The Silver Census results are in - traditional hobbies stand the test of time

19 October, 2020

Keeping our minds stimulated and enjoying the things we love seem to be more important than ever during uncertain times and hobbies are a great way to help us with this, by keeping us busy and even strengthening our bonds with our family and friends.

When it comes to pastimes, our latest study shows that the UK is still a nation of traditionalists – with reading, walking, eating out and gardening among the most popular hobbies.


We still have time for fun

We recently surveyed 2000 UK adults in our Silver Census study which found that the average person enjoys three hobbies per week, dedicating more than eight hours of their free time to them. We did the maths and worked out that this amounts to a massive 416 hours per year or 26,208 hours — the equivalent of three whole years — during the average adult’s lifetime!

It also seems that hobbies are good for the soul, as 50 per cent of people said their pastimes put them in a good mood. Health professionals have advocated for years that hobbies can do wonders for our sense of  wellbeing — reducing the risk of depression and boosting our physical health. Such activities also offer an invaluable opportunity to socialise with like-minded people, whether in person or via online courses, helping to address loneliness. It’s never too late to try something new, find friendship and make lovely memories.

Traditional hobbies

Our research showed that traditional hobbies, such as gardening and baking, continue to stand the test of time, proving to be popular with millions of Brits across all ages.

Cooking and watching films are also among the top choices for pastimes — and we’re just as likely to be interested in doing puzzles as we are socialising.

Those over 55 are far more likely to settle down with a good book during their spare time (68 per cent) than 18 to 24-year-olds (41 per cent). We know from our research last year that, for many of us, quality time with our grandchildren is spent reading, and almost half of  grandparents in the 2019 Silver Census said this is one of the best things about growing old.

Interestingly, despite being considered a more ‘old-fashioned’ hobby, 18 to 24-year-olds are three times more likely to be interested in calligraphy than over 55s. The younger generation is also more likely to enjoy cross stitching, sewing and stamp collecting.

Enjoy with friends and family

It also appears that our hobbies are passed down through the generations as a quarter of those surveyed said they picked up a hobby from an older relative, while 11% took an interest up on the back of a younger member of the family.

One in five people said their pastimes are important because it gives them the chance to share something with people they know. Of those who were grandparents in the study, over a third said they have shared their interests with their grandchildren.

Try a new hobby

Feeling inspired? If you fancy trying a new hobby, check out our A-Z of activities to enjoy in the comfort of your very own home, from origami to truffle making.

UK’s Top 20 hobbies

  1. Walking
  2. Reading
  3. Eating out
  4. Watching films
  5. Gardening
  6. Travelling
  7. Cooking
  8. Doing puzzles
  9. Socialising
  10. Baking
  11. Football
  12. Playing board games
  13. DIY
  14. Swimming
  15. Browsing or posting on social media
  16. Playing video games
  17. Cycling
  18. Running
  19. Going to the gym
  20. Doing arts and crafts

Whether you’re passing down a baking recipe through the generations, doing some form of exercise together or taking time to enjoy jigsaw puzzles, hobbies are not only a great way to bond as a family but can be life-enhancing and of course, help you keep on being you.

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