Lockdown Brits find novel ways to pass the time

06 November 2020

  • Reading and gardening most popular hobbies post lockdown
  • Exercising top of most people’s hobby ‘wish list’
  • Men paying over 50% more towards hobbies than women per month

Lockdown Brits made a return to traditional hobbies to pass the time, with more people reading, gardening and cooking, research from Lloyds Bank has shown.

The UK is a nation of book lovers, with reading the preferred leisure activity for over half (56%) the population, and a further 17% picked up the books during lockdown. Gardening, already a regular activity for a third (31%) of people, has seen a further 17% get green-fingered whilst under stay at home orders. Cooking is now enjoyed by 14% more people, up from the third (30%) of Brits who were already budding chefs.

The vast majority (74%) of Brits consider themselves hobbyists, with younger adults and the over 55s most likely to have a specific pastime, at 73% and 79% respectively. Both prefer activities that get them moving, with exercising most popular for those aged 18 to 24, and gardening the favoured pastime of the over 55s.

The average Brit spends almost £48 per month on their hobbies, with men spending 53% more than women (£58.40 vs £38.12). Those aged between 25 and 34 have the biggest budget, spending £59.38 each month, on average.

When it comes to the hobby ‘wish list’, exercise leads the pack, with a fifth (20%) of Brits wanting to devote more time to staying fit. Just over one in 10 (13%) would like to take up cooking, and a tenth (10%) hiking and outdoor pursuits.

Some hobbies appear to have a gendered dimension. Women are more likely to take up reading, gardening, cooking and craft, whilst British men prefer sport, gaming, and cycling.  Some hobbies are more equal across gender lines, with the same proportion of men and women enjoying exercise (23%), and only small differences in writing (10% of men and 11% of women), playing board or card games (13% vs 15%), and film and television (40% vs 39%).

It seems time is the main barrier to pursuing interests with over a third (35%) stating they don’t have enough free time to dedicate to hobbies. Around a sixth (16%) think hobbies are too expensive.

From hobby to published author

One Lloyds Bank colleague, Destynee Onwochei, turned her hobby – a love of writing – into so much more. Inspired by her own travels and the adventures of her nephew, alongside significantly more free time due to the events of 2020, Destynee recently saw the publication of her first book.  

Adapting to the new normal – at least for now – of working from home, has afforded me the time to focus on something I love, which is writing. I’ve recently published my first children’s book and with the rest of the series underway, I’ve been focusing my energy on pushing forward with this incredible journey while I have fewer distractions and very little in my social calendar.”