Take to the skies and experience the freedom of flight as you soar like a bird. Whether you want to fly, jump or fall, there are endless opportunities for fun air activities scattered throughout the UK. Explore the skies in a microlight, feel the rush of acrobatic flying, the calm of paragliding or the sensation of skydiving.
Although you might associate air activities with doing loop-the-loops in a jet plane or skydiving from 10,000 feet, there are plenty of slow-paced scenic options too. You could take a hot air balloon ride as the sun rises over the countryside, or go gliding and watch the world pass by below. And what’s more, not all air activities require you to be up high – so if you’re not a fan of heights, then don’t panic. You could try out kite buggying or kite landboarding and enjoy zooming around on the safety of solid ground.
To help you get started, take a look at some of our top tips below to plan your perfect day out. From there, you can choose an activity and then all that’s left is to get going!
High octane or laidback day out?
This should be your first key decision. If you want a one-off activity that you’ll remember for the rest of your life, then you’re probably going to opt for an adrenaline-fuelled skydive or bungee jump. If you’re happy to go slow and steady, then consider a plane or hot air balloon ride – you’ll get the same great views without the fear and falling feeling!
What’s your budget?
This will largely go hand in hand with your answer to question one. Typically the more extreme the activity, the more it will set you back. This is because they usually involve training you up, insurance, equipment and a flight. If you’re looking for something a bit more budget friendly, kite boarding and other ground-based activities may be a good bet.
Do you like heights?
It sounds silly, but a lot of people sign themselves or a group up for air-based activities without thinking about whether they’ve got a stomach for heights. If you’re getting a group together, make sure that everyone is aware of what the activity involves and check whether they’ve done anything similar before. Group skydives or paragliding days are an incredible opportunity, and would be a great birthday or stag do surprise, but be weary that not everyone will be a daredevil like you. On which note, some activities also have physical restrictions such as height, weight or health limitations, so make sure to double check this when booking.
Watch the weather.
If you’re forking out for an air-based activity, you want the conditions to be just right. Consider whether it might be cloudy, raining, windy, cold, etc. to ensure that you get the most out of your day. Having said this, most organised air activities will keep tabs on the weather themselves and will have access to more accurate forecasts ahead of time. They will let you know in the days leading up to your activity whether it will be able to go ahead as planned.
So now you’ve got the basics under your belt, you can start thinking about what kind of activity you’d like to take on. We’ve divided up some popular activities by theme to help get the ball rolling.
For the thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies out there, these activities are designed to test your limits.
– Skydiving: Ascend to between 10,000ft and 16,000ft then jump out of a small airplane, followed by an exhilarating freefall and a relaxing parachute to the ground.
– Bungee jumping: After a quick safety briefing you’ll be invited to step up to the mark, secured to the bungee rope and then it’s up to you to take the leap.
– Acrobatic flying: Fly up, down and all around as you perform loop-the-loops, barrel rolls and tailspins – just go light on lunch before you take to the skies!
Not ready to take the death-defying leap from a plane but still want to see the skies and the world from above? Well these activities are the perfect balance and are guaranteed to still take your breath away.
– Paragliding: Run, walk or leap off the side of a hill, mountain or tall structure and then enjoy the relaxing ride as you are carried on upward drafts.
– Hang gliding: This air-based activity involves flying over the landscape in a non-motorized, foot-launchable aircraft with you and your pilot lying horizontally.
– Microlighting: Fly like you’ve never flown before in this tiny airplane with just you and the pilot as you soar in relative comfort.
Slow and steady
These activities will have you up in the clouds but in the safety and comfort of a piloted vehicle (or wicker basket!).
– Hot air balloon: Nothing says luxury like gliding over the landscape at dawn or dusk in a hot air balloon enjoying a glass of champagne or simply snapping photos of the world below.
– Sightseeing flight: Jump in a helicopter and take a ride over the city or countryside with a friend or companion and feel like a celebrity.
– Vintage plane flight: Climb aboard and experience a trip of pure nostalgia. Want a hands-on experience? Plenty of locations offer this, so just check when booking if it’s an option for you.
Keep your feet on solid ground
Want to feel the wind in your hair and fly along, but not prepared to do it 10,000 feet above the Earth? We don’t blame you – it’s not for everyone.
– Kite landboarding: Somewhere between kitesurfing and snowboarding, you tuck your feet into a board and zoom along over flat terrain, propelled by a kite. Once you’re well-practised, you can even try out jumps and flips.
– Kite buggies: Take a seat in one of these purpose-built, single-seater vehicles and get dragged along by the power of your kite as you fly along the beach.
– Indoor skydiving: Ok so your feet aren’t technically on the ground. But you get to experience the thrill of a skydive in a specially designed wind funnel, with the ability to stop and start whenever you like.
So get ready to run, jump, fly or fall. Find a location near you below.