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Socialising outdoors in the rule of six: best things to do outside with friends and family

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Megan Murray
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From afternoon teas and picnics to flower pressing and playing garden chess, here are some ideas on what to do with your friends and family outdoors.

As of 29 March, those living in England have been allowed to meet up outdoors, in public spaces or private gardens, in either a group of six or two households. 

It’s a huge milestone in the lockdown roadmap which sees restrictions continue to loosen throughout the summer until 21 June when, hopefully, life should start to return to normal. 

Of course, each stage in the roadmap is dependent on the spread of coronavirus continuing to be manageable and no spike in cases, but right now, this is a great moment as families and friends can once again see each other.  

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So, what can you do while socialising outside? While it feels like a positive step to be able to see our loved ones again, it can be hard to continue thinking of new ways to make meeting up outdoors interesting, especially when a lot of places are still closed. 

We’ve put our thinking caps on to come up with some ideas of fun outdoor activities which are perfect for chewing the fat with those we haven’t seen in a while. From bottomless brunches, picnics and afternoon tea, to ball games, outdoor chess and flower pressing, here are some of the best ways to socialise outdoors.

  • Enjoy a couple of easy-to-transport drinks outside

    Peachy cocktails in a can
    Best ways to socialise outdoors: canned cocktails

    With spring officially upon us, there’s no better time to get outside and enjoy a couple of drinks (responsibly, of course) with friends.

    Canned drinks, in a range of alcoholic spectrums, are a spiking trend right now and there are lots of creative options on the market. From damson and ginger gin with tonic to a peach cosmopolitan, you can get a cocktail bar-worthy tipple at your convenience. 

    See our edit of the best canned drinks for picnics

  • Visit some of the UK's most beautiful parks

    Pink blossom trees in St James's Park
    Best things to do outside: St James's Park

    Look, we know you’ve been going for walks all lockdown, but have you been going for walks at the most beautiful parks in the UK? We thought not. 

    Thanks to some new research by Flowercard, iconic parks like St James’s Park in London and Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh have been crowned the most aesthetically pleasing in the UK. So, if you haven’t visited them all before now, this is some great inspiration for your next stroll.

    See our guide on the most picturesque parks in the UK

  • Plan the perfect picnic

    Picnicking is becoming an art, thanks to its newfound and incredibly important role as one of the only ways to keep ourselves entertained. 

    In fact, picnicking is even mentioned in the government’s latest relaxation of lockdown rules, noted as an activity that’s back on the table. 

    We recommend going all out when it comes to curating your picnic experience; don’t just think Tupperware and tub of hummus from the local supermarket. It might sound like a lot of extra effort, but use decorative items like vases, flowers, vintage china, books and pretty tableware to take your experience to the next level. 

  • Create your own outdoor cinema

    Two people watching a film outside
    Best ways to socialise outdoors

    As it is now possible to meet outside in a private garden but outdoor cinemas aren’t yet open, why not try making one yourself?

    All you’ll really need is a projector and somewhere to hang a white bedsheet which you can project on to (a garden fence or washing line would work). 

    Simply attach your projector to your phone, get Netflix and some snacks on the go, and up to six of you can enjoy a movie night in the garden.

  • Get your Queen's Gambit on

    Woman playing giant garden chess
    Best ways to socialise outside: garden chess

    Hit Netflix show, The Queen’s Gambit, has inspired a love of chess in those of us are before watching the series had never even heard of a rook. 

    This giant garden chess set allows you to take on your mates in an outdoor, supersized fashion. It’s weather-proof and is made from PVC so that it’s easily wiped down and will last all summer long and beyond.

    Shop garden chess at Notonthehighstreet, £115

  • Serve your own bottomless brunch

    Prosecco outside on grass
    Best ways to socialise outdoors: bottomless brunch

    If you’ve been missing bottomless brunch like nobody’s business then it could be time to host your own. 

    Head to a park with lots of space so that you can keep your distance from other groups and bring with you everything that you’d usually have when enjoying bottomless brunch in a restaurant. 

    We’d recommend coordinating your outdoors spot with a pizza place, so that you can pick up some food on the way. Plus, cut down on plastic use by wrapping a glass from home in bubble wrap and bringing it with you, or if you don’t want to use fancy glassware brands like French Connection have some sturdier options made from recycled glass.

  • Experiment with flower pressing

    Flower press
    Best ways to socialise outdoors: flower pressing

    Flower pressing is a wonderfully whimsical way to spend a day and something which can be done totally outdoors with this travel flower press.

    Head to a botanical garden or park and pick your desired flowers or leaves, pressing them in this bag-sized contraption. 

    You can even order this piece to be personalised with your name, for an extra sweet touch.

    Shop flower press at Notonthehighstreet, £25

  • Go back to sports day

    Sports day kit
    Best ways to socialisie outdoors: sports day kit

    You won’t run out of ideas when equipped with this nifty set which is bursting with sports day-style games to play outside. 

    With this one set you can play 50 different traditional games, from egg and spoon and hopscotch, to three-legged races and stuck in the mud.

    Shop sports day kit at Liberty London, £15.96 (was £19.95)

  • Indulge in a takeaway afternoon tea

    As restaurants and hotels are currently not open, many of them have been working on their takeaway offerings. And there’s one dish that’s exceptionally popular at the moment. 

    Spring is the perfect time for afternoon tea, ideally taken on a grassy bank somewhere in classic British fashion. London haunts are doing a great job of making afternoon teas easily delivered or available to pick up, with a growing number of places offering scones, cream and jam to go. 

    If you’re in the capital try out Cutter & Squidge, Gail’s and Sketch for some top-notch scoffing. 

  • Try your hand at croquet

    Stylish croquet set
    Best ways to socialise outdoors: croquet

    Croquet has had a stylish update thanks to this Vera Neumann x Anthropologie collaboration which is perfect for enjoying outside with family or friends.

    The set comes with four mallets, four balls, one stake, six wickets and one carrying bag, designed in a striking, aqua blue pattern.

    Shop croquet set at Anthropologie, £52

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a senior digital writer for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about homeware (particularly candles), travel, food trends, restaurants and all the wonderful things London has to offer.

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