Best subscription boxes 2020: from food to make-up to beer
Everything you need without even leaving the house
Once, having a few magazine subscriptions seemed like a luxury: it was a sweet, simple pleasure to hear the latest edition come through the letterbox and land on your doormat once a month. The best subscription boxes are here to show us just how far we've come.
Now, it’s not just magazines on offer - fruit and veg, plants, make-up, books and more are all available on subscription, with any number of customisable options and frequencies available to suit your lifestyle.
So if you want to simplify your shopping list or just indulge in some monthly treats, read on: we’ve got the scoop on the best of the boxes. Plenty of them have gifting options, too, making them the perfect present for that friend who seems to have everything.
And, if you've seen any great subscription boxes that you think deserve to be included, do let us know via the box below.
Best subscription boxes
1. Papergang stationery box
Created by design company Ohh Deer, Papergang is for those who want to inject a little bit of aesthetic goodness into their daily life.
Sent in the first week of every month, Papergang includes a variety of gorgeously designed and beautifully packaged stationery. From notebooks, sticky notes and writing pads to pencils, art prints and scissors, these boxes have it all for anyone who loves stationery.
Each month’s box is designed by a different artist, each with their own unique style – so you’ll never be bored, no matter how boring your to-do list is.
2. WILDWOMAN subscription box
Need a breather? This might be the box for you.
WILDWOMAN is technically a non-fiction book club – but in reality, it’s much more than that. The piece de la resistance is a recently released self-help or self-development book, but the boxes also come with a variety of things to help you care for yourself, self soothe and relax.
As with most subscription boxes, this differs month to month – you could get a crystal, an affirming art print, stationery, teabags, healthy snacks, lip balms or many more gorgeous little items.
You also get a writing prompt each month, perfect for anyone trying to boost their creativity.
3. BRUU Gourmet Tea club
We all know what a difference a good cup of tea can have on your mood. So this tea subscription service from BRUU could be the best investment you make into having a good day.
From £10 a month, you’ll get three different teas, each personalised based on the flavours and aromas you’ve told BRUU you prefer. The company boasts that you’ll get “enough tea for 20 to 40 cups” each month – if you re-infuse, you’ll get more. On average, that works out at about 12p per cup.
Once you start receiving your brews, you can also rate what you’ve tried, making their selections even more specific.
4. Mindful Chef (balanced recipe box for two)
Another culinary choice, the Mindful Chef box gives you recipes and ingredients for two meals for two: each box contains both the meat and vegetables you’ll need, with pescaterian, veggie and vegan options also available for those of us who don’t eat meat.
The whole point of the box, as the name ‘Mindful Chef’ suggests, is that you’re getting meals full of goodness – protein, vitamins, the lot. If you’re stuck in the same pasta-stir fry-oven pizza rut many of us get into after work, the boxes are a great way to diversify what you’re cooking.
5. The Willoughby Book Club
If you want to keep up with your reading but don’t have time to carefully comb through the arts pages every week, or you just want to (re)acquaint yourself with the classics, this could be your box.
The Willoughby Book Club has a variety of different options – the classics book club, a club for baby books, fiction and non-fiction boxes and even a subscription for couples who want to read along together. You’ll get a book every month – and you can also tell the company your favourite authors and genres if you want something a bit more bespoke.
Three, six and twelve month subscriptions are available – and you can gift them, too, so if you’re short on a birthday or Christmas present then it might be worth keeping in mind.
6. Flaming Licks hot sauce club
If you’re the sort of person who can’t eat anything without adding a copious amount of hot sauce, this is for you. The Flaming Licks subscription gives you monthly or bi-monthly offerings of hot sauce, seasonings and other spicy snacks.
What you’ll get in your box obviously differs each month, but there is some consistency. You’ll get three hot sauces, james, chutneys or marinade a month, a spicy snack, recipe cards and more – think chili oil, or a hot sauce keyring.
This isn’t for the faint of heart – if you can’t go much hotter than a tikka masala, it’s probably not for you. But if you like things spicy, this could be a great way of adding some variety to your culinary life.
7. BeerBods craft beer subscription
One of the earliest beer subscription boxes, BeerBods has got it all: brilliant products and a fantastic community in which to get involved.
Not only do you get 12 beers every 12 weeks, the company also has weekly live beer tasting – every Thursday at 9pm, subscribers and fans take to the BeerBods hashtag to discuss especially selected brews.
Your subscription also comes with a magazine, so for those who like to keep up with what’s what in the beer and ale world, you’re onto a winner.
Birchbox is the UK’s number one make-up subscription box, and it’s very easy to see why. Filled each month with a selection of top-quality products, you can personalise your preferences so you always get something to suit your skin type, skin tone, or hair.
For an example of what a box might include, take a look at September 2019s: a Benefit blusher, Caudalie cleanser, John Freida hair smoothing cream, as well as an eyebrow pencil, peeling gel, micellar water, hair mask, highlighter and more.
And when you sign up, you also get a free gift, usually worth around £20 – so you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.
9. Michel Roux baking club
Baking can be pretty time-consuming and sometimes quite expensive, especially when you don’t have what you need in the house. So what better way to improve your baking skills than with this baking box subscription?
Each month, you’ll receive a box containing all the dry ingredients you need to bake a cake, separately packaged and in the exact quantities the recipe specifies. You’ll also get little extras – baking paper and butter measures, for example.
Past cakes have included chocolate honeycomb cake, almond and apricot biscotti and hot cross buns – and with all recipes designed by top pastrychef Michel Roux, you’re in good hands.