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Picnic baskets and accessories for summer 2021

Our edit of the prettiest vintage-inspired accessories for picnic lovers, from old-fashioned hampers to woven rugs

The best picnic accessories for summer 2021. Image: Polly Wreford

The long-awaited restriction free summer is upon us, and what better way to celebrate than with a picnic? With UK weather still seeming to be gracing us with sporadic sunshine, now is the perfect time to enjoy a picnic with family and friends, whether in a local park, your back garden, or in the grounds of one of these exquisite stately homes. However, no matter the location, the perfect picnic takes some planning. Here are our tips for the perfect al fresco dining experience!

Choose the perfect picnic basket

While not all of us may be able to get our hands on a charming vintage picnic basket, choosing and packing up the perfect picnic basket is the most important task for any picnic goer. The best baskets are those that are both attractive and sturdy, offering enough space to carry everything you need without being too heavy to carry to your destination. Choose a classic vintage silhouette, fitted out with leather straps and handles, or opt for a more contemporary design with insulated pockets for the perfectly chilled bottle of wine.

The Downton 4 person hamper, £235, The Vintage Hamper Company

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The Downton 4 person hamper

Greenfield Collection 4 person willow picnic hamper, £110, Selfridges

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Greenfield Collection four-person picnic hamper, £110, Selfridges

Bembridge forage basket, £50, Garden Trading

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Bembridge forage basket, £50, Garden Trading

The Picnic Cooler Basket, £120, Twiin

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cooler basket

Navigate River Filled Wicker Picnic Hamper, £69.99, John Lewis

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Navigate River Filled Wicker Picnic Hamper

Lay out a picnic blanket

Essential to any picnic is the blanket. The best blankets are those that are light and compact, so look for those that have a strap or roll-up style, which can come in handy when burdened with heavy picnic baskets and outdoor games. Those that are machine washable are great in case you spill some of your food or drink, and blankets with waterproof underlays are perfect for keeping you dry on damp grasses.

Neutral Check Recycled Wool Picnic Blanket, £95, Liberty

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Neutral Check Recycled Wool Picnic Blanket

Picnic Blanket made with Liberty Fabric Donna Leigh, £180, Coco & Wolf

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Picnic Blanket made with Liberty Fabric Donna Leigh

Picnic Blanket in Green Floral, £49, La Redoute

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Picnic Blanket in Green Floral

Tweedmill Leisure Picnic Rug, £44.95, Black by Design

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Tweedmill Leisure Picnic Rug

Cotton Gingham Check Picnic Rug, £8.99, Homescapes

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Cotton Gingham Check Picnic Rug

Get comfortable with some throw pillows

Throw pillows are a great addition to any picnic, taking it from practical to posh, keeping yourself and your friends cosy all afternoon long. Feel free to coordinate them with your picnic blanket, or mix and match to show off your personal style – the possibilities are endless.

Printed Floral Floor Cushions, £35 each, Graham & Green

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Printed floral floor cushions, £35 each, Graham & Green

Designers Guild Tapestry Velvet Cushion, £54.99, Etsy UK

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Designers Guild Tapestry Velvet Cushion

Le Chateau Des Animaux Cotton Cushion, £18.99, Wayfair

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Le Chateau Des Animaux Cotton Cushion

Orange Round Velvet Cushion, Mint & May, £24

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Orange Round Velvet Cushion

Morris & Co. Strawberry Thief Square Velvet Cushion, £55, John Lewis

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Morris & Co. Strawberry Thief Square Velvet Cushion

Serve it all up with some statement tableware

If your picnic basket doesn’t include its own set of cutlery, remember to bring some plates and napkins to serve your food on. Melamine and acrylic plates and glassware are great picnic options, providing an unbreakable, easy clear-up option. Don’t forget larger serving plates for impeccable presentation!

Scallop trim linen napkins, £65 for 4, Matilda Goad

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Scallop trim linen napkins, £65 for 4, Matilda Goad

Rattan Jam Carry, £55, OKA

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Rattan jam carry, £55, OKA

The Beeswax Wrap Co Petals Wrap Pack, £21 for 5, Cath Kidston

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The Beeswax Wrap Co petals wrap pack, £30 for 5, Cath Kidston

& Klevering Antique-style Melamine Plates, £41.81 for 7, Made in Design

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&klevering antique-style melamine plates, £43.72 for 7, Made in Design

Crystal-Look Acrylic Tumblers  Set of 4, £15.16, Lakeland

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Crystal-Look Acrylic Tumblers

Sabre Gingham Turquoise 4 Piece Cutlery Set, £51.95, David Shuttle

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Sabre gingham turquoise 4 piece cutlery set, £51.95, David Shuttle