Some 54% said they will miss some aspects of lockdown, such as family time, quieter roads and staying at home, according to research by Policy Institute at King’s College London and Ipsos Mori.
The research, part of a wider study with BBC News also found that 32 per cent of 2,442 adults aged 16 and over said the past year has been similar to or better than average for them personally.
And 19 per cent said the last year has been better than they expected it to be when the first lockdown was introduced, while 21 per cent said their finances have improved.
Younger people (aged 16-35) were twice as likely as older adults to say their year had been better than expected.
Half (49 per cent) of the public said the last year has been worse than expected, with women and the over 65s more likely to feel this way.
The research also found that 28 per cent of people feel closer to their immediate family, 19% feel closer to their neighbours and 31 per cent feel less close to their friends.
While 43 per cent expect the pandemic to worsen their mental health, 12 per cent said they this will improve due to the crisis, and 15 per cent say their physical health will be better.
Half of the public (52 per cent) believe the pandemic will negatively affect young people in the long-term, while 22 per cent think there will be no impact and 10 per cent think their prospects will improve.
Professor Bobby Duffy, director of the Policy Institute at King’s College London, said: “There is no doubt that the public would rather the pandemic hadn’t happened at all – but that doesn’t mean it’s been all bad for everyone, or that people see it deeply affecting their future.
“What’s striking from the findings are the significant minorities for whom the last year turned out better than expected, or even better than a normal year.
“Many of us will also miss at least some important knock-on effects of the lockdowns, particularly the time at home with our families and the peace and quiet.
“And, looking forward, there are majorities who say that their own finances, career prospects or life overall will be either little affected by the pandemic or that these will actually improve.
“Of course, many have been severely negatively affected, and the findings reinforce a key theme of the pandemic, that while the measures to control the virus have applied to everyone, their impact depends hugely on your own circumstances.”
Gideon Skinner, research director at Ipsos Mori, said British people expect that the pandemic will lead to changes but there is less consensus on what these changes could be.
There is also “some stoicism” among the public that their personal lives will return to near normal when restrictions are lifted.
He continued: “Nevertheless, there are areas that stand out as potential priorities for the recovery: the impact on young people (although sometimes it is the middle-aged who are most pessimistic), on physical and mental health, and on careers and finances and while there is more optimism that we can recover from the immediate hit of the pandemic, people still need convincing that Britain will become a much better country than it was before.”