Our 8 Best Gazebos & Marquees
By Thomas O'Rourke - Updated 22nd October, 2018
Protecting from sun, rain and wind – a pop-up gazebo is undoubtedly a precious ally during family trips or outdoor events of all kinds. Boasting a portable design and available in a wide range of styles and sizes, these temporary structures are even suitable for commercial or promotional purposes.
But with a wealth of options on the market, how to choose the best one?
Finding the right option that withstands the temperamental British weather can be difficult. That’s why our expert team has selected, tested and rated some of the most popular models on the market. Check out our top picks below.
In this guide - our best pick pop-up gazebos, including...
Best Of The Rest
Simple unit, ideal for the back garden, beach or event. Well structured with a flexible configuration.
Stylish and nearly 3m in height. Water resistant with an anti-pooling system and stylish hexagonal design.
Smaller than other units but easily assembled with simple pop-up feature. Removable side panels.
Plenty of room with a 9m² interior. Doesn’t have side walls or wind protection.
All Seasons is a premium heavy-duty gazebo ideal for all uses. The simple pop-up design with no poles to slot in guarantees an easy erecting of an instant and portable shelter. Folding like an umbrella, the structure is also easy to dismantle and store in its wheeled carrying bag.
Ropes, four leg weight bags and tent pegs secure the structure on almost all surfaces, including grass, decking, patios, sand, and even on a large balcony. A fully waterproof heavy-duty canopy protects from sun but also from rain, while the structure is incredibly sturdy and resistant.
The roof is made of PVC coated polyester while the matte black powder coated frame is rust resistant. Twenty-four build-in support struts within the roof and around the edges eliminate the need of wind bars, increasing the overall resistance of the structure in all weathers.
This unit is also spacious yet compact enough to fit in tight spaces. It has a footprint of 3x3m, approximately 7ft clearance around the edges at the highest setting and three height settings that add versatility.
For peace of mind, the product comes with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty and a care guide. One slight downside is the lack of side walls, although they can be purchased separately.
With a frame made of powder coated steel tubes and a flexible configuration of the side panels, Slimbridge Saltney is a great product for residential or commercial use. It comes with either three, two, or no side walls, it is easy to assemble and has a more than affordable price.
Our favourite and the most versatile is the version with three side walls. The panels are made of water-resistant 90g/m² fabric; they are removable and easy to put on or take off thanks to the convenient Velcro fasteners. The fabric provides a decent protection from elements and large church style windows present on each panel allow sufficient light to get through.
However, if budget is tight or side walls aren’t necessary, choosing one of the other two options could save you some money.
We’re not too fond of the steel structure; the tubes are thin and weak. This means poor resistance to rain, as an accumulation of water on the roof combined with strong winds can bend the frame.
For this reason, the manufacturer recommends dismantling the structure and storing it indoors overnight. This is obviously not ideal. However, for good support and stability, we recommend anchoring the product with leg weight bags and ground pegs.
If you think erecting and dismantling the structure constantly is too much of a hassle, definitely consider investing in a higher quality product.
Greenbay is a simple pop-up gazebo perfect for personal or commercial use. Offering a generous space yet rather compact footprint, the product finds its ideal place in a garden, on the beach, or even at a flea market or festival.
The structure is given stability by four leg poles and support poles that attach to top poles and cross poles. A durable and water resistant top canopy provides protection from sun and the elements, while four side walls ensure adequate protection from wind. Two of the side walls are fitted with church style windows that allow a decent amount of light to pass through, while easy access is ensured by zipper doorways located on the other two walls.
Two free wind bars and four leg weight bags included in the box increase the product’s strength and stability. The top canopy and side walls are made of 420D oxford fabric coated with a silver water-resistant layer. With a 600mm hydrostatic head, this gazebo won’t keep you dry in all weathers, but it’s still water-resistant enough to use in light rains.
We liked the flexible configuration of the product. The side panels are easy to remove if you want an open area in the hottest days – or closed to protect you from the wind and elements. Assembling and dismantling is easy; the accompanying carry bag keeps the product compact for easy storage and transport.
Horwood gazebo impresses with a superb design, a spacious interior and easy assembling. It pops up in minutes, and it comes with a resistant canopy and zipped insect curtains. Undoubtedly, a product able to add value to your outdoor space.
What we like the most is the design. This six-sided hexagonal structure is stylish and fits in well with almost all landscapes. Measuring 3.6m x 3.1m, it also has a fairly compact footprint, while the overall height of 2.77m ensures plenty of clearance, making it possible to install outdoor lighting on the pavilion’s ceiling. Moreover, the width between the posts is 1.8m.
Design apart, we also like the structure. The frame is sturdy and made of powder coated steel. Dark copper brown is an elegant colour that matches perfectly with the dark beige roof canopy made from quality woven 180g/m² PA coated polyester fabric. The fabric also covers the legs of the structure and hides the closures of the mosquito curtains.
The canopy is water resistant and the design also incorporates built-in anti-pooling drainage. The unit is very effective in protecting from rain; however, like all gazebos, this is a temporary structure and it shouldn’t be left up unattended. If you don’t want to dismantle it, at least remove the canopy if you live in an area with strong winds.
Although designed as a temporary structure, the frame is sturdy and the feet come with holes at the bottom that allow it to be secured to the ground if required. However, don’t expect it to withstand storms, strong blasts or heavy rains.
VonHaus is a compact pop-up gazebo ideal for outdoor dining and partying in all weathers. Thanks to the 2x2m structure, the product fits in almost all outdoor spaces, while the sturdy frame adds resistance to the shelter.
Available in soft grey or ivory, this shelter consists of a sturdy steel frame that withstands stiff breezes and a 420D oxford water-resistant canopy that withstands heavy rains. With a 4m² interior and a max roof height of 2.5m, this structure provides an ample room for entertaining while removable side walls add versatility.
In fact, the shelter boasts a flexible configuration thanks to the removable side panels. On warmer days, it’s possible to exclusively use the stylish canopy, providing welcoming shade. On colder days (or if there is wind) the side walls allow for better temperature control and transform the canopy into a shelter.
With the walls on, easy access is ensured by convenient zipper openings while two side walls feature large transparent windows that allow daylight to flood in, giving a bright and airy feel to the interior when the flaps are zipped together.
Thanks to the pop-up structure, the unit can be erected, anchored and dismantled in minutes.
Lorca gazebo is stylish and elegant, available in five colours and perfect for outdoor parties. The product comes with a sturdy powder-coated metal frame and a water-resistant roof canopy with an air vent. Matching side panels add elegance to the structure while the design is reminiscent of a Japanese pagoda.
Ideal for residential use but also suitable for commercial purposes, this unit has a generous footprint and floor clearance. It measures 3m x 3m and has an overall height of 2.7m, while the 2m passage height is also generous.
Roof braces, revetted feet and a powder-coated metal frame add robustness and resistance to the structure. Both the canopy and the side walls are made of water-repellent fabric and are easy to attach or take off thanks to the convenient Velcro straps. Ideal to use on the warmest days, this structure boasts an air vent that ensures an optimal air circulation.
Assembling the gazebo is easy thanks to the secure plug connections while pre-drilled holes in the feet allow you to secure the party tent to the floor with screws. However, this is still a temporary structure unable to withstand storms or severe weather.
Greenbay’s Sand Metal product finds its ideal place in an elegant property. It has a stylish steel structure and a classy sand-coloured two-tier canopy. With a 3m x 4m footprint and a 2.8m overall height, the party tent is spacious enough to accommodate various outdoor events and gatherings.
The canopy is made of durable PA-coated polyester fabric. The fabric blocks both harmless UV rays and annoying rainwater, protecting from all elements. Removable sidewalls shelter from wind and allow a better temperature control in the coldest days.
The frame is made of circular steel support tubes with a diameter of 75mm. Eight strong ribs add stability to the unit and turn the gazebo into a secure shelter. The fabric is easy to remove and easy to clean.
We like the rain hole in the roof which ensures a quick and efficient drainage of the water. Rain accumulation will not be a problem with this gazebo.
Redstone gazebo is an affordable structure made of quality materials and designed to withstand light wind and rain. However, don’t expect it to withstand storms, strong winds or adverse weather conditions.
Nevertheless, this is a splendid pavilion to use in summer. It measures 3m x 3m and its generous interior provides sufficient space to let you enjoy the outdoors without rendering yourself vulnerable to the sun. The frame is made of sturdy steel poles while the polyethylene cover consists of a green roof, green and white legs, and striped green and white side walls.
Velcro fasteners on side walls ensure a fast configuration of the unit. When all walls are on, light floods into the structure via large church windows located on two panels. In the hottest days, it’s easy to remove all side panels and enjoy easy access from any direction.
We really like the 32mm diameter leg poles which are about 50% thicker than standard. Together with the included guy ropes and ground pegs, they ensure a superior stability compared to similar products.
We also like the green roof, which blends wonderfully into the landscape. Sadly, it’s hard to say the same about the green and white legs and walls. While they look great in a casual setting or at a fair, they are hardly suitable for a formal party or gathering.
How to set-up & build a gazebo
Outdoor events often require shade and shelter for the attendees, and a pop-up gazebo often provides the perfect coverage. These structures are lightweight, portable and designed to put together with little or no construction knowledge.
Step 1 – Choose the right place to set-up the structure
Pop-up marquees are easy to install on almost all surfaces, such as grass, decking and even paved roads. If you want to place it in a small backyard or terrace, measure the area before deciding which product to buy.
Standard units measure 3m x 3m but it’s easy to find smaller or larger tents. Also, make sure to locate the structure at a distance from trees and bushes, as hanging branches might damage the canopy.
We recommend installing the unit on flat terrain for improved stability. If possible, try to level the foundation by filling any lower areas with dirt.
Step 2 – Read the manufacturer’s instructions
Almost all temporary structures come with instructions which might hold essential set-up information. We know that not all manufacturers include comprehensive guides but they will still explain which parts are included in the box.
Step 3 – Frame set-up
Pop-up gazebos usually require no tools to set-up and the frame just fits together smoothly. Some instruction manuals offer details on how the structure locks into place, but most of the time it’s enough to simply use your common sense.
Although it’s not complicated, setting up the frame is usually a two-man job due to the size of the structure.
Step 4 – Attach the canopy and side walls
Most marquees come with an integrated canopy which is attached to the frame by the manufacturer. However, in some cases you may happen to receive a detached canopy that should be secured into place once the frame has been erected.
If this is the case, unfold the canopy and lay it down. Pass one edge over the top of the frame to an assistant sitting on the opposite side, making sure to stretch it and remove all creases. When the canopy is in place, secure it on the frame as instructed by the manufacturer.
Pop-up structures usually come with removable side walls that are easy to attach to the frame with Velcro straps or snaps.
Step 5 – Secure the structure
Designed as temporary and portable structures, pop-up gazebos are lightweight. This means poor stability and resistance. For this reason, it is recommended to reinforce the structure with additional weights placed on the legs.
Some products come with guy ropes and ground pegs, or pre-drilled legs which allow screwing the frame in place.
Marquee garden ideas & inspiration
Gazebos are useful and attractive structures, which makes them easy to incorporate into any garden design. Protecting from the elements and providing shade in the sunniest days, a marquee can give you the right excuse to spend more time in your garden.
Permanent or temporary, they can raise the curb appeal of a property adding style and elegance to a space. Here are five awe-inspiring ideas for you:
1. Outdoor dining area
Don’t let the unexpected showers and lousy weather keep you indoors this summer. Arrange an outdoor dining area under a pop-up unit. An UV-proof canopy will protect you from both harmful rays and light rain, while side walls won’t let wind or insects bother you.
If you want to enjoy the breeze, choose a marquee or pavilion with mesh walls.
2. Mediterranean vibes
A rectangular structure is perfect for protecting a Mediterranean lounge area. Install the structure on a flat terrain, preferably on a deck or patio. Choose rattan furniture, cosy cushions and add the final touch with a colourful carpet.
Outdoor lighting such as lampions will not only beautify this area but will make it more enjoyable in the evening.
3. Open-air spa
Pop-up products are perfect to cover a hot tub, but you can take your relaxation to the next level by arranging a true outdoor spa. Install a large pavilion over your hot tub and furnish the area with design loungers and a massage table.
A design coffee table decorated with candles would truly complement the design.
4. Hexagonal socialising area
If you love hosting garden parties, or just want to celebrate life with your friends in a beautiful setting, arrange your party in a hexagonal gazebo. Wooden or rattan garden furniture are your best bets to complement this beautiful look but make sure to have plenty of seats and sufficient coffee tables.
Use this area to host an afternoon tea party, family reunions or gatherings with friends.
5. Cosy poolside structure
If you have an outdoor pool, use a gazebo to create a cosy relaxation area on the poolside. Some come with integrated swings, or you could place a large beach bed under the canopy. Either way, lazy lounging on a sunny afternoon is guaranteed.