What Do Brits Do In Their Free Time?

Coffee and Newspaper

The British aren’t particularly different to other countries when it comes to free time activities, although you may notice how social activities do play a huge role. Let’s take a look at the top 10 free time activities in the UK.

Watching TV

The most popular free time activity by far is watching TV. Just over 90% of people watch TV when they have some free time. Shockingly, we spend around 20 hours a week, or 3 hours a day sitting in front of a television screen. This number is reducing year-on-year with more people turning to more social activities instead. Perhaps it’s the vast amount of thrillers and crime-series that glues us to the TV?


Spending Time With Family And Friends


The second most popular free time activity is spending time with friends and family, catching up, chatting and enjoying each other’s company. This includes in restaurants or at pubs, bars and clubs. 90% of us choose to spend our free time with our loved ones.

Listening To Music

Thirdly, perhaps unsurprisingly, is listening to music. It’s true we have a wealth of musicians from the UK and with music being an obligatory subject at school all the way through to Key Stage 4, we’re brought up in an environment that simply loves music. In the modern world, pop is our favourite kind of music, followed by R&B and dance music. The more classic British rock music of the 80’s isn’t as popular nowadays but forever lives in British history.


Eating Out


Our fourth favourite free time activity is eating out at restaurants. It’s true that the global pandemic has made this somewhat difficult, but we love eating out. The UK offers a very diverse restaurant scene with Italian, Indian, American, Japanese and Chinese to name a few.

Browsing The Internet

Browsing the Internet is a 21st century free time activity and popular amongst the younger generation. In the past this used to take place on computers or laptops but smartphones have well and truly overtaken as the preferred method for browsing the Internet.




Shopping is a popular free time activity although the high street has suffered tremendously as a result of the global pandemic. The most popular shopping items tend to be clothing and shoes. However, average spend on items other than food and groceries is relatively low in the UK, so perhaps we spend more time window shopping and browsing stores than actually buying things!

Days Out

Days out are also extremely popular in the UK. The majority of the days out take place in London, with Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and Etihad Stadium being some of the most popular. Days out in the UK can be extremely expensive and even indoor days out, such as bowling or going to the cinema, can put a dent in your wallet.

Day Out


Reading is the next most popular free time activity. Unsurprisingly, this is more popular amongst the older generation. Teens and young adults don’t seem to find time for this activity. Brits, on average, only read about 10 books a year. This decreases down to 6 books a year for people aged 16 to 24 and increases to 12 books a year for those aged over 55. Despite the introduction of ebooks, traditional paperbacks are still more popular in the UK with 59% preferring to read these as opposed to the modern digital version.

Go To The Pub

Pubs are an extremely important part of British culture and it’s even classed as a free time activity for just over 50% of Brits. Pubs are truly British places that serve alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and “pub grub” (i.e. traditional British food and snacks). Pubs are a cornerstone of British life, often known as the social place of each village, town or city. No wonder the British were anxiously awaiting the reopening of pubs after lockdown!


British people are extremely proud of their gardens. Most houses, certainly in villages and smaller towns, will have a garden and flowers, trees and fruit growing in your garden can even be the talk of the town. Gardening is an increasingly popular free time activity, in part thanks to the global pandemic, which has forced people into outdoor and open spaces. In the UK, we have competitions for “best garden” and it’s a talking point when you go past a pretty garden.


Test your reading skills to check you understand everything in our blog this week. Register today then take the free quiz below!

What is your favourite free time activity? Let me know in the comments below!

Statista. (2020). Share of adult population taking part in free time activities in England in 2017/18, by type. Available: https://www.statista.com/statistics/553674/free-time-activities-adult-participation-uk-england/. Last accessed 26th April 2021.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe To Our Weekly Blog


* indicates required

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. By subscribing to our blog you agree to our terms and conditions. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our privacy policy or contact us at admin@virtually-fluent.com.