After Boris Johnson announced the government’s four-step plan to ease the UK out of lockdown earlier this week, we felt a spring in our step as it means we could be hanging out with our pals in a beer garden in just over a month’s time.
The plan, as it stands, dictates that from March 8 you will be able to meet one other person outside of your household and fraternise outdoors.
From March 29 (at the earliest) you will be allowed to meet a further number of people outside in parks and gardens, either under the ‘rule of six’ or between two households. This is also when outdoor sports facilities like tennis and basketball will reopen.
As of April 12, hospitality venues (i.e. pubs) can reopen for outdoor service only and people can visit under the ‘rule of six’ or two households.
Then, from May 17, most restrictions on outdoor socialising will be removed and from June 21 we will be, more or less, free. Hurrah! Of course this all depends on how well the UK is doing corona-wise on these dates, and we’ll only be moving to the next phase if we pass a series of tests that ultimately show infection rates are going down.
In the meantime, this is cause for celebration so we’ve listed 22 outdoor activities you can do with your friends, below.
1. Go for walks
We had to get the most obvious suggestion out of the way first. Going for a walk is a great chance for an IRL catch up and to get your daily exercise fix, too.
2. Visit beaches
If you’re lucky enough to live near a beach, why not spend your days breathing in lungfuls of fresh sea air? It’s soul-soothing.
3. Have a picnic in the park
As the weather gets warmer the idea of a picnic becomes more and more enticing. Gather your closest pals and bring an assortment of goodies (and wine) to munch on – don’t forget the blanket.
4. Have a movie night in your garden
All you need is a white sheet, cheap projector and a few blankets and you’re all set for an outdoor movie night.
5. Host an outdoor book club
Lockdown has provided the perfect time to get back into reading, so why not hone these skills with a book club? Meet your friends in a park on a sunny Saturday and chat over that month’s book of choice.
6. Have a wine and cheese afternoon by your favourite river
Or any body of water really. Marvel at the beautiful surrounds while dining on the food world’s best pairing.
7. Go food market hopping
This is a particularly great one for those living in London as there are so many food markets to choose from. Whether you live south (Borough, Maltby Street and Herne Hill are great) or north of the Thames (Camden and the Truman Brewery Markets on Brick Lane are excellent), there’s plenty of markets to hop around.
8. Join an outdoor gym class
Grab a mate and sign up for one of the myriad of outdoor gym and bootcamp classes that will be popping up in the near future. Nothing better than endorphins mixed with a healthy dose of fresh air.
9. Have a park bench coffee date
Grab a coffee from your local and head to your closest park for a catch up over caffeine.
10. Go on a walking tour of your area
Live near your friend but in a slightly different area? Organise a walking tour of all of your favourite places in your area one weekend and they can do the same the next.
11. Star gaze
While this isn’t too possible in some places (*cough* London), if you happen to live in a less light polluted part of the UK, set up a stargazing date and be amazed by the cosmos.
12. Go for a bike ride
Biking is one of those things you always forget how much you enjoy until you do it again – so pick up a bike and go for a cycle through your town or countryside.
13. Make a city scavenger hunt
Write down all your favourite places in your city and make a scavenger hunt for friends to go on, tick off and eventually end somewhere (like a beer garden) for a good catch up.
14. Play tennis
With outdoor tennis courts opening again, now’s the time to practice your serve.
15. Visit the bluebells
Bluebell season is on the horizon, which means you should be heading to your nearest bluebell patch (and taking pics for the ‘gram) ASAP.
16. Host a potluck in your garden
Food and friends are the perfect combination, so organise a potluck lunch, dinner, breakfast, brunch, dessert, whatever, and get people to bring their favourite dishes.
17. Go for a beer garden date
Beer gardens are back on so grab a pint, pull up a bench and we’ll meet you there.
18. Dog watch
Parks are primed for dog watching so plonk yourselves on a bench and try to see who can spot the cutest pup.
19. Try your hand at gardening
If you’re lucky enough to have a garden or a spot at an allotment, springtime is ideal for cultivating your gardening skills.
20. Explore different parts of the city
A part of your city/town/village that you’ve never been to before? Now’s your chance to see it.
21. Take a frisbee to the park
It may sound naff but throwing a frisbee around in the park is a lot of fun, just try not to hit any picnic-goers.
22. Visit your city’s secret spots
There’s likely some cool, hidden spots lurking undercover in your area – like church ruins or tucked away gardens – so now’s the time to discover them.
Which one will you be trying first?