After publishing my list of fifty things to do outside in November 2016, it’s been one of my most-viewed posts at this time of year. A few years on, it’s time for a spruce up. So, here’s a refreshed version to help inside your One Hour Outsides this season. Have fun trying the ideas!
One of the lines I use when explaining why I set a One Hour Outside challenge in November each year, is about turning November from being dark and damp into being full of outdoor fun. Now I’m not suggesting for one minute that spending time outside can make the weather better (if only that were true). But I can promise that getting outside for fresh air and natural light each day can absolutely help you deal with the weather in a much more positive way.
In the interests of providing some inspiration to get you outdoors a bit more when the days are short and the nights are long, here are 50 things to do outside this autumn (and well into winter)… presented in no particular order.
Fifty Things to Do Outside in Autumn
01 I’ll start this list as I did my last version – with one of my favourite ways to spend time outside at any time of year: Walk up a hill (a small one or a big one) and take in the view.
02 Go for a jog around the block – or around the whole town if you’re that way inclined. For some reason, I much prefer running in the autumn than in the summer, even if it does take a little more motivation to put my trainers on.
03 Go on a cycle ride on a bridleway through a local woodland. Forest trails are so good to explore on two wheels – even better if there’s a bit of fun downhill in there too. (Be sure to check bikes are allowed first.)
04 Take a cold-water dip in a lake or river. That’ll invigorate you! If you’re new to wild swimming in the colder months, make sure you dress appropriately and get in slowly, only stay in for a short time, and be prepared with warm clothing and a hot drink for when you get out.
05 Don’t want to get in the water? Go kayaking or paddleboarding on your local river or canal. Water sports aren’t just for summer – you just need to adjust your clothing. I really must make sure my kayak sees some daylight this autumn and winter period.
06 Or how about trying a new-to-you water sport such as gig rowing, sailing, or surfing? I checked, and all these things still run well into autumn here in the UK. Find a club offering taster sessions – or book a lesson at The Wave. You may even find your new favourite outdoor activity.
07 Not feeling like you want to be quite that active, or risk getting cold and wet? Then how about going on a scenic boat trip with a guide – explore where you live from a different angle, or find a boat tour somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit. I enjoyed this one in Shrewsbury.
08 There is absolutely no shame in being a spectator… Watching your local or favourite football, hockey, or rugby team play is an excellent way to spend time outside.
09 Okay, back to encouraging you to move your body. Find a friend and play some tennis at your local outdoor courts.
10 Give one of those hardcore looking outdoors fitness bootcamps or circuits sessions a go and really get the blood pumping.
11 Organise a friendly game of rounders in the park with your friends or colleagues. A different way to encourage others to join you outside in your lunchbreak!
12 Try your skills at skateboarding or scooting at a local skate park… there are fewer kids out in November, so they won’t be there to laugh at you too much 🙂
13 Find a geocache wherever you find yourself. One of the best ways to go for a walk with purpose. Never been geocaching? Here’s how.
14 Go for a soup-filled picnic with friends. Make it yourself or heat up a tin, and use a thermos or insulated coffee cup so it’s at the perfect temperature. Make it a regular thing and take it in turns to provide the soup. Don’t forget the bread for dipping!
15 Go on a walking tour of a city with a local guide who will tell you stories of the people who used to live in the places you visit.
16 Do some gardening – prune, weed, tidy, and clear to get your space ready for winter. Not got your own garden? Why not offer to help someone else with theirs? Or contact your local church or community centre and volunteer some time there.
17 While we’re talking gardening, plant some bulbs ready for some spring colour. There is no better time than late autumn to plant bulbs – and you can plant them in pots too.
18 Complete your garden renovation by painting the fence and decking (pick a dry day!) – or organise a working party to do the same for someone else.
19 Grab your binoculars (or borrow some from a friend) and go bird watching. It’s a great time of year to spot migrating birds – and to learn a bit more about those that stick around here for the colder months.
20 Visit a designated nature reserve, country park or Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSCI) and find out what makes it special, and why it’s marked on the map. Maybe you’ll spot some wildlife, see some rare plants, or discover some interesting historical features.
21 Go to the beach – honestly, such a great place to be, even on a windy day! If you’re fortunate, there might be a kiosk selling proper seaside doughnuts, too.
22 Get outside to watch the sunset. One of the benefits of autumn in this sense is that sunrise and sunset are not too early or too late in the day, so make the most of that and enjoy some pretty colours in the sky. Why not make an effort to be outside for both sunrise and sunset on the same day?
23 Get up before anyone else and head outside to take photographs of spider’s webs holding onto the morning dew.
24 Another early morning one… Head to a lake and watch the mist as the heat warms the water. Is there anything more beautiful?
25 Take some images of heavy frost (when we get one, won’t be long…). Bonus points if you walk on frosty grass in your bare feet – but maybe don’t share those particular photos online!
26 Try your hand at some outdoorsy crafts; use leaves and twigs to make a picture or collage, collect autumnal wildflowers to dry and make cards, or find some perfectly formed pinecones and spray them with paint or eco-friendly glitter to make decorations.
27 Find some kids (you know, your own…) and help them build a den in your garden or the local wood for them to play in. Or just build one for yourself, nothing wrong with that! You could even sleep out in it?!
28 I’m told that November is the perfect time of year to fly a kite – get yourself in an open space or up a hill (away from overhead cables!), and don’t forget to sing the appropriate song!
29 Build a massive pile of leaves and then jump in it… grab a friend and capture the fun in slow motion to share with me using #OneHourOutside!!
30 Spend an evening around a campfire, singing songs or telling stories, toasting marshmallows, and drinking hot chocolate.
31 Have an autumn barbecue or cook dinner on your fire bowl (here’s some recipe ideas). Cooking outdoors isn’t just for the summer!
32 Go bug hunting. Visit a local park or woodland, or even crawl around in your garden, and see how many different insects you can identify.
33 It might be too wet and windy to work on your laptop outside, but you can still take your work outside by having a walking meeting instead of sitting inside. You’ll all feel much better after some fresh air.
34 Make a flask of tea and head out to a green spot to sit and watch the world go by. Or, if you prefer urban people watching, find a café with outside seating and get them to make the coffee.
35 Volunteer on (or organise) a litter pick in your local park or beach – you’ll get time outdoors and be doing something good for the environment.
36 Take part in – or volunteer at – your local Park Run or a for-charity organised run or hike.
37 Volunteer at a local soup kitchen that goes out in the evening to feed the homeless.
38 Visit a castle and walk around the walls that our ancestors used to protect.
39 Like tourist attractions? Head to your local National Trust, English Heritage or Historic Houses properties to learn some history and culture. There are hundreds (and hundreds) of places to choose from – and if you join one of these organisations you get access to plenty to last you all season and for the whole of next year.
40 Get into the festive spirit by visiting a Christmas market. Bath, Nottingham, Birmingham and many others start in November and head well into December.
41 Go fossil hunting. There are a few places across the UK where you can find all kinds of cool things – and autumn is a really great time to go. Be sure to check the tide times carefully before you go. Here’s how I got on when I visited Runswick Bay.
42 Bag yourself a trig pillar (and take a selfie!). Maybe you could bag all the trig pillars in your home county as your autumn and winter challenge?
43 If you like challenges, take part in a hike such as the Yorkshire Three Peaks or one of the highest mountains in the UK. Don’t forget the weather turns super quick at this time of year so have and wear the right gear for your day out.
44 Go to an organised fireworks display. I’m really not a fan of putting displays on in our own gardens, but heading out to something big and proper is a great way to spend time outdoors at this time of year. (Okay, maybe a bit late for this autumn, but one to keep in mind for next year!)
45 You could attend the “world’s biggest bonfire celebration” in Eastbourne, East Sussex, or the Lamplighter Festival in Todmorden, West Yorkshire. I imagine there are lots of similar events all over the country – drop me your recommendations in the comments below.
46 Go camping! As long as you dress warmly and have some decent ground insulation overnight, winter camping can be awesome, especially because the stars are out earlier and the sun rises later than in the summer.
47 Relax in an outdoor hot tub (your time outdoors doesn’t always need to be energetic!).
48 Another way to relax in the fresh air is to do some yoga or meditation outside – on your own or with an instructor-led class.
49 Go star gazing – either on your own using an app to help identify what you’re looking at, or find a group of knowledgeable people with telescopes and join them for the night to learn something new about the night sky.
50 And finally for this list of 50 ideas, why not use the autumn to train for something you want to do next spring? Sign up for a 10km road race, your first trail run, a long-distance hike (such as the Cotswold Way or Coast to Coast), to cycle from London to Paris – and spend time outside every day in autumn and winter building up your fitness and stamina in preparation.
Hopefully these ideas will keep you busy for at least one hour every day throughout autumn and well into winter – but as we can always do with more inspiration, please feel free to add your suggestions in the comments below. What are your favourite things to do outside at this time of year? How do you spend your one hour outside each day?
And if you’re not sure what One Hour Outside is, check out this post. It would be great to have you join in my little project to spend a little bit of time outside every day this month – and the foreseeable future.