What do you need to think about when buying a picnic blanket? Is it not just a regular blanket that you take on a picnic? Not exactly.

The best picnic blankets will be lightweight, easy to fold up and ideally have some kind of carrying strap, for walks to the beach, park or countryside.

They will be easy to clean, especially if you have picnics involving small children or other messy eaters. It can also be a good idea to choose a picnic blanket with some kind of waterproof base, so it can be used on wet or damp ground.

Some level of padding or cushioning is good too, especially if you plan to use your picnic blanket on pebble beaches or hard ground.

Frequent campers will of course want something more robust and durable than those who just have the occasional picnic. And it’s also worth thinking about how big you need your blanket to be.

Here is our selection of the best picnic blankets.

You can trust our independent reviews. 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.

John Lewis & Partners Bohemian summer geo print picnic rug: £26, John Lewis & Partners

We liked the bold geometric print and rope-carry design of this John Lewis & Partners rug, and found it good value for money, especially compared to some of the other blankets on test. It had good waterproofing on the base and rolled up compactly for easy carrying. The fabric on top was easy to wipe-clean in case of picnic spills. The padding wasn’t as thick and comfy as some of the other picnic rugs on test, but that would only matter if you were sitting for extended periods of time.

Size: 150cm by 135cm

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Joules picnic woven blanket: £34.95, Joules

We liked this tweed-style woven picnic blanket from Joules, as it was soft and comfy to sit on, and the dark colour meant we were less worried about food and drink stains. We liked the leather strap, which gave it a far more quality feel than the price might suggest. There was no waterproof backing, so it wouldn’t be a great choice for damp ground.

Size: 155cm x 140cm

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Quechua camping rug: £9.99, Decathlon

We were impressed with this Quechua camping rug, even though it’s technically more a mat than a picnic rug as such. We found it great value for money, the cheapest product in our roundup, and it was a very decent size, though it folded up easily to the smallest, most portable size we tested. It had a good level of waterproofing on the base and was easy to wipe clean, though it was hand-wash only. As you might expect for the price, it wasn’t especially well-padded but would be fine for picnics or camping use on all but the hardest ground. Also available in grey.

Size: 170cm by 140cm

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Tolly McRae rainbow stripe picnic rug/chunky blanket: £124, Tolly McRae

We did love this rainbow rug from Cotswold-based Tolly McRae, even though it was by far the most expensive product on test. We liked its classic, quality feel, from the leather straps to the soft wool finish, combined with its on-trend design. We also liked that it was made in the British Isles from natural fibres, but it did lack a waterproof backing, so would only be usable on completely dry ground. 

We also worried a little about red wine or other dark stains ruining it, though the care notes do say most liquids should just roll off or they can be rinsed later with tap water. If you’re looking for help justifying the price, it can double up as bed throw or cosy blanket for home.It’s also available in orange and blue herringbone designs and checked patterns and for an extra £10, it can be monogrammed.

Size: 149cm x 190cm

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Atlantic Blankets washable waterproof fleece picnic blanket: £35, Not On The High Street

We were big fans of this picnic rug from family-based Cornish company Atlantic Blankets. It was comfy to sit on, easy to roll up and hugely portable thanks to the built-in carry straps and its light design. We liked the waterproof base, which meant we didn’t have to worry about how dry the ground was, and we also liked that the blanket was washable, so we didn’t have to fret over the inevitable picnic hummus stains. There were certainly prettier blankets on test but on pure function this was a winner. It’s also available in pink or charcoal, and in a larger size.

Size: 145cm by 145cm

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National Trust waterproof backed herringbone rug: £35, National Trust

The waterproof backing on this herringbone rug made it a good choice for picnics and camping in typically uncertain British weather or keeping in the back of the car just in case. We liked the classic design, found the straps easy to use and the rug light enough to carry. It wasn’t the most padded rug on test but was comfy enough to sit on for long periods. It is suitable for cold washes.

Size: 120cm x 150cm

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Ikea stillsamt blanket: £11, Ikea

We liked the design and affordable price-tag of this bright blanket from Ikea, while the fleece fabric felt nice and soft to sit on. It’s not specifically-designed for picnics or camping, so there are no carry straps or waterproof base, but it’s a decent size so we think it would still be a good choice for picnics on dry ground, especially in the back garden where carrying it wouldn’t be an issue. We liked that it was machine washable, so we wouldn’t have to worry about picnic spills. Also available in yellow/pink.

Size: 180cm x 120cm

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Just a Joy red gingham padded picnic rug: £49.50, Not On The High Street

If you want a quintessential red gingham style picnic rug to match your classic wicker hamper, this blanket from Just a Joy would be a good choice. It’s one of the larger blankets on test, fitting at least three adults comfortably, and it comes with a separate carry bag, which you’ll need to be careful not to lose on windy days at the beach. It’s waterproof and comfy to sit on and can be machine washed at a low temperature. Also available in blue and pink polka dots.

Size: 180cm by 140cm

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Eurohike acrylic picnic rug: £18, Blacks

We found Eurohike’s picnic rug to be a good value for money option. It was reasonably comfy with good waterproofing and had a sturdy, durable feel. We liked how it packed up flat, so it didn’t take up much room, and the carry bag was attached to the blanket, so you wouldn’t have to worry about it blowing away in the wind. It was one of the smaller rugs on test, so is more suitable for couples or pairs of friends rather than families or big groups.

Size: 148cm by 132cm

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The verdict: Picnic blankets

The Bohemian summer geo print picnic rug from John Lewis & Partners was great value for money and scored well on function and design. We also rated the Atlantic Blankets as a waterproof option. Our favourite non-waterproof blankets were the Tolly McRae and Joules picnic rugs.

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.