Written by Terry Smith

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UK’s best picnic tables that are folding and portable: wooden, plastics, heavy duty

This article was last updated on March 17th, 2022 at 5:30 pm

From plastic to pine wood. From heavy duty to portable and easily foldable. From the perfect new garden feature to a handy, portable, and must-have festival item. It’s time to find your perfect picnic table! I ended up using mine indoors too when we were re-furbing our home, some are heavy duty and ideal for a family, as well as being light enough to carry on days out.

Foldable picnic table

They really do fold down to nothing and are easily transportable:

Picnic table folds down into nothing!

Be it picnic or camping, their compact size and weight makes life very comfortable and if you’d like to know more about your options feel free to take a look at my buyer’s guide to picnic tables. I had no problem at all putting our portable gas bbq on this either too – perhaps I might be a little concerned with a portable fire pit or portable charcoal bbq, you would need to have some sort of mat to stop the wood spitting. Otherwise, this thing is a dream and some come with handy benches too!

Picnic tables are becoming a staple for many as there’s actually a big variety in the type of table and price you can get – I would have no problem using this in the garden in conjunction with my pop up gazebo either. It’s just a complete all rounder.

Best overall wood picnic table: Wooden Marta 8 Seater Picnic Table
Best foldable: Denny Shop 4ft, 5ft & 6ft Camping Catering Heavy Duty Folding Trestle Table
Best picnic table with benches: BrackenStyle York Picnic Table – Durable Heavy Duty Round Pub Table – best for camping and outdoor picnics
Most lightweight picnic table: Picnic at Ascot Travel Folding Table for Picnics and Tailgating – currently unavailable but unbelievably good for camping and outdoor picnics – lightweight plastic picnic table!
Decent alternative to the Marta: MC Timber Products Ltd 5ft Natural Wooden Garden Table Picnic Table
Worth a look: Folding Picnic Round Table – A- Grade Teak Folding Garden Coffee Table
Budget: Denny Shop 4ft, 5ft & 6ft Camping Catering Heavy Duty Folding Trestle Table – surprisingly heavy duty for the money!

Buyer’s Guide To Picnic Tables

Here is some useful information to consider when buying you picnic tables this summer and a small comparative summary of what’s been discussed here. You’re probably unaware that some of the thinner metal framed picnic tables that fold, are actually capable of carrying an incredible amount of weight these days completely in contrast to the old days when you would rate them about as strong as wall paper tables – there is a balance within reason. Then there’s the obvious cost as well as weight – let’s cover these comprehensively:

Weight to strength ratios

With the rise of design, weight to strength ratios just keep on improving, which is obviously great if you’re looking for something pretty large, portable, foldable, and yet can be filled with food for half a dozen people. My personal foldable table is just that. And the most amazing thing is it’s light enough for my 9 year old daughter to carry to and from the car when we go on the odd adventure – as well as using it in the lounge.

Portable extending picnic table that seats four and is actually incredibly strong

No kidding this will actually fold down into little more than a briefcase and weighs about 7 kilos – sounds heavy but so well balanced in the hand that even a youngster can comfortably carry it:

Picnic table folds down into a very easy to carry suit case style

By contrast you can go for a full on wooden pub picnic table style that’ll pretty much last a lifetime assuming you keep it treated and oiled – or just use a wood preserver.

Garden pub style picnic benches are pretty much bullet proof and just need painting or oiling

Portable or fix standing:

The main question that you really have to ask yourself is whether you want a portable or heavy-duty standing table.

This will effect, although not entirely as we’ve seen with the last product, what material your table will be and how heavy or light it will be. So, by extension, how durable you want your table to be.

As with tables such as BrackenStyle and the Wooden Marta, they are wooden, very heavy and large. The obvious advantage is that these provide your permanent garden table; attractive in looks and very durable against the weather. However, once you’ve built them, you aren’t going to want to keep moving them around.

Alternatively, your portable tables, usually plastic or canvas, will be generally cheaper and lighter, so easy to take with you wherever it is you’re planning on heading this summer. But don’t expect too much in terms of weather durance. Although, in the case of the Picnic at Ascot table, canvas tables do seem to provide some give, perhaps more than expected.

Picnic table reviews

We’ve got a great selection for you to check out, something for everyone. Discover whether you want to go for a heavy duty wooden table or if you’d rather go for a cheaper option like a plastic table that you can carry around with you and/or fold up to put away. It was even cheaper a year ago but the problem with raw materials over the last 18 months has pushed almost all wooden products up by 50% – and to be honest that pretty much resonates true for all products sadly!

So keep reading if you want to learn about which picnic table is right for you and stay to the end (or skip ahead) to the buyer’s guide for tips and tricks on purchasing your picnic table. From materials to the benefits of standing versus portable.

Here we’ve got another sturdier option – your classic pine wood park picnic bench. Currently on sale for sensible money, this is definitely a contender if you’re not wanting to pay as much as the pub-style bench. This directly compares to the MC timber and I have to say now represents better value for money – over the last year the MC has increased considerably more and doesn’t offer built in benches.

At 180 x 128 x 70cm, this table comes in at a very decent size and would fit up to 8 people, although I would say 6 adults would fit more comfortably. (A similar size to the BrackenStyle but long instead of round).

The table was very easy to assemble – an under 30 minute job, although (and there’s no surprise here) I would say it’s better as a two-person job because this table is quite heavy. Only 16 bolts to put together and everything slotted together well; I might just suggest getting yourself an L-shaped allen key for tightening.

A small detail which I really like are the rounded corners – perfect for if, like me, you always find yourself catching on table corners. This feature would also make this table more practical for children than some of the other tables.

I’m impressed with the quality of this one – just looks expensive and feels long-lasting and sturdy. Like the BrackenStyle table, you wouldn’t want to be moving this one around too much but that’s a big bonus for weather-proofing abilities. It’s a great colour and I’ve even heard some customers have successfully painted theres – so there’s always an option if you’re fancying some colour to brighten up your garden.

If you’re looking for a standard wooden garden picnic table, then this is one to consider. Made from a strong timer, and reasonably priced, you can’t really go wrong – I actually see this as a useful bbq side table too. You basically want to compare this directly with the Wooden Marta

When it came to assembly, things went pretty smoothly. Although, I was wondering beforehand whether you’d need an electric drill for assembly to pre-drill some of the screws so I had come prepared. This worked out well because you definitely do need one. Apart from that it was pretty easy to put together.

Once up, I can say it’s very sturdy. Very impressive as it’s definitely solid and strong – a heavy one so not a suitable option if you’re planning on moving it around. But you can feel confident leaving the table outside without worrying about any strong winds – definitely don’t need to have any worries about this table blowing away.

Measuring at 5ft, the table comes out at a decent size – I would suggest the table would sit between 6-8 people comfortably. As you can see before buying, this one doesn’t come with any seating, unlike some of our other options but you can choose to buy matching chairs. There’s also the very useful hole for a parasol/umbrella so no worries about not finding the shade this summer.

MC Timber Products Ltd 5ft Natural Wooden Garden Table Picnic Table

 

Here we have a completely different take on the picnic bench – a collapsible plastic folding table. This Camping Catering Heavy Duty Folding Trestle Table is priced between £20 and £40 depending on your chosen size, so this is definitely one to consider if you need an extra table in your garden storage or you’re planning a BBQ (with your portable charcoal bbq or portable gas bbq) to host your 6+ guests (when rules allow, of course). Handles are attached for easy carrying.

A big plus for this table is the easy assembling. You just open the box and take it out – my kind of flat-pack furniture building. Having tested the table’s folding abilities a few times, I can tell you that the table folds very easily and locks into place, although I could see how this lock may not last very well. Either way, it’s very easy to put together and store away. When I look at it’s competitor, the Travel Folding Table, I would say I marginally prefer that as it’s far lighter weight, but then this is much stronger – pick your best attribute yourself! For me when we go on an adventure lightweight is good!

Also worth mentioning the obvious – this one isn’t limited to outdoor furniture and can come in handy if you need an extra table indoors or if you want a table to take on a car trip somewhere. I’ve heard of customers (and were lots commenting on this table) using this table for a great range of uses – from car boot sales to arts and crafts tables (obviously a big thing for lockdown).

I’ve tested the table with my favourite planned use – the drinks and food table. I can confirm the table is very sturdy and surprisingly doesn’t wobble, an issue I’ve come across with cheaper trestle tables.

I bought the table in the biggest size at 6ft but you can also get it in 4ft and 5ft if you fancy something a bit smaller.

At the other end of the scale we’ve got the BrackenStyle York Picnic Table priced to the upper end. Now this table is your attractive, pub-style (the brand has supplied tables to pubs), wooden picnic table. It comes with an attached bench and sits up to 8 people; this is definitely one to consider if you’re looking for an attractive and large garden table.

As the name suggests, this is definitely not your portable table. It’s heavy-duty and also just heavy so I would advise assembling this one where you intend to keep it. The instructions recommend having two people for assembly – most of the assembly is done for you but I would agree because of the size and weight.

The instructions are fairly simple (pictorial style) but don’t be deceived – they still provide plenty of opportunities to get things wrong so don’t get cocky like me and have to redo parts! Saying this, the simplest advice would be to not tighten everything up as you go (standard flat-pack advice, I know, but really worth keeping in mind for this one – wait until the end!) Also I would ignore the hex key provided – a power tool will be your best bet.

So, now that we’ve got the table up I am impressed. I love the look of it – make note that some of our customers were concerned about the colour the table arrived (a green tint) but that this does quickly fade into the golden hue from the pictures.

It very comfortably fits 8 people with room on the table for food, and more importantly, drinks. And I love the pub style with a hole for the umbrella. Can’t wait to get friends/family round and use this properly just, ironically, not for your typical park picnic.

5. Picnic at Ascot Travel Folding Table for Picnics and Tailgating

We’re taking it back down the price scale (although not as much as you’d think maybe) to the portable picnic table on canvas. At £101.85, this Picnic at Ascot Travel Folding Table is very useful if you’re heading anywhere fun this summer – a festival, a long picnic in the park, camping, or even Ascot (as the title suggests).

Comes in two colours; black and royal blue. I’ve gone for the black but it did strike me that the blue may be a good one if you’re planning on leaving it as it’s easy to spot. Might be worth considering, unless everyone and their dog decides they love this table and orders it too.

So easy to put together – a matter of minutes. And it comes with a bag for packing it away and carrying it around which is very useful as it does pack away quite small.

The table is surprisingly very sturdy and, I’ve seen from our customers, the bottom section has even been doubled up as a dog bed. Something to consider if you’re planning on packing light with your dogs.

Obviously, it being a mostly canvas table and small in size, this one won’t hold out too well in any strong winds/heavy rain but it does fair quite well in a little light rain and packs away easily enough anyway – just don’t leave it out when the weather starts acting up.

Personally, I’m loving the cup holders – great for a beer but also big enough if you want to use them for something larger like a coffee flask etc. The general size of the table (72.4cm L, 72.4cm W, 61cm H) is very decent; you can fit a fair few snacks/books etc. I’ve even seen people comfortably using it to play cards so that’s another bonus if you’re looking for an activity for your picnic or between festival acts.

Picnic at Ascot Travel Folding Table for Picnics and Tailgating

Now this table I’ve thrown in the mix because it’s a little different being a wooden foldable table. More of a garden coffee or side table, the Folding Picnic Round Table is a nice option if you’re looking for an extra small table for your garden, whether that’s a side table for lounging or as a extra surface for a couple of drinks/decorations.

Made of teak wood with a lattice grid design, this one is an attractive and smaller alternative to the portable plastic/canvas tables mentioned above. It folds up very nicely so it can slot into a narrow space – for me it’s behind the sofa.

What sets this aside from other foldable tables is its weight – at 4kg, it’s on the heavier side. The positives are that it doesn’t blow over and remains very sturdy, holding a very decent amount. It does mean that I wouldn’t recommend this one if you’re planning on carrying it too far. Best as an extra garden table, and it’s a contemporary and attractive style.

At this price, you can’t really go wrong if you’re in the market for a nice side table you can easily store away.


About Terry Smith

I’m Terry Smith from gardentoolbox.co.uk, a professional landscape designer, hobbyist gardener, and barbecue fanatic with 20 years experience building and restoring. So as you go through my site you'll watch me document some of the professional garden installs I make as well as the major projects I take on at home. While sharing those experiences and guiding you, I'll be recommending some great tools I use to enable this along the way so you can really buy in confidence. Always feel free to pop me a message: info@gardentoolbox.co.uk

View all posts by Terry Smith

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