Hobbies and happiness: the lockdown lifestyle trend

Whether you’re a butcher, a baker or a sourdough-bread maker, new Virgin Money research finds Brits owe their high spirits to new hobbies and embracing creativity. 

The rise of hobbies in lockdown

Have you been channelling your inner Nigella or Joe Wicks and getting creative in lockdown? Welcome to the club. Our research* finds 50 per cent of Brits have tried new hobbies during lockdown, and 50 per cent feel they owe their high spirits to these hobbies.

Anyone who’s had an Instagram feed full of banana bread – or who tried to buy flour in the month of April – won’t be surprised to hear that baking and cooking comes out on top (38 per cent). This is followed by exercise (28 per cent) and gardening (24 per cent) – and, let’s face it, the glorious weather we’ve been treated to has certainly made it easier for people to get their sports kit on and pound the pavements, as well as working out in the ‘garden gym’, giving their outdoor space some well-deserved TLC.  The Virgin Money team have been living, breathing, baking examples of this trend. Helen in our Marketing team has upped her baking game recently, culminating in a truly awesome Lego cake for her son Benjamin’s birthday:

I’ve always enjoyed baking but during lockdown I’ve really stepped it up a notch. We’ve celebrated three birthdays so far and marking the occasion with an impressive cake has been even more important than ever. So, I’ve had to get creative. I’ve really stretched my comfort zone to create something special, and thanks to YouTube and some new equipment I can now master drip cake techniques  – not something I had at the top of my to-do list, but I haven’t had any complaints yet!

And Mairead in the Digital Marketing team has been spending more time than ever before in her garden, along with her kids who she’s been getting to muck in too:  

I’ve always wanted to grow my own veg and lockdown has been the perfect time to build our raised beds and get planting. It’s great fun to do with the kids and they’re learning how to grow their own food. It’s a steep learning curve, YouTube has been my teacher, but we’re still enjoying our homegrown peas – it’s all going well so far”.

Another way people have been getting creative in recent weeks is with DIY projects – this is the fifth most popular activity Brits are spending their time on during lockdown. Virgin Money’s Arianna has created her ideal living room in the past few weeks and has enjoyed having something to channel that lockdown energy into:

We moved into our first home, which was always a renovation project, earlier this year. Although there are lots of things we haven’t been able to get our hands on due to lockdown (still waiting on skirting boards!) we’ve managed to almost finish our dream living room. Living in a building site is weirdly bearable when you’ve got the end goal in sight. Plus, we’ve saved money on eating out etc. so those savings have gone straight into more home interior buys – that’s a lockdown bonus!”


Virgin Money: investing in creativity 

At Virgin Money, we’re investing in creativity to help disrupt the status quo of UK banking and to deliver personal and unexpected experiences to our customers. Our flagship Virgin Money stores in Birmingham, London and Manchester offer things you wouldn’t expect from your typical bank branch, including free to use co-working spaces, coffee on the house, yoga classes and content-creation studios. These spaces have been designed in a way that enables them to be ‘bank by day, music venue by night’, and we look forward to inviting artists into our performance spaces as soon as we’re able to. 

We also remain fully committed to supporting the UK music industry, which is bursting at the seams with a huge amount of super creative, talented artists. We want to help customers discover the most exciting new British music, both through our own innovative new talent pathway and our partnerships with two of the UK’s most prolific venues – London’s The O2 and the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, all while creating memories with friends and family through virtual experiences, unforgettable live events and exciting content.  The Virgin Money Emerging Stars programme will launch in July and we can’t wait for artists to take to the stage again and for music venues to be back up and running.


*About the survey
The research was conducted by Censuswide, with a sample of 2,004 general population between 22.05.2020-26.05.2020


Before making financial decisions always do research, or talk to a financial adviser. Views are those of our mentors and customers and do not constitute financial advice.