Our Top 10 Adventure Activities to Do in the UK
You could spend years travelling around the UK embarking on different adventures. For a relatively small country, there is a huge range of activities on offer. Activities that can be enjoyed by different age groups and skill sets. Within Great Britain, each country has a unique collection of landscapes that open the door to a vast array of adventure activities to do in the UK.
The British Isles is dominated by a craggy and weaving coastline. This creates multiple niches for marine and coastal sports to dominate the outdoor scene. There are also many hills and mountain ranges throughout the UK which, although not enormous, are still exciting places to explore. As an introduction to this wild island, here are some of the top adventure activities to do in the UK.
It’s perhaps unsurprising that hiking takes the top spot on this list given its widespread appeal and influence over the British public. Almost everyone has a favourite walking area or mountain that they enjoy hiking. In Scotland, you will find clusters of big fells and swathes of remote moors in the Cairngorms. England has picture-perfect countryside in the South Downs and appetising rolling hills in the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales. If you want to scale some serious peaks, check out Snowdonia in Wales or the classically English Lake District.
Surfing is one of the best adventure activities to do in the UK. For the most part, it’s a sport made for the summer months. However, serious surfers can catch the frigid winter swells in northern Scotland. Cornwall and Devon generally offer the best surfing in England, but the most popular beaches are overcrowded. For a bit more peace, head to the Gower Peninsula or the Pembrokeshire Coast in Wales.
This is a rather unusual sport but one that is perfectly qualified for exploring the 7,723 miles of coastline that wraps around mainland Great Britain. Sea kayaking is one of the top adventure activities to do in the UK because it combines the skills of regular kayaking with wildlife watching and other sports such as fishing. Sea kayaking is popular along England’s Jurassic Coast and southwestern counties, around Skomer & Pembrokeshire in Wales, and throughout the west coast of Scotland.
This is another adventure activity that makes the best use of British landscapes. Coasteering allows you to traverse a challenging and hard-to-access area of the country. By mixing climbing techniques with wild swimming and scrambling, you can see the cliffs, beaches, and seaside of Britain up close. St Davids is the home of coasteering in Britain, but the North Antrim Coast in Northern Ireland and the scenic headlands in Cornwall are also excellent locations.
Fish & chips, smoked kippers, Dungeness crab, and oysters are all iconic British dishes. As with all water-based adventure activities to do in the UK, they’re made possible due to the rich waters around this island. In Scotland, you can go boat fishing for mackerel and sea bass. Shipwrecks in the Solent and North Sea can be deep sea fished for conger eel and pollock. You can fly fish for brown trout in Hampshire or salmon in Scotland. Not to mention all the freshwater rivers and lakes that are prime places for coarse fishing in the UK.
The UK has some geological hotspots where subterranean caverns can form. Some of these caves are hidden amongst the nooks and crannies of the Peak District or Yorkshire Dales where bold adventurers search for secluded tunnels and caverns. There are also caves in Snowdonia, and Somerset is littered with underground caverns such as the Avon Gorge, Wookey Hole, and Cheddar Gorge.
There is a fantastic range of cycling options in the UK. You can opt for urban bike tours around the cities of London, Bristol, and Liverpool. You could pedal to Richmond Park or Hyde Park on a summer’s day. Alternatively, there are longer cycling routes through the stone villages of the Cotswolds and there’s even the long distance Land’s End to John O’ Groats route that stretches from the top to the bottom of the UK!
Wild swimming is a truly thrilling experience and one of the best adventure activities to do in the UK. It’s possible to swim in freshwater rivers and lakes such as the Fairy Pools in the Isle of Skye, the Hampstead Heath pleasure lake, and Llyn y Fan Fach in the Brecon Beacons. However, most wild swimmers head to the sea for their exploits. The Blue Lagoon in Pembrokeshire, endless Cornish coves, and the NC500 in Scotland all have fantastic wild swimming spots.
Rock climbing is one of the coolest adventure activities to do in the UK. Bouldering and sea stack climbing are something of a speciality in this country. The gritstone geomorphology of the Peak District National Park is especially popular with bouldering fanatics and beginner climbers. For cliff climbing, head to the Isle of Anglesey, Pembrokeshire, or the Old Man of Hoy in Scotland.
The UK is surrounded by sandy bays and shallow beaches that create perfect conditions for windsurfing. This sport is particularly popular along the south coast of England in places like Poole Harbour, Hayling Island, Weymouth, and the Witterings. For bigger waves, head to Rhosneigr in Wales. For cold water windsurfing in high winds, head to Tiree in Scotland to try one of the top adventure activities to do in the UK.
Clearly, there are countless adventure activities to do in the UK. Even if you chose one activity for every season, you would probably still find new adventures for years to come. It’s this diversity that makes Britain such a fantastic place for outdoor experiences. If one adventure spot becomes overpopulated or the sport goes out of season, you can always move on to another activity in a different area. That’s an exciting prospect and a key factor that makes the UK an island of adventure.