he sun is shining, spring is here and, for the first time in two years, it will actually be your choice if you want to socialise al fresco or not. All of which means one thing: it’s time to get your picnic gear in order. Because, yes, while restaurants may be offering outdoor dining and London's rooftop bars are back with gusto, you’re going to have to be pretty quick off the mark to secure a good table – and who really wants their long lunch cut short by a two-hour time slot?
Much better to invest in a chic picnic hamper, fill it with Fortnum & Mason’s finest, and head to one of London’s most beautiful parks. Here are some of the best luxury picnic baskets available to buy now.
Alessi Dressed En Plein Air picnic set
Italian kitchenware brand Alessi is responsible for some of the world’s most famous cooking accessories (its Juicy Salif is, perhaps, history’s best-known lemon squeezer), so it makes sense that its range would extend to al fresco dining. Designed by Dutch architect and designer Marcel Wanders, this elegant round wicker basket puts a sophisticated twist on the classic hamper and comes complete with enough glasses, cutlery, plates and bowls for four.
Prada picnic backpack
Thought picnic baskets had to be all wicker construction and leather straps? Prada, and its iconic nylon backpack, would beg to differ. The Italian fashion house has repurposed one of its most famous designs to house everything you need for a stylish and sustainable picnic. Side pockets are home to reusable stainless steel water bottles while the backpack unzips to reveal compartments for cutlery, napkins and steel sandwich boxes with lids that double as cutting boards.
Retreat double-lidded picnic hamper
Picnic hampers don’t come much more classic than this double-lidded design by Retreat, the in-house brand of high-end online homeware retailer Amara. Handcrafted in willow and lined with a cream linen, it also has one of the most comprehensive sets of picnic accessories, with china plates, cutlery, wine glasses and napkins for four, as well as a bottle opener and salt and pepper shakers. There’s even a cold compartment to keep those all-important bubbles chilled.
Fortnum’s picnic carry-all
Fortnum & Mason, the creator of the original high-end picnic, offers an expansive range of hampers and baskets but, if you’re planning a romantic outdoor date for two, this picnic carry-all is the ideal option. Neatly stored inside the leather-finished canvas bag are two plates, two glasses, two cutlery sets, cotton napkins, salt and pepper shakers and a corkscrew, with room left over to pack full of foodie treats with which to impress.
Les Jardins de la Comtesse wicker picnic basket
Big party? Not a problem. French brand Les Jardins de la Comtesse is dedicated to the art of decadent al fresco dining – and believes everyone should be well catered for. The chic addition to its line of classic wicker baskets is lined in monogrammed navy cotton and complete with enough tableware and accessories for six, including a plate, goblets, steel cutlery, salt and pepper shakers, a corkscrew, chopping board, waterproof blanket and cool bag.
Regency fitted picnic hamper
Cotswolds-based brand Regency specialises in hampers of all kinds (the company is a real go-to come Christmas time) but its line of picnic hampers is easily our favourite. This four-person wicker number is more akin to a restaurant-in-a-box than an elevated packed lunch. Along with the usual cutlery, porcelain plates, napkins and wine glasses, there’s also salt and pepper shakers, an insulated wine bag, polar fleece picnic blanket, stainless steel cups, a thermal flask and a cooler compartment.