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It’s cold and dark outside and the January lockdown is getting lots of us down. But, there’s lots of freebies out there to help beat the lockdown blues and keep your spirits up.
Check out Coursera. From literature to finance, there is a wide range of free online courses for everyone run by universities around the world. Shakira even did one of their Ancient History courses last Spring! Coursera also offers courses focused on employability skills, so you may be able to give your CV a boost too.
You could also learn a language. Duolingo is free and offers step-by-step, simple lessons in languages ranging from Spanish to Japanese and even High Valyrian for Game of Thrones fans!
Home schooling, while working from home is extremely challenging and you’ll be forgiven for wanting a few minutes of peace and quiet so you can focus on your own tasks. Here’s some activities specifically for children that will keep them occupied.
The BBC is offering lots of educational programmes and content for all ages (up to GCSE). During weekdays, you can access daily lessons and more on CBBC, BBC Two, BBC iPlayer and BBC Red Button.
For more relaxed entertainment, you can take a tour of the Disney theme parks. You could even decorate your living room or get the kids to dress up in their favourite Disney outfit to really bring the magic to your house. If that goes down well, you can take it one step further and watch clips of the rollercoaster rides. Just search on YouTube to find the ride you want.
Fancy a dance and some light-hearted fun? Sophie Ellis-Bextor runs a Kitchen Disco on Friday evenings at 6:30. If you can’t make it, you can watch all the videos and join in on her YouTube channel whenever you like.
More than ever, a January lockdown calls for curling up on the sofa and streaming your favourite shows and films.
But, subscriptions for all the streaming sites soon mount up. Here’s all the free trials you can access to watch the shows you love for free. Just don’t forget to cancel your subscription at the end of the trial!
New users can get a 30-day Amazon Prime free trial (and students get a reduced annual price, too!). Or perhaps you want to try a 7-day Disney+ trial, which children (and many adults!) will love.
If reality TV is more your thing, hayU is offering one month free, so you can Keep Up With The Kardashians as much as you like. Or if you prefer films, Mubi offers a 7-day free trial.
If these don’t appeal, remember most streaming services offer at least a 7-day free trial. If you can’t see one on their website, try Googling “[Name of streaming service] free trial code” to find a discount code offer on a voucher website!
Marquee TV gives you access to critically acclaimed dance, theatre and opera, from the Nutcracker to Shakespeare. You can get a 14-day free trial, which gives you access to a wide range of productions.
Whats On Stage also has a guide to all the free theatre available during lockdown. You can access it here.
Don’t forget, you can stream Hamilton on Disney+ using the free trial mentioned above.
If you’re looking for a bit of culture, a lot of art galleries and museums are offering virtual tours.
A lot of London museums are also offering virtual tours. These offer something for the whole family from the comfort of your living room.
Whether you’re looking for date night inspiration, a fun activity with your friends or just want to try something new, there’s plenty of free virtual experiences for you to try your hand at.
For Harry Potter fans, there’s a free escape room themed around the series. You can take part in a group, a pair or alone – just don’t forget your wand!
The Crimson Room is a Japanese escape room, retro style game. The premise is simple: you’ve woken up drunk, locked in someone else’s bedroom and you need to get out before the timer is up.
Why not visit the Grand Canyon? You can take a virtual tour of the US attraction, and other national parks, via Google Earth.
You can also play games with your friends or partner. The App Store has a range of free games available to download that work across all devices. Scrabble, Words With Friends and Chess are all popular options.
Animal lovers can volunteer virtually to count, identify and track giraffes and other species in Kenya. You can get involved here
It’s not all about Joe Wicks, although he is back on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 9am. This is a great way to tire the kids out, so you can have some peace and quiet to get on with your morning meetings.
If you’re looking for something slightly less intense, you could try Yoga with Adrienne. These classes, ranging from 10-minute stretches to hour-long yoga sessions, will loosen out any aches and pains you’ve got from sitting at your desk all day!
Another fitness freebie is the Gymshark Conditioning app. Here you can try out a range of bodyweight exercises from the comfort of your own home. The basic version is free, but add-on purchases start at £4.99 a month.
If you’re familiar with any fitness influencers, the chances are you’ve seen the Orange Theory studio pop up on your feed. Now’s your chance to try one of their workouts a day for free.