Favourite Get Togethers

Wednesday 11th May 2022

Our Favourite Get Togethers

At TransPennine Express, we’re proud of our partnership with the Campaign to End Loneliness. We feel we have an essential role to play in raising awareness of the issue of loneliness, but also in helping to alleviate it by connecting people and places through our train services.

As reported in the Loneliness Beyond Covid-19 report, loneliness has increased across the country since the pandemic. But with restrictions lifted, now is the time to see our nearest and dearest to help tackle loneliness. And what better place to start than by seeing the sights in some of the top destinations across our network and making some new memories in the process? 

Our Favourite Get Togethers across the North and Scotland 

To help the people of our region get out and about, meet loved ones, enjoy nature and of course share a meal and some drinks with those closest to them we’ve researched the top-rated meet-up spots across the North West, North East, Scotland and Yorkshire and the Humber. 

From the best restaurants, cafes, and bars, this is where you can meet-up to spend some time with those closest to you across 12 cities including Newcastle, Durham, Dunbar, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Leeds, York, Edinburgh, and Glasgow.

Could these be your new favourite places to get together? 

Putting some research behind our choices 

To help us to make sure our suggestions will really become new favourite get togethers, we surveyed 2000 people to find out what they most like doing when seeing their family and friends. 

And when we get together it’s all about the food. Of course it is! 

Food is our favourite past-time 

In Britain we love to socialise around food – from Easter Sunday roasts, Christmas dinner, a meal out with the girls or a quick curry with the boys.

It’s no surprise to see that 52% of people in our research enjoy going for a meal the most when socialising with family, and 45% when socialising with friends.

  • Going for drinks at a bar or pub comes in a close second when seeing friends at 35%, followed by a quick coffee for 30%. 
  • With our families, nature is second behind food at 35%, followed by shopping for 27%.

For men, sport is number one

When men socialise together, sport plays a huge part.

Going to a football match is the top thing to do for 15% of the men in our research, with rugby for 5% and cricket for 4%.

Surprisingly, going to a museum or visiting a historic site are just as popular as working out with friends amongst the guys, at 6%.

And what about the women?

For women, going for a meal is the most popular past-time with 53% citing it as their go-to activity with friends, followed by a coffee (30%) and shopping (30%).

Nature (18%), the theatre (10%) and tourist attractions (8%) are all popular with women too.

But why are we encouraging people to socialise with our pick of favourite get togethers? 

The pandemic had a huge impact on loneliness across the UK

According to the Office of National Statistics, up to a million more people became chronically lonely (describing themselves as often or always lonely) throughout lockdown. This was as many as 3.7 million adults in February 2021 compared to 2.6 million in April 2020.

The Campaign to End Loneliness reported that 18.5% of people felt lonely often in early 2020 compared to 8.5% before the pandemic, while 32.5% of people were lonely sometimes compared to 28.6% pre-pandemic.

It’s clear that the isolation caused by this unprecedented event increased rates of loneliness across the UK, something that was most prevalent in the younger age-groups. Specifically, those aged 16-24 were four times more likely to report lockdown loneliness compared to those aged over 65. For students in early March 2020, one in four (26%) felt lonely often or always compared to just 8% of the general population. It’s also this age group that continues to suffer the most, with those aged 18-29 reporting higher rates of ongoing anxiety and depression than the over 30s.

But are we making the most of our new found freedom now?

According to our research we aren’t, as just 10% of people take part in activities with their friends every two to four days. In fact, most commonly people see others in their social circle once every two to three weeks. A quarter (23%) of people manage this, whilst for 21% of people it’s every three months or more.

As you’d expect the 16-24s are leaning on their social circle more right now, with 27% seeing their friends every four to seven days, compared to 20% for the 25-33s and 21% for those aged 35-44. For the over 55s, 28% manage time with their friends every three months or more.

When it comes to seeing our families, we’re doing a little better.

One in four (23%) people take part in social activities with their families every four to seven days, while one in 10 (10%) manage this every day. Just 16% of us do so every three months or more, although socialising becomes less frequent the older we get.

Good intentions are there, however. One in four people (25%) want to socialise with their friends every four to seven days, with 16% wishing they could do so every day. A quarter of people (25%) also want to see their families every two to three weeks.

But sometimes life (and a few other factors) just gets in the way 

20% of people might think there are no barriers to arranging social activities with their friends and family. But for the other 80% it’s all about work, expense, travel and in recent years Covid restrictions.

When it comes to seeing friends it’s work commitments (25%), Covid-based restrictions (21%) and expense (21%) that gets in the way. For failing to see family members the top reason is again work commitments (24%), followed by the distance to travel (22%) and Covid restrictions (22%).

In the UK, the weather even plays its part. One in five (20%) of us struggle to see our families because of the weather, while this also affects 16% of people when it comes to seeing their friends.

Let’s get together once again

With restrictions now gone, people are now free to meet family members, catch-up with friends, go out to socialise and travel further afield – whether to spend time in nature or visit towns and cities to explore the sights. And it’s this that holds the key to helping alleviate loneliness. All things we took for granted before lockdown can now once again be appreciated as the simple, little things that make a huge difference.

But it’s down to each and every one of us to make sure we’re spending time with the people closest to us. And we hope our research will help do the trick.

It's time to explore our new favourite get togethers!

You can discover each of the destinations mentioned above on our website, as well as heading to our blog to find out more about things to see and do across the North and Scotland. And to help make connections with family and friends that bit more affordable you can view our available railcards.

And when you do travel, remember to check the train times before you travel and book your tickets in advance online or using the TPExpress app.

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