How can I have a fun summer without going broke?

via @buckbetty

Asking for a friend: Summer has arrived with a 40 degree bang and it’s time to make the most of it. Too skint for festivals and holidays? We’ve got you covered.

Rosalía may have been holidaying in Santorini while Megan Thee Stallion lived it up in Ibiza, but we’re in the UK. Prices are soaring as much as the temperatures, and it’s not quite the same Picantes-at-the-beach-club vibe. Pints are now somehow £7, a weekly shop is cause for a breakdown, and people are churning their own butter to save pennies.

Yet as costs spiral, we still want to have our Hot Girl Summer. Don’t sweat: there is a way to do summer 22 on the cheap. We’ve rounded up the best ways to have a blast without maxing out your account.

Throw a big fat picnic

We know it’s the oldest summertime trick in the book, but picnics are a long held tradition for a reason: al fresco dining in a lush green space just feels good. Plus, there are ways to take your picnics to the next level. Instead of doing a last minute Tesco sweep for nibbles on your way to the park, prep your spread the night before. Make one of those TikTok salads you saved on a midnight scroll (green goddess, anyone?), whip up baguettes stuffed with mozzarella and prosciutto, throw any leftover fridge veg into a Spanish omelette. The finishing touch? Drinks, obviously. Fizz, tinnies, Pimm’s, lemonade, anything will do. Oh, and don’t forget to whack on a good playlist.

Take a hike, mate

Walking… for fun? That’s right. If there’s one thing the UK has in abundance, it’s woods to wander through and hills to climb. Trick yourself into thinking you’re abroad by walking along the Welsh coastline on a sunny day, breathe in the fresh Scottish air as you attempt the West Highland Way, or reenact Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights music video on the Yorkshire Moors. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could even have a go at climbing the UK’s highest peak, Snowdon. More than worthy of a celebratory pint when you make it back home.

Dip your toes into wild swimming

In a just and fair world, we’d all have access to a rooftop pool or, at least, a coveted slot at the local lido. But life can be cruel. Mother nature, on the other hand, is pretty nice and has left loads of natural pools (lakes or rivers, you might call them) dotted around for us to take a dip in. Yes, they’re not chlorinated, but part of the fun is that you’re immersed in wildlife, obviously. You can pretend you’re in one of those American teen films where everyone jumps into lakes and snogs in the water during summer break. Main character energy, you know? Have a little Google to find the best spots near you and don’t forget to pack spare pants.

Grab your towel and hit the beach

If you look hard enough, the UK is actually home to some banging beaches: Porthcurno in Cornwall, Blackpool Sands in Devon and Scotland’s Isle of Harris all boast crystal-blue waters and bright white sand. For all the Londoners, there’s even a (sort of) beach at the end of the Central Line: the 60-acre Ruislip Lido. Who needs The Maldives? Get your beach bag ready and chuck a portable speaker, your swimmers, and some factor 50 into that fishnet tote. Then round up your mates and get ready for good times and tan lines.

Find an (ideally booze-filled) free event

From panel talks to outdoor festivals and sightseeing tours, there are plenty of kind organisations offering free events around the UK, and, y’know, sometimes that means an open bar, too. We’ll let you in on a little secret: book launches and art exhibition openings are great spots for this. One good place to look is Eventbrite, which lists free events taking place around the country. Also, keep an eye on handy newsletters like Cheapskate (if you’re London-based) for round-ups of the best free events – the most recent mailer featured riverside yoga, a late-night arts festival, and Edinburgh Fringe previews, so you can keep fit, cultured and laughing for zero quid.

Bring back house parties

Can’t afford the club? Well, then it’s time to DIY at home. This one’s fairly straightforward. Beg or borrow (but don’t steal) some decent speakers, send out BYOB invites to all your mates and throw a house party to remember (or, er, not to). You can throw in some games too, if you’re worried the vibe might fall flat. Beer pong’s the obvious choice, but card drinking games also never go amiss. Want to go the extra mile? Order some cheap disco lights online and set them up in your garden for Big Ibiza Energy. You’ll basically be in DC-10.

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