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10 Ways To Enjoy The Spring Bank Holiday On A Budget

Published 14th May 2021
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With the promise of warmer weather on the horizon, now’s the perfect time to start planning your spring bank holiday activities. If you’re slightly more limited on budget, there are plenty of fun-filled ideas and suggestions we’d love to share with you because, after all, there’s nothing better than time with family and friends… and it certainly doesn’t have to break the bank!

This year, the late May bank holiday falls on the 31st, leaving us plenty of time to prepare. A fantastic way to end the penultimate month of spring, it’s set to allow us a well-earned break before the excitement of sunshine, warmth, and summer takes hold. From picnics to barbecues, walking to garden movies at dusk, our top ten pocket-friendly pastimes are sure to cater for every age range and interest, so what are you waiting for? Explore the list of enjoyable amusements below and truly level up your leisure time.

Go for a walk

go for a walk

If you’re truly stumped for things to do this bank holiday weekend, a walk has to be top of the list. A great way to get your little ones (and larger ones!) off their devices and into the natural world, spring is the perfect time to reconnect with Mother Nature and enjoy some time outdoors. Even if the weather isn’t on your side (and let’s face it, when has it ever been?!), be sure to invest in some waterproof trousers, a jacket, and a striking umbrella before embracing the refreshing conditions.

Here at OnBuy, we understand that hiking can (quite literally) often feel like a wearisome walk in the park, so we’ve devised some fun-filled activities that will help to entertain the whole family when boredom inevitably strikes. If there are some budding detectives in your happy throng, why not invent a wildlife checklist of all your favourite flora and fauna, and tick off each item as you see it? Improving your child’s spatial awareness, as well as their appreciation for the environment, this project can be an excellent way to enhance their knowledge of nature. Don’t forget your clipboards though… you never know when they might come in handy!

If this doesn’t tickle your fancy, how about a spot of competitive orienteering or geocaching? Tremendously exciting and unique, these pleasurable pastimes rely on your navigation skills as you travel between different points on a map, stamping a control sheet with area-specific ‘punches’ as you go. Many National Trust properties have permanent courses available throughout the year, with maps easily downloadable from their online database. All you’ll need is a suitable working compass (move over, Jack Sparrow) and some pens. It’s really as simple as that!

Create some homemade decorations

arts and crafts with mum and daughter

We all love spring, and what better way to celebrate the season of budding vegetation and plant life than with your very own festive decorations? Yes, forget Christmassy tinsel and paper chains, May-inspired beautifications are the true artistic activities you didn’t know you needed, and we’d love to tell you why. Studies suggest that painting pictures, making music, sewing skirts, and creating cakes can have wholly beneficial effects on your mental health, becoming far more than just outlets for personal expression or ways to pass the time. Crafting can help to reduce anxiety and ultimately improve your mood by increasing dopamine levels in the brain. Plus, the feeling of accomplishment when you’ve finally finished your masterpiece is sure to put a smile on your face!

Whether you choose to join an online knitting group, bake and decorate some cookies, fill in an adult colouring book, or take some artistic photos, you’re sure to develop enhanced motor skills, bilateral coordination, and a happier outlook. For littluns, colourful cardstock windmills are a great place to start, alongside paper plate insects and concertinaed flowers. For more creative inspiration, check out our entire selection of arts and craft supplies here

For adults, there’s no better way to set the scene for spring than with some creative, colourful tablescapes. These stunning centrepieces and simple countertop designs will delight both you and your dinner guests across the sunnier seasons, and are unbelievably easy and inexpensive to DIY. Whether you’re going for a butterfly bouquet (achieved by adding some Gypsophila or Baby’s Breath to a Mason jar with butterfly stickers and embellishments), a quilted tablecloth, or a garland runner (a blend of anemones, ferns, and eucalyptus leaves work especially well), you’ll effortlessly be able to bring the outside in while heightening the elegant woodland vibe.

Go for a teddy bear’s picnic

dad and daughter picnic

Ever heard the phrase, ‘if you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise’? Well, even if you’re unfamiliar, a teddy bear’s picnic is a fabulous way to honour the May bank holiday on a slightly more limited budget. Planning and preparing your al fresco banquet can be the most enjoyable element of the experience, so be sure to take extra care when devising and developing your spread. Some pocket-friendly yet gourmet sandwich options include (but aren’t limited to): smoked salmon and cream cheese, egg and cress, ham and mustard, and coronation chicken but, if your furry friend prefers more, shall we say, original creations, don’t be afraid to brave the peanut butter and avocado combination (trust us on this one). 

To hold the perfect outdoor feast, it’s imperative that you invest in a high-quality, durable picnic blanket. We recommend this extra large, waterproof model, which is ideal for use at the park, on the beach, or on a camping excursion. Available in a range of attractive colours and patterns too, it’s sure to blend seamlessly with any style and outfit. Next on the agenda… a specially-designed basket or boujee, sophisticated hamper. These leisure lifesavers are an absolute must when it comes to outdoor dining, and can truly transform any open-air event from drab to undeniably fab. Simply append a couple of conveniently pre-chilled freezer blocks and you’re good to go!

Bring on the barbecue

Family BBQ

If you’re known for being the family’s barbecue boss, you’ve come to the right place! Here at OnBuy, we simply love all things grilled and flamed, and what better way to embrace the warmer weather than with a foodie cookout? We know, we know, the appliances themselves can cost a pretty penny but, if you’re short on cash, there’s nothing to stop you purchasing an affordable disposable or electric alternative. After all, premium equipment doesn’t always have to mean superior taste. 

From basting brushes to forks, skewers to spatulas, there’s no end to the utensils you can use to maximise on flavour and seasoning combined. This summer essential doesn’t have to be reserved for the carnivores either, as chargrilled corn on the cob, veggie sausages, and seared halloumi can be delicious substitutes to your traditional burger and hot dog. 

Though seasonal barbecuing may be the highlight of any bank holiday (come rain or shine), let’s face it, most of us are terrible chefs when it comes to al fresco gastronomy. If we’re not cremating the meat, we’re probably poisoning our friends, and that’s before we’ve even got to grips with all the knobs and buttons! Cooking well over an open flame certainly takes some skill, but mastering the important techniques will give you a special seat of honour among your hungry mates. Follow our top tips below to become a verified Lord of the Tong, or Lady of the Turner.

1. Wait for the right moment to cook. Above all else, barbecuing takes patience and concentration… in that order! You need to wait for the flames to die down, with the coals looking white hot or glowing grey. That’s the hottest and evenest heat.

2. Make sure the temperature is bang on. Just like a kitchen oven, the heat needs to be controlled. The best way to test this is with your hand: hold it about 12cm above the grill and see how long you can comfortably keep it there. Six seconds means low, two seconds is hot!

3. Buy the best tools. The one piece of kit you simply must have is a decent pair of tongs. Giving you the most control, while reducing your chances of dropping anything between the grills, these instruments are an absolute necessity when it comes to outdoor cooking. 

4. Marinade, marinade, marinade! Leave your meat, fish, or vegetables to soak up a deliciously scrumptious sauce overnight to ensure the flavours aren’t overridden by the addition of smoke. Save some flavouring for the main event though, brushing your food roughly every 10 minutes as it grills. This way, gentle caramelisation can occur.

Old school fun

playing cards with family

When the weather decides to turn, it can often leave us feeling glum and gloomy, especially over the bank holiday weekend. To defeat the despair and desolation, it might be worth thinking about some classic games and activities that can be enjoyed indoors. As well as your traditional Jenga, board games, and card-related amusements, modelling kits and jigsaws for kids are a great way to pass the time. Whether you go for creative or strategic, contemporary or nostalgic, there’s an endless amount of games that you can enjoy from the warmth and comfort of your home… and they certainly don’t have to cost the earth, either. 

If you’re keen on hosting an indoor game day, be sure to stock up on snacks and explore our wide range of strategy, trivia, and mystery-associated examples here. From exciting twists on old classics to entirely new concepts simply waiting to be discovered, you’re sure to be spoiled for choice.

Set up camp

camping with family

Unlike a visit to a holiday park abroad, stay-at-home camping doesn’t have to be expensive, and can be a marvellous bonding experience for you and your family or friends. The classic tented trip has always been a favourite among children: the anticipation of slumbering under the stars, toasting marshmallows on the fire, and the freedom of exploring wild places are just some of the many reasons why kids of all ages love it so much - yes, we mean big kids too! If you’ve never slept outdoors before, or are simply nervous about venturing too far from home, garden camping (or our version of ‘glamping’, as we like to call it), can be a brilliant alternative. 

Whether you opt for the lofty space of a bell tent, a traditional teepee, or the mod cons of a canvas cottage, glamping brings together all the pleasures of a wild adventure, with the creature comforts of a cosy, homely environment. Our top tips for making your home-based vacation more glam include adding: pretty lighting, as this can really transform the ambiance, bunting, soft flooring, air mattresses, blankets, cushions, and other soft furnishings. A little bit of effort really goes a long way here, so get creative, plan ahead, and enjoy getting glampy!

Organise a screening of your favourite movie

home garden cinema

Garden cinemas are super versatile and inviting, especially when enjoyed with your closest chums and relations. A romantic date night activity, fun-filled family experience, or chick-flicky sleepover entertainment, this recent trend is definitely worth attempting (even if only for the popcorn!). When starting your motion picture journey, it’s all about location. Whether you’re setting up at the bottom of your backyard, on a balcony or roof terrace, make sure you’re planted on a firm piece of ground that’s dry and sheltered from the wind. You could also add fairy lights to decorate the area, or even some lanterns and hanging illuminations, to really spotlight the sparkle.

Next, invest in a multipurpose projector. Decent models used to be hugely expensive and could only be used in blackout situations - something hard to achieve in a living room, let alone a garden! However, OnBuy are proud to stock a plethora of affordable examples that are bright enough to be used wherever the movie mood may strike you. They’re also quieter and far more compact, so you needn’t worry about frustrating whirrs spoiling the dramatic moments. All that’s left to do is connect your laptop or streaming device, peg up a cinema screen, and capitalise on the comfort factor. Blankets, cushions, beanbags, and rugs make fabulous additions to your plot, and can truly spruce up your space for the better. 

If you’re keen to turn your home into a proper screening centre, why not create your own movie posters and cinema-themed accessories? A stimulating daytime pursuit for you and your children, this activity can help to boost group creativity while fostering excitement for the showing. There truly is no better combination!

Build a home bar


This bank holiday it’s time to forget the pub (we know, we know!) and build your very own home bar or beer garden. Slightly more limited on space? Not a fan of domestic DIY? Well, almost any surface can double as a makeshift alcohol station, so from your desk to your countertop, bookshelf to living room mantelpiece, there’s thousands of options just waiting to be utilised. With a range of fancy accoutrements and extras to hand, it won’t be long before you’re able to get the post-lockdown party started! And, whether you’re devoted to daiquiris or passionate about Pimms, it’s definitely worth investing in some ice cutters, coolers, coasters, and corkscrews, as well as some spirit decanters, just for good measure (no pun intended!). 

Why not bring the joys of your local to the comfort of your house with a homemade pub-style quiz? Focussing on topics most relevant to your audience, including personal questions and memories, these fun-filled games can be a great way to fill the pre-pudding pause at your dinner party, and will certainly leave everyone simply grinning with delight. Check out our trivia section here for more specific inspiration and ideas on popular themes.

Brush up on a bit of culture

going to view paintings

If you’re in need of some fine art this May, it’s time to start researching the best galleries and museums in your area. Forced to close their doors in the early part of this year, it won’t be long before these culture hubs can start to welcome visitors again and, while there’s no denying the joy of a post-lockdown pint with your mates, there’s something extra special about a trip to an exhibition or arts centre. What’s more, most are completely free, so you won’t have to worry about expensive entry fees or subscriptions. A great day out for you and those you love most, they’re a fun and educational gateway to history and the arts. 

Should the government’s roadmap list a sudden change in plans though, what’s to stop you curating your very own exposition at home? Whether you choose to display a selection of paintings, homemade jewellery, or sculptures, organising and presenting your lockdown-inspired work can be a fantastic way to celebrate the looming sense of freedom, while relishing in the resourcefulness of the past. Perhaps even invest in some spotlights and display cases to fully achieve the aesthetic.

Pamper yourself

lady relaxing in a bubble bath

Did someone say, ‘spa day’? Yes, we most emphatically did - and OnBuy certainly have you covered on that front! From blogs on the latest beauty trends to guides on the current nail vogues, we have something for every self-care aficionado in our sizable storerooms. If bathing is your preferred method of relaxation, be sure to stock up on the bath and body essentials to maximise your personal pamper session. After all, everyone deserves a special treat!

To create your den of zen, start by setting the mood. Light a couple of your favourite scented candles and gather all your tools (whether that be brushes, sponges, exfoliating mitts, or gloves) in one accessible spot. Ensure your towel is nearby, then start to run the water. Next on the list… supplement your soak. Depending on your needs or intolerances, additives can really make all the difference when it comes to complete composure and tranquility, so it’s worth considering oils, bombs, or minerals as a way to help your skin feel energised and youthful. Whatever you do, remember to keep hydrated with plenty of water or detoxifying tea, and stay unplugged with a good book or magazine instead of your phone or laptop. Once finished, lather yourself in a thick, nourishing moisturiser to lock in all the goodness, and wrap up in your cosiest robe. It’s the closest thing to heaven!

If baths aren’t your bag though, how about a spot of manual massage? One of the latest trends to rock the domestic beauty market, these household therapies are the perfect picks to pep you up this coming bank holiday weekend. From heat pads to thermal pillows, foot warmers to state-of-the-art lotions and potions, there are thousands of affordable accessories simply waiting to be discovered. Explore our bestselling relaxation paraphernalia today to truly de-stress and unwind.

Bust the boredom this bank holiday

happy family walking the dog

We hope you’ve enjoyed this foray into all things rest-related, and now feel better equipped to plan your budget-friendly springtime activities. Should you require more inspiration though, or simply need extra information on a host of other amusements that are sure to please the masses, be sure to check out our helpful blog and buyer’s guide resources. Packed full of useful tips, tricks, and advice on how to capitalise on your free time, from family-inspired ideas to holidaying at home, there’s something for everyone in our extensive online reserves. 

Perfect for those seeking some in-depth guidance and recommendations for the best products on offer, our handbooks on kids’ outdoor games, lawn alternatives, and adult drinking options are ideal if you’re stuck for fun-filled plans. Or, if none of these tickle your fancy, it might be worth exploring our vast, wide-ranging shelves. Covering everything from arts and crafts to food and drink, beauty to exercise and fitness, you’ll never be stuck for activity ideas again!

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