Best Summer Activities In The UK

August 14, 2017

There’s nothing like getting your blood pumping whilst you’re out and about with friends and family. Whatever the time of year, it’s great to get outside.

But some sports you just don’t want to be shivering and shaking your way through.

So seize what’s left of the all-too-brief British summer and give one of these activities a go before the temperatures start to drop!

Here’s our guide to the best summer activities in the UK

Paddle your way through towns & cities

Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) has become somewhat of a phenomenon, and once you try it you’ll see why.

It is, as the name suggests, paddling on a long-board whilst in a standing position, and is a great workout for your core and arms. It’s popular in the Norfolk Broads and other inland waterways throughout the UK.

Of course SUP’ing can be done all year round, but it is more enjoyable when taking a dip would be a welcome relief from the heat, rather than a heart-stopping, icy plunge.

Stand-up paddleboarding is perfect for travelling on lakes, rivers and other inland waterways, and can also be used for surfing.

It is popular up and down the length of the River Thames, with perfectly calm conditions in the Surrey area in between locks.

But for something a bit different, try SUP’ing in the city. With Canary Wharf on one side and The O2 on the other, you can try out SUP runs right in the heart of London and get to see the city in a whole new light.

The coasts of Britain provide some fantastic SUP waters, but new paddlers are advised not to embark on any coastal cruise without adequate ability and training.

Get your surf on in Cornwall

Even on the hottest of days the water can be chilly, but surfing and swimming in Cornwall is a whole lot more enjoyable during the summer months.

This part of the UK has a unique and magical coastline with over 400 sandy beaches, perfect for getting active.

Penhale Sands is a great surfing beach

Penhale Sands is a great surfing beach, 5 miles south of Newquay

Don a wetsuit, or brave it without, and head out into the swells. Surfing in Cornwall offers waves to suit all abilities, and lessons are relatively inexpensive – starting at £20 per hour.

Newquay beach is another favourite with surfers

Newquay beach is another favourite with surfers

If you’re new to the sport, a long foam board will help you keep your balance as you pop up and let’s you ride whitewater/broken waves the whole way into shore.

There are also number of surf competitions held in the area throughout the summer where you can catch the pros in action.

Wake up and wakeboard (or waterski)

Watersports are not just for the coast and rivers.

Why not try out a cable tow this summer? This is where a line is set up that runs around the perimeter of a lake, with the skier’s rope and handle being pulled by an electrically-driven cable, rather than a motorboat.

It doesn’t matter whether you want to waterski, wakeboard or kneeboard, you can choose when you get there, and can even change part way through your session.

The benefit of going on a cable rather than behind a boat is that your entire group can be out on the water at the same time, each at a different point on the course.

Wakeboarding from a cable

Wakeboarding from a cable

Milton Keynes offers one of the UK’s largest cable tows and has its very own rail park, alongside some smaller lakes.

If you’d prefer to have some one-on-one sessions behind a boat, there are a number of boating lakes just outside London, some of which also have floating obstacle courses.

Doing it in the summer means you won’t mind falling off as much, and you may even catch a tan in the process!

Pack your compass and head to the Thames Valley

Geared in equal measure towards being a mental and physical challenge, orienteering can take quite a few hours from start to finish. As a result, it’s much more enjoyable when the weather is a bit warmer.

It doesn’t matter how old or fit you are, as you can run, jog or walk the course at your own pace.

Hughenden, Buckinghamshire, is home to a number events with courses suitable for all levels. The easiest is simple to follow, perfect for families with children, and has regular control points.

Orienteering in Buckinghamshire

The most challenging route is physically and mentally demanding – think professional-runner fitness and military-level map skills. So choose your course, find some team mates, and get out there.

Take the leap in Snowdonia

Got a head for heights? Snowdonia National Park in Wales offers the UK’s favourite high-ropes course and the world’s fastest zip wire.

The zip wire in Snowdonia

The zip wire in Snowdonia

This fantastic experience is a unique gift for an extreme sports enthusiast, or anyone looking for a bird’s eye view of the Snowdonia National Park.

As well as riding the longest zip line in Europe Participants have to navigate a course of bridges, platforms, cables and swings in the treetops whilst securely attached to a wire.

With a number of elements at different heights, the challenge level can be increased or varied as required. This is the perfect activity for team-building, a family day out, or just a personal challenge.

For Londoners looking for something a little closer to home, there are also a number of sites in and around the city.

Be warned – a lot of high ropes courses and zip wires will close during the winter months due to an increased level of risk with the arrival of ice and frost – so go now!

Bikepack Scotland Coast to Coast

Bikepacking is relatively new on the scene of outdoor sports.

It involves packing the bare essentials (kit, food and camping gear) and heading out on a multi-day bike tour, mainly on dirt roads or singletrack trails.

The appeal? Getting the best of both worlds, and being able to reach remote areas and savour the wilderness as you relax away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Take on the Scottish Coast to Coast – an off-road traverse from Skye/Fort William to Montrose, covering 270 miles over five days.

Once you’ve mastered the concept (and how to pack exceptionally lightly), you can expand your horizons and take on some of the UK’s finest singletrack routes.

Dive for cover

Paintball and airsoft are the perfect activities for those who are highly competitive and love team sports.

Using a special gun that fires pellets of paint or BB pellets, you need to have good aim and be agile enough to duck and dive if you want to be in with a chance of winning.

If your hands are frozen, the chances of you firing the winning shot are reduced, which is why this is a popular choice as a  summer activity. It’s a lot more fun in the summer!

There are multiple paintball parks throughout the UK, many with many variations in the type of arena.

You can take part in realistic battlegrounds and dramatic scenarios that range from Call of Duty and Urban Warfare to Tank Convoy and Air Assault.

Equipment provided is cutting edge and a series of games can last anything from a couple of hours up to a whole day.

Bournemouth Echo


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