One of the most challenging things about heading into the winter months is the sudden drop in temperature, along with which most of the activities we’ve spent the summer doing outdoors such as chilled park picnics, sunset rooftop drinks, and day trips to the nearest beach, disappear. (That is unless you happen to be one of those super human individuals that goes outdoor swimming in sub zero temperatures, which I can safely say I am not).
Weekends, social outings and date nights suddenly seem far more expensive when you’re faced with buying endless tickets, booking city centre restaurants or seeking out warm, covered crazy golf courses or similar activities. To top it off, all of this additional spending comes at the time of year when Christmas is creeping up. That’s why I’ve put together some simple ideas to help keep you out of the house and busy on a budget this Autumn/Winter.
1. Socialise at the start of the week
For most restaurants and bars, the start of the week is quieter as the population focus on work with a renewed enthusiasm for being sensible and cutting back on the beers following the weekend. This means that often you can snap up dining or drinks offers on Monday to Wednesday across the country, so think about arranging to head out for date night or with friends on one of these nights and save yourself some cash. Additionally, the temptation to order wine on a Tuesday is likely to be less than later in the week which will slash the drinks spend too! Plus, don’t be afraid to ask for tap water when you’re eating out.
2. Go retro gaming
Whether you’re a group of two or twenty, the rise of retro game venues has not only brought a whole new angle to social events, but can also provide a great value night out if you plan ahead and book. With venues such as Bounce Ping Pong and the brand new Electric Shuffle opening this Winter in Canary Wharf often costing under £10 per person, you can have a stress-free fun evening without breaking the bank. A heads up - these book up quickly so organise in advance!
3. Make the most of museums
Admittedly, this is much easier for Londoners or those in the vicinity of a city, however one of the major cultural perks of the UK is the accessibility of museums for all people, whether locals or not. Whilst once upon a time these cultural cornerstones signified school trips where the highlight was largely seen to be the coach trip, the range of museums which cater to all interests from art, history, science and beyond is seriously impressive - and a large number of them are free for all visitors (with donations encouraged).
4. Catch a cut price film at the cinema
Increasingly, cinemas are countering the super high ticket prices we’ve seen over recent years through offering a number of discounted and fixed price tickets across the country. Cinemas including Odeon and Vue offer discounts to guests heading to the cinema early in the week, plus certain groups are now rolling out fixed price tickets meaning that you can head to the cinema at any time without the fear of a shock at the till. There are also tonnes of websites with offers for discounted shows if you fancy a trip to the theatre.
5. Wrap up at the Winter markets
This one is technically capable of being very budget friendly or unfriendly - that bit is down to your personal self restraint however it only seems right to mention the brilliant selection of winter markets which will be popping up over the coming months as we head into the festive season. The majority of the markets are free to enter meaning you can easily spend a couple of hours wandering around exploring without having to spend anything. I know that may be tricky with the temptation of mulled wine and spiced lattes, so try setting yourself a £10 budget and wrap up for