Most popular quarantine activities

With the world indoors, global searches for “things to do during lockdown” have increased by a whopping 4300% according to Google Trends data.

From home workouts to banana bread, our new Audley Villages study has revealed the most popular activities to do during lockdown, based on what people have been searching for the most online.

We analysed what activities people have been searching for the most in the UK, by examining numerous categories such as skills, recipes, exercises, TV and films, podcasts and more and spoke to several psychologists and health experts to understand why people are engaging in such activities to stay healthy during lockdown.

Take a look at the most popular activities people have been doing during lockdown, by category below:

Category Quarantine Activity UK Search Volume

Video Games




Learn an instrument


Films and TV

Peaky Blinders





Quiz Rounds



Social Media Challenges

Dolly Parton Challenge



Banana Bread



French Bulldog


House Plants

Peace Lily



Movie Night



No Such Thing As A Fish



Top 5 skills learnt during lockdown

learning a new skill

Despite many of us feeling bored or restless, lots of people have been learning a variety of new things. Learning new skills not only keeps us entertained but also can help us to forge new brain connections,makes our neural pathways stronger and “releases dopamine”.

Lee Chambers, Environmental Psychologist and Wellbeing Consultant, reveals that

“'skill acquisition' gives us a sense of excitement and fulfilment, which is vital for a feeling of progress that bolsters our mental health and gives us that reason to get out of bed again the following day”.

Playing an instrument is the most popular lockdown activity that people have been enjoying. While your neighbour may not be so keen, studies show that when people play music, it is great for brain health - their entire brain lights up with increased neural activity. People who play music regularly can develop the connection between the two sides of the brain, making a musician’s brain more agile for problem solving.

Photography, meditation and painting are also popular activities that anybody can do from the comfort of their home. According to Dr. Rachel M. Allan,

“mindfulness practice is known to reduce stress and depression”

and Ruth Cooper-Dickson adds that

“a program of mindfulness meditation can help to produce demonstrable positive effects on brain and immune function”.

The top new skills people have been learning during lockdown include:

1. Learn an instrument
2. Meditation
3. Photography
4. Origami
5. Painting

It goes without saying that many people have been embracing technology to stay connected with loved ones as well as to learn new skills on the internet, via YouTube or online courses. Some of these searches are being performed by people who previously did not even own a smartphone let alone use the likes of video calling apps, but who are now embracing technology to keep in touch and to learn new skills. Read Audley's top tech gift ideas

Top 5 exercises during lockdown

top exercises at home

Staying fit and healthy through this uneasy period is important to keep you feeling energised and to reduce stress. Making time for exercise every day is a great way of ensuring you have some structure and routine in your days.

According to our study of the population, boxing is the most popular exercise to do indoors and is beneficial for burning fat and improving core muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness.

Pilates and yoga have also become increasingly popular alternatives to a daily walk and can be done from your living room, no equipment necessary. Marilyn Devonish, NeuroSuccess Coach, reveals that her favourite exercises when you’re short on equipment and space is the Plank.

“Start with as little as 5 seconds and build up from there. It uses your body weight to help itself, and you can also set yourself a psychological competition to add a few more seconds each week”.

Doing a plank everyday is a simple activity with a litany of benefits and is great for increasing our metabolism, improving posture and muscle definition while reducing back pain. Audley Villages wellbeing expert Baybora Erol recently showed customers how they can perform three versions of the basic plank technique, at home.

Dr. Rachel M Allan adds that

“exercise of all kinds is highly beneficial for mood and brain function. As well as the physical benefits of exercise, participating in virtual group exercise can bring the added benefit of social contact, which is excellent for overall health and wellbeing.”

According to our research, the UK’s favourite lockdown exercises include:

1. Boxing
2. Pilates
3. Yoga
4. Running
5. Zumba

Top 5 virtual couples' night activities

couples nights in

With many couples either in lockdown with their partner or maintaining a long-distance relationship for the duration of quarantine, we need to get creative with our romantic gestures. Stay-at-home date nights have skyrocketed in recent months with film nights prevailing as the most popular romantic evening among couples.

According to Dr. Rachel M Allan, Chartered Counselling Psychologist,

“movie nights can provide some welcome escapism and a sense of occasion.”

Indulging in making fondue, cooking together and streaming virtual concerts from the sofa have also been popular ways to keep the romance alive. Dr. Rachel M Allan comments that

“lockdown can put added pressure on our relationships, and it is important to take time to nurture them to make sure we do not become disengaged. Good date night activities are those that enhance a sense of connection, and make space for open communication and fun.”

Whether or not you’re in a long-term relationship or have just started dating, why not organise a fun evening this weekend to woo your significant other.

The nation's date night favourites during lockdown include:

1. Movie night
2. Make fondue
3. Cook together
4. Stream a concert
5. Virtual wine tasting

Top 5 houseplants bought during lockdown

top houseplants

With so much time at home, gardening is both a creative and mindful activity that improves cognitive function and decreases stress. According to Lee Chambers, Environmental Psychologist and Wellbeing Consultant, getting our hands dirty in the garden

“increases our serotonin levels, through both sunlight exposure and Mycobacterium vaccae exposure. And this serotonin boost increases our feeling of wellbeing and bolsters our immune system”.

Indoor plants have also become increasingly popular and are a great way to bring nature indoors and help to clean the air. Peace Lilies and Aloe Vera plants are the most popular and a great option for those less green-fingered.

Chambers adds, that growing plants also

“reduces our blood pressure, anchors us in the present, reduces anxiety and gives a high level of satisfaction as we create something, ground ourselves and connect with nature”

The top indoor plants we’ve been loving during lockdown are:

1. Peace Lily
2. Aloe Vera Plant
3. Snake Plant
4. Spider Plant
5. Succulent

Top 5 recipes to make at home during lockdown

banana bread recipe

Cooking, in addition to being a fun and creative activity in itself, often results in

“a healthier meal than going to a restaurant or ordering food”

remarks Viktor Sander, counselor at SocialPro. Banana bread and sourdough have captured the nation's heart with everyone and their neighbour creating the delicious baked goods. Why not spruce up your banana bread with additional fruits to boost the flavour and nutritional value.

Eating well during this time is essential, and Lee Chambers MBPsS tells us, cooking delicious healthy meals

“affects our mood regulation and our cognitive function. Antioxidants protect your brain from free radical cell damage and our blood sugar is stabilised from a nutritious diet, leaving us happier, more energetic and more positive about the future.”

While it's important to maintain a healthy diet, enjoying our favourite comfort foods like french toast and chicken curries are a great way to improve mood and reduce stress during this turbulent time.

The top recipes people are making at home during lockdown are:

1. Banana Bread
2. Cake
3. French Toast
4. Bread
5. Chicken Curry

Enter our competition to recreate a michelin style dish from home, to win £250*.


The best of the rest

With so many different activities out there and displays of productivity splashed across social media, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. It’s important not to put too much pressure on ourselves and remind ourselves that being safe and healthy is the most important activity we can do during this time.

Dr. Rachel M. Allan reveals that having a daily routine

“that has structure and focus is essential to maintaining brain health and emotional health during lockdown. Completing activities that are enjoyable or give a sense of accomplishment is one of the most effective ways of maintaining our mood and sense of purpose.”

You can find the other top categories, research and methodology as part of our study on the most popular quarantine activities we’ve all been enjoying.

Discover how our retirement villages work and hear from our owners why they feel that their luxury Audley village is the best place to be right now.

More ideas on how to make the most of this time in isolation. Check out our 30 day wellness calendars, exercise techniques, recipes and more.