Keeping busy while social distancing

Published 23 April

10 things to try this week

We know that it may feel difficult sometimes to keep entertained while staying indoors but there are some brilliant virtual activities that you can take part in.


  1. Sound out Vision

Redbridge’s Culture & Leisure specialists, Vision, has a list of virtual events happening for young and old, every day. Check out the full timetable, which is regularly updated, or the What’s On section.


  1. Enter a virtual Escape Room

The Valentines Anomaly Escape Room at Home sees you virtually attempting to solve a mystery set in Redbridge’s very own Valentine’s Mansion.

The story is based on true residents of the history of Valentines Mansion, you will explore rooms of the Mansion in order to solve the puzzle. All puzzles are taken from the real Valentines Anomaly experience. It’s running until Sunday 31 May and is free to book, though donations are welcome. Book now


  1. Bring the National Theatre to your home

Some of the theatre’s most successful productions are being streamed free on its YouTube channels including (on 30 April and 1 May) Danny Boyle’s acclaimed production of Frankenstein starring Beneditch Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller who swap roles as the doctor and the monster between performances. See what’s on


  1. Try a tree-ific app

If you leave the house on your daily exercise outing, use the free British tree identification app from the Woodland Trust to find out the names of some of the flora you’re passing.


  1. Learn some gentle exercise

You can read about lots of ideas for exercising at home further down this page, but for those stuck inside who aren’t used to exercising, are elderly or find fast movements difficult for any reason, Tai Chi may be the answer. There are lots of virtual exercise available online but we like this simple 5-minute free class from Leia Cohen, and not just for the stunning backdrops.


  1. Be spellbound by the magic of Harry Potter

Highlights from the Harry Potter exhibition at the British Library is now available to view online. Perfect for Potter fans young and old.


  1. Take time for self-care

These are difficult times and no one should be expected to get through them by themselves. Which is difficult if you’re self-isolating alone, or with people you don’t want to be with.

Help is out there. Redbridge Talking Therapies is continuing to give mental health and wellbeing support throughout the coronavirus outbreak.


  1. Snuggle down with Tom Hardy

The actor returns to CBeebies after over 1million people viewed Tom’s Bedtime Stories on iPlayer after his previous stint in 2016. He’ll be reading a new story each day starting on Monday 27 April until Friday 1 May. Other famous faces who’ve been helping children sleep during lockdown include Jodie Whittaker, Ewan McGregor and Romesh Ranganathan. Watch Bedtime Stories


  1. Create your own virtual cinema

We may not be able to go to the cinema right now but if you miss watching a film in a crowd and you have a Netflix account, Netflix Party may be for you. It’s a free extension you download for Google Chrome that allows two or more people with Netflix accounts to watch the same thing together and exchange comments on screen. For the full, Saturday night pictures experience, don’t forget to have one person talking loudly while rustling their crisp packet during the quiet bits of the film.


  1. Thanks for the memory

The Daily Sparkle is an online newspaper for elderly people or those living with dementia. It’s usually available in care homes but during the coronavirus outbreak, PDF copies are available free until 30 June for elderly or vulnerable people isolated at home. Register to receive a link (though remember to ask permission first if you share anyone’s email address.)


This article is not an endorsement from Redbridge Council for any of the activities listed and is only intended as a useful reference point for our readers.

Published 6 April

Explore the world from inside your home

Exploring the world might be on hold whilst we help save lives and protect the NHS, by staying indoors, but there’s no reason you can’t bring the world to you instead! We’ve discovered a range of brilliant apps for your smartphones and tablets to help bring the outdoors, indoor.


Now might be the time to bring out your inner chef, and go on a worldwide culinary tour from within your kitchen. This app brings millions of recipes, from around the world, straight to your fingertips. You can explore cuisine types, kid-friendly dishes, quick and easy meals and more! And best of all, it’s free.


Missing your favourite magazines? Want to know what’s going on around the world besides coronavirus? This app brings thousands of popular magazines to your phone or device. It’s £7.99 a month, but they are doing two months free right now. Perfect for whilst your indoors!

Radio Garden Live

Find out what the world is listening to from the comfort of your own home. This app lets you instantly listen to radio stations from around the world, just by tapping anywhere on the rotating globe in the app. It’s pretty cool, and free!

Duolingo – Language Lessons

Take your first baby steps into learning a new language. This app is free, but offers in-app purchases if you want to access additional content. The free version still has many great features to help you learn the basics, and more!

Knowledge Quiz

Sharpen your general knowledge by pitting your wits against the rest of your household. This app is a great way to keep building your knowledge, whilst holding a fun, family quiz night with your household!


This page is not an endorsement from Redbridge Council for any of the apps listed and is only intended as a useful reference point for our readers.

Published 18 March

21 things to do while social distancing

Coronavirus and social distancing is limiting, especially when trying to plan evening or weekend activities. Initially being at home can be a novelty, but after a while, we all need new ideas to stop ourselves from becoming bored and to remain in contact with our community.

1. Gardening

With the weather improving keep yourself active and start gardening. This is a great time to start weeding, pruning, planting and maybe a little bit of outdoor DIY with the help of an online tutorial from YouTube. Make your garden the talk of the street and share your tips and achievements at #TimeInRedbridge.

Show off your garden and take part in the Redbridge in Bloom amateur gardening competition.

2. Workout

De-stress with an in-home daily workout. If social distancing has you feeling down or inactive, take-up exercise as a proven mood-booster. Download free fitness apps, like Nike Training Club, 7 Minute Workouts or Simply Yoga. Don’t forget YouTube offers a wide range of kickboxing, yoga, HIIT, and other video-streamed routines.

3. Read a new book

Lose hours within a new book – You can download ebooks or access your local Redbridge library online.

4. Get some exercise

Kick start the day with your children by taking part in #PEwithJoe , just tune into his YouTube channel at 9am each morning for a 30-minute, fun workout. 

Or learn to dance with Oti Mabuse on her YouTube channel every day at 11:30am.

5. Challenge your brain

Test your brain and do an online crossword, word search, codeword, chess puzzle or sudoku at or pass the day enjoying a jigsaw puzzle.

6. Support local businesses online

Support local businesses with a little online local retail therapy or a tasty takeaway to spice up your weekend. Search local restaurants and shops on socials to find delivery details or find them online.

7. Meditate

Relax or learn to cope with stress through mindfulness meditation, read Age UK’s beginners guide to mindfulness.

8. Hang out with your pet

Hang out with your pet. If you must stay indoors why not attempt to teach them a new trick or if your healthy, try new walks across the borough.

9. Write letters

If we can’t visit our nan, grandad or elderly relatives during this time, keep in contact by writing weekly letters so they can keep up to date with your lives.

10. Explore museums online

Add a little of bit of culture to your life and explore hundreds of global museums thanks to Google Arts & Culture. Redbridge Museum and Heritage Centre are offering virtual tours every Saturday.

11. Work on your cooking skills

Work on your cooking skills and try out a new recipe. A great time to meal prep and keep the freezer fully stocked. Homemade brownies are a great freezer essential.

12. Spring clean your home

Start spring cleaning your home. Decluttering your cupboards and organising your shelves and drawers all help to create a relaxing home environment.

13. Catch up on podcasts

Catch up on podcasts. A great distraction when taking a lunch break at home, or a nice additional voice to listen to whilst cooking, doing at-home exercise, or taking a walk around the park or local area.

14. Find a great series on Netflix

Sit back and watch Netflix in the evenings. A great opportunity to catch-up on box-sets and TV-shows you may have missed over the past year.

15. Virtual meetups

You can still share a drink with friends, engage in conversation over dinner, or host a group yoga session — all from the comforts of your own home. By using platforms like, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and Skype. Just don’t be late for your virtual meet-ups.

16. Get crafty

Get crafty indoors or the garden and keep your mind and hands busy by kickstarting a new DIY project. Whether you want to learn how to sew, create fabric flowers, or build your own wooden pallet bbq, YouTube has a wide range of free tutorials for almost everything.

17. Host a virtual jam session

If you have a guitar, keyboard or a dusty drum set indoors, consider teaming up with friends to create your virtual jam session.

18. Get competitive with board games

Dust off the board games, find the playing cards or search out the puzzles and get competitive with your family.

19. Try colouring

Find our inner calm and start colouring or doodling.

20. Start a step challenge

Start your daily indoor step challenge and see how long it takes you to hit your 10,000-step daily goal.

21. Create a daily schedule

Create a daily schedule and a to-do list to help you visualise what needs to happen each day.

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