14 best Christmas hampers

Kate Hilpern
Partridge's holds a Royal Warrant - and we can see why: Partridge's

Only a true bah humbug would turn their nose up at the idea of a Christmas hamper. Packed full of edible (and often drinkable) goodies, a good one should contain the kinds of gastronomic treats you wouldn’t normally splash out on, but drool at the sight of.

But with hampers ranging from around £20 right up into thousands of pounds, it can be difficult to know which one to fork out on.

Many also contain artisan brands you may never have heard of and aren’t sure whether to take a punt on.

That’s why we’ve been working our way through wicker baskets and more to find you the best of them.

The result is the ultimate Christmas hamper roundup that takes into account all budgets and includes that all-important information on when to order them in time for Christmas.

We’ve taken into account aesthetics (especially important if they are a gift), taste, variety and value for money.

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.

Fortnum & Mason the Grosvenor hamper: £125, Fortnum & Mason

Order by: 19 December for Christmas delivery.

These chaps have been peddling Christmas hampers for a whopping three centuries and are still the go-to brand for posh British festive fodder. With hampers going for up to £6,000, it makes our favourite for this year look positively cheap at a mere £125. Delivered in the recognisable F&M sprayed wicker basket, it contains two bottles of quality vino, Dão Tinto and vinho verde, and there’s also classy tea and coffee, melt-in-your-mouth champagne truffles, two types of upmarket biscuits and seriously tasty preserves including marmalade, strawberry jam and hot mustard. And because nothing is perishable, it will last until mid 2020.

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Virginia Hayward The Magic of Christmas: £65, Virginia Hayward

Order by: 20 December for Christmas delivery

Don’t be put off by the black wire basket. We think it gives it a on-trend edge and the brown paper lining gives a rustic finish. And because it’s (presumably) less expensive to produce than the wicker basket, it means more of your money goes on the contents which include a whole host of great tasting goodies – far more than we’d have expected at this price, with faves including prosecco, mince pies, nuts, white chocolate truffles and Christmas pud. There’s a good balance of sweet (our advice: head straight for the chocolate covered marshmallows) and savoury. These are artisan brands at their best from a company with excellent customer service.

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Rick Stein Christmas hamper: £110, Rick Stein

Order by: 15 December for Christmas delivery

Most of us like a tipple at Christmas and this hamper will serve you well on that front, with a half bottle of champers greeting you centre stage when you open the faux leather straps of the wicker basket, plus full-size bottles of Rick Stein Spanish white and red wines lurking underneath the straw. There’s also a succulent Christmas pudding, along with some other sweet treats of oat biscuits and chocolate honeycomb, while more savoury tastes are well met with the piccalilli and (much-nicer-than-it-sounds) bread and butter pickle. You also get a jar each of hot apple, peach and apricot chutney and cranberry sauce – both great for mopping up post-Christmas meats and cheeses.

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Partridges Christmas hamper: £195, Partridges

Order by: 11 December for Christmas delivery.

This top-drawer, award-winning Chelsea and Kensington based food store has been serving well-heeled Londoners for decades and even has a Royal Warrant. Inside the large traditional wicker basket, you get 15 luxury items, all streets ahead in taste than supermarket rivals (and even many other artisan food sellers), including some of the best smoked salmon we’ve tasted, plus mince pies, organic coffee, Yorkshire honey and a particularly scrumptious Partridge’s artisan panettone, with the thin cut marmalade also a stand out product. There’s plenty of alcohol including champers, pinot noir and sauvignon blanc and they throw in a branded Partridges cotton handle bag too.

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Carluccio’s Christmas hamper: £75, Carluccio’s

Order by: 19 December in time for Christmas

Add some Italian flair to the festive season with this comprehensive hamper from Carluccio’s. Great for those with a sweeter tooth, it includes a classic panettone (one of the best on the market, to our mind), apricot biscotti, chocolate clementines, amaretti and a thick chocolate coin, among other sweet treats. Plus, there’s a decent bottle of Prosecco to wash it all down with. We were impressed with the decent sized quantities – no mere bite-sized portions. And the stylish blue box with white ribbon is a nice touch.

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Best of Sussex: £465, The Hungry Guest

Order by: 15 December for Christmas delivery

You can get hampers from this multiple award winning specialist food shop for as little as £25, but for an all-singing-all-dancing deluxe foodie option this has some seriously wow-factor contents, all of them hailing from Sussex and many of them award winning – notably the honey and mustard glazed ham, chocolate brownies and pecan pie. On the booze front, you get one of our favourite ever bottles of English fizz – Nyetimer classic cuvee – along with other quality English wines, a fabulous gin, pale ale, lager and strawberry liqueur. There are cheeses galore, chutneys and preserves, chocolates and some excellent smoked duck. As you might expect, the basket is huge.

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Biscuiteers winter wonderland Christmas hamper: £150, Biscuiteers

Order by: 23 December for Christmas delivery

If you’re fond of biscuits and you haven’t tasted Biscuiteers, you haven’t lived. It’s not just that they taste good, the hand-iced decoration is exquisite with real attention to detail. The ginger Santa is the star of the show but the Christmas biscuit tin won’t disappoint, with Christmas tree, present, snowflake and more – all with just the right level of flavour and crunch. There’s a further tin of delectable cheese biscuits, a heart-shaped Godminster cheddar plus a bottle of fizz which you can swap for tea or English sparkling for an extra cost (we did). And some festive choccies. You’ll want to keep the pretty tins afterwards, and the wicker basket.

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Big Barn ethical produce from Old Hall Farm: £35, Big Barn

Order by: 19 December for Christmas delivery

This Norfolk-based farm shop, deli and butchers sells hampers ranging from £20 to £200 filled with beautifully packaged and great tasting produce sourced from within 20 miles. Our one was a dairy lovers’ dream, including cream, ghee, milk, fudge and butter, all made in house, but you can tailor it to include wine, meat, jams and coffee beans, among other items. The service is super-efficient and highly personal and it all comes beautifully presented in a neat, open top wicker basket. Not a good option if you want a long shelf life – but if you want fresh-as-fresh-can-be it gets two thumbs up from us.

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Brindisa Christmas hamper: £150, Brindisa

Order by: 19 December for Christmas delivery

You can whip up a scrumptious Spanish feast with the 20-strong contents of this stylish and tightly packed wicker basket. It includes the likes of Manchego acorn-fed ham, olives, chorizo, fig and almond wheel, peppers, almonds and nuts, crisps, gherkins, chestnut honey, chocolate covered figs and Brindisa’s twist on the classic Christmas cake – a traditional Spanish pastry treat decorated with figs, quinces and cherries. And all from an award winning food producer that has been supplying fine Spanish food for over three decades.

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Jeroboams the Knightsbridge Christmas hamper: £250, Jeroboams

Order by: 13 December for Christmas delivery

As you’d expect from such an eminent wine merchant, the focus here is superior vino – you get an excellent white burgundy, red Bordeaux, a Rioja and champagne all neatly packed in the wicker basket. On the food front, it’s mainly a savoury affair, with camembert, organic Cheddar, wild boar paté, chorizo from Brindisa and black truffle olive oil, while sweet treats include a Christmas pud, mince pies, fruit and nuts and a mouth-watering fig jam (delicious with the cheddar). Jeroboams does a cheaper hamper at £150 but if you can afford it, this one has the edge.

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Abel & Cole the merriest jolly Christmas hamper: £285, Abel & Cole

Order by: 18 December for Christmas delivery

Feast your eyes on this range of indulgent organic staples, all produced in small batches from artisan suppliers – a whopping 24 of them, in fact, featuring champagne, wines, port, Christmas pud, mince pies, shortbread, preserves, tea and coffee right through to cheeses, ham, smoked salmon and chocolates. Delivered in a large, reusable fabric-lined hamper, the chilled food is kept cool using bags of wool to cut down on waste. While it’s the most expensive of Abel & Cole’s hampers (which start at £70), we still think it’s good value for money when you take into consideration the sheer quantity of certified organic goodies, many of them award winners (notably the ham, stilton, marmalade, brie and truffles).

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Claridge’s The Davies Christmas Hamper: £495, Claridge’s

Order by: 20 December for Christmas delivery

Claridge’s at Christmas is a feast for the senses, with this well-known Mayfair hotel often fully booked for months ahead of the festive season, from its afternoon teas through to the eye-wateringly expensive suites. Now you can have a piece of the action in your very own home, with its five decadent hampers, of which this is the show-stopper. It contains indulgent wines, champagnes and liqueurs and all manner of delicious pantry items using the hotel’s carefully guarded recipes. But it doesn’t stop there, also including Claridge’s beautifully designed cook book and art deco china and even a Fornasetti candle with the signature scent of the hotel which will transport you straight to its famous lobby. Start saving.

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Macknade Kentish Christmas hamper: £50, Macknade

Order by: 19 December for Christmas delivery

Another hamper that focuses on a single geographical area of the UK and all that it has to offer gastronomically, this one is a celebration of all things Kent. Sip on juice pressed from orchard apples, spread local marmalade or honey on your toast and put the kettle on for a cuppa of regional breakfast tea bags. And that’s just breakfast sorted. For lunch and dinner, the chutney and crackers can accompany your own cheese, while the cider and festive beer can be cracked open in the evening. And it all comes in at £50 – a steal, we say, although you get a box instead of a traditional wicker basket.

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Betty’s perfect Christmas hamper: £80, Betty’s

Order by: 20 December for Christmas delivery

This upmarket Harrogate bakery and tea rooms has an impressive eight gift bags, tins, boxes and hampers in its range. We think this one is particularly good value for such a well presented traditional wicker hamper and the sweet goodies are all top notch including marzipan fruits, gingerbread, coated almonds, chocolate panforte and a knock-out Christmas cake. Plus, there’s a bottle of chardonnay and Christmas coffee. It’s one of the smallest sized baskets in our roundup, but it’s very tightly packed and the customer service is faultless.

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Hotel Chocolat the festive chest: £150, Hotel Chocolat

Order by: 20 December for Christmas delivery

Chocolate lovers, eat your heart out. Nestled within this chic black rattan basket is enough chocolate to feed hordes of friends and rellies (if you’re feeling generous enough) – and it’s all quality stuff. The classic selection box is world of treats in itself (the mulled wine truffle and honey and cashew supernova are especially good) and there are chocolate coins and robins, pudding themed chocolates and a truffle tree and snowflake – along with some hot chocolate to wash it down with, or for the adults prosecco or chocolate cream liqueur. With a mix of dark, milk and white chocolates – all so much tastier than high street chocolate – this is as good as it gets for chocoholics with taste.

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The verdict: Christmas hampers

Fortnum & Mason’s Grosvenor hamper ticked every box for us and the sprayed wicker basket is a definite keeper. The contents have a particularly long shelf-life too. For something more wallet-friendly, Virginia Hayward’s the magic of Christmas is exceptional value and provides some outstanding artisan products.