They might take our holidays abroad, but they can never take our UK adventure weekends (we hope!)
The government can’t seem to decide what’s going on with our 2021 holiday. It feels like the safest bet is to focus on the UK for now, and if the rest of the world opens up, then great, if not, then we haven’t lost anything.
Don’t despair – there’s a lot you can do in the UK this year.
All of these UK adventure weekend ideas will take 2-4 days, depending on where you live. I’ve tried to find a good range all over the UK, so from Southsea to Inverness, there’s something for us all.
The government has just announced UK mini breaks will be BACK in April – yay!
Wales adventure weekends
For adventure holidays UK style, how about a weekend in Wales? The Welsh coast is stunning, there are interesting towns and villages, and with all those wondrous hills – why not?!
1. Climb Snowdonia & explore North Wales
Snowdonia is one of the most popular spots in all of Wales, but once you’ve climbed that (really doesn’t take that long) then where else can you go?
Check out this little map I’ve made of the highlights of Northern Wales for your UK adventures. You could definitely see Snowdonia, Ogwen Valley, the Pen y Pass, Holy Island and Dinorwic Quarry Llamberis on an adventure weekend in Wales.
2. Adventure on the Gower Peninsula
The Gower Peninsula is absolutely beautiful – it was the UK’s first Area of Natural Beauty in fact (AONB). The Gower Peninsula makes for the perfect adventure weekend if you like swimming, surfing, sup-ing and trail running.
Rhossili is one of the locals’ favourite places to walk. Wander over to Worms Head at low tide, and explore the shipwrecks and the coves. There’s some good climbing there too.
If you want to surf, then head to Llangennith Beach. Three Cliffs Bay is also beautiful, and pretty much any beach along that stretch to be honest. On your way into the Gower Peninsula stop in Mumbles for some of the best ice cream as well too at Verdi’s!
Handy map of the best spots on the Gower Peninsula for you here.
3. Mountain biking in South Wales
If you’re looking for adventures Wales has a lot to offer. Mountain bikers will love the mountains of South Wales – there are 3 awesome trail centres: Cwmcarn, Afan, and Bike Park Wales.
It’s easy to hire at bike on each centre if you don’t have one.
Pick up some headbands and face masks from Hoorag to protect your face from the elements, and other people.
4. Adventure in Pembrokeshire
Pembrokeshire is beautiful for a UK adventure weekend. The Bosherston Lily Ponds, Broad Haven, the Freshwater West Beaches and Tenby are the perfect spots to explore. And you can wander the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park for stunning views too.
Pembrokeshire is honestly stunning, with lots of climbing, coasteering and kayaking opportunities for your UK weekend adventure.
Here’s a Pembrokeshire map with the top spots for you.
5. Soft adventure in Cardiff
You don’t have to be in the water, in the sky or walking the coast for a UK adventure weekend – how about exploring Wales’ capital Cardiff?
Of course the city has all the delights and bright lights that draw anyone in to any city, anywhere, but it’s also full of character and the friendly Welsh vibes.
Castell Coch is a lovely spot for a look around here, and the Roman ruins at Caerleon are cool to walk, as well as Big Pit a little further north. Here you can learn more about Wales’ mining past.
6. Adventure in the Brecon Beacons
Pen y Fan is the highest peak in south Wales, situated in the Brecon Beacons National Park. There are four ways to climb up Pen y Fan, depending on how much you want to exert yourself.
Located in the famous Brecon Beacons National Park, there’s a lot to do around here on one of your UK adventure weekends.
Llyn y Fan Fach and Llyn y Fan Fawr are two lakes in the Beacons well worth a walk around. Some say Fach is the most beautiful in the country but I’ll leave that up to you to decide. Go and you can learn more about the Legend of the Lady of the Lake and the Physicians of Myddfai.
There are also a few characterful market towns, an active canal and some impressive castles too. Beautiful walks are filled with lots of stunning waterfalls and cool old mines. There’s also plenty of opportunity for swimming and climbing, including walking behind waterfalls!
A great spot for adventures in the UK this summer.
Scotland adventure weekends
Scotland is a great place for some weekend adventure in the UK. I’m planning on spending a lot of time here this year – so much to do!
7. Explore the Isle of Mull
The Isle of Mull in Scotland is well known as being one of the best spots for adventure holidays the UK has to offer. Book in a weekend on this Inner Hebridean island and you can expect to see great wildlife including whales, puffins, dolphins and sea eagles.
Just so you know, Entrapment, Highlander, End Game and parts of Harry Potter were all filmed on the Isle of Mull.
Make the most of your UK adventure weekend and go on a voyage to Staffa, take a canoe or paddleboard out at Calgary Bay and climb up Ben More Munro at over 3,000ft (914m). Duart Castle and the distilleries are also well worth a visit.
8. Road trip the North Coast 500
The North Coast 500 is one of the most popular UK adventures – tourists love to rent a campervan for a week or two to explore northern Scotland’s coast.
The route is actually 516 miles and starts and ends at Inverness Castle. You’ll weave along the west coast to Applecross and then northwards towards the towns of Torridon and Ullapool. From there, you’ll venture to some of the most northerly coastal points in Scotland, passing by Caithness and John o’ Groats before heading south again through Dingwall and finally back to Inverness.
You might not be able to do it all in a weekend, but you can see some glorious views in just three days.
“Never-ending back roads, wide meandering country tracks and beautiful bends through some of Scotland’s finest coastal scenery are just a few things you can expect along the North Coast 500. Strap yourself in for the road trip of a lifetime.”– VISIT SCOTLAND
9. Climb the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh
If you want your UK weekend adventure a little closer to a city then check out the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh.
Just an hour away from Scotland’s capital city, there are beaches, reservoirs and waterfalls waiting for you in this Regional Park. You can climb up in less than two hours, especially for the incredible views of the wider Edinburgh area.
A great countryside adventure to combine with an Edinburgh weekend.
10. Hiking in the Outer Hebrides
Last year I went on an Outer Hebrides road trip with my friend. We got the ferry over to Barra from Oban and drove all the way up to the top of Harris. It was a brilliant week.
Granted this might be a bit much for a UK weekend adventure, depending on where you live, but I didn’t want to miss it off the list.
If you did want to spend a weekend on the Outer Hebrides then it is possible to fly into Barra (landing on the beach!) and then hire a car from there to look around.
We were wild camping in the Outer Hebrides which added to the adventure.
11. Aviemore and Fort William
If you’re looking for adventures Scotland has a lot to offer. Aviemore and Fort William are form favourites for adventurous places to go in the country.
The biggest attraction in this area is Ben Nevis, Scotland’s highest mountain. You can even ski here in the winter. Glencoe is a super popular hiking and biking destination, although when we went in September it was totally clouded over in mist.
“The Lochaber Geopark [in Fort William] is home to some of the most breath-taking and awe-inspiring scenery in the world. The Geopark is recognised for its outstanding and unique geological heritage. Explore mountains, lochs, rivers, coasts, cliffs and sandy beaches, look out for some wonderful wildlife, and learn how our landscape has been shaped over many millions of years.”– VIST SCOTLAND
If you’re in the area then the village of Arisaig in Lochaber makes for a beautiful day out. The beach is stunning in the right light!
England adventure weekends
Adventure travel doesn’t have to be in some far off land, there are lots of great adventures to be had in England! Here are some of my faves…
12. Lake District
Everyone knows the Lake District provides one of the best adventure holidays in the UK. It’s popular for a reason!
UK adventure weekends here are based around the water, of course. If you’re looking for adventure in the Lake District, click that link.
13. Cycling in the Forest of Dean
Mountain bike rides in the beautiful Forest of Dean make for a great UK weekend adventure. It’s easy to hire bikes here and there are some nice spots to park up overnight if you have a camper.
The Forest of Dean is in Gloucestershire. One of the most popular points for an adventure is to head up to the top of Symonds Yat Rock to soak up the panoramic views of the valley and River Wye below. Keep an eye out for the Peregrine falcons in the area too.
There’s a butterfly zoo, a smokery, the Dean Heritage Centre and a Go Ape too. Make time for the caves and Puzzlewood too.
14. Do some activities in the New Forest
You could do some archery, go canoeing on the River Itchen, hike between the pretty villages and pubs and top it all off by staying at one of these New Forest glamping spots.
The New Forest is super flat so if you like your UK adventures on a bike, it’s a smooth ride!
15. Kinder Scout in Derbyshire
Hiking up Kinder Scout in Derbyshire is one of the most popular routes in the Peak District. This historic walk offers stunning views from the top.
You could also try Edale to New Mills. Simply start by going up the Pennine Way and then up Kinder and over the cross down to Hayfield and along the river back to New Mills.
Along with exploring the pretty towns and villages of the Peak District – don’t miss Bakewell to get a tart and a pudding – that should fill your weekend adventure.
How about hiring a motorhome in the Peak District to get a good look around?
16. Just everywhere in Cornwall!
Can’t mention UK adventure weekends without mentioning Cornwall now, can we? Us Brits love a bit of Cornwall, and with the BBC incessantly advertising it lately – sending all their presenters down there for their views – I didn’t want to be left out and not mention them here.
Cornwall is super popular for family adventure holidays.
Port Issac , Padstow and Porthcurno Beach are all really popular spots. If you want to get away from the people traffic a bit then head to the harder to reach beaches instead.
Polruan is a lovely beach reached by going down the cliff, through cow fields and then you get to the access point with the ferry over to Fowey.
Other Cornwall hotspots include St Agnes, St Just, Penwith, the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the surfy vibes at Polzeath too. Definitely go to Hayle Beach – the views are stunning. And the seals on the beach below at Gwithian are pretty cool too.
The best way to experience Cornwall, is with my awesome Cornwall road trip. This way you can go from place to place experiencing the best of the surfing, the paddleboarding, the coasteering and snorkelling anyone could want on a UK adventure weekend.
17. So many adventures in Devon
Get yourself on a high speed rib around Dartmouth!
Monty Halls Great Escapes are one of the most popular companies offering trips out on the ribs. Make a beeline for Becky Falls – a beautiful place to explore near Dartmouth.
If you’re in north Devon then surfing, paddle boarding and kayaking are all really popular in Ilfracombe and Woolacombe Beach. There are lots of hidden beaches to explore.
If you want to supercharge your UK adventure holidays then check out the wakeboard park near Bideford.
Dartmoor National Park in Devon is one of the very few places you can go wild camping in England, legally. There are lots of different walks you can do, but the Two Moors Way path is one of the most popular to stick to – great for anyone doing the full 102 mile route, or day trippers. The
18. Walk the North Norfolk Coast
I went on a North Norfolk coast road trip last year and really enjoyed seeing the cute towns and villages along the coastline.
If you’re looking for adventures in the UK, it’s one of the coolest places to go. With so much coastline Norfolk makes for a great weekend adventure for anyone into paddle sports, surfing and swimming. Coasteering is also pretty popular here. You could also walk the North Norfolk Coast Path to really see the best of the county.
Thrill seekers might enjoy the Air Jump in Sheringham, where you launch yourself off a 52-foot platform onto a huge bean bag at the bottom. Sounds pretty horrendous to me, but you might like it!
Go south a little to the Norfolk Broads National Park and you could join a kayaking tour around the broads, or hire your own boat to power your trip with an engine instead.
19. Enjoy the Lincolnshire Coast beaches
Go to the Lincolnshire Coast for the weekend and again, more coast for you to enjoy and all the UK adventures that brings.
Highlights of a weekend adventure on the Lincolnshire coast include swimming in the sea off the white sand beaches, cycling in the parks and relaxing on the boating lakes so popular here.
20. Road trip along the Jurassic Coast
An adventure weekend in Dorset is a weekend well spent IMHO.
There are so many amazing beaches in Dorset to explore. I recommend getting the chain ferry as a foot passenger to Studland and then walk to the impressive Old Harry’s Rock.
One of the most popular things to do in Dorset is to walk up Golden Cap and Colmers Hill and see the cliffs of West Bay.
A Jurassic Coast road trip is a great way to explore the best of Dorset on a long weekend.
21. Island fun on the Isle of Wight
I love the Isle of Wight – in fact, my mum says I write about it too much on here.
The Isle of Wight is the perfect place for a UK adventure weekend. There are lots of cool things to do on the Isle of Wight including SUP yoga, canoeing and kayaking, hiking all the way around the island, and cycling the many cycle trails. You could do some Isle of Wight wild swimming, climb a huge tree professionally, or go go karting too.
22. Somerset and Bristol
I once had a great adventure weekend in the Mendip Hills in Somerset. We rented a campervan and explored Cheddar Gorge and the camping sites and reservoirs around there. Unfortunately it chucked it down with rain, so we ended up trying to try out in Bristol, but it was fun anyway.
The top things to do on an adventure weekend in Somerset include the Wookey Hole Caves, the Quantock Hills, Dunkery Beacon and Wimbleball Lake too.
23. Walking in the Cotswolds
I did a mini 3-day road trip in the Cotswolds last year. I wouldn’t say it was particularly ‘adventurous’, apart from that accidental bit of off roading we ended up doing, but it was fun anyway. We had a lovely time eating, enjoying the zoo, and exploring the pretty villages of the Cotswolds.
If you want to make a weekend in the Cotswolds adventurous then check out the Wild Carrot Mountain Biking Experiences, the Cotswold Water Park, or the Head 4 Heights Activity Centre.
24. Do the Yorkshire Three Peaks
Yorkshire is a great area for some UK adventures, and the best thing to do there is the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, which I fully plan on doing this year…
“The Yorkshire Three Peaks route is 24 miles (38.6km), and includes 1585m (5200ft) of ascent.
The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge takes on the peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, usually in this order, and in under 12 hours. These peaks form part of the Pennine range, and encircle the head of the valley of the River Ribble, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.”– THREE PEAKS CHALLENGE UK
Group adventure weekends in the UK
If you want to join a group of others on an adventure weekend in the UK, here are some great companies to try.
- Women and Waves
- Explorers Connect
- Fluid Adventures in Chichester
- Ride On Retreats
- Gutsy Girls
- Evoke Adventure
Apps to help your adventure weekends
Unique UK Adventure Weekends
There are lots of UK adventures to enjoy this year, no need to stress about going abroad and the airport experience.
As soon as we’re allowed just get your family and friends together, choose your favourite UK weekend adventure, and go have fun!
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