Subscription services are the perfect treat, and, due to the ongoing challenges of coronavirus, they also serve a purpose by minimising your need to go the shops. Instead, coveted items are delivered directly to your door.
Offering a unique way to discover new favourites or fall back in love with classics you already know, these subscriptions are a sure-fire way to fend off any lockdown blues and get you excited about receiving something a little different.
While monthly beauty, food and flower deliveries are not a particularly new phenomenon, the subscription market is quickly growing as brands and companies develop new and exciting options tailored exactly to your tastes.
With so much on offer, it can make it difficult to navigate which are worth the money. But here we’ve brought together our favourite subscription boxes, which have been tried and tested by our writers and editors, so you can trust that they will be worthy investments.
Whether you’re a self-confessed oenophile or total bookworm, there’s something for everyone in this list that might just make getting through lockdown a little bit easier. You can thank us later.
You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Food and drink
With the stay-at-home order in place, you might not want to venture out to get your favourite food and drink items. Thankfully, that’s where these subscription boxes come in particularly handy.
The Fine Cheese Co. cheese subscription
Find your new favourite blue, cheddar or goats’ with The Fine Cheese Co. cheese subscription (The Fine Cheese Co, from £108 for three months), which took the top spot in our guide to the best cheese subscription boxes.
Opt for three-, six- or 12-months worth of cheesy indulgence, and if you go for the latter it’s guaranteed you’ll never receive the same chunk twice.
Containing a selection of cheese as well as biscuits and a booklet, it offers great bang for your buck and is a particularly exciting option if you’re keen to learn more about the products.
The Sous Chef Club monthly tasting box
Just because we’re in lockdown doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy culinary delights. If you’re looking to spruce up your store cupboard, enter The Sous Chef Club monthly tasting box (Sous Chef, £27.50 per month), which was crowned the IndyBest best buy in our guide to the best food subscription gifts.
This one-stop shop for people who love cooking contains five ingredients that are delivered directly to your door. “There will always be a treat you can unwrap and taste straight away (such as raspberry and dark chocolate), a couple of ingredients to use in a single dish, and finally, one or two that will stay in your fridge or store-cupboard, lifting dishes for weeks or months ahead,” said our reviewer.
Offering a little bit of everything, this is sure to keep home cooks excited about getting in the kitchen each and every day of lockdown.
Topping our guide to the best recipe boxes is the Pasta Evangelists pasta subscription (Pasta Evangelists, from £6.50). This letterbox-friendly service delivers a weekly drop of two fresh pasta meal kits (or more if you want), which you pick from 15 recipe options.
Dietary requirements are catered for, with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available, and you’ll never have to spend more than 10 minutes cooking for a restaurant-quality dinner.
Why not make a real meal of it by adding the cobble lane charcuterie platter for two (Pasta Evangelists, £8.50) or the aperitivo snack box (Pasta Evangelists, £6.50) to enjoy with a drink before dinner?
Whether you’re turning to veganism for the first time or are a plant-based pro, we’ve found the service for you. Lifebox (£22.95) took the top spot in our guide to the best vegan subscription boxes thanks to its reasonable price tag and a great variety of high-quality goodies.
“The box is designed to help its lucky receiver to feel energised and at their best, and it is a fantastic way to discover new products each month,” noted our reviewer, who received both savoury and sweet snacks, including seaweed chips and a Nucao almond sea salt chocolate bar, as well as tea bags and wellbeing-boosting products, such as a Westlab’s Epsom salt muscle spray and Linwoods’s flaxseed with bio cultures and vitamin D.
Arriving in a lovingly wrapped box, it’s a gift that anyone will look forward to receiving again and again. What’s more, the savings are colossal in comparison to purchasing each item separately.
The Chocolate Society box of the month
A box of chocolates dropping through the letterbox is a sure-fire way to sweeten your day working form home, and The Chocolate Society box of the month (The Chocolate Society, from £20 per month) wowed our tester in the IndyBest guide to the best chocolate subscription boxes.
Using experimental ingredients, flavours and techniques, Valrhona-trained chocolatier Alasdair Garnsworthy creates small batches of seasonal monthly boxes out of a professional chocolate kitchen in rural Somerset. Opt for either a one-, three-, six- or 12-month subscription.
You’ll receive two of each chocolate flavour, which is great for sharing – but it’s likely you’ll want to keep all of these to yourself. This box is certainly a great way to cheer up a dark winter’s day, particularly since our writer praised it for being a truly luxurious, creative and delicious box of chocolates.
Fetch cider club
With pubs and bars closed and alcohol takeaways banned until mid-February, chances are you’re going to start missing your favourite tipple. Luckily, there’s no need to go to the supermarket to get your fix because you can support local businesses by subscribing to the Fetch cider club (Fetch The Drinks, £39.99), which took the top spot in our guide to the best beer subscription services.
Dealing predominantly with specialists and independent producers that use traditional methods, the Fetch cider club selection offers a good range of fruity and medium to dry ciders and perries – each box comprising 12 x 330ml or 500ml bottles.
“Becoming a member gets you a discount on its pick-your-own cases and 35-pint bag-in-box ciders – hard to come by for home delivery – as well as invitations to special events”, noted our writer. It’s certainly a great option if you’re looking to discover top notch ciders and benefit from the extra perks.
BeerBods beer club
If you’re looking for ways to socialise and meet new, like-minded people during lockdown, it’s got to be the BeerBods beer club (BeerBods, from £10 per month), which impressed our tester in our review of the best beer subscription services.
The premise is simple, yet effective – members open one beer per week on a Thursday evening, after receiving the story of the week’s pick in an email, and tune in to their social channels for a live tasting. In your first box, you’ll receive four beers for the month ahead as well as an exclusive branded glass, all for £10.
“It’s also upped its game and offers regular virtual pub quizzes on top of its usual tastings and weekly newsletters,” noted our tester. As such, this is a great way to expand your knowledge and get into the finer details, as well as to socialise with others while pubs are closed.
Is there a better way to get you in the mood for a weekend in lockdown than with a glass of champagne? We think not. The Sip Champagne subscription (Sip Champagne, £100 per month) is “the ultimate indulgence”, according to our tester in our guide to the best food subscription gifts.
Collating artisan fizz from up-and-coming winemakers, Sip sends up to three bottles of champagne each month with tailored tasting notes, food pairings and advice on the best glassware.
While of course a decadent treat, the brand claims that it’s typically £45 cheaper than buying each bottle separately, so you might just save yourself some money in the long run.
Apostle coffee subscription
If you’re missing your morning barista-quality coffee, fear not because our guide to the best coffee subscriptions saw our reviewer wowed by the Apostle coffee subscription (Apostle, from £8.95 every four weeks).
Letterbox friendly, each delivery comes in completely compostable packaging and subscribers receive a pack with a refillable Apostle jar and a certificate detailing the endangered tree that has been planted in your name. “Over its lifetime, your native broadleaf tree will absorb around a ton of CO2 emissions, or about 10 per cent of your annual carbon footprint,” said our reviewer.
Eco-credentials aside, you can choose from three “super tasty” coffees – a Columbian espresso with notes of caramel, cocoa and walnuts, a decaf, or a single-origin from Peru with notes of Nutella, apple and plum.
If you are after delicious-tasting, ethically sourced, organic coffee on a regular basis, this is the subscription for you.
Brew Tea Co subscription
It’s fair to say that running out of your favourite tea is not a good way to start the morning, but our favourite plastic-free tea brand can save the day. Our reviewer praised Brew Tea Co for being “as transparent and sustainable as it comes”.
"All the tea bags are made from cornstarch, the inner lining is made from Nature-flex and inside the box is a really useful card telling you what all the packaging is made from and how it should be recycled," they added.
The Brew Tea Co tea subscription (Brew Tea Co, from £16.99 per month) allows you to choose between loose leaf or tea bags and a number of blends ranging from English breakfast and earl grey to Moroccan mint and chai. Depending on your needs, you can opt to have it delivered every one, two or three months.
It’s also easy to skip or pause a month, or add something in as a one-off treat. This is the perfect option for a real winter warmer and is sure to make staying at home that little bit easier.
Health and beauty
Refilling your health and beauty bounty may feel like an errand at the best of times, not least during a national lockdown, meaning subscription services have never been more appealing. From toilet roll and deodorant to skincare, it’s time to make your life a little bit easier.
Who Gives a Crap toilet paper
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly alternative to buying supermarket rolls, you could try the Who Gives a Crap toilet roll subscription (Who Gives a Crap, from £36 every 16 weeks).
Who Gives a Crap was founded in 2012 with the ethos of making a difference. Donating half of its profits to charity, including Sanergy, which builds toilets and improves sanitation in the developing world, each eco-friendly roll is made from natural and sustainable bamboo and comes wrapped in brightly coloured paper packaging.
Best of all, there’s no plastic in sight, and it impressed us so much that it took the crown in our IndyBest review of the best plastic-free beauty products.
Depending on the size of your household, you can get it delivered every eight, 12 or 16 weeks. There’ll not only be one less thing to buy at the supermarket, but you’ll also be making a difference to the planet and the people on it.
Wild refillable natural deodorant
Another great eco-friendly alternative to a bathroom cabinet essential is the Wild refillable natural deodorant subscription (Wild, from £12), which also landed a spot in our guide to the best plastic-free beauty.
With an impressive range of eco-credentials, namely the fact that the plastic-free refillables are made from bamboo pulps so they are compostable, it’s certainly a brand to know.
Aside from being kind to the planet, our reviewer noted that it’s also kind to your skin, since it’s free from aluminium and parabens. With six scents to choose from – rose blush, mint fresh, coconut dream, orange zest, fresh cotton and sea salt, and bergamot rituals – our tester found that it didn’t leave them feeling sweaty at the end of the day, even after exercise.
What’s more, the case is made from anodised aluminium and recycled plastic, and it’s letterbox-friendly. It’s cheaper and easier to subscribe, which will mean you’ll never be without trusty deodorant again.
Birchbox beauty subscription box
For the beauty junkies out there, the Birchbox beauty subscription box (Birchbox, from £7) is the one for you. It landed a spot in our guide to the best beauty and health subscription services thanks to the brand being one that pioneered the beauty subscription industry and is still at the top of its game.
When you first sign up, you complete a profile to make sure your monthly box is curated to your needs, with each arrival bringing a well-considered mix of make-up, skin, body and haircare delights. It offers a great way to discover a range of luxe products and smaller brands, particularly at a time when perusing the department store is off-limits.
Home and gardening
The benefits of bringing the outside in are aplenty – notably, the fact that house plants have a host of psychological benefits, including improving your mood, reducing stress levels, boosting productivity and elongating your attention span. During these anxious times, it’s wise to bring a bit of nature into your home, and a subscription service is a great way to do so.
Bloom and Wild flower subscription
This lovely bunch was crowned best buy in our review of the best letterbox flowers, with our tester praising the arranging guide, the longevity of the blooms (two weeks) and the fact two packets of flower food were included.
When it comes to adding a bit of colour to your home, we don’t think there are many things better than receiving a monthly bunch of flowers. This Bloom and Wild three-month subscription (Bloom and Wild, from £20 per month) is just the answer.
You can choose between classic or seasonal blooms, and opt to receive them every seven or 28 days. A much-needed pick-me-up during these trying times.
Seed Pantry grow club discovery box
For the green-fingered among us, we crowned this box best buy in our guide to the best gardening subscription boxes, the Seed Pantry grow club discovery box (Seed Pantry, £12.99 per month) contains an exciting mix of flowers, fruit and veg, all of which are delivered at the right time to plant.
It’s a fun way to discover new plants from around the world and keep up with gardening trends, plus it’ll keep you busy during quiet lockdown days.
Books That Matter book subscription
With non-essential shops closed, you might be missing your local independent bookshop. Enter the Books That Matter subscriptions (Books That Matter, £17 per month) which took the top spot in our guide to the best book subscription boxes.
Designed to inspire, empower and provoke thought, each subscription box is centred around an acclaimed book written by a woman or non-binary author and contains at least three gifts made by independent women makers.
The rolling monthly subscription is popular but you can save money with three-, six- and 12-month subscriptions, and there’s a one-off option too. This is a lovely way to support the literary industry while also discovering an exciting range of novels.
For ways to spice up your cooking during lockdown, read our guide to the best DIY meal kits to recreate restaurant-quality dishes at home
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.