Outdoor Activities in the UK

May 19, 2017

By Matt Cook

Outdoor activities nowadays are about more than just the usual picnic boxes and football kick around.

With the wide-range of options available, a fantastic country to explore, and ever-more exciting activities being dreamed up every day; there really is something for everyone to enjoy.

Take a look at some of the best outdoor activities in the UK and Europe to try this summer!

 

SUP – Stand Up Paddleboarding

Stand Up Paddleboarding

Stand Up Paddleboarding

Have you ever wished you could master the waves but find surfing hard to handle?

If so, stand up paddleboarding is the perfect alternative for you!

Using a 12ft longboard designed to offer maximum stability, and a long-bladed paddle for propulsion, you can stand up easily and get to grips with basic movements easily.

The paddle offers you the safety you need to learn how to balance your body and soon enough you will be able to enjoy boarding all sorts of waters, lakes and coastlines, rivers and ponds.

The SUPs are a fantastic way to explore waterways away from the waves, offering a great core workout or a relaxed journey.

SUP is growing in popularity and offers something for everyone.

Why do we like it?

  • Great exercise and targeted core workout
  • Fun for all ages
  • Builds confidence for future wave ventures
  • A great

Best For:

  • Families
  • Future surfers
  • Watersports enthusiasts

Best UK Spots:

  • Cornwall
  • Falmouth
  • Causeway Coast
  • Northern Ireland

Best Spots in Europe

  • Amsterdam (Netherlands)
  • Lisbon Coast (Portugal)
  • Sardinia (Italy)
  • Venice (Italy)

Coasteering

Coasteering

Coasteering

Coasteering is more of a blend of several activities – and that is its charm.

Coasteering involves passing along a rocky coastline without using any type of vessel or craft – just your hands and feet!

Some spots require swimming in shallow water, conquering waves, others a bit of climbing, jumping, scrambling and rock-pooling. You have to employ all your physical and mental skills to find your way through nature’s obstacles!

Coasteering’s appeal stems from its diverse terrain: a war zone between land and ocean.

Where water has sculpted caves, bold cliffs and coarse rocks and gullies. Naturally, there are several routes to choose from, depending on your experience and physical condition, the destination and time of year.

Naturally, there are several routes to choose from, depending on your experience and physical condition, the destination and time of year.

An adrenaline rush, stunning views of the ocean stretching beyond the horizon and great fun – you will love it!

Why do we like it?

  • Adventurous
  • Combines mental strength and physical stamina
  • Can be tailored to different levels of ability
  • A unique experience exploring the coastline

Best For:

  • Those in good shape
  • Adrenaline addicts
  • Geology buffs

Best UK Spots:

  • Pembrokeshire
  • Wales
  • Newquay
  • Cornwall
  • Newcastle in County Down

Best Spots in Europe

  • Sagres (Algarve, Portugal)
  • French Alps

Geocaching

Geocaching

Geocaching

One of the most family-friendly outdoor activities, Geocaching makes a treasure-hunter out of anyone!

Using a GPS receiver or mobile device, several navigational techniques and all your cunningness and innate survival instincts, you must hide and seek certain containers called ‘geocaches’ (or simply ‘caches’) at specific locations marked by coordinates posted on the Internet.

It is much more challenging than it may seem at first.

To spot a cache, teams must perform a series of tasks, which are built into the geocaching app used by the players’ mobile devices.

As soon as your team finds the ‘treasure’, you must note the date and sign it, thus proving your success.

In the meantime, you enjoy the landscape’s beguiling beauty, marvel at the views, enjoy hiking and climbing, as well as the company of your family and friends.

Geocaching requires skill and team-spirit, as only with the help of your team will you be able to solve all problems and overcome the game’s challenges.

Geocaching is very popular among families and team-building groups as a cheap way to bring people together and enjoy the outdoors.

It’s well worth a go!

Why do we like it?

  • Intriguing
  • Ideal for building relationships
  • Mentally stimulating
  • Great for getting out exploring an area

Best For:

  • People of all ages
  • Families
  • Couples

Best UK Spots:

  • Brighton Beach and Black Rock
  • London
  • Somewhere near you

Best Spots in Europe:

  • Bray Head (County Wicklow, Ireland
  • Areios Pagos (Areopagus, Greece)
  • Colosseum (Rome, Italy)
  • Ephesus (Turkey)

Skydiving

Skydiving

Skydiving

Do you find life on earth a bit boring? How about hitting the clouds for a change?

Jumping off a speeding plane a few hundred kilometres above ground can be the most mind-blowing, rejuvenating experience of your life!

It’s not just about hurling down the earth with eyes and hands wide open; skydiving for the experienced allows you to dance through the winds, to turn and twist, manoeuvring your body to control your descent!

Then finally, you deploy your parachute and slowly fall to earth, while taking some last mental snapshots of the captivating scenery. Magical moments, never to be forgotten!

You can jump either by yourself or, even better, with a group of fellow adrenaline junkies, either solo or attached to a seasoned instructor who will make sure your jump goes as smoothly as you’d hope it would.

Perfect excuse to do something good for charity too!

Why do we like it?

  • Jaw-dropping, adrenaline-charged experience
  • You will never feel more alive in your life!

Best For:

  • Adrenaline junkies
  • Anyone looking for a unique and unforgettable experience
  • Charity fundraisers

Best UK Spots:

  • Various locations around the UK

Best Spots in Europe:

  • Interlaken (Switzerland)
  • Empuriabrava (Spain)
  • Siofok (Hungary)

Segway Driving

Segway

Segway

Let’s turn to something a bit more relaxing, and lots of fun!

Segway driving can take you and your friends anywhere, from city tours to picturesque villages, for an exhilarating ride to a beautiful coastal road, to some more challenging off-road tracks.

You probably know already what a Segway is: this eco-friendly 2-wheel vehicle is mastered by balancing and distributing your body’s own weight. Segways are designed for maximum safety and are easy to handle and steer.

Segways are just perfect for relaxing sightseeing and family getaways with a twist!

They take a bit of getting used to, but once you do they’re easy to control and a great way to explore a city!

Why do we like it?

  • Fun both on and off road
  • A unique way to explore a city
  • New technology

Best For:

  • Family adventures
  • Couples
  • Travellers
  • Those who like to explore but find walking hard

Best UK Spots:

  • Bristol
  • Cornwall
  • Essex
  • Devon
  • Cardiff

Best Spots in Europe:

  • Berlin
  • Munich
  • Vienna
  • Prague
  • Budapest

Canyoning/Gorge Walking

Canyoning

Canyoning

Canyoning is another example of several outdoor activities zipped in one and wrapped up in majestic natural scenery!

Your goal is to pass through a canyon using any possible technique to overcome its physical barriers, including scrambling, climbing, jumping, abseiling and, sometimes swimming!

Set in one of the earth’s prehistoric sculptures, surrounded by dense forests, bold rock formations, refreshing streams and rivers; canyoning offers you the chance to enjoy nature at its best while testing your physical strength and having fun with your companions.

It’s one of a select few activities that are more fun when it rains! It’s an experience you won’t forget even though you won’t be taking the camera!

Why do we like it?

  • Numerous outdoor activities wrapped in nature’s captivating cloak
  • Adventurous and challenging
  • A unique experience

Best For:

  • Children and grown-ups alike (depending on the chosen route) provided you are relatively fit
  • Outdoor enthusiasts
  • Nature lovers

Best UK Spots:

  • Fort William (Scotland)
  • Brecon Beacons (Wales)
  • Esk Ghyll (Cumbria)

Best Spots in Europe:

  • Peneda-Geres National Park (Portugal)
  • Málaga (Andalucía, Spain)
  • Nice (France)
  • Mount Olympus and Kissavos (Greece)

Caving

Caving

Caving

Surely not for the claustrophobic, caving will take you down to earth’s hidden beauties, through underground passages, imposing rocky chambers, and waterways.

Caving is undoubtedly a challenging activity, demanding stamina, good physical condition, and the ability to keep calm when things become a little… shall we say…tight!

Some can think of nothing more exciting, others nothing scarier.

Pick your companions and an experienced guide, check your gear and start exploring wild cave systems, and eerie environments. There is usually scarcely any light a few metres past the entrance.

Of course, geology and speleology enthusiasts will find it a fascinating experience, with natural formations abounding.

Caving demands caution and guidance by 1 or even 2 people who know the route and can guide you around safely. If you have a seasoned guide with you and proper gear, there really is nothing to worry about.

You can then just enjoy the journey!

Why do we like it?

  • Mysterious
  • Exciting and unique
  • Explore a completely different World!

Best For:

  • Geology enthusiasts
  • Adventurers
  • The fit and able

Best UK Spots:

  • Wookey Hole Caves (Somerset)
  • Underground Hospital (Dover)
  • Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker (Essex)
  • Ogof Ffynnon Ddu (Cave of the Black Spring – Swansea Valley)
  • The Three Counties System (Cumbria, Lancashire and North Yorkshire)
  • Peak Cavern (Derbyshire)
  • Churchill War Rooms (London)
  • Brighton sewers (East Sussex)

Best Spots in Europe:

  • Gouffre Berger (France)
  • Hölloch Caverns (Switzerland)

Hydrospeeding

Hydrospeeding

Hydrospeeding

Hydrospeeding is a type of solo white-water body rafting, famed for lots of fun and action!

Lying prone on a finned board and using just your feet for propulsion and steering, you hurl down the turbulent waters of a spring stream or river. Being alone on the board, you can perform spins and tricks and stunts you could never try in conventional rafting.

Naturally, you must wear a full body wetsuit and other protective gear and the help of an experienced guide.

There is little chance to make it to the end of the river without falling off a few times…but you’re already wet so just hold on!

Why do we like it?

  • Solo white-water rafting
  • A unique experience and an exhilarating ride
  • Different every time

Best for:

  • Watersports enthusiasts
  • Couples
  • Experienced rafters that wish to take themselves to the next level.

Best UK Spots:

Best Spots in Europe:

  • Soca River (Bovec, Slovenia)
  • Morzine-Avoriaz (French Alps)

Paragliding

Paragliding

Paragliding

We close with our favourite.

Most would include it a ‘best extreme sports’ article, but nowadays paragliders have become safer than aeroplanes themselves!

A paraglider weighs a little less than 20kg, is assembled within a few minutes, and takes you up at 5.000 metres above ground, on a journey that could easily cover a distance of almost 300 kilometres!

Boarding your foot-launched glider aircraft, harnessed just below your robust wings, you can feel the air pushing you up and the aerodynamic forces flowing over you.

What is best in paragliding is not the realisation of how strong the invisible wind is; but the feeling that you can actually tame it, make it your friend and ally, and use it to marvel at the landscapes below for so long.

The endless skies, the high mountains and the serene lakes. It a magnificent and highly addictive experience.

Despite the absence of an engine, paragliding can last for several hours and cover great distances – something, of course, that requires skill and plenty of experience.

Why do we like it?

  • Nothing can get you closer to genuine flying
  • A fantastic viewpoint

Best For:

  • Experienced pilots with good navigation skills
  • Individuals wanting to experience engine-less flight

Best UK Spots:

  • Sussex
  • Yorkshire Dales
  • South Wales

Best Spots in Europe:

  • Wengen, Canton of Bern (Switzerland)
  • Castelluccio, Umbria (Italy)
  • French Alps

 

Summary

Outdoor activities are created faster than we could ever imagine, making our lives all the more interesting and our weekends even more exciting and adventurous.

Why don’t you try something different this month?

Take your family and a few friends, pick one outdoor activity from our list and have an unforgettable adventure!