There’s nothing like enjoying the great outdoors. And being restricted to the back garden for now only makes us yearn for the countryside, beaches, parks and woodlands more.

Come summertime, we’ll (hopefully) be heading for open space in our droves – and we highly recommend making the most of your newfound freedom by taking a picnic.

Get prepared with a new picnic blanket for alfresco dining in style: but what should you look for? It makes sense to have something lightweight and compact – no one wants to be lugging additional baggage around – and many of us will be looking for extra ease in carrying, such as a strap or roll-up style which can be handy when laden with cool bags and frisbees.

Then, consider whether you require any padding (good for adventurous types picnicking on rougher terrain), and a waterproof underlay often proves useful. Fairer weather types may only be concerned with how pretty it makes a picnic and how well it washes, of course.

Here, we’ve put a range of rugs to the test, looking for comfort, practicality, quality and stylishness. Whatever your picnic blanket requirements, these will have you covered.

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 us to fund journalism across The Independent.

The verdict: Picnic blankets

We’ve chosen the VonShef rug as our best buy, as it covers all bases at the same time as being budget friendly; and it does look lovely. However, were our pockets significantly deeper we’d love to bring out the Fortnum’s blanket which adds a sense of occasion as well as being a genuinely good, hardwearing and practical outdoor rug.

We were also really impressed with the lovely Weaver Green blanket, thanks to its eco credentials and the fact it is so giant and so soft...but whether it would make it past our sofa is another question. Now get out there!

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.