Get out and about and keep the kids active with these cool activities, including horse riding and white water rafting.
Elemental UK, Falmouth
Coastwhatting? If you’re not familiar with this popular adventure sport, think climbing, caving, jumping and swimming all rolled into one. Starting from Swanpool Beach – a quiet bay, just minutes from Falmouth’s town centre – a guide will help you navigate your way around the gullies, cliffs and coves of Cornwall’s more sheltered southern coastline.
All equipment is provided and trips can be tailored to suit the needs of each member of the family, so that children as young as five can join in with this extreme kind of rockpooling!
St Ives Surf School
SUP stands for Stand Up Paddleboarding and this surfing/kayaking crossover is where it’s at in the world of watersports right now. The dudes at the family-friendly surf school will teach you the basics on the beach at Porthminster before leading you off to explore St Ives Bay.
Burley-Villa School of Riding, New Forest
Hit the trail on a Wild West-style trek through England’s smallest National Park. After a short introductory lesson head out along quiet forest tracks, looking out for wild New Forest ponies along the way. Western riding is a relaxed and easy style suitable for families with cowboys and girls aged 12 plus.
Cardiff International White Water
Just imagine, 80 bathtubs of water per second are pumped down the 250 metre, purpose-built course in Cardiff Bay’s International Sports Village. Ride the rapids in large, inflatable rafts which hold up to six family members, including children aged six and over. After being kitted out with all the gear and given a safety briefing, you’re good to go – but don’t worry, a qualified instructor accompanies you every wave of the way. You can also try riverboarding, kayaking and hotdogging. Gallons of fun!
Go Zorbing, London
Hurtling downhill inside a giant plastic ball like a high-speed human hamster – what’s not to love? This is the UK’s largest zorbing park and offers family parties a mix of original ‘harness zorbing’ (where two people, aged 11 and over, tumble head-over-heels down a grass slope) and ‘hydro zorbing’ (where the sphere is partially filled with water so that riders, aged seven and up, slip and slide around inside on their way down the track). Whichever way you roll, you’re guaranteed to have a ball.
Dartington Estate, Devon
From their base at the beautiful Dartington Estate in South Devon, WildWise offers a range of bushcraft experiences for all the family. Together you will learn essential skills – such as firemaking, shelter building and woodcraft – to help you survive and thrive in the great outdoors. Other exciting events include wild nights out and ‘dangerous’ weekends.
Bath Two Tunnels Circuit
A family bike ride is a must-do activity for any energetic household. This easy, 13-mile round trip follows the Kennet and Avon Canal out of the city before passing the impressive Dundas Aqueduct and heading back to beautiful Bath. En route, it travels through the Devonshire and Combe Down tunnels. At just over a mile the latter is the longest bike tunnel in the country and, complete with sound and light installations, it’s a truly exhilarating cycling experience – even for hard-to-impress teenagers.
Gnoll Estate Country Park, Neath
Fancy playing a round of the UK’s fastest-growing game? Footgolf combines the best of both sports with the aim of getting a football into the (bigger than normal) hole in the fewest number of kicks. Gnoll has a short, nine-hole course set among 240 acres of woodland and landscaped gardens, which were once awarded the title of ‘best picnic spot in Wales’. Traditional golfing garb is very much de rigueur on the greens (footy strips are frowned upon) and there’s a strict ‘shirts on’ policy. So no Giggs-style celebrations if you score a goal in one.
Radipole Lake, Weymouth
This family-friendly reserve, managed by the RSPB, offers firm paths that are suitable for wheelchairs and buggies, organised events such as pond dipping and bug hunts, and binoculars and backpacks for the kids to borrow. Afterwards you can chill out back at the café with a cuppa and a slice of Dorset apple cake. Heaven.
Jubilee Pool, Penzance
Jubilee Pool was built in 1935 to celebrate King George V’s silver jubilee, but was forced to close in 2014 due to storm damage. Last year, after a £3m makeover restored it to its former art deco glory, it was reopened by George’s great-grandson, Prince Charles. Swim in the triangular main pool or watch the little ones splashing around in the smaller bathing pool. Swimmers will soon be able to enjoy a section of the pool heated by geothermal energy – a first of its kind in this country.