The gift of a subscription service - be it for monthly wine deliveries, a regular supply of chocolate, or gorgeous stationary - is a wonderful way of providing a jolt of joy to a loved one's life, especially if they're on their own at the moment. But in a flooded market it can be difficult to identify the best options out there. Here's our picks.
There’s a subscription to suit all interests and tastes, from coffee and crafts to stationery and socks. We’ve rounded up our top picks for quality, originality and value for money, and made a note of any extra delivery costs so you can find the perfect gift for your budget.
Savage Vines, from £29.95 per month (Editor's pick)
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Whether a confirmed oenophile or just fond of the occasional tipple, this wine subscription box will be a joy for the recipient. We adored ours. The boxes are tailorable in terms of number of wines, frequency of delivery, and wine selections. They arrive complete with tasting notes, a map of where they hail from, and a link to a podcast describing them.
All the more excellent: all the wines come from independent vineyards. We found them to be varied and delicious. A real winner. Buy now from £29.95 per month, from Savage Vines.
Bakedin, from £10.99 per month
This letterbox baking subscription contains all the necessary dry ingredients for making each month’s surprise baked goody from scratch, plus handy extras like butter measures and baking paper. The quantities have been weighed out before packing, reducing food waste, and the instructions are easy to follow.
It’s a fun way to learn new baking methods and is sure to be a hit with fans of The Great British Bake Off. Choose between sweet bakes or breads, with recent recipes including chocolate cheesecake brownies, soft pretzels and raspberry ripple cake. Buy now from £10.99 per month, including delivery, Bakedin
Arena Flowers, from £15 per month
For every delivery, this ethical, carbon neutral florist gives £1 to Women’s Aid and plants a tree in a country suffering from deforestation. You won’t find any plastic in its packaging, either.
But onto the flowers - they’re fabulous. Each box features one or two varieties, always in season and backed up by fresh foliage. These beautiful blooms are picked mere hours before subscribers receive them, meaning they last longer in the vase and offer fantastic value for money.
The included coloured, species-specific guide helps you arrange a show-stopping bouquet weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Buy now from £15 per month, plus £5 delivery, Arena Flowers
Hotel Chocolat, from £8 per month
Our favourite British chocolatier offers a range of tantalising chocolate subscriptions, including a monthly delivery curated to your taste, be that mellow, dark, tipsy or a bit of everything.
Our top pick for a unique gift, however, is a subscription to The Inventing Room. Members of this new, limited edition club will be the first to taste and review the latest chocolatey creations, before the best are launched in shops. We’re talking chocolates, brownies, biscuits, macarons and more. In short: a chocoholic’s dream. Buy now £30 per month, including delivery, Hotel Chocolat
Papergang, from £14 per month
Stationery addicts will no doubt already be familiar with indie stationery retailer Ohh Deer, but might not know about its bestselling monthly subscription box.
Subscribers receive four exclusive, artist-designed stationery items inside every delivery, from notebooks and pens to greeting cards and art prints. The stunning printed boxes pop through the letterbox for convenience, with each one following a different illustrated theme. Buy now from £14 per month, including delivery, Papergang
Independent Coffee Box, from £19.99 per month
Starting the day with a steaming mug of coffee is a luxury - or at least it is when the freshly-roasted beans are as top notch as these. Every month, subscribers receive different flavours from the UK’s finest indie roasteries (choose between two, three and four 250g bags), along with a copy of the latest Brew journal.
Coffee aficionados will relish expanding their caffeinated horizons, but if your giftee prefers a cuppa tea, look to Bird & Blend’s tea subscriptions, curated by expert tea mixologists. Something stronger? Craft Gin Club, DiscoverBrew and Savage Vines are calling... Buy now from £19.99 per month, including delivery, Independent Coffee Box
MakeBox & Co., from £24.99 per month
The lockdowns have made crafters of many of us, making this arty box a top pick for a creative loved one. Each monthly or bi-monthly delivery contains everything you need to learn a new skill, from macramé to paper cutting. Subscribers can choose their first box from all the previous boxes, including the popular NHS rainbow. Buy now from £24.99 per month, including delivery, MakeBox & Co.
Iggy Box, from per month £14.95
You can never have too many scented candles, and this subscription is a brilliant way to discover new artisan brands. Subscribers receive a different candle each month, along with matches, a note about the maker and a surprise ‘little something extra’ gift.
Every candle featured by Iggy Box is made in the UK using natural waxes and oils, so the health-conscious need not worry. The stylish gift certificate boxes are a welcome add-on touch. Buy now from £14.95 per month, including delivery, Iggy Box
Books That Matter, from £17 per month
This feminist book subscription is fresh, modern and intellectually stimulating. Designed to empower the women of today by opening their minds to inspiring new perspectives, each themed monthly box includes a book by a female or non-binary author, three gifts made by women and membership of an active online book club.
Recent deliveries have spotlighted Doris Lessing, Jeanette Winterson and Toni Morrison and X. If you’re buying for a younger bookworm aged 7 to 12, opt for Books That Matter’s super sister brand, Brave Girls Book Club. Buy now from £17 per month, plus £3 delivery, Books That Matter
Seed Pantry, from £12.99 per month
You needn’t have green fingers to enjoy this gardening subscription, nor any outdoor space! Each month, Grow Club subscribers are given a choice of 35 seasonal seeds, bulbs and corms that are ready to sow or plant upon delivery.
Either pick the six you most fancy growing, or sit back and await a surprise. Every species can be grown outside or in - ideal for city dwellers - and you can expect a fun mix of flowers, fruit and veg. The colourful guide sheets clearly highlight each variety’s needs and are easy to follow for beginners. Monty Don, who? Buy now from £12.99 per month, including delivery, Seed Pantry
The London Sock Exchange, from £20 per quarter
Socks might be the boring go-to gift for husbands, dads and grandpas everywhere, but this wittily-named subscription puts a fun spin on a classic. Every quarter, subscribers receive three pairs of playful yet classy socks designed by this independent British studio.
They’re soft to wear, hole-resistant and subtle enough for the office. The eco-conscious can refill their box with any old, worn-through socks and send it back to the brand for recycling using the included pre-paid return label - a useful and thoughtful initiative. Buy now from £20 per quarter, plus £1.95 delivery, The London Sock Exchange