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Easter bank holiday: Ideas for outdoor socialising that aren’t just walks

At last, going on a walk isn’t the only way to socialise anymore

Isabelle Aron
Friday 02 April 2021 06:00
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After months in lockdown, people in the UK have grown accustomed to the idea that socialising can only mean one thing: a walk. And a walk with only a single other person, at that.

But with lockdown restrictions having eased on 29 March, this is the first weekend in 2021 that your social plans are permitted to involve something more exciting than yet another stroll around your local park. It also happens to be a four-day Easter bank holiday weekend, so for most people that means even more time for socialising.

The easing of lockdown means that you can now meet outdoors in groups of six (from multiple households) or in a group of any size with people from two households.

Outdoor sports facilities have also reopened, meaning activities such as tennis and outdoor swimming are back on the agenda.

If you’re struggling to think of what to do, we’ve rounded up some ideas for outdoor activities that aren’t another walk.

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1. Go for a picnic (but let someone do the hard work for you)

With indoor hospitality closed until 17 May at the earliest (and outdoor food and drink options till 12 April), eating alfresco is the only way to go right now, which means picnics will be a big part of your social life for the foreseeable future.

But if you can’t face making mediocre sarnies at home or doing a swoop of the supermarket for sausage rolls and packets of crisps, let someone else do it for you. Lots of places are now selling pre-made picnics to save you the hassle – try the picnic hamper from Gail’s (£25), which includes cheese straws, sausage rolls, baguettes and cheese. 

Or, go really bougie with Bocco Di Lupo’s picnic feast (£86, London-only) which includes prosecco and a big selection of Italian treats.

2. Go on an outdoor Easter egg hunt

The pandemic doesn’t mean that all the usual Easter festivities are cancelled. For those with kids, the National Trust is planning Easter egg hunts at locations all over the country on the bank holiday weekend.

For something more adult-friendly, Shop Cuvée, the Highbury wine shop, is planning a wine Easter egg hunt in Clissold Park in north London on Sunday 4 April.

If you’re not able to go out (because of the weather or otherwise) the National Trust has also shared resources online for Easter for you to enjoy.

3. Admire art in the great outdoors

Galleries and museums have been closed since the UK entered its third lockdown, while some have been closed even longer as a result of restrictions within the tier system. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t soak up some culture outside.

There are outdoor exhibitions and sculpture trails across the UK, including The Line, a three-mile long sculpture trail in east London, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail.

4. Bring the pub to the park

You’ve endured months of “Zoom drinks” so now is the time to enjoy a tipple with your friends in person in the fresh air. If you fancy something that’s a step up from off-licence plonk or a four-pack of tinnies from the supermarket, you could treat yourself to a pre-made cocktail.

NIO cocktails also do a great selection or try Send a Negroni for cute pouches fit for an aperitivo hour alfresco – just BYOC (that’s bring your own crisps). 

5. Mooch around a pretty garden

If you’ve got into gardening in lockdown, or you just want to mix it up from strolling through your local park, there are other outdoor options to explore. The National Trust and English Heritage operate public gardens all over the country, while venues such as the popular Kew Gardens in London are also open.

Some are free to enter, some charge an entry fee. Check online before you go to see if advance booking is required. And try not to get plant envy.

6. Get sporty with your five best pals

The latest easing of lockdown restrictions means that outdoor sports venues and facilities have been able to reopen, including tennis and basketball courts, football and cricket pitches and golf courses.

The rules permit exercising outdoors in a group of six people or two households, while the guidelines state that “formally organised outdoor sport or licensed physical activity” is allowed with “any number of people”.

The guidelines say that this “must be organised by a business, charity or public body and the organiser must take the required precautions, including the completion of a risk assessment”. But if you’re not part of an official team, you can still have a casual kick about with up to five friends or a tennis doubles match, for example.

7. Take the plunge and go swimming

With highs of around 14 degrees, the forecast isn’t exactly a scorcher this weekend. But if you’ve missed being able to go swimming during the third national lockdown, hardy swimmers can make the most of the fact that outdoor swimming pools and lidos have reopened.

That means you can plan to meet up to six friends for a dip in the likes of the Hampstead bathing ponds and lidos all over the country. Many venues are now operating a ticketed system, so it’s a good idea to check if you need to book in advance.

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