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British Life and Culture

by Mandy Barrow

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British life and culture - England, Scotland and Wales
What do British people like doing at the weekends ?

The weekends are a time for families in Britain. Often the parents are not at work having worked a five day week from Monday to Friday. Saturdays are a busy time for shops with many families going shopping.


Sundays used to be a very special day of the week in Britain. It was the one day of the week for 'worship and rest'. The shops were closed and most people were at home or at church. Popular leisure activities on Sunday used to be going to church and doing odd jobs around the home such as gardening and DIY.


Until a few years ago shops were not permitted to open on a Sunday. Sundays today are becoming like any other day other week with shops open. Some families will now spend their time shopping rather than going to church or they will combine the two activities.

Britain is becoming a far less Christian country with fewer people regularly attending Church.Many Christian's believe that Sunday should be kept special, as a time given to worshipping God.  They think it is important for Christians to meet together, listen to readings from the Bible and celebrate Holy Communion.  Others believe that it is important that families have time to be together.  (The shopping hours on a Sunday are less than on any other day of the week.)

How do people spend their free time?

People enjoy various indoor and outdoor activities in Britain.

An Euro stat survey, the EU's statistical office, discovered that people in Britain spend about 45% of their free time watching television, 24% of their free time socializing, 22-23% on sport and hobbies, and 10% on other activities. Other popular leisure activities are listening to the radio, listening to pre-recorded music, reading, DIY, gardening, eating out and going to the cinema.


The most common leisure activity in the UK is watching television. The average viewing time is 25 hours per person per week. Almost all households have at least one television set. The proportion of households using satellite, cable or digital television was 44 per cent in 2002. Many television programmes are about wildlife, animals, holidays, cooking and gardening. All these things are much cherished by British people.
What television programmes do British people watch?


People in Britain listen to an average 15 hours and 50 minutes of radio each week.
The only radio I listen to is the Top 40. I like to find out who is number one in the pop charts each week.

" My parents listen to the radio in the mornings and when we are having our evening meal."

Digital Devices

In 2005/06, 88 per cent of UK households had a CD player and 79 per cent a mobile phone. In April to June 2006, 26 per cent of people aged 15 and over owned an MP3 player.

In January to April 2006, 56 per cent of households in Great Britain had a desktop computer, 30 per cent had a portable or laptop computer, and 7 per cent had a handheld computer.


The second most popular activity in Britain is visiting or entertaining friends or relations.

"Mum and Dad go out and visit friends at least once a week. Sometime me and my brother go too. Every Wednesday after school James and I go to see our gran."

Cinema (Movie house)

Britons made 123 million visits to the cinema in 1998 making it the most popular cultural activity in the UK.

"I like to go to the cinema with my friends at the weekend whenever there is a good movie on."

Eating out

Eating out has grown in popularity, with British people spending in 1999 an average of £5.63 per person per week on food (excluding alcohol) outside the home.

"We go to McDonalds at least once a week. Sometimes we have a pizza delivered to our house. Occasionally we will go to a restaurant."

Homes and Gardens


The British are known as a nation of gardeners. Most people have a garden on their property. Gardening has been a popular pastime since Roman times.Many people in Britain are proud of their houses and gardens. They want their houses and gardens to look nice. Every town in Britain has one or more DIY (Do it Yourself) centres and garden centres. These are like supermarkets for the home and garden. These places are very popular with British home-owners at the weekends.

"We don't have a big garden like some people. Dad likes to mow the lawn. Sometimes I help him. Mum looks after the flowers. She weeds the garden so that the garden looks good. I am growing some vegetables in my garden."

Activities outside the home

Saturday is traditionally the day for shopping and watching sports.

Retail Therapy (Shopping)


A newspaper survey found that 20 per cent of women are compulsive shoppers.
Saturday is the main day when we go shopping. Sometimes we will go into town after school.

Sports and Physical Recreation


Sports and physical recreation have always been popular. Local governments provide cheap sport and leisure facilities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, parks and golf courses. People go to watch other people play sports like football or take part in sports themselves.
Read more about the different sports we play

Pubs (Public Houses)


Going to the pub is the most popular leisure activity outside the home.
Read more about pubs ....


Holidays abroad

Where do British people go on their holidays?


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© Copyright Mandy Barrow 2014

Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites and are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consultant.
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.

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