This summer is going to be different from any we’ve experienced before. As we ease out of lockdown, the country is still understandably very cautious, but also eager to begin enjoying some of the things we’ve missed for the past few months.
While you might not be able to take your usual holiday, there are still some holiday-type experiences that can be recreated at home.
So whether you still prefer to stay close to home, or you're willing to travel slightly further afield, we’ve got some great ideas for enjoying this summer safely.
Look out for the following icons to tell you what benefits each activity has.
1. Witness the beautiful sunrises and sunsets Britain has to offer
The British weather is as unpredictable as ever, but spending more time at home means that you might just have time for that early morning or late evening walk to clock up some heart healthy steps and witness a sunrise or sunset. You can check what time the sun is expected to rise or set, using this tool.
We often marvel at the beauty of the sun on holiday. In places like Santorini, Greece, and The Sunset Strip in Ibiza, the sunset is regarded as a nightly celebration. Crowds gather to cheer and applaud it, reinforcing the notion that we should celebrate and be thankful for each day.
But, how do you get your best view of the sun? If you want to see a gorgeous colourful sky, check the weather forecast – look for a ridge of high pressure and light winds. Face east to see the sunrise, on a hill or the beach, or go west to see an amazing sunset.
2. Create a Bali-inspired wellness retreat
If you’ve missed out on a wellness retreat there’s no reason why you can’t take this time to focus on yourself. And yoga is a great way to give yourself some self-love. So, it’s little surprise that Google searches for ‘How to do yoga’ rose an astonishing 120% during March to May 2020 (from 590 monthly searches to 1,300).
However, if you want to take self-care one step further, why not create your own wellness retreat? Leave distractions behind for a day by putting your phone on do not disturb or turn it off. Start your day off by clearing your mind and setting your intentions for the day with a meditation, followed by a yoga session (there are plenty on Youtube). A lunchtime bubble bath will keep the relaxation going. Spend some time reading or colouring in a mindfulness colouring book. Plan yourself some healthy and satisfying meals throughout the day and end with a facemask and a relaxing sleep meditation.
3. Take your taste buds around the world with wine tasting
Wine tasting is all about trying different wines, therefore you don’t need to be in another country to go on a wine experience. You can take a round-the-world trip by simply sampling wines from France all the way to Argentina.
Holidays often include new experiences, including new smells and tastes. While there’s comfort in routine, and routine is definitely something that has helped many during the past months, experiencing new things comes with a lot of health benefits too, especially if you enjoy it. Even for something as simple as trying a new food or drink.
Prepare some snacks, create tasting cards and then try out your wines. You can even take this into the garden if the weather is warm enough and pretend you’re in your very own vineyard. If you need a bit more help, there are lots of online guides available and some wine companies are even offering a wine tasting kit for home delivery.
4. Camp out in the garden under the stars
Cost: Free if you already have a tent, however, you can purchase a tent from as little as £25
Just because we’re in lockdown, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the fun of camping! If you have children, set your children the task of putting up the tent, and time them to see how quickly they can erect it.
Or if you live with a loved one, why not use this as an excuse for the ultimate staycation? And by staycation, we mean staying in your own garden. Not only is this a mini adventure but it’s a good way of spending quality time with your partner, friend or family member.
There’s a growing number of studies that show that that time spent outdoors in nature is beneficial to both physical and mental health and with campsites now allowed to open in the UK, you can check online to see if there are any you can travel to for a short break.
While it’s not the same as packing your suitcase for a week on more tropical shores, a change in scenery, even to the garden, will have positive effects and help dust off some of the cobwebs from so much time indoors. New locations help you to feel revitalised, more excited and limit stress.
5. Learn how to start a fire with two pieces of wood
While you’re camping in the garden, take it up a notch with an outdoor fire. Not only is this a great skill to have, but you’ll feel extra cosy cuddled up around the fire with your loved one or friend.
This is a handy guide that clearly lays out how to start a fire with just sticks. You’ll need to find a clear space away from the tent. Having a firepit is a good idea if you don't already have one, you can make one easily with bricks.
Learning a new skill improves brain health and memory, fosters connection with others and increases your mental wellbeing and happiness.
Just take extra care if you have children of course and be extremely aware of your surroundings. Garden bonfires are allowed, but can be dangerous if not controlled properly.
If you’d like to be cautious, a good alternative is a garden chiminea. Widely available from lots of home stores, they are cheap to run and give off heat for around 6-8 hours.
6. Once you’ve created your first fire, create s’ mores to celebrate
What’s a campfire without s’mores? They’re a delicious treat, perfectly cooked on a fire.
Once you’ve got your fire going, place marshmallows on sticks and cook them on the campfire. When the marshmallows are toasted nicely, place them on a layer of chocolate between two pieces of biscuits or cookies. At roughly £1.26 per smore, it’s a fairly cheap and fun addition to the camping experience. Enjoy!
7. Build an outdoor shelter which makes the perfect sun protector
If you’re an adult with no kids and have the urge to build a fort but feel like that’s a child’s game, then this is the grown up, acceptable version!
Building an outdoor shelter with your friends or family is also an entertaining way to pass time and the physical activity of it is good exercise as you’ll likely be bending and stretching quite a bit. You’ll also be outdoors and using your brain to construct the perfect shelter, so you’ll reap the benefits for your mind too.
Plus, if you have a big family - you could even set up a prize for the best shelter. There are many ways you can create these shelters, using branches and trees in your garden. Popular ways are in the shape of an ‘A’ or a tipi – just have fun with it!