9 Things To Do After Work To Make The Most Of The Sunshine

Here's to summer solstice (and beyond)
Westend61 via Getty Images/Westend61

Summer is finally here – and we never thought it’d come. And the summer solstice means plenty of hours after work to make the most of it.

If you’re scratching your head trying to think of ways to enjoy a rare bit of evening light – or even during the day if you’re not working at the moment or have some time off – here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. Discover a new beauty spot

Look at Google maps and pick out a pond, lake, canal, beach, park or field within walking or cycling distance that you’ve never been to before. Pack a book, a blanket and some refreshments, call a friend – and go check it out.

2. Treat yourself to a swim

Outdoor swimming pools are now open – but you might need to book a slot in advance. Also there’s a chlorine shortage in some areas, so make sure your local pool isn’t impacted! Feeling adventurous? Look for wild swimming hotspots near you.

3. Make your own banana ice cream

There’s a really quick way to make “ice cream” using bananas – perfect for summery treats. Dig out those ripened bad boys, peel them, mush them up and put them in the freezer. Once they’re frozen, pop them in a blender and the end result is a cold, creamy banana dessert.

If you want to give it an upgrade, try adding a tablespoon of peanut butter, a dollop of honey, a touch of sweetened condensed milk or a sprinkling of cinnamon, suggests The Kitchn. And don’t forget to enjoy it outside.

Not got any bananas? Track down your local ice cream man or head to the shops and treat yourself to the real deal.

4. Have a picnic dinner

Picnics had a moment in the pandemic, and they’re still perfect for this weather. If you have a garden or nearby local park, why not have dinner outside this week?

Get your favourite foodie bits from the shop, invite nearby family or friends, chill some drinks in preparation, make a fancy cocktail if you’re staying at home, or prep the Pimm’s – and you’ve got yourself a pretty perfect evening ahead.

5. Create an outdoor cinema

You don’t need loads of equipment to create an outdoor cinema – just a laptop, Netflix and some blankets for when it starts to get chilly. Grab a couple of comfy chairs (you might want to bring some cushions outside), pop your laptop on a table and light some candles or hang fairy lights to set the scene. Popcorn is a must. If you don’t have a garden, take your set-up to the park and swap the chairs for a picnic blanket. Don’t fancy putting in the work? Search for an outdoor screen with showings in your area.

open-air cinema in the park
stanisluva via Getty Images/iStockphoto
open-air cinema in the park

6. Get moving in the sunshine

Playing rounders (a bit like softball, for our American friends) is fun at any age. And it’s great exercise. Win, win. If that’s not your cup of tea, why not look for outdoor exercise classes, such as bootcamp, running or yoga. Just remember to stay hydrated.

7. Dust off the BBQ

There might still be remnant’s of your last barbecue on the grill, so get the marigolds on and clean it up because you’ll be needing it this week. Stuck for recipe ideas? Try these smokey chipotle chicken wings, barbecued mackerel, and halloumi and pineapple skewer recipes. And if you need a new barbie (or some cleaning tools) we’ve got you covered.

8. Go on a walk with a podcast

Liven up your same-old evening amble with a new podcast. We’d recommend Am I Making You Uncomfortable? (of course), HuffPost UK Life’s podcast addressing women’s health, bodies and private lives. Expect candid chats about nipples, body image, money and more. If you’re up to date with that one, have a look through these eight podcast recommendations from the HuffPost UK team.

9. Tidy up your outside space

There’s literally no better time to spruce up your outside space than during this sunny spell – especially if you’re hoping to use it more this summer. Remove any old flower heads to give your plants the chance to flower again, pull out unsightly weeds, and give your plants a much-needed drink.

With garden centres open, you could even venture to your local centre after work to pick up some new blooms or seeds.