Has your birthday snuck up on you again? Are you struggling to think of things to do besides hit the pub, and maybe the club? Maybe you just want a quiet night in instead?

Planning and organising things to do on your birthday once you’re an adult can be pretty tricky. With work, relationships, and hobbies, your birthday can suddenly be right around the corner before you know it, leaving you scrambling to put something together last minute or doing nothing at all.

Gone are the days of organising a huge bouncy castle and games party where you invite the whole class over and hand out goody bags at the end (or maybe not if you keep reading). If anything, organising something on your birthday as an adult can feel like a chore.

But if that sounds a bit dreary, don’t worry. It turns out there are still plenty of fun and exciting things you can do to celebrate your birthday once you hit adulthood, including all those cool things you couldn’t do as a kid because your parents wouldn’t let you!

Whether it’s a big night out, a small gathering with friends, or a cosy evening on the couch with your significant other, we’ve pulled together a selection of our favourite birthday ideas that you can use to celebrate this year! Alternatively, maybe you’re keeping things low-key this year? If so, be sure to check out our on solo birthday ideas full of inspiration on how to make your birthday special for yourself.

Last-minute things to do on your birthday

Planning out something big and spectacular for your birthday is awesome, but not all of us have the time to do that. So, if you’re the kind of busy person that wants to celebrate their birthday in style but finds it always sneaks up on you, we’ve got you covered.

Here are three last-minute things you can do on your birthday that require minimal prep:

Go on a shopping spree

From clothes and makeup to games and books, a shopping spree requires next to no organisation other than where are we going, what are we shopping for, and how many extra bags should I bring?

You can go the whole way and splash your cash or set yourself a smaller budget so that you only buy the things that really speak to you. And best of all, it can all be organised over text on your lunch break. You just need to pick a day and go for it!

An impromptu road trip

Big holidays can take a lot of prep, planning and paperwork. The beauty of an impromptu road trip is that it avoids all of that!

Is there a place nearby that you’ve always wanted to visit? Pick the nearest weekend, grab your friends, and go spend the day there. Head down early to see the sights while it’s still quiet, have lunch in a quaint local café, and then end the night by visiting the best bars and pubs in the area.

Just be sure to book an Airbnb if you plan on driving or staying out late.

A stand-up show

Are you a fan of comedy? If you’re willing to head into your nearest city for the evening, chances are, you’ll be able to find a comedy show being hosted in one of the many pubs, clubs, and bars.

From those just starting out to big stage acts, you’ll be laughing, crying, or cringing by night’s end; and you can always go for a drink after to wrap the night up if it didn’t quite hit the mark.

This is also a great option if you’re on a budget as plenty of smaller shows cost little more than a fiver for entry.

Planned things to do on your birthday

Are you thinking of doing something big for this year’s celebration? If that’s the plan, make sure you put the time aside to organise it properly so you can book tickets and make sure everyone can make it.

Here are three of our favourite birthday activities that will need a little bit of planning beforehand:

Host a dinner party

Dinner parties may have sounded dire when we were children, but there’s no reason they should be dull affairs now we’re a little older. Break out the wine and get the classy party started!

To really make it a night to remember, why not set a theme and have everyone get dressed up for the occasion? Pick an appropriate food selection to go with it and spend the evening with good food, good company, and no doubt some hilarious party shenanigans once the first bottle is gone.

Of course, if cooking isn’t your thing, and you’re feeling a little more decadent, you could always host a wine and cheese party with nibbles. And to add even more flavour to the evening, why not turn it into a full-on murder mystery evening?

Go skydiving or bungee jumping

Skydiving and bungee jumping are a must for any budding adrenaline junkie! If it’s nothing new to you and your friends, then just head to your regular club and take off, maybe adding in an extra challenge or two to make things interesting (keeping it safe, obviously).

But if you’ve never skydived and bungee jumped before, then make sure to take your time finding the best clubs and locations for beginners so you can get the most out of it. Even if you only do it once, it’ll be something to talk about for years to come.

Host a nostalgic kids’ party

Remember when we said we were too old for a bouncy castle and gift bags? Well, that’s not entirely true.

For a true nostalgia birthday trip, why not pull out all the stops and recreate your most memorable childhood birthday party? Pass the parcel, musical chairs, sleeping logs, you name it you can play it; but don’t feel like you need a clown and magician.

Naturally, you’ll want to prep those goody bags for everyone, filling them with a selection of miniature drinks, cake, and other fun oddities. Well, it’s a good job we have a whole blog all about the best party favours for adults. Alternatively, why not pick some things from our thortful gift selection?

Quiet things to do for your birthday

Just because it’s your birthday, it doesn’t mean you have to go out, get plastered, and wake up knee-deep in your overdraft with a hangover the next day. There are plenty of fun things to do on your birthday that don’t even involve leaving the house.

Here are three simple things to organise if you prefer a quiet night in with your close friends:

A nostalgic games night

If you and your friends were gamers growing up, you no doubt have fond memories of all your favourite childhood games; so, why not dust those ancient consoles off and have a nostalgic games night?

Original party games, old-school shooters, maybe even a karaoke game if you can find the mics after a couple of drinks? Sure, you may need to dig out some adapters to hook them up to your modern TV, but you’ll be right back in your childhood before you know it!

A spa evening

When it comes to relaxing nights in, there are few things more peaceful than a spa evening. So slip on that warm bathrobe, light those scented candles, and start running that bath; it’s time to give yourself some R&R.

Of course, you don’t have to do a solo spa day. Invite your besties over to relax with you so you can share all the latest gossip like you used to at old sleepovers. To set up the best spa evening, don’t forget to read our article on how to have a spa day at home.

A movie marathon

It might be simple, but a movie marathon is a tried and true classic for a reason; and seeing as it’s your birthday, you get to choose the movies!

Grab your favourite snacks and drinks, set up the surround sound in your lounge, and get ready to settle in for the long haul. You could even do a few drinking games if you’re in the mood; just don’t forget to organise the takeaway beforehand!

Fun things to do on your birthday with your partner

Finding things to do on your birthday with friends can be fun, but sometimes it’s nice to just spend the day celebrating with your significant other. You can pull out all the stops and do something romantic or keep it as simple as a night in together on the couch.

Here are three of our favourite birthday activities to do with your partner:

Cook something special together

If there’s a food you love or a meal that means a lot to the two of you, then why not try your hands at cooking this culinary delight together; many hands make light work after all.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be a main meal, you could always have fun baking and decorating your birthday cake together. And if cooking just isn’t your thing, then you could hire a professional chef to treat you to a spectacular three-course meal!

Go for a hot air balloon ride

Romantic and exciting in equal measure, a hot air balloon ride can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Choose a picturesque location and a clear day to do it on and you’ll be seeing breathtakingly memorable sights in minutes.

And to really make the most of the occasion, you can take your favourite snacks and drinks up with you; just don’t forget to wrap up warm!

Snuggle up on the couch

Simple and requiring no prep, sometimes, the best thing to do on your birthday is to put on Netflix and snuggle with your significant other on the sofa or in bed. Whether you plan on bingeing a full series or catching the latest hit movie, it’s the company that counts.

These are just some of our favourite ideas for what to do on your birthday but there are plenty more out there for you to try if you want to get even more creative with your celebrations. However, there’s no pressure to do anything on your birthday. Sometimes, a night in with ourselves is exactly what we need.

Of course, organising your own birthday is one thing, but if you know your friends are about to celebrate another year, then why not make it memorable by getting them a special thortful birthday card!

Funny, witty, and cute, we’ve plenty of cards for you to browse through, all made by our inspirational thortful creatives. And for more ideas on how to prepare for other big life events, like what to write in an 18th birthday card, be sure to check out the thortful blog.