What are seen as Britain's "poshest" cultural activities?

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
February 09, 2018, 10:00 AM GMT+0

Opera and ballet top a list of 13 cultural activities YouGov put to the British public

British opera has spent years trying to throw off its elitist image. Whether it is trying to improve accessibility to the masses by lowering ticket prices, hosting pop-up operas or even holding productions featuring thick Northern accents, the industry is evidently trying to bring more mass appeal to the medium.

However, it seems such efforts have a long way to go. New YouGov Omnibus research finds that three quarters (76%) of Britons see opera as “posh”, topping the list of the 13 cultural activities we asked about. Ballet comes in a close second at 72%, while going to an art exhibition is a distant third (50%).

These three cultural activities were the only ones we asked about that at least half the nation consider to be "posh".

The theatre is only seen as "posh" by a third of Brits (36%), a much higher proportion than think the same about watching on-screen acting at the cinema (which only 2% of Brits think is "posh").

The results also reveal that one in eight Brits (12%) think that eating at a restaurant is a "posh" activity, compared to just 1% who think the same of eating at a pub.

Age, not class, is the key to perceptions of poshness

The perceived "poshness" of each of the activities does not differ by class. Instead, age is the larger indicator, with younger Brits consistently more likely to regard the activities as "posh".

The biggest difference in perceptions applies to the theatre, which is seen as posh by 58% of 18-24 year olds but only 22% of those aged 65 or older – a difference of 36 percentage points. Distinctions between the generations are also evident when it comes to attitudes towards art exhibitions (18-24 year olds are 30 percentage points more likely to consider them posh than those aged 65+), the ballet (+29), and the opera (+27).