THE perfect British day out would include a forest walk, an ice cream by the sea – and a trip to the zoo to see the meerkats.
Researchers polled 2,000 adults to create a "formula for fun" – the ingredients for the ultimate day out, and a relaxing nature-filled walk came top (47%).
Four in 10 would enjoy a delicious ice cream at the beach during their ideal day of fun, while 25% would head to the zoo to meet the meerkats.
While seeing an iconic landmark like the Tower of London would be an ‘essential’ activity for 36% of those polled.
Other ingredients for the perfect day out include visiting an art exhibition (20%), seeing sharks at the aquarium (19%), and a castle visit (33%).
The research was commissioned by the National Lottery, which is offering £25 off days out to help the nation cut the cost of fun this autumn.
Dr Zoe Williams has teamed up with the lottery to provide some tips on how to truly enjoy a day out – and backed the benefits of laughter.
She said: "If something makes you smile, or even better laugh – then it’s likely to have a positive impact on your health.
"When we smile and laugh we instantly feel better – laughter releases feel-good brain chemicals, which also relieve pain."
TV star Scarlett Moffatt and partner Scott Dobinson were pictured putting this and other aspects of the "formula for fun" to the test as they launched the days out campaign.
In the images they can be seen saying "hello" to the penguins at the ZSL London Zoo and enjoying an ice cream with the Yeoman Warders at the Tower of London.
The study also identified a trip to a heritage site like a country house or gardens (37%) and learning something new at a museum (27%) as activities they’d do on their day of fun.
Visiting an adventure park (20%), riding a rollercoaster (18%), and eating chips (35%) also feature.
But there is more to a fun day out than just the activities – 52% agreed plenty of giggles along the way are vital.
And all of this would ideally be enjoyed with family (50%).
The study also found around three quarters of those polled (73%) consider themselves to be ‘fun-loving’.
And as such a quarter are planning to enjoy ‘more’ fun days out this autumn – and 69% added that the UK’s unpredictable weather won’t put them off.
It also emerged more than half think stepping outside their comfort zone and having fun would benefit their mental health.
While 55% believe doing something different would help them learn something about themselves.
Carried out through OnePoll for National Lottery Days Out the study also determined what those polled consider to be the UK’s best attractions – "guaranteed" for a fun day out.
Cornwall’s Eden Project topped the list, followed by the Tower of London and Kew Gardens – all of which have been supported with National Lottery funding.
London and Edinburgh zoos also appeared in the top five, alongside a historical river cruise around England’s capital.
To get £25 off fun days out with The National Lottery this autumn, National Lottery players can visit the National Lottery site to receive one of hundreds of thousands of vouchers available.
The promotion, in collaboration with VisitBritain is open to players with Lotto tickets bought on or after October 1 2021, subject to availability.
Dr Zoe William's top tips for getting the most from a day out:
Laugh out loud
If something makes you smile, or even better laugh – then it’s likely to have a positive impact on your health.
When we smile and laugh we instantly feel better.
Laughter releases feel-good brain chemicals, which also relieve pain.
Learn a new skill
Learning a new art or skill has been shown, in research, to have a positive effect on mental wellbeing.
It can help boost self-confidence, raise self-esteem and give a sense of purpose. It can also help you to connect with others.
Meeting new people and building connections
Good relationships are crucial for mental wellbeing, so spending some quality time with loved ones or doing activities which help you build new connections are a great idea.
The physical, mental and social health benefits of being active are immense and remember that it does not need to be a gym or running on pavements, anything that gets your body moving counts.
We spend so much time reminiscing about the past and anticipating the future that we sometimes forget to be fully present in the here and now.
The act of mindfulness is described as ‘a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment’.
A good day out can be a great way of taking a break from the usual pressures of daily life and being fully present in the moment.
The evidence is there and building that immersing ourselves in nature can reduce the circulating levels of stress hormone – cortisol, it can help us to feel calm and even improve concentration and make us more productive.
So, whether it’s a forest, a walk around a historical castle or being on a beach a good day out to some of Britain’s beauty spots could have you feeling fantastic.
Top 10 fun UK days out – according to Brits:
- The Eden Project, Cornwall
- Tower of London
- Kew Gardens, London
- London River Cruise
- ZSL London Zoo
- London Eye
- Edinburgh Zoo
- Alton Towers, Staffordshire
- Titanic, Belfast
- Madame Tussauds, London
But a theme park dubbed "UK's Disneyland" is to finally start building work next year, so it could soon become another top staycation contender.
If you are thinking of travelling further afield next year though, holidays next summer are to be "test free" with no traffic light rules – saving families hundreds.
It could be a welcome break from the "Brits on autopilot" as revealed by a recent poll to be repeating the same day over and over – and very much in need of a trip away.
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