MORE than half of people in Northern Ireland (52%) have changed their ‘bucket list’ since the outbreak of COVID-19, according to new research carried out by The National Lottery.

While people still dream of striking it rich with a £15M ‘Must Be Won’ Lotto jackpot up for grabs this Saturday night, their priorities and how they might spend it have changed significantly during the past three months.

Now learning how to cook, growing your own vegetables and redesigning the garden are top of Northern Ireland’s ‘new normal’ bucket list.

Forgetting travel to exotic locations, adrenalin inducing skydives or marathon running challenges, Northern Ireland’s current wish list is now much closer to home and motivated by reducing stress and worry (48%), keeping our nearest and dearest safe (41%) and living a healthier lifestyle (38%).

Topping the new bucket list is learning to cook or improving home cooking or baking skills (20%) – as NI residents look to unleash their inner Gordon Ramsay or Nigella Lawson!

Improving our outside space is definitely high on the new wish list with creating a kitchen garden (16%) and a garden redesign project (14%) making up the top three – and building a pub or bar in the garden (9%) and the installation of a hot tub (7%) also taking top ten spots.

Demonstrating Northern Ireland’s entrepreneurial spirit, starting a business (7%) also features in the top ten, with gardening or animal care enterprises topping the list of business ideas, followed by online retail emporiums.

From online entrepreneurs to new careers as gardeners and tree surgeons, bucket listers want to improve their work-life balance as well as their place of work.

With a £15M ‘Must Be Won’ Lotto jackpot up for grabs on Saturday, participants were also asked how they might spend a big National Lottery win.

The good life trend continues with the international jet setter lifestyle and all its trappings firmly replaced by a seaside holiday home (29%) and a desire to be with those dearest to us (with 14% opting for a large country estate where their whole family could live).

‘Giving back’ is also key for Northern Ireland residents with deep Lotto pockets as 31% would commit to improving society – whether donating to charity or NHS (13%), giving up work to volunteer (6%), supporting businesses affected by COVID-19 (7%) or  creating a wildlife sanctuary (5%).

Reflective of the current global situation, safety is high on the list for a handful of those with a big bank balance, 5% would invest in a luxury, self-sufficient underground bunker to keep their family safe.

Commenting on the findings, Camelot’s Andy Carter, Senior Winners’ Advisor at The National Lottery said, “Northern Ireland’s ‘new normal’ bucket list has certainly changed tack following lockdown however while our movements may have been curtailed, our dreams have not and they are now firmly focused around the simple joys of life.

“Over the years we have seen our winners relish the freedom a big win gives them, allowing them to follow their dreams. What we are seeing now is that those dreams are closer to home and based around the people and experiences we value the most. The greatest happiness often comes from having more free time to spend time with family and friends, trying a new hobby or investing in a campervan and hitting the open road. This research shows that if one person wins £15M on Saturday night, they are more likely to splash out on a country estate with its very own walled kitchen garden rather than a fleet of sports cars!”

This Saturday’s Lotto draw (27 June) is a special ‘Must Be Won’ event draw with a £15M jackpot up for grabs. 

The life-changing jackpot cannot roll beyond this draw so if no one matches all six main numbers then the prize will roll down potentially creating lots of millionaires (when players match five main numbers and the bonus ball) as well as boosting the prizes at all levels. Players can check their tickets online at or via the National Lottery App.


Learn how to cook/improve cooking/baking skills
Grow my own vegetables/ get an allotment
Redesign my garden
Create a pub/bar in your garden
Move to the seaside
Volunteer for a charity on a regular basis
Set up my own business
Retrain for a new career
Get a professional organiser to sort out your home
Install a hot tub
Drive-in cinema experience
Learn to speak a new language
Host a party for my street or community
Have private exercise/yoga lessons to get fit
Move to the countryside
Build a pizza oven at home
Write a book
Climb a mountain / Hike a noteworthy trail
Hold my own personal Festival for friends and family
Befriend an isolated or lonely person locally
Learn outdoor survival skills
Be taught Meditation/Mindfulness
Buy and keep chickens at home
Buy fishing tackle and learn to fish
Join a dating site / app and search for romance
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