What do you like doing in your spare time? Do you go somewhere with your friends or your family? Here is some useful English vocabulary for talking about entertainment.
Many people regularly go to the cinema (or the pictures). Most towns have a multiplex (= multi-screen) cinema which shows a wide range of films, from feature films to family films. Films are classified in Britain, with U suitable for all ages, PG (parental guidance) suitable for everyone over the age of 8, 12 (where no children can watch unless they are with an adult), 15 (where no one under the age of 15 can watch) and 18 (only suitable for adults).
Large towns as well as the major cities have theatres, where you can see plays, musicals or pantomimes (a comedy play performed over Christmas). You can choose to go in the afternoon, for the matinee (pronounced “mat – in – ay”) performance, or in the evening.
Generally, the more you pay, the better seat you get. The stalls are the seats at ground level in front of the stage, and these have the best views. Then there are the seats in the Dress Circle (or Royal Circle), which are in the first balcony. They also have good views of the stage. Then there are the seats in the Upper Circle, which are in the second balcony. Above this are cheaper seats in the Balcony or the Gallery, which are so high up that it’s often difficult to see the actors. There are also seats in the Boxes, which are private rooms built into the side walls of the theatre.
Large cities can offer you a huge range of musical performances, from opera to classical concerts to jazz, folk, rock and pop gigs (= concerts). In summer there are often music festivals, with Glastonbury Festival being one of the most popular.
Bank holidays and weekends are favourite times to go out with your family. Some things, such as circuses, zoos and water parks can be quite expensive. But other events, such as fun-days, parades and carnivals are much cheaper. Children often like to go by themselves to funfairs, where they can go on the rides and eat candyfloss.
A cheap night out
There are also plenty of cheap activities available in English towns and cities. Bingo is popular, and in London, people still go to the dogs, to see and bet on dog racing. You can often find a leisure centre in towns, which offer sport facilities. Many English people go to their local (= pub) where they can play darts or pool (= a type of snooker), as well as have a drink with friends.
At the weekend, younger people often go clubbing (= night clubs) or to a disco with their friends.