‘Bake Off’ inspires Brits to take up a new hobby

 ‘The Great British Bake Off’ is the nation’s most influential TV programme, inspiring 3.7 million people to try baking since the show began, according to a new survey.

The foodie series is number one in the chart of the top 10 TV shows that have encouraged some 23% of Brits to try new hobbies. Number two is ‘MasterChef’, followed by ‘Come Dine With Me’ in third place, with ‘Saturday Kitchen’ in ninth position.

Other shows in the top 10 are ‘Antiques Roadshow’, ‘The X-Factor’, ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, ‘Countryfile’, ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ and ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’.

Reading/book clubs and cooking/baking are the nation’s favourite pursuits, with running, gardening and board games/puzzles completing the top five. Interestingly, gaming and coding are now more popular than football, highlighting just how much traditional activities are being taken over by modern alternatives.

Saturday afternoon/evening is peak time for pastimes with a quarter (24%) practicing their hobbies during this time. This is followed by a mid-week rush on Wednesday nights (22%), although 43% prefer to be spontaneous and admit that they have no specific routine.

The study found that 95% of British adults say that they have a hobby which they spend nearly one working day a week on. A quarter (26%) of us give more time to our hobbies than we do our social lives, while one in12 (8%) spend more time with our pastimes than we do with our partners.

And it’s not just time that Brits invest in their hobbies. On average, each person spends £44.42 a month on their activities, with skiing/snowboarding (£81), martial arts (£77) and rugby (£77) being the most expensive pursuits. However, the real cost of hobbies often comes from the equipment. From paint brushes to bike tyres, the average hobbyist owns £302 worth of equipment, but this varies significantly, with those who enjoy activities such as cycling owning £485 worth of gear.

While the majority (70%) of people practice hobbies for fun, the benefits stretch far beyond just enjoyment. Almost a third (30%) keep hobbies for health and fitness benefits, while a quarter (25%) do so to switch off from work. And 17% use hobbies to meet new people – in fact, one in 10 admit they practice a hobby to give them something to talk about

The research, based on responses from 2002 UK residents interviewed in May, was commissioned by AXA Insurance as part of its Live Bodily campaign. The company is encouraging the nation to live boldly and take up new hobbies.

Jyoti Bird from AXA Insurance commented: “People take inspiration from all sorts of places when it comes to their hobbies, which highlights just how passionate we are as a nation at trying new things. From the Tour de France to ‘The Great British Bake Off’, watching experts and celebs clearly inspires us to try something new and expand our horizons.”


‘The Great British Bake Off’ co-judge Mary Berry

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