The Most Popular Leisure Activities in Great Britain


The British, like any other people, love their free time. They tend to spend it doing various things, from watching TV to playing an instrument. Depending on the type of leisure activity, some are preferred by more people while others are a much more niche activity.

Over 10,000 people were interviewed using computer-assisted methods for a study on leisure activities in 2016. Based on those results, here is the data on how British people spend their free time.


This should come as no surprise, but topping the list at 89.9% of the interviewees spend their time watching TV. This is a common leisure activity worldwide and it does not come as a surprise, though most would expect social media and mobile phones to be at the very top.

Friends and Family

This comes as a nice surprise, compared to the first result. Coming in second, spending time with friends and family is second at 89.4%. This is astonishing as it is only 0.5% behind the first result. It is also a good sign that social interaction precedes many other things, even though it is still behind television.

Listening to Music

“If music be the food of love, play on,” William Shakespeare once wrote. Listening to music comes in third, at 79.4%. Music is always a great hobby, as it can bridge the gap between many cultures while at the same time upping your mood.


At least music and friends and family come before our consumer desires, at least in the UK. Shopping one of the favorite activities of UK citizens, coming in fourth, at 76.6%.

Eating out at Restaurants

Eating at a restaurant usually implies social interaction, if not with a friend or loved one, then at least with the waiter. It comes in fifth, at 75.8%.

Internet and Emails

Interestingly enough, using the internet and reading and sending emails comes in sixth on this list. With the rise of social media and instant messaging services, their usage is not as prominent in the UK. Coming after spending time with friends, listening to music and eating out, usage of the internet is sixth at 71.5%.


This is a great hobby that can be relaxing and rewarding in so many ways. Whether you learn about a new culture or are reading a bestseller or self-help books or a classic, reading keeps you sharp. In the UK, it comes in seventh at 69.4%

Tourism – Visiting Places

Being a bit adventurous and traveling is great and in the UK, it comes in eight on the list, at 68.1%. This also includes just having a day out, moving from place to place, not specific travel.

Sports and Exercise

One of the biggest gaps on this list is between tourism and sports, 10.2%. Sports and exercise come in ninth, at 57.9%.

People in the UK spend their time like many others in the world, watching TV, spending time with friends, out on dinner, reading or exercising. These activities are common and available almost anywhere.

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