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The Lake District

Rise in Outdoor Activities in the UK

4th December 2020

Over the past few years, more people have been trying to embrace healthier lifestyles by getting out into the great outdoors and keeping active, whether that’s through a gentle walk around the block, a bike ride, or more adventurous activities such as wild swimming, abseiling and kayaking.

And while the COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted so many areas of our lives, it’s actually seen an even greater increase in the number of people getting out and participating in outdoor activities, with gyms being forced to close and outdoor activities being perfect for practising social distancing.

So, what types of outdoor activities have we all been enjoying over the last six months or so?

We’ve turned to Google search data to see what types of things have seen the biggest increase in interest since the first lockdown was announced at the end of March.

The UK’s Outdoor Activities Rising in Popularity the Most:

Rank

Outdoor Activity

Searches (November - March)

Searches (April - October)

Increase/Decrease in Popularity

1

Stand Up Paddleboarding

20,300

183,800

805%

2

Camping

391,500

2,171,000

455%

3

Wild swimming

17,600

68,100

287%

4

Mountain biking

763,500

1,854,000

143%

5

Canoeing

135,600

312,100

130%

6

Parasailing

29,600

64,900

119%

7

Angling

37,200

71,700

93%

8

Windsurfing

35,300

64,200

82%

9

Outdoor gyms

31,500

52,400

66%

10

Rafting

92,700

152,800

65%

11

Water sports

52,500

84,300

61%

12

Paragliding

98,700

157,700

60%

13

Gardening

522,000

811,500

55%

14

Hiking

89,400

133,200

49%

15

Horse riding

157,700

217,300

38%

15

Zipline

44,400

61,100

38%

17

Gliding

164,800

216,400

31%

18

Rock climbing

100,200

121,800

22%

19

Metal detecting

279,700

321,000

15%

20

Snorkelling

78,000

85,600

10%

21

Scuba diving

92,700

95,400

3%

22

Skydiving

160,700

158,800

-1%

22

Bungee jumping

73,100

72,600

-1%

22

Orienteering

32,000

31,800

-1%

25

Paintball

195,400

189,100

-3%

26

Kayaking

1,400,000

1,288,000

-8%

26

Abseiling

78,500

72,600

-8%

28

Running

460,500

362,000

-21%

29

Skiing

381,600

194,000

-49%

30

Birdwatching

106,400

33,200

-69%

As we can see, the activity that has seen the biggest increase in popularity, by some distance, was Stand Up Paddleboarding (or SUP).

As a cross between surfing, punting and canoeing, Stand Up Paddleboarding sees you take a big board out onto the water, which you stand upon and use an oar to propel yourself along with, which you can try for yourself with a short weekend break here in the Lake District.

Searches for SUP have increased by 805% in the UK in the last six months, but it’s an activity which has been gaining traction for the last couple of years.

Camping also saw something of a boom post-lockdown as people opted for a summer staycation rather than their usual holiday abroad. Searches shot up by 455% as people looked to get off the grid and escape the madness of 2020 for a while.

Another activity which has proved popular, especially here in the Lakes is wild swimming, which as you can probably guess, involves swimming outdoors in natural spaces such as rivers or lakes such as Grasmere, here on our doorstep, which saw searches increase by 287%.

However, some activities did see interest drop since the pandemic, including running, which while still one of the most popular outdoor activities, actually saw searches drop by 21%.

Now that the second lockdown has lifted, if you’re looking to get out and enjoy the great outdoors yourself in some of the most beautiful surroundings in the country, why not check availability here at the Daffodil Hotel (providing your own local restrictions allow you to do so).

Methodology

All search data was sourced from Google Ads Keyword Planner and shows the number of searches in the UK for the six months prior to lockdown (November 2019 to March 2020) compared with the six months following lockdown (April 2020 to October 2020). 

 

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