11 Thrilling Things to do on an Adventure Holiday in the United Kingdom
Holidays can grow boring, even though this should not be possible, it does happen. But if you have visited the same spots year in, year out or taken the kids to do the same activities you have always done. The holiday might lose its appeal to you or the kids. Kick things up with an adventure holiday. Adventure holidays will lead you to take the road less travelled, to learn about new cultures, to learn about yourself, immerse yourself in nature and see jaw-dropping sights.
What is an adventure holiday?
Active or Adventure holidays are targeted at travelling to or exploring places that require a certain level of physical activity. This form of holiday is often favoured by fans of physical exercise and extreme sports but do not be deterred, you can find an activity to match your pace and even challenge yourself to do things you have never done.
Cycling is also known as bicycling or biking. It entails the use of bicycles for sport, recreation, exercise and for transportation. Cycling helps to reduce stress, improve cardiovascular health and increase strength and flexibility. A cycling holiday offers you many choices; easy calm rides by yourself or with friends and family, challenging routes that will get your heart pumping and even difficult routes to challenge you every step of the way.
The UK boasts numerous cycling locations such as Yorkshire and Surrey with beautiful scenery and varying difficulty levels. If you are a novice cyclist or just want an easy route, you can try the Box Hill Olympic circuit, 16.8km of peaceful, beautiful roads. The Camel Trail in Cornwall and Richmond Park, London are ideal for beginners as it is mostly deserted. It is also for families, who can enjoy some bonding time and even hire tandem bikes for a joint family ride.
Difficult: if you want to challenge yourself or test your skills, the 68 km Settle Circular, Yorkshire or the 65 km The Lakeland Loop, Lake District challenges most cyclists. Scotland’s Assynt Achiltibuie Circuit will also do the job while soothing you with mind-blowing scenery.
Fancy an extreme experience, the 68.5km Applecross via Bealach na Bà in Scotland will push past your limits and then some, but the amazing view might be worth it.
If a formal event is more your speed, start your vacation or crown the end of your vacation with a cycling marathon. There are a number of them hosting at different locations and at all times of the year. Find the event for you here.
In the United Kingdom, hiking is more often referred to as walking. Hiking is a great way to experience nature, sight-see, release some stress and get some exercise. Hiking in the UK is a must, with over 230 hiking trails that will take you through and past absolutely gorgeous scenery, from Scotland to Cornwall. Regardless of your fitness level, there is a hike location for you.
Quiraing, Isle of Skye: offers four miles of walking and a little climbing through stunning rock formations and wild lands.
Cwm Bychan, Snowdonia, Wales: this six mile walk is perfect for hikers who want to take it easy. A circular walk, it starts and ends at the Beddgelert footbridge and has stunning views of the Aberglaslyn Gorge, the calm waters of the Llyn Dinas, and the rushing Glaslyn River.
Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, Yorkshire: the Three Peaks walk is very popular among hikers. In just one day, the three highest mountain peaks in Yorkshire can be hiked. This walk entails over 1600m of climbing and about 24 miles of walking up and over Ingleborough, Pen-y-Ghent and Whernside in less than 12 hours. Apart from the spectacular scenery from the mountain peak, the sense of achievement is no joke.
South Downs Way, Britain: this 100-mile walk takes you from Hampshire to East Sussex. This walk takes about eight days, beautiful countryside, astonishing wildlife, and magnificent chalk cliffs are some sights to behold on the walk. This hike has been described as one of the best in England.
Coast-to-Coast walk: this 182-mile walk is one of the most popular hikes in the UK. It takes hikers from one coast of England, Cumbria to another in North Yorkshire, with views of the North Yorkshire Moors and the Lakeland valleys in Richmond. This hike takes between 12 and 14 days.
South West Coast Path, Cornwall: the Lizard is the nickname for the South West Coast Path because of its many twisting paths. 630 miles long, this walk takes you from Minehead, Somerset to Poole Harbour, Dorset with mind-blowing views of the coastline and two World Heritage Sites: the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape and the Jurassic Coast.
Take detours into secluded beaches and hidden coves during summer for an energizing swim. A four mile is also available on the Lizard. It is the longest hiking trail in the UK and it takes about 8 weeks to complete.
Sea kayaking takes place in a sea kayak or touring boat, a small, seaworthy boat used to explore open water bodies. A Sea kayak is built to travel long distances and has structural differences that distinguishes it from a kayak. Sea kayaking is ideal for lovers of the water.
It also gives you the chance to carry out some exploring as there are a number of caves, rock pools, beaches and seashores to explore. You may also do a bit of bird watching or try to spot some whales, dolphins or other sea life.
There are multiple sea kayaking sites in the UK, but we have 7 must-visit locations:
- The Isle of Man
- Anglesey, Wales: advanced kayakers will enjoy the North Stack, Penrhyn Mawr and the Menai Strait. Beginners can start off in the east coast of Anglesey, a sheltered area with calm waters.
- The Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall
- The West Coast of Scotland offers numerous locations such as the Isle of Islay, the Isle of Sky and the Isle of Jura
- The Isle of Scilly, Cornwall
- The Shetland Islands
- The Yorkshire Coast which offers gentle, tidal waters suitable for beginners, Runswick Bay will be ideal for experienced kayakers.
The word “explore” means to gain knowledge and information about a thing through searching or inquiry. Exploring leads to discovery of new facts and information. A range of activities fall under the umbrella of exploration, you can choose to explore the wonders of the night sky through telescopes, rummage through sea shores and coast sides, discover the secrets of caves and ruins, hidden cities and villages or historical structures.
If you are exploring during your adventure holiday, you may choose to:
Stargazing is a relaxing activity that will leave you awed, it may take a awhile to reach some of these destinations. But you will not feel the ache in your legs when faced with the splendour of the sky.
Try to spot some constellations, nebulas, red giants and maybe a shooting star if you are lucky at:
- Start your tour in Scotland at one of the UK’s first Dark Sky Park: the Galloway Forest. Queens Park and Loch Dunn offer the best stargazing spots at this park.
- North York Moors National Park has three Dark Sky Discovery Sites: Sutton Bank National Park Centre, the Moors National Park Centre, and Dalby Forest. Dalby Forest provides a view of the Milky Way without any external aid just your naked eye.
- Snowdonia National Park: another Dark Sky Reserve, you can see meteor showers, star clusters and the Milky Way with your naked eye. Amazing stargazing spots: Llynnau Cregennen, Bwlch y Groes and Llyn Geirionydd.
- The South Downs National Park, England, an international Dark Sky Reserve.
- Get a full 360 degrees panorama view at Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Wales.
- See the stars at Exmoor National Park, the first International Dark Sky Reserve in Europe. This is one of the best stargazing locations in the UK as it has no artificial light. There are many awesome spots here such as Brendon Two Gates, Webber’s Post, Holdstone Hill and Wimbleball Lake.
Walk through history at these ruins and caves:
- Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire
- The Stone Circle of Avebury, Wiltshire.
- Corfe Castle, Dorset
- Glastonbury Abbey, Somerset
- Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire: one of the United Kingdom’s most well-preserved monastic ruins, it is also one of the largest.
Caves to explore:
- Gaping Gill, 100 metres deep with a huge underground cavern, is one of the most famous caves to see and explore.
- Sir Francis Dashwood’s Hellfire Caves, extending 400 metres below the ground with an intricate cave system which includes an Entrance Hall, Circle, Banquet Hall, Miner’s Cave and an underground river called the Styx.
- Peak Cavern, which has the largest natural cave entrance in the UK. It contains an Orchestra Gallery, Pluto’s Dining Room and a Devil’s Cellar.
- Fingal’s Cave located underneath Staff Island in the Inner Hebrides
- See the Avon Gorge in Bristol located under the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
Rock-climbing can be quite challenging, especially for someone who is new to it. However, a series of locations with varying levels of difficulty exists in the UK and you may give bouldering a try instead. Bouldering is an easier form of rock climbing where the climber climbs over small rocks (boulders) without any ropes or harnesses. Bouldering is ideal for beginners. Take the family bouldering or face your fears alone on a beginner climb.
Best rock-climbing locations in the UK
Land’s End, Cornwall: it has 181 climbs, most of which are suitable for intermediate and advanced climbers. However, it has a VDiff route that may be adequate for beginners.
Stanage Edge, Derbyshire: Beginners will also enjoy climbing here as the surface is relatively easy to climb.
Gogarth, Anglesey and Almscliff crag, Yorkshire are suitable for intermediate climbers.
Huntsman’s Leap, Isle Of Skye, Scotland, considered the most challenging climbing range in Britain, provides both advanced, challenging climbing routes and amazing scenery. Climbers have identified Black Cuillin as the most challenging peak to climb at over 3000 feet (0.91 km). Make sure to pack enough water and food when attempting Black Cuillin. But the Upper Tier of Huntsman’s Leap can be attempted by beginners.
Malham Cove, Yorkshire is another popular climbing location with 325 climbs and standing over 70 metres high. The short, easy climbs found in the left wing of Malham Cove are adequate for beginners and very experienced climbers or intermediate climbers who want to up their level can challenge themselves with the cliffs of Malham Cove, Yorkshire which has some of the hardest climbs in the UK.
Parachuting and Skydiving
This activity will appeal to the more extreme adventurer, but if you are considering pushing yourself to try new things. This is one activity you can try. Parachuting entails jumping from a high point usually a plane or helicopter and then breaking your fall by deploying a parachute. The free-falling aspect of parachuting, before the parachute is deployed is called sky-diving.
If you are skydiving for the first time, tandem skydiving and Instructor-assisted deployment are good choices. A tandem skydive consists of a group of people jumping together at the same time, linked to one another by holding hands. This form of skydiving is very safe.
The UK, like always, has a range of options on where to skydive, many of which have stunning scenery.
Grange-over-Sands, Lake District: located in the Cumbrian countryside allows jumpers to experience the stunning view from 15,000ft in the air. Grange-over-Sands has been described as the “friendliest drop zone in the UK”, providing lots of options to all types of jumpers from first time tandem jumps to expert jumps.
Haverfordwest, West Wales: a jump here awes with gorgeous green foliage, coastline and meandering rivers.
Beccles, Suffolk wows you with tandem skydives as high as 13,000ft.
Perranporth, Cornwal, Tenby, Pembrokeshire and Errol, Scotland are also amazing locations to experience your first skydive or tandem skydive.
Mountain climbing, also known as mountaineering is an activity where mountains are climbed with the aim of reaching the top. Mountain climbing on your adventure holiday provides a fresh and exciting perspective to the UK. There are mountains of varying heights to scale in the UK, all with astounding scenery.
Mam Tor: located in the Peak District, this mountain is 517m and can be completed in four hours. It contains a broad, long ridge known as the ‘Great Ridge’ which is one of Mam Tor’s great features.
Lake District: Lake District is home to four mountains: Place Fell, Great Gable, Yewbarrow and the Old Man of Coniston. Place Fell stands at 657m and provides awesome views of the village of Glenridding as well as the Helvellyn mountain range. The 899m Great Gable has a unique pyramid shape and can be explored in multiple ways even without reaching the apex. The Yewbarrow mountain is 628m tall, reaching its summit will unveil great view of Great Gable, the Kirk Fell, the Scafells and the Pillar. Old Man Coniston had defined climbing paths that make it easy to reach the top.
Ingleborough, Yorkshire Dales: standing at 723m, Ingleborough is one of Yorkshire’s Three Peaks. If you can reach the top, you will be rewarded with the remnants of huts built in the Iron Age. If the top does not interest you, take a detour to the western side of Ingleborough to see the White Scar and the White Scar Caves.
White Water Rafting
White water rafting also known as river rafting simply involves sailing in a raft down white rapids. Rapids refer to fast moving water. No matter the time of the year, the UK has numerous rafting options because of its high level of rainfall. Wetsuits, helmets and buoyancy aids are required for white river rafting. White water rafting is a group activity, so it is suitable for family and a group of friends. If you are adventuring alone, don’t be put off, you will include in a group, which is a good way to meet new people.
Before you jump into this activity, keep in mind that rivers are graded between I-VI. Grade I is used to classifying unobstructed moving water without obstacles while grade VI refers to rivers that are very difficult to navigate with numerous obstacles. Know the grade of the river before proceeding, beginners should stick to Grade I or II rivers while experts can attempt Grade VI.
Some white river rafting locations include:
- The River Tay in Perthshire is the ideal choice for beginners, especially in the summer, when the water is calm and low.
- River Derwent cuts a stunning swathe through the Peak District. 66 miles long, expert rafters can have a field day here, but beginners will enjoy the area between Matlock Bath and Darley Dale, an unobstructed 4.5 miles stretch of water.
- The River Garry in Fort William offers great grade III and IV water and the grade IV River Findhorn in Cairngorms National Park are perfect for intermediate rafters in Scotland.
- The River Tryweryn, located in Bala at the center of the beautiful Snowdonia National Park, is an excellent year-round, rafting location. It has waters graded II to IV, the upper area provides 2 kilometers of grade III-IV rapids while grade II-III rapids can be found in the lower 6 kilometers of the river.
Like every other activity, the UK has fantastic surfing locations. Blessed with miles and miles of coastline, the UK has it all, from sheltered beaches perfect for beginners to huge crashing waves for expert surfers. If surfing is your activity of choice, here are 5 beaches to visit:
Croyde, Devon: skilled surfers in the mood to catch some waves will enjoy huge, steep and powerful waves on good days. Beginners can get their water legs at Saunton Sands, which has gentle, rolling waves and soft sand. This beach is one of the most popular surfing locations, so it can get crowded.
Fistral Beach, Cornwall: beginners should visit this beautiful beach in summer when the waves are gentle and small and perfect for learning. Experts who can stand a little cold should experience huge, sharp waves on this beach in winter. There is also a surf center on the beach which teaches lessons to new surfers. Various international competitions such as the British National Surf Championships are also held here, so you might get a chance to see some pro-surfers in action.
Sennen Cove, Cornwall: another beach that is suitable for both beginners and more advanced surfers. The south of the beach has smaller waves good for beginners while experienced surfers can surf the big breaks up on Gwynver Beach.
Thurso, North East Scotland: some of Europe’s best waves can be found on this beach. Experienced surfers will have a whale of a time on this beach with triple overhead waves. Immortalize the moment with awesome photos against the ruins of Thurso Castle. This beach is not suitable for beginners. Another beach more suited for experts is Porthleven, Cornwall.
Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset: K-Bay as it fondly called, has three main areas – the Beach, the Bay and the Bench – to choose from depending on your skill level. Beginners can start out on the Ledges and intermediate surfers can increase their pace on the Bay. Hardcore surfers can experience waves up to 12 feet high on the Bench.
Coasteering is a group activity that involves rock climbing, cliff jumping, coastline exploration and a lot of swimming. This activity is perfect for adventure holidays and can be enjoyed by the whole family. A lot of protective gear such as a helmet, wetsuit, and climbing shoes are used since no surf boards, boats or dinghies are used. A guide or instructor is always present during coasteering activities. Coasteering has its roots in Pembrokeshire, Wales.
Here are five awesome spots to go coasteering in the United Kingdom:
- Three Cliffs Bay, Gower
- St Noni Bay, Pembrokeshire
- Horwick, Northumberland
- Dancing Ledges, Dorset
- Mullion Cove, Cornwall
- Hoy Island, Anglesey
Via Ferrata is Italian is for Iron Bridge, Iron Path or Way of Steel. A Via Ferrata involves a guided climb up a rock or cliff face through the use of ladders, metal rungs and fixed steel cables or wires. It allows climbers to access difficult or inaccessible terrains. Via Ferratas differ in length and difficulty, but they are generally safe and good for individuals, couples or the entire family.
There are three Via Ferrata locations in the United Kingdom: How Stean Gorge, Honister Slate Mine and Kinlochleven Scotland.
The Via Ferrata at Honister Slate Mine takes you up Fleetwith Pike in the Lake District. There is a Via Ferrata Classic for beginners and people who want to take it easy but extreme sport lovers can take it up a notch with the Via Ferrata Extreme.
The Via Ferrata in How Stean Gorge, Yorkshire includes abseiling into rock pools and a rope walk over the gorge.
Scotland’s Via Ferrata is the most challenging and difficult route in the UK, located right next to the Grey Mare’s Tail waterfall which is 60m tall.
15 Things You Absolutely Must Have For An Adventure Holiday
Wait, before you book that ticket or start packing for your holiday, there are certain items you must have to ensure your trip is smooth and fantastic.
Have a physical phone book: it is quite possible to lose your phone during the trip, keeping a physical copy can be very useful as you will still have access to your contacts.
Identity card and necessary documents: an adventure trip will take you far and wild to different destinations. Keep your passport, credit/debit cards, insurance details, identity card, vaccination records and all other documents safe. Take pictures on your phone so that you have a physical copy as proof. Upload to cloud or drive for safekeeping.
Insurance: travel insurance makes sure that any incidents, injuries or accidents gotten during your is covered and you do not have to pay from your own pocket. Check that any activity you are participating in is covered, if not you might need specialist insurance.
A sturdy backpack or carry-on: active/adventure trips involve a lot of movement in some pretty rough terrains. Ensure you have a bag that is waterproof and very durable with lots of pockets to keep essential items and gadgets.
Clothing and gear: depending on your activity or activities of choice, you might any or all of the following:
- Active wear or sports wear: suitable for running marathons, mountain top yoga and hiking.
- Swimsuit or trunk
- Thick, warm jackets
- Fluffy socks
- Sturdy boots or Hiking Sandals
- Basic clothes: shorts, trousers, shirts(both long and short-sleeved), microfiber towel, belt, and socks. Ensure that the fabric type is suitable for your holiday, e;g cotton for the beach or warm places.
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Bandana, scarves or hairbands: to keep your hair out of your face
- Caps and hats: to shield your skin from the sun
- Clothes that can be worn multiple times without needing a wash such as Merino wool: holidays in general require a lot of travel time, this is even worse for active holidays where you might be travelling to remote destinations. Hiking trails or mountaineering adventures may not afford you with frequent opportunities for laundry as well.
- Rain coats, poncho or/and a windproof jacket
- Specialist gear such as surfboards, wet-suits, scuba gear, binoculars, cameras, tripods, yoga mats, etc.
- Camping gear and sleeping bags
A phone and charger: a phone enabled with GPS and even a compass will help you find your way around. It is also useful for communication, checking the weather, finding hotels, restaurants, taxis and members of your travelling party if you get separated.
Powerbank: to keep your phone, laptop or camera charged until you get access to a light source.
Books, a kindle, headphones, puzzles to keep you busy during long flights or help you unwind after a long day.
Essential medication: if you are taking medication for a chronic condition, make sure to pack enough medication to cover your trip. Also, get the locations of pharmacies and hospitals in case you run out or lose yours and need to get more.
Toiletries and cleaning products to keep you fresh during your trip. You might get travel-sized items or regular sized items depending on the size of your luggage or your destination.
Sunblock, sunscreen and sunglasses
Water bottle: no matter the nature of your trip, keeping hydrated is essential.
Instant cleaning products such as hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes.
Miscellaneous things such as torchlight, a mini sewing kit, a Swiss knife, torchlight, sanitary towels and tampons, etc.
Staying Safe on Your Adventure Holiday (15 Lifesaving Tips)
- If you are new to an activity, always go for the supervised option or participate with a group.
- Try to memorize all emergency numbers or have them written in a pocket notebook and carry it around.
- Activities may sometimes end with accidents or injury, keep emergency information such as blood type and allergies written and on your person at all times during your trip.
- Make sure someone you trust is aware of your whereabouts. Keep them updated as you go along.
- If you think you are lost, or you get hurt, try not to panic. Ask the locals for help or call an emergency number.
- Carry a physical map, your phone may die or be out of a service area. Maps will help you find restaurants, hotels and hospitals.
- Be mindful of what you eat and drink, especially when given to you by strangers.
- If you are using a tour service, read reviews and customer feedback before choosing one.
- Remember to get health or travel insurance.
- Learn the common tricks con artists and thieves in a certain area use to avoid being a victim.
- If you are travelling to the United Kingdom for your adventure holiday, register with your country’s embassy
- Do not over-share personal information with strangers.
- Always have emergency cash stowed away somewhere difficult to access such as in empty makeup tubes, sewn into your trousers, or in a locket necklace.
- Have a first aid kit with you, whether you are travelling alone, with family or with friends.
- Last but not least, trust your instincts. If a place makes you feel uneasy, leave there immediately. If a person gives you the creeps, avoid them. Many times, our bodies sense danger before we can comprehend it.
So, Where and how can I Find the Best Accommodation in my Adventure Holiday?
One of the most trustworthy and popular Companies that makes it easier for visitors to have a great and enjoyable worldwide experience is booking.com. The service links millions of travelers effortlessly to unforgettable encounters, a range of transportation choices, and incredible places to stay from home to hotel, and more. As one of the growing travel marketplaces in the world for both proven brands and business people of all sizes. For your consideration, the following are top holiday lettings for your adventure holiday.
- St Leonard’s Hotel,
- The Boar’s Head, Settle
- Anglesey Arms, Caernarfon, Wales
- Somerset House B&B, Grange over Sands
- The Old Ginn House Inn, Great Clifton
- Armathwaite Hall Hotel and Spa, Bassenthwaite
- The Black Boy Inn, Caernarfon, Wales
- The Black Bull Inn, Yorkshire
- Pinfold House, Richmond, Yorkshire
- Courtyard by Marriott Aberdeen Airport, Dyce
- Morton’s House Hotel, Corfe Castle, Dorset
- Park Hotel, Thurso
- Carrig Lios, Thurso
- The Shady Oak Inn, Taxal, Derbyshire
- The Ken Bridge Hotel, New Galloway
- The Cross Keys Hotel, New Galloway