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30 fun things to do if your summer holiday has been cancelled

If your 2020 vacation has been put on hold, don’t worry. We’ve got a list of great ideas to keep you engaged and energised through the summer months.

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With summertime on the horizon, many of us were looking forward to vacations, Euro 2020, the Olympics, and more. 

Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic has put a stop to such grand plans. With travel restrictions and social distancing, summer 2020 will be quite different from what we’re all used to.

However, it doesn’t have to be a write-off. We’ve put together some inspiration for fun things to do if your summer holiday has been cancelled. Whether you’ve got kids or not, these ideas can keep you entertained during the warmer months.


1. Have a holiday-themed day

You might not make it to your dream destination this year, but you can try your best to recreate it at home. There are plenty of things you can do to get you in that holiday spirit. Why not order in some of the nation’s cuisine or even cook some yourself? You can also check out some of the local music, you might find a new favourite.

Now is also a good time to learn the language. Just think, if you learn now, you can have a chat with the locals when you finally make it on your trip! 

2. Have a home spa day

Even if a 5-star resort isn’t on the cards this summer, you can still take some time out to pamper yourself or someone special in your life. Buy (or make) some relaxing face masks, put on some chill music, and take a nice relaxing soak. 

You can also keep the healthy living theme going by learning about and creating some healthy meals. Before you know it, you’ll have your very own mindfulness retreat – the perfect remedy to a summer of social distancing.

3. Run a travel book club with your friends

There are few better ways to explore the culture, history, and intrigue of new places than through its literature. Try setting up a book club with your friends and read novels from writers from around the world. If your summer holiday has been cancelled, choose books set in the place you would have been, and have regular video calls to discuss your thoughts.

4. Write a summer romance novel

For you budding writers out there, now is an opportune time to write on your summer passion project. An in-person summer romance might not be viable, but that doesn’t stop you creating a fictional one. If you’re not sure where to start, our course on how to start writing fiction can help set you on the right path. 

5. Revamp your home

If you’ve got a refund for your planned vacation and want to divert the funds elsewhere, it could be time to redecorate. Whether you want to add some beautiful design changes, fix the niggling issues you’ve noticed during lockdown, or revamp your whole home, now is your chance.

For those who want to learn more about how our environments, their design, and sustainability all connect, check out our course on designing the human habitat

6. Run a murder mystery

Although you might not be able to indulge in the drama, intrigue, and mystery that come with a holiday with friends, a murder mystery can be a good replacement. Everyone gets a character and backstory, and you must work to figure out who the killer is!

With a digital murder mystery, you can invite all your friends to take part. All you need is webcam and mic, and you can get as creative with it as you like.

7. Try some time travel

Exploring the past can be the perfect remedy if you’re looking for fun things to do if your summer holiday has been cancelled. And, if you don’t have a time machine at the ready, there are several alternatives. You could check out a virtual museum tour to ‘visit’ ones you haven’t been to, for example.

You could also try one of our history courses and learn about ancient Rome or England in the time of Richard III. The possibilities are endless.

8. Take a ‘you’ day

Sometimes it’s nice to just have a day that’s all about you. Whether your birthday is coming up or is long since passed, you still deserve to treat yourself. So, why not draw up a list of all the things you like and tick off as many as possible.

Throw on your favourite film, order your ideal meal (or get someone to cook it for you!), mix your favourite cocktail. Do all of the things that make you happy, and get as many people in your household to join you as possible. You can even have a day for each of them too.

9. Do an at-home escape room

Escaping your house seems like the ideal scenario for lockdown living. And, although you may not be able to go far, an at-home escape room can make things more exciting. You’ll find that there are several virtual escape rooms you can do with friends online, and you can even have a go at creating your own one.

10. Have a virtual holiday

Thanks to the wonders of technology, you can now visit just about anywhere on earth from the comfort of your living room. Although it seems like one of the more sci-fi things to do if your summer holiday has been cancelled, it’s a very real thing. You can even get a VR headset that works with your smartphone.

Why not visit the Eiffel Tower? Or take in the beauty of Cambodia’s Angkor temples? It can be the perfect form of escapism until you can visit the place in person.

11. Start a new adventure

Sure, escaping to another country would be nice, but how about a whole different world? If you’ve never tried a game like Dungeons & Dragons before, now is the perfect time.  You can journey through whole other realms as a character of your choosing, taking on adventures and slaying monsters.

You can even play games like D&D remotely. All you need is to learn the basics and get your friends to create their characters. It’s fun, immersive, and is a unique one on our list of fun things to do if your summer holiday has been cancelled.

12. Try a cooking challenge

If you enjoy getting creative in the kitchen, why not take on a cooking challenge? Pick some ingredients from your cupboard/fridge and see what culinary delights you can whip up. You can check recipes for inspiration, and even challenge your friends. For those that live with their partner or roommate, try creating a dish each.

If you like the idea of healthy eating and want to learn more, our course on nutrition looks at how a good diet can benefit our physical and mental health.

13. Write a summer song

The long sunny days are perfect for song inspiration. So whether summer lovin’ happens so fast or you have the summertime blues, why not put your feelings to music? It can be a fun and rewarding use of your time.

If you’re not sure where to get started on your musical journey, you can always join our course on how to write your first song. You’ll learn the basics of how to get your first composition primed and ready to go.

14. Catalogue your collection

Most of us have some sort of collection. Books, CDs, films, Pokémon cards, spoons and any other paraphernalia can certainly be a passion project. So why not spend the time this summer to properly sort your collection?

Will you alphabetise your CDs? Arrange your films by their release date? Or sort your books by the place you purchased them? Not only can it help you rediscover your love for these things, but it can make your collection all the more neat and presentable.

15. Show and tell

When it comes to things to do if your summer holiday has been cancelled, learning something new is always fun. Whether you live with others or by yourself, you can challenge the other people in your life to learn about a new topic. If everyone tackles a different topic, you can then take it in turns teaching each other what you learned.

Check out our post on what to learn during lockdown to find some inspiration. We’ve also got many courses related to different hobbies, so you’re sure to find something fun and engaging. 

16. Learn mindfulness and gratitude

If your summer vacation has been cancelled, you might be feeling a bit fed up. If you’re seeking a bit of a mental boost, then mindfulness and gratitude can be the ideal remedy. Mindfulness is the process of being aware of yourself and your surroundings. It can help you relieve stress, and has many positive benefits.

Gratitude is the practice of being thankful for the things in life you have. Try writing a few points down each day about the good things and people in your life. It can help you feel much better.

17. Do Yoga

While we’re on the subject of mental wellbeing, Yoga is something that’s good for mind and body. Plus, just about everyone can get into. It’s a relaxing pastime that can help with your strength, flexibility, and overall fitness.

So, if your holiday has been cancelled but you still want to unwind, getting into Yoga can be the ideal thing. Yoga With Adriene is a great place to get started.

Things to Do Outside

If you’re tired of being indoors during lockdown, there are plenty of fun things you can do outside to mix things up. These ideas can give you some exciting things to do if your summer holiday has been cancelled.

18. Set up a water park

A visit to Splash Mountain might not be feasible this summer, but you can still have some watery fun at home. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, you can get the paddling pool out, set up a slip n slide, and even get the water balloons out. It’s not just for kids either; everyone at home can get involved. Water fight, anyone?

19. Have a summer fête

With most of our favourite summer activities postponed, you might be struggling to think of fun things to do. Why not bring the kids festival atmosphere to your back garden? Set up some classic fair games such as a ring toss, can knock-down, and bowling.

Get a BBQ on the go, make some cakes, and have a juice (or beer!) bar. It’s something that can be fun for the entire household, especially if everyone has a go at making a stall.

20. Recreate the Olympics

We’ll sadly have to wait until next year to get the Tokyo Olympics on our screens, but don’t let that stop you. For the competitive among you, why not have a mini-tournament to settle some scores? Although pole-vaulting and archery aren’t advisable, there are plenty of activities you can recreate at home.

If you’ve got the space, ‘track’ events are always a favourite. You can also try things like basketball, shotput (beanbag), discus (Frisbee), long jump, and more. Divide into teams, create your own mascots, and see who can win the most medals. For sporty things to do if your summer holiday has been cancelled, they don’t come much better.

21. Have a Wimbledon-themed tennis tournament

Wimbledon is another summer staple that we’ll have to wait for. But again, you can recreate many of the joys the tournament brings at home. Of course, central to it should be the tennis, but there are many other delights you can bring too.

Get the strawberries and cream at the ready, grab a Pimm’s, fall out with the umpire, and see whether the rain holds off for one more match.

22. Grow your own produce

For the green-fingered among us, the run-up to summer could be an excellent time to start growing some fresh produce in your garden. The Royal Horticultural Society has some advice on timings, as well as some easy crops to grow. You’ll notice that many of these are superfoods, and you can learn all about them on our course of the same name.

23. Have a picnic

The joys of al fresco dining can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own garden. Picnics are one of the summer’s greatest treats, and you can enjoy some veritable banquets at home this summer. Make sure to get all of the classics for a great picnic, and make or buy the favourite dishes of everyone in your household.

24. Do a holiday photoshoot

With all of the fun things to do if your summer holiday has been cancelled, it’d be a shame if your photo album had blank pages. Instead, you should try capturing as much of your staycation adventures as possible. Get everyone to dress up in their summer best, strike a pose, and get creative.

If you’re a budding photographer, it can be the perfect opportunity to hone your craft. Take a look at our Digital Photography microcredential to take your skills to the next level.

25. Go camping (in your garden)

Camping is always a fun experience, even if it is only in your garden. Although not quite the wilderness (depending on how your garden looks), you can still get all the joys from a night under the stars. Make sure you have all of the essentials for your expedition, as well as plenty of provisions. You can even bust out the guitar and patio fire pit, just be sure not to disturb the neighbours.

26. Stargazing

This one depends a little on the conditions, but it can still be extremely fun. On a dark and clear night, you can sit out under the stars and get a view of the universe. Bring some blankets, hot chocolate, and an outdoor recliner and see what you can see. Don’t worry if your celestial knowledge isn’t the best, our course on the constellation of Orion can teach you a thing or two.

27. Go on a garden safari

Although it’s unlikely you have any Giraffes or Wildebeest in your garden, there’s still plenty to see. Gardens in the British summer are alive with creatures, and spotting them can be a fun activity for the whole family. If you’re not so hot at distinguishing your damselflies from your mayflies, the Seek App can help you identify your garden dwellers.

28. Have a night at the drive-in

Although a night at the movies might not quite be feasible at the moment, you can bring the silver screen to your home. If you have a TV that you can easily move or a projector, you can sit out, put on a favourite movie, and grab some popcorn.

29. Take an exercise challenge

If you’re looking for active things to do if your summer holiday has been cancelled, an exercise challenge could be just the thing. They’re ideal whether you’re aiming to set a personal best on a cycle or run, follow a structured workout program like P90x, or improve your overall fitness. If you’re in need for some inspiration, check out Joe Wicks’ daily workout.  

30. Map your local area

You might think you know your neighbourhood like the back of your hand, but there’s probably plenty you haven’t noticed. Head out for a walk with your household and see whether you can map out your local area. You’re sure to find plenty of interesting spots, shortcuts, and landmarks.

Category Coronavirus, Current Issues, Learning