What kind of adventure holiday should I go on? It’s a question we get asked a lot.
The mere mention of the words “adventure holiday” can cause knocking knees and boggled brains for many, especially if you’re dipping your toe in more exhilarating waters for the first time. Wondering whether you’re going to have to zipwire through a soaring forest to impress your other half or tackle rapids that are a little too white-water for your liking. Then, there are the sheer volume and variety of adventure holidays out there; having heaps of options is great, but it can also be completely overwhelming.
Getting away can take both a good chunk of your budget and a significant wodge of your annual holiday entitlement, so you want to get it right, right?
Having been on many adventure holidays – flying solo, as a couple, with friends, and now, with our young family – we can offer a few suggestions for the type of escapade you might enjoy on your next escape.
The Ever Wild Outdoors guide to choosing an adventure holiday is quite simple: if you like “A”, you might like “B”.
What kind of adventure holiday should I go on?
You like: Picnics at the water’s edge
You might like this: A boating holiday
Lazy days spent caught in the glint of sun on rippled water; a waterside retreat is hard to beat when the sky is cloudless and the picnic basket heaves with fresh goodies. Is this your idea of a blissful day? Then why not get on the water for a few days during your next holiday?
There are plenty of ways to do it. You could hire a canal boat and take the slow route through town and country. You could opt for kayaks or canoes, either packing camping equipment, arranging accommodation along your river route, or setting up camp in one spot and running day trips from there.
You don’t need experience as you can get tuition for your chosen mode of water transport. In terms of age, toddlers and up can be supervised in a canoe, kayaking is for older children and up, while narrow boat holidays can be enjoyed by all.
Check out the highlights of our River Wye canoe holiday to see if it might suit you.
You like: Walks in the woods
You might like this: A forest holiday
We’ve all been walking more in 2020 and 2021. A lot more. Chances are, if you didn’t already have one, you’ve discovered a new favourite walk within Britain’s glorious woodland. A place to clear your mind, a place to build dens, a place to see nature at work: there’s something for everyone during walks in the woods.
Build your next holiday around woodland walks and wake up to the sound of birdsong rather than your alarm. Forest holidays have been popular for years, though, as more of us reconnect with nature and take staycations in the UK, expect the trend to continue its growth.
Go it alone in a gloriously private self-catering cottage, lodge or cabin, or book a stay at one of the established woodland parks. Companies such as Center Parcs, Landal GreenParks and Forest Holidays offer a family-friendly package of activities and facilities in gorgeous woodland settings.
You like: Long hikes
You might like this: A trekking challenge
If you enjoy long countryside walks, consider adding a touch more adventure and book a walking holiday. There are many challenging hikes around the UK, from gentle coastal-path routes to heart-pumping mountain trails. Seeing somewhere by foot is not only peaceful and stimulating, but the sense of achievement can be huge.
Varying grades, distances and conditions all need to be considered, and you will need to plan accommodation in advance if camping isn’t your thing. Companies such as Ramblers Holidays offer guided walking tours.
This is probably a holiday best suited to older families, couples and solo travellers; I knew my young children couldn’t cover as many miles as I would like (not without being carried or me having to resort to bribes).
You like: A bike ride at the weekend
You might like this: A cycling adventure holiday
Cycling has also seen a boost during the pandemic, though a leisurely ride has long been a beloved way to spend a chunk of the weekend.
For young families, many holiday parks provide safe and traffic-free routes. Anyone with good cycling proficiency can tackle established cycling trails in the UK and abroad. Go it alone and book your accommodation in advance, camp along the way, or book a guided or self-guided cycling holiday with firms such as Exodus and Skedaddle.
You like: Sledging, skiing or snowboarding
You might like this: Cross-country skiing holidays
Obviously, skiing and snowboarding holidays are already chockful of adventure, luring adrenaline-seekers to the slopes. But take a sideways look at those mountains and you might see a new kind of adventure.
Many ski resorts offer well-marked cross-country trails of varying grades, with floodlit sections for the darkest days of winter. A little slower, but just as energy zapping, journeys on snowshoe allow you to appreciate the scenery a little more.
Explore the range of possibilities on websites such as Sno.
You like: Being active
You might like this: A multi-sport holiday
If the thought of a holiday makes you pine for your fitness fix, incorporate the two and go on a multi-sport holiday. Available in the UK and around the world, you could be canyoning one day and stand-up paddle boarding the next. Sea kayaking followed by mountain biking? A spot of yoga followed by an afternoon surf? Why not?
Book a stay at a purpose-built sports resort (we love Club La Santa in Lanzarote) or go independent and make use of local companies and their various sporting offerings. Don’t forget time in the spa (to relax those aching muscles, of course).
Check out websites such as Explore to be inspired.
You like: Spending time with animals
You might like this: Animal adventure holidays
Whether it’s horseback riding through the British countryside, dogsledding in the wilds of the frozen north, or safari holidays in Africa and Asia, you might miss your four-legged friends at home a little less when your holiday is packed with animal encounters.
More zoos and wildlife parks are opening on-site accommodate, both in the UK and overseas, so you don’t have to go far or for very long to have a unique animal experience. Whipsnade Zoo offers lodge accommodation alongside its rhino and deer enclosures, or you can sleep next to the lions at London Zoo. Go for glamping alongside the animals at Durrell Wildlife Camp in Jersey or look ahead and book a Safari Lodge at West Midlands Safari Park. I say look ahead, as their lodges are booked until November 2021!
You like: A comfortable bed
You might like this: Luxury adventure holidays
We get it, not everyone is up for a night on the ground, silently suffering as your supposed indestructible self-inflating mattress slowly sinks to the thickness of a digestive biscuit. At the conclusion of our River Wye canoe and camping trip, I insisted on a night in a nice hotel (it was a very nice hotel in fact, The Abbey in Malvern).
Luckily, adventure doesn’t have to equate to roughing it. Book a stay in a luxury hotel that offers a host of sporting facilities and options for adventure, or consider a cruise line that runs extra-adventurous excursions, such as dog sledding, white-water rafting and rock climbing. Many of the big ships have a brilliant selection of on-board facilities that will get your heart pumping too.
For a compromise between camping and a nice hotel, consider a glamping stay in the UK. Ready-made beds and wood burners (sometimes even hot tubs and a bottle of fizz) are some of the features that might lure you to one of Britain’s many glamping sites. Check some of them out on websites such as Glamping UK or Campsites.