Struggling to put up a parasol in a stiff breeze seems part and parcel of the classic British summer. And getting it perfectly positioned to suit everyone’s sunbathing habits can be tricky too. Along with considering whether a parasol is durable and adjustable enough for your needs, think about weather-resistance, UV protection and whether it needs two pairs of hands to successfully assemble and operate. From the basic push-up style to cranks and pulleys, complements for your garden furniture or light umbrellas for the beach, our selection of ten best has you covered (so to speak).
1. Garden umbrella: £49.95, All Things Brighton Beautiful
In black and white stripes, this jolly parasol from the Brighton-based boutique suits the beach as much as the garden. The black steel pole makes it lightweight enough for carrying outdoors and the polyester shade has a diameter of 1.8 metres. It pushes up like an umbrella and may not fare as well in the sturdiness stakes as some other contenders, but makes up for it in portability.
2. Celeste Jalli print parasol: £195, Raj Tent Club
Inspired by India, the Celeste parasol is covered in a jalli print that brings an exotic vibe to the garden. The cotton fabric means it shouldn’t be left outdoors for long periods, but the parasol can cope with the odd shower. It can be used with a base, or straight into the ground and measures 1.85 metres in diameter and 2.5 metres high.
3. Wooden round crank parasol: £119, Bramblecrest
Bramblecrest’s traditional parasol is made from dark eucalyptus to match most styles of hardwood dining furniture. Extending out to a sizeable 3-metre diameter, the shade is made of a cotton/polyester mix. A chrome crank handle is the stand-out feature here, making the parasol easier to operate than a push-up.
4. La Redoute parasol with stand: £75, La Redoute
The “lean-over” style of parasol gives more flexibility than traditional types. Use it at the side of your picnic or over your sun lounger for uninterrupted shade. La Redoute’s 3-metre diameter version is well-priced, with a UV- and weather-resistant polyester fabric and steel structure. The shade can be rotated 360 degrees to track the sun and keep you out of the sun all day.
5. John Lewis wooden parasol: £49, John Lewis
A 2-metre diameter canopy makes this wooden parasol from John Lewis a good buy for smaller gardens. As a lightweight option, it’s also easier to handle for one person. The pole is made from sustainably sourced sycamore and the canopy has a sun protection factor of UV50+, which is great for knowing you’re safe in the sun. It operates with a peg and pulley system.
6. Bramson/Fliso parasol with base: £35, Ikea
Patios and balconies are also opportunities to enjoy the sun, and IKEA’s space-saving budget parasol is made for just that. It can be placed flat against walls or railings, is height-adjustable and gives a shaded area of one square metre. The smart grey polyester shade is designed to suit urban settings and has a UV25+ rating. The concrete base is included.
7. Cozy Bay parasol: £189, House of Fraser
This parasol has a solid feel – with a hardwood and aluminium structure, a 48mm-thick pole, and a polyester canopy that extends to a diameter of 3.5 metres. A stainless-steel pulley takes the hard work out of raising it. At 15kg, you won’t want to move this one around too much, but with a protective cover it can be left outdoors all year.
8. Notcutts Lime Shanghai parasol: £69, Notcutts
A lighter alternative to the wooden parasol, this crank-operated version from Notcutts has fibre-glass ribs supporting a bright polyester canopy. The Shanghai tilts, so you can adjust it to your preference, and the canopy is a fair 2.7 metres in diameter. The base is not included.
9. Neptune Roma parasol: £130, Neptune
This metal crank parasol is powder-coated in graphite for a smooth and smart finish. The shade is made from Duratex, a material that is water repellent and resistant to stains and colour fading. Unlike most canopy fabrics that wipe-clean, this one can be removed and washed in a machine at 30 degrees – great for keeping the light colour look fresh.
10. Marks and Spencer Peru parasol: £103.20, Marks and Spencer
Perfect for outdoor parties, the multi-coloured Peru parasol is a fun piece for the garden. The pattern may be Aztec, but the water-repellent polyester shade is definitely geared towards the changeable British weather. The stained-wood pole has an elegant metal crank, and the shade has a protection of UV50+. It extends to 2.7 metres in diameter.
Neptune’s Roma parasol is practical, well-priced and operates smoothly with hand crank. It has traditional looks, but the metal rather than solid wood construction keeps the weight down to 8kg. If you’re looking for something more basic, the Garden umbrella from All Things Brighton Beautiful is fun product to take on holidays, as well as enjoy at home.
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