I think we can all agree that this pandemic is a giant pain in the backside. COVID-19 has rudely disrupted everyone’s summer plans, from sunny holidays abroad to day drinking with friends in beer gardens.
Now that pubs are opening up again and travel restrictions are easing, it’s true that you could book that trip to Rome or enjoy a cider outside ‘Spoons, but some of us are understandably still feeling cautious. And when you have to wear a face mask and constantly worry about strangers ignoring social distancing rules, is it really worth it?
If you aren’t yet ready to head into the city centre, don’t worry! There’s plenty of ways you can make the most of summer and stay safe at the same time.
I give you 20 summer activities that are pandemic-approved. They are also all compatible with social distancing, so what are you waiting for? Get planning that summer you deserve!
1. Have a BBQ in your garden
Can you even call yourself British if you don’t have a BBQ in summer? Invite your friends round for a sizzling soiree. Arrange garden chairs two metres apart and ask people to bring their own cutlery and food for the BBQ or wear gloves when cooking the food to minimise the COVID risk.
2. Go for a hike
The risk of infection is much lower outside and staying two metres apart is a breeze when you’re on a hike, especially if you’re as unfit as I am. While you hyper-ventilate on the floor, your friends can continue walking at their own pace without any feelings of guilt – they’re protecting you from a potential virus after all!
3. Go to the beach
Rather than going to British seaside hot spots, aim for the quieter places and don’t wait for the hottest day. I had a lovely trip to Mablethorpe a couple of weeks ago and although there were other people on the beach, it wasn’t anywhere near as busy as its neighbouring destination Skegness.
4. Picnic in the park
Different households can sit on their own picnic blankets and bring their own food. This is good if you haven’t got a big enough garden for a BBQ or want to enjoy a day at the park as well.
5. Read in the park
Reading in the park on a sunny day is one of my favourite summer activities. You can make the most of the beautiful weather and soak in the natural surroundings. Dust off a book that you never got round to reading or order one of this summer’s bestsellers.
6. Drinks in the garden
Enjoy a few ciders or a bottle of prosecco in the garden on a warm summer’s evening. Strictly BYOB to avoid cross-contamination obviously and most certainly not because buying alcohol for all your alcoholic friends would leave you skint for the rest of 2020.
7. Go for a bike ride
Ride your bike in the nearby park or drive to a scenic setting nearby. Breaking social distancing rules is near impossible when you are whizzing past pedestrians on your bike.
8. Go camping or stay in a caravan
Make sure you avoid using any communal areas, such as the toilets. If lack of access to toilets is kind-of a deal breaker for you (I don’t blame you), why not book a caravan break instead? Check out my blog ‘Budgets, Booze & Bonding Time: 10 Reasons to Book a Caravan Holiday’ if you need convincing that caravans are a fabulous way to holiday.
9. Go geocaching
If you’ve never heard of Geocaching, think orienteering combined with a global treasure hunt and you’ve got the gist. Download the app to your phone for hours of outdoor fun, by yourself or with others. You’ll be surprised how many geocaches are located within walking distance of where you live.
10. Star gazing
Head into the countryside on a warm evening, equipped with your cosiest blanket and some hot chocolate in a flask. Lie back on the grass and enjoy!
11. Try gardening
Summer is the perfect opportunity to get to grips with gardening. If you don’t have your own garden, look into renting an allotment (they’re cheaper than you might think!) Plant bright and beautiful flowers or liven up your cooking with some homegrown vegetables. Don’t worry if you don’t know where to begin – that’s why God invented YouTube. Type ‘how to garden’ in the search bar and you will find all the help you need.
12. Go on a road trip
Grab a friend and a map and choose a few destinations at random to visit over the course of a weekend. It might not be Route 66 but it’ll still feel like an adventure.
13. Cinema night in the garden
Recreate a classic drive thru scene in your garden. Buy a cheap projector online, gather some snacks and blankets and pick a film on Netflix.
14. Watch the sunset
Another great option for a warm summer’s evening. If you’re one of those rare breeds of people who actually enjoy waking up early, you could also add ‘watch a summer sunrise’ to your bucket list.
15. Strawberry picking
A quick search online will reveal all of the fruit farms in your local area that offer strawberry picking. Strawberries are in season from May to September, making this the perfect activity for summer.
16. Enjoy summer food and drinks
Have a go at making one of those summer recipes you have pinned on Pinterest. Fresh smoothies and ice cream always remind me of summer. You could also bake a fruit pie or make some jam with those strawberries you picked. In the mood for something that packs more of a punch? Nothing says summer quite like a jug of sangria.
17. Host a bonfire
I love bonfires – the smell, the sound and the sight of them just make me happy! Sitting round a fire with good company is a great way to spend a summer night.
18. Make a summer playlist
Create a playlist featuring all of the songs that remind you of summer. Then listen to it in the car, in the garden, in the kitchen or even in the shower for a guaranteed mood boost. (FYI, ‘In the summertime’ by Mungo Jerry should be top of the list!)
19. Fly a kite
Relive your childhood by purchasing a cheap kite online and take it to the local park. After spending a minimum of 30 minutes trying to get your kite airborne, suddenly remember why your parents hated kites with such passion as you watch it sail majestically into the tallest tree in the vicinity, never to be retrieved.
20. Relax in a paddling pool
You don’t need to have young kids to enjoy a paddling pool on a hot day. In fact, it’s much more enjoyable without any shouting, crying and peeing in the pool (who’d have thought it?!) Don your bikini and sunglasses, lay back with a chilled glass of wine and pretend you’re at the poolside somewhere in Spain.
So, there you have it – your summer bucket list! Which activities will you be ticking off the list first? Do you have any plans for the rest of summer? Let me know in the comments.