Five of the best umbrellas

1. Orla Kiely by Fulton vinyl floral birdcage umbrella

The Queen and various other members of the Royal family have been using birdcage umbrellas for years, usually transparent ones with a trim to match one’s outfit. The shape offers maximum protection for the head and shoulders and, if you don’t need to be seen by adoring crowds on a daily basis, you can switch the see-through canopy for this pretty and lightweight Orla Kiely version.

2. Fulton Cyclone


Fulton, founded in 1956 by the engineer Arnold Fulton, is the UK’s bestselling umbrella brand and the holder of a Royal Warrant to the Queen. The Cyclone umbrella, as the name suggests, is hardy (it has been wind-tunnel tested to 78mph) and technically brilliant, with fibreglass ribs for strength, long-lasting polycarbonate joints and an ergonomic handle with a silicon finger pad for “high grip comfort”. It reduces down to a thin tube that you can zip into a case and carry on your back.

3. Knirps X1 Prints umbrella, paintdrops white


Folding umbrellas have a habit of being less than satisfactory at either folding up small enough, or providing good protection from the elements. The “XI Prints” range is the proud winner of multiple European design awards and is the smallest model made by the German brand Knirps (which means “tot”, as in a tiny thing, in German), founded in 1928. The length of the umbrella’s sunglass-style case when closed is just 17.5cm, and it weighs 280g. Like all Knirps umbrellas, it has also been rigorously wind-tunnel tested and features fibre ribs with springs to avoid blowouts in heavy wind.

4. Aspinal ladies umbrella, black with fuchsia flower


The epitome of elegance for rainy days, this double-canopied umbrella by Aspinal of London has a serious black exterior with a cream border, and a beautiful bright-fuchsia lotus print inside. This is a brolly for those with a love of fine details: the fabric is polyester satin; the 36-inch shaft is brass with a marbled-acrylic handle (complete with pink Swarovski crystal, of course); and the umbrella is held closed with an Aspinal brass ring holder.

5. James Smith & Sons blackthorn root solid stick umbrella


James Smith & Sons established a store on London’s Oxford Street in 1857, making it Europe’s oldest umbrella shop. It sells a vast range of brollies and the shop’s experts pride themselves on directing their customers to the perfect model — choosing a canopy from their fascinating selection cannot be far from the experience Harry Potter had when selecting his first magic wand. The handsome model pictured can have a black or holly green cover and the handle is made of solid blackthorn root with a sterling silver lapband. Each Smith & Sons umbrella is cut to the customer’s height.

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