. It has a summery-feeling floral lining and contains what seems to be the standard set-up – plates, wine glasses, cutlery, napkins, salt and pepper shakers and a bottle opener – but all are good quality and we like the fact plates are ceramic. There’s plenty of room for your picnic food and the peaked lid means there’s less danger of food getting squashed in this one. 

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2. Eaton Hampers and Basketwear Fitted Picnic Hamper: From £100, Not On The High Street

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Here’s a basket for a seriously sophisticated picnic. Made from top-notch willow, it has tan leather fastenings and is available as a two or four person set. Inside, you get the works: as well as china plates, wine glasses (no plastic here) and stainless steel cutlery, there’s a handy cool bag, bottle duffle, flask, metal mugs, salt and pepper shakers, bottle opener and even a blanket that attaches on to the side of the basket. With all that in the mix, you’ll need to pack your food carefully but that done, you’ll want for nothing during your al fresco meal.    

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3. Dibor Two Person Picnic Hamper: £72, Not On The High Street   

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We think this artfully distressed hamper would make an ideal wedding present or romantic gift for your other half. It comes with champagne flutes and a sweet heart-motif wicker and glass carafe, as well as the usual stuff. The barrel shape means it’s super-easy to access everything and there’s plenty of space for your own goodies. Aphrodisiacs not included.  

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4. Lakeland Wicker Picnic Hamper: £75, Lakeland 

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The nautical-look, blue-and-white-striped cotton inner and natural willow outer make this an attractive and practical accompaniment to any picnic. It includes four plates, wine glasses and sets of stainless steel cutlery. The plates and glasses are plastic but they’re good quality and will last you for summers to come, and the fact that it has less bits and pieces than some, means there’s more space for your picnic food and drink. 

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5. At Home with Ashley Thomas Heart Shaped Picnic Hamper: £35, Debenhams

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This is a bargain at half its usual price and the romantic heart shape makes it a particularly good wedding present. Complete with pretty flowery lining, it’s deeper than most hampers and comes with all the usual supplies including two ceramic plates, plastic glasses, napkins, sets of cutlery, a corkscrew and salt and pepper shakers.

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6. Wayfair 21 Piece Wicker Picnic Basket Set: £98.99, Wayfair

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This large white basket is designed by narrow boat artist Julie Dodsworth and is great for those who like a tipple when they’re dining alfresco – with spaces for two bottles. It contains four tumblers, ceramic plates, sets of cutlery, a bottle opener and there’s a sweet pink and green floral pattern on the inside lining. 

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7. Rigby & Mac The Dulwich Trader Picnic Hamper: £85, Trouva

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This wicker hamper with rounded top looks extra stylish, thanks to the leather effect straps and handles. It includes four ceramic plates, wine glasses and sets of cutlery, along with salt and pepper sellers and the all-important bottle opener. You get a handle and shoulder strap for easy carrying and a roomy main compartment for your meal. 

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8. Vonshef Wicker Two Person Picnic Basket: £32, Domu 

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Fill this great value wicker hamper up with edible goodies, find a great picnic spot, and turn up at your loved one’s door. There’s two of all the usual stuff, as well as a cheese knife and a blanket with waterproof backing. 

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9. Matalan 4 Person Wicker Picnic Hamper: £30, Matalan

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A bargain offering with a colourful stripy interior and blue fastenings, we particularly like the handy zip up area for food that is easy to clean. Includes four plates, four mugs and four sets of cutlery – the pieces are plastic but it’s ideal for a family of four on a budget who don’t want the risk of breakage that comes with china or glass.  

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10. John Lewis Coastal Hamper: £85, John Lewis

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If you’re after a modern feel to your picnic hamper, then look no further. Still made from wicker, but with a whitewashed finish and contemporary design, this is also highly practical and long-lasting, containing four ceramic plates, wine glasses, napkins, sets of cutlery and a corkscrew. The zip-up compartment for food is particularly useful, as are the three compartments for bottles.  

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11. Fortnum and Mason Henley Wedgewood and Cream Picnic Basket: £465, Fortnum & Mason

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Get out the posh nosh for this unbelievably decadent, beautifully-made, easy-to-carry wicker hamper, which contains four bone china plates and mugs, proper stainless steel cutlery, glass tumblers, flask, food boxes, salt and pepper mills, bottle opener and bottle bag. One to pass down to the kids and, quite possibly, the grandkids.

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12. Joules Picnic Basket: £90, John Lewis

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Considerably taller than most wicker hampers, this has loads of room for everything you need for a sumptuous outdoor feast. The floral lining and fuchsia-pink trimmings – including an adjustable shoulder strap  mean you’ll stand out from the picnic set. The four plates are melamine and wine glasses are plastic, so it’s a practical one to use with young kids. You also get a floral-print mini cool bag for those bits that need to be refrigerated.

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13. Cath Kidston Ditsy Filled Hamper: £68, Cath Kidston

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This looks like an oversized version of one of those cutesy toy hampers you can get for little kids. With a design that harps back to the Fifties, it has all the quality you’d expect from this household brand, and makes a great present. You get all the standard bits and pieces, including a cork screw and salt and pepper shakers, but the floral-patterned plates and napkins make this stand out from all the white offerings. 

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Verdict 

Eaton Hampers and Basketwear Fitted Picnic Hamper, which is available in two different sizes, is a great find. For something cheaper, you can’t go wrong with Marks & Spencer Spring Bloom 4 Person Flap Wicker Hamper.

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