From water sports on the UK’s rivers and along its coasts to land based adventure sports that often take in some of the UK’s most beautiful, and often rugged, terrain the UK is a extreme sport’s enthusiasts dream; in Scotland there is even regular snow in winter.
A lot of people may say that health and safety in the UK has gone mad but when it comes to adventure sports you will be pleased to know that the UK has some of the best and safest action sport centres and instructors in the world to keep you safe while you enjoy yourself.
With all these activities we recommend taking instruction, especially if you are a beginner; local experts can also help you find the best spots whether you are rock climbing, caving or skiing.
Rock Climbing in Devon
There are plenty of rock climbing areas in the UK but Devon has a good choice of different rock climbing experiences.
For a start there are some fantastic sea-cliff climbing spots with cliffs at different difficulty levels including some with a great choice of routes to make things interesting.
Then there are some classic climbs in various places across Dartmoor, many on the granite tors each offering views across the surrounding countryside. With some sheer granite cliffs as well as suitable climbs and bouldering opportunities for novices Dartmoor is a great choice for groups of rock climbers at different abilities.
Windsurfing at Eastbourne, Sussex
There are some great windsurfing spots along the south coast of England and the wind whips up the channel but Eastbourne is an especially good spot plus Spray Watersports is one of the UK’s top watersports centres.
If you want to head out on your own then a lot of local windsurfers head off from the cliffs to the west of the town; you can also use the facilities at Spray Watersports though and if you don’t need a lesson pay a small fee for use of their car park, changing rooms and showers as well as having their boats keep an eye on you and rescue you if needed, Spray can also offer equipment rentals.
Eastbourne though is a relatively safe place to windsurf from with no strong currents or riptides that could get you into trouble. For beginners and those wishing to develop more advanced techniques lessons are also available at Spray Watersports who may start beginners off on the lake located a short distance back from the shore.
Caving at Cheddar, Somerset
Among the most famous caves in the world Cheddar is visited by thousands of tourists each year but most only go into the large caverns close to the edge of the gorge. The network of caves goes much deeper though and to reach many caves it is necessary to fit through some very small gaps.
Not for those who are claustrophobic, caving can actually be a very physical sport so you need to be fit and flexible. At time you may be surprised at how small the holes you can fit through are but the hidden caverns are well worth the effort. Book a caving expedition with the qualified instructors or Cheddar Climbing and Caving or another fully qualified caving leader.
Skiing on Glencoe Mountain, Scotland
Most of the UK’s Skiing destinations are unreliable but Mount Glencoe sees good amounts of snow almost every year and has one of Scotland’s most developed ski resorts.
Glencoe has 7 lifts for skiers and snowboarders and ski schools with fully qualified instructors. There are also restaurants and cafes at the bottom of the piste and at stages up the mountain.
Don’t think because this is the UK the Ski runs will necessarily be tame, there is a good choice of runs for novices through to the most experienced skiers and day and season passes are available to buy in advance.
Surfing at Perranporth, Cornwall
Most tourists go to Newquay on the North Cornwall coast but the experienced local surfers head to less crowded beaches along the coast of which Perranporth is among the very best. In summer it can still get fairly busy but this means, crucially, there is a lifeguard during the summer (5th of May to 30th of September). There is a large car park at the top of the gently sloping cliffs above the beach that are easily to get down with your equipment.
If you don’t have your own equipment though you can hire it from Perranporth Surf School as well as booking some lessons if you are a beginner.
Mountaineering in the Cairngorm National Park, Scottish Highlands
Snowdon is probably the UK’s most climbed mountain but many people do so by train, there’s even a café at the top. Cairngorm in Scotland though is much more isolated and really gives you a chance to get away from it all and everyone apart from your party.
Cairngorm’s terrain is tough and you should make sure you have an experienced mountaineer with you whatever time of the year and outside of the summer should ideally have a qualified Mountain leader with you.
The top of the mountain will regularly cover with snow in winter and with the steep and rocky terrain you will find this a real challenge whatever time of year you go but the views and peace and tranquillity of the area is worth the hard work.
Abseiling at Ogwen Valley, Snowdonia
Abseiling may seem like climbing in reverse but though the two go together abseiling down a cliff is in itself an exhilarating experience and one almost anyone can try out.
You don’t need to be a climber to abseil all you need is a head for heights as you lower yourself down cliffs within the beautiful Snowdonia National Park, its up to you to choose how fast.
Land Yachting on Greatstone Beach, Kent – Close to the border with Sussex the stretch of sandy beaches by Romney Marsh are ideal for land yachting: flat, wide, long and with no obstacles.
Kirrawee land yachts provide these sailing boats on wheels for hire as well as lessons. A day with a long shore breeze is ideal but Greatstone has plenty of space to tack if needed.
Bungee Jumping at Bray Lake near Windsor
One of only two 300ft plus bungee jumps in the UK it is a quick trip from London to get to Bray Lake where you will be bungee jumping over water.
It may be over quite fast but those who have done it say it is the experience of a lifetime and tandem jumps are available to share the moment with a loved one.
Kayaking along the River Dart, Devon – For an extreme sport kayaking on the River Dart in Devon can seem very tranquil at times but white water is never far away as you kayak past a mixture or moorland and ancient forests and tumble over the granite boulders strewned along the way. The River Dart is one of the few rivers in the UK where you can paddle for free without seeking anyone’s permission but you can hire one and two person kayaks from a number of centres: including the river dart country park who provide guided tours and lessons as well.
These are just a few of the action sports available in the UK at only a handful of the places where they can be enjoyed. Most of these sports have a national association so have a search online to find out more and find a centre close to you or your holiday destination.