The best King Charles coronation hampers to buy, from Fortnum & Mason to M&S
Which are the best coronation hampers for your street party or picnic? We're working our way through a taste test, one scone at a time...
In the lead up to King Charles III's coronation the best hampers – whether from famous department stores or online specialists – are proving more popular than ever.
"People are gifting celebratory hampers for their friends to enjoy over the Bank Holiday, either at a street party or private gathering," explains Annabel Lui, founder of Cutter and Squidge, a London-based bakery which has seen hamper sales quadruple.
Many sales are doubtless down to the coronation memorabilia some hampers contain – tea towels, bunting, mugs and so on – but indulgent food and drink are the stars of the show.
Fortnum and Mason's Holly Hughes-Metcalf first noticed a renewed interest in edible gifts during the pandemic.
"Sending food became a love language once again and sales have been very strong ever since," she explains.
At £500, Fortnum's King of Picnics is the most expensive coronation hamper, but there are options for every taste and budget, from M&S and other great British brands.
From scones to scotch eggs and strawberry jam, all contents are unashamedly British and some are even curated to reflect the tastes of the new king himself.
You can read my guide to the best King Charles coronation hampers below, but if you’re in a hurry, here's a quick look at my top five:
A hamper, by definition, contains a lovingly curated selection of treats you wouldn't find in your weekly supermarket shop. "They’re for sharing and everyone should get excited about every item; nothing will be left abandoned at the back of the cupboard," Hughes-Metcalf says.
According to Hughes-Metcalf, a coronation hamper should ideally include freshly prepared items to enjoy over the holiday weekend as well as treats with a longer shelf life for the weeks to come – along with a commemorative tea towel, tin or basket to be passed down to future generations.
Faced with such a vast selection, Lui advises shoppers to consider the quality of the individual contents and their size. "A hamper is a reflection of your tastes, so the products should speak for themselves," she says.
I, my husband, my four boys and their nanny have tried a number of Coronation hampers, rating them for thoughtful packaging and good looks (Daylesford's prettily illustrated Coronation Gift Box stood out, as did the enormous Fortnum & Mason's Coronation Tea Hamper).
The most essential consideration, however, was the food. Hampers by Delimann will be suitable for passing around at a street party, while the Cornish Company's cream tea hamper is better suited to a family gathering. Others work best as luxurious gifts.
£140, Fortnum and Mason
Fortnums are doing a range of coronation hampers, topped by the £500 King of Picnics (see the bottom of this guide). This more affordable hamper is our pick: it's more a selection of treats than a meal in itself, with truffles, biscuits, tea and jam as well as a commemorative tea towel.
Unboxing it was an experience. The children dug deep into the packing straw to find each tin and box. It's an expensive hamper, but everything inside it is extremely luxurious from the chocolate truffles, which lasted all of five seconds, to the honey biscuits, which are apparently King Charles's favourite. It's no wonder F&M hold the King's warrant.
If you're in a party mood, you may want to push the boat out on the Coronation Tea Hamper (£385) which adds tea and coffee specially blended for the coronation, a bottle of champagne and coronation souvenirs in the form of two limited-edition china mugs and one musical spinning biscuit tin. Also sold separately, the biscuit tin is tall, beautifully decorated and plays a twinkling rendition of God Save the King. You’ll want to keep it forever – even if the biscuits are gone before May 6.
Fortnums Coronation Hamper includes:
£55, Marks and Spencer (delivery from 4th May)
Marks and Spencer have two coronation hampers. This is our pick, a great value option for picnics, street parties or having the grandkids over. You get a King Colin The Caterpillar cake, mini Victoria sponges, shortbread, scones and jam plus napkins and paper plates in a smart wicker basket. The commemorative tea tin, sentry box shortbread tin and basket can all be used again afterwards.
Meanwhile M&S's luxury option, the Coronation Celebration Hamper with Prosecco (£120) throws in flags, bunting, prosecco and a souvenir tote.There are also crown-tipped sausage rolls, Cornish Cruncher cheese crackers, mini pork pies and mini Victoria sandwich cakes plus a Coronation tin of shortbread.
M&S Royal Afternoon Tea Hamper includes:
£40, Norfolking Around
Best coronation wicker hamper
A bespoke Coronation wicker hamper with handle and leather straps, adorned with the King's coat of arms. There are no contents included, so regard this as a DIY hamper and fill it with your own homemade cucumber sandwiches, scones and lemonade.
£54.99, Cutter and Squidge
Best coronation picnic hamper
This eco-friendly cardboard hamper unpacks to reveal a generous picnic – which, unlike most of the hampers we tried, features both savoury and sweet items. There are crackers, veggie sausage rolls, herb and cheese pesto swirls, lemon loaf cakes, brownies and scones, all baked in London by Cutter and Squidge, the bakery founded by two food-obsessed yet health-conscious sisters Annabel and Emily Lui.
The herb and cheese swirls were delicious when warmed for a few minutes in the oven and served with a green salad and a cheeseboard with the crackers and jar of chutney
Best coronation hamper for children
This traditional hamper contains everything you need for a celebratory Devon cream tea for at least four, at an affordable price. The plain and fruit scones are enormous and baked on the day of dispatch. The tea is Paddington's favourite blend and comes in a tin that will be a keepsake. You also get clotted cream, strawberry jam, chunky shortbread and chocolates. Remember, as this is a Devon cream tea, the cream should go beneath the jam.
£44.95, The Cornish Company
Best coronation cream tea hamper
A decadent Cornish afternoon tea for the whole family with eight freshly baked scones, clotted cream, a jar of Coronation strawberry and raspberry jam, a large box of British tea, brownies, fruit cake and a commemorative tin of Cornish cream shortbread.
This one got the thumbs up from everyone. We loved the fluffy scones, the generous-sized pot of jam, the fresh brownies and the affordable price. We were grateful, too, for the instructions inscribed on the inside lid of the box: clotted cream goes on top of jam if you’re eating scones the Cornish way.
£79.95, Snowdonia Cheese
Best coronation cheese hamper
An original choice, great for cheese lovers with high quality chocolates and biscuits, too. You get a Welsh slate board and two Welsh cheeses – Black Bomber and Bouncing Cherry – along with buttermilk wafers, chutney and shortbread, tea bags, shortbread, jam and a box of Willie's dark chocolate salted caramel pearls. I’ll enjoy using the Welsh slate board for future lunches and there's much debate over which boy gets to keep the smart black wicker basket.
Best coronation biscuit hamper
It seems sacrosanct to eat Biscuiteers’ hand decorated biscuits: each crown, carriage and flag is a work of art. It's the same with the macaroons. My children, however, felt no guilt as they wolfed them down, along with the box of macaroons, leaving the beautiful tins, a superior commemorative tea towel and a bottle of Biscuiteers Prosecco for the adults.
Best coronation gift box
Traditional British flavours are the focus of Daylesford's Coronation range of products, here decorated with exclusive illustrations by British artist Hugo Guinness. You’ll want to keep everything from the illustrated gift box itself to the tea caddy (once you've drunk the Early Grey) and the biscuit tin (once you've eaten the shortbread). The china mugs bearing Hugo's sketch of King Charles III are a classy take on Coronation memorabilia – to be kept on a high shelf out of reach of the children.
Best coronation afternoon tea
A majestic – and great value – afternoon tea featuring Betty's commemorative collection of craft bakery from Harrogate. A presentation box inscribed with the rose, daffodil, shamrock and thistle motifs of the four nations of the United Kingdon contains Coronation themed hand-iced fondant fancies, champagne macaroons, lebkuchen biscuits and a box of tearoom blend tea.
£500, Fortnum and Mason
Best luxury hamper for King Charles’ coronation
A picnic fit for a king (and his family) with a decadent spread of smoked salmon, cheeses, meats, crackers, bread and cakes to be washed down by two bottles of special Coronation blend English sparkling and two bottles of rosé. It's by far the most expensive of hampers, yet Fortnum's assures that the price of a hamper is always less than the cost of buying its contents and basket individually.
We like the sound of the Somerset Cheddar Reserve Wedge, the Piccadilly Piccalilli and the Fortnum's Coronation Scottish Ling Heather Honey biscuits. Once you’ve unpacked and eaten every last crumb, you’ll be left with the king of wicker baskets for future picnics.
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