As someone who describes herself as being pretty ordinary, with a bucket list as long as any list ever written, buy-an-adventure experiences are a big part of my way to try new things. Without the time or money to go out and get involved in lots of new hobbies from beginner level, this kind of experience provides an opportunity to give something a go without lots of investment. And, most importantly, it’s just incredibly fun to spend an afternoon doing something random!
I love this kind of thing, and do my best to make sure I grab a few of these experiences each year. Some of my favourites include Zip World Velocity in Snowdonia, Via Ferrata Xtreme at Honister Slate Mine, Cycling on the London 2012 Olympic Velodrome and Flyboarding which I featured in one of my earlier blog posts. I mean, there are just loads of them, and you can find all my blog posts on the topic under my Bucket List category.
But today I thought I’d share a bunch of these buy-an-adventure experiences I’m yet to try out for myself… They’re all here in the UK, take just one day or less, and are accessible as part of a day trip or weekend away.
Ten “Buy an Adventure” Experiences I Fancy Trying
(Illustrated with buy an adventure activities I have done!)
01. Fly a Hovercraft
I remember heading to France on the hovercraft when it was operational back in the 90s, and I loved the speed, noise, and feeling of that massive machine flying over the water. And I’d love to have a go at flying one myself. I mean, it’s not everyday you can drive a vehicle that’ll speed over land and water.
I think this is the next adventure I will tick off, courtesy of a Buyagift voucher I received for my birthday last year. There are a few options around the country, including different courses and time trials, I shall make sure I pick the one with a decent amount of time in the pilot’s seat.
02. Drive a Monster Truck
I’ve been to see monster truck racing and it’s a lot of fun to watch, but I bet it’s even more fun to drive one of those ridiculous looking vehicles. I guess I’m just a motor loving kid at heart, and I’d love to drive a monster truck, both really fast over mud jumps, and crushing another car or two…
The experiences available on Buyagift say you can “let it rip” around the course, running over hills, down steep drops and around tight corner. Yes please!
03. Rally Driving
While we’re talking driving, the third related buy-an-adventure experience I’d really love to try is rally driving. Probably the most fun motorsport to watch, rally driving is fast, gnarly, skilled, and really quite dangerous. And yes, I want to go and play in a rally car! Rather than a track-based experience I’d be looking for a day on a proper gravelly dusty track in rural Wales or similar, in a proper rally car, with a rally-driver instructor.
I’d want to use it as both an opportunity to have a whole heap of fun (definitely the main thing), as well as to improve my car handling. Certainly not a cheap day out, one of the most expensive things in this list, but I reckon it would be well worth it. There are a few places around that do it, somewhere like Forest Rally looks the part.
04. Rock Climbing at Stanage Edge
One thing Great Britain has in abundance that I really haven’t made the most of is great rock-climbing routes. I’ve done a fair bit of scrambling, and have been known to use ropes occasionally, but really not very much at all. And you can certainly buy-an-experience when it comes to rock climbing, I’ve done it before at Cheddar Gorge for example, and there are load of other places I fancy scaling the rock face rather than hiking up the path.
I realise Stanage Edge in Derbyshire isn’t the most imaginative place to want to go climbing, but there is a reason some places are popular, and who am I to argue with that?! It’s even referred to as the finest of all gritstone edges, and the views are utterly wonderful, definitely a bucket list location for me.
I would definitely need an instructor to guide me, hence including it in my buy an adventure list. A few companies such as Lost Earth Adventures organise rock climbing experiences, including at Stanage Edge, and they are not as expensive as you might think. I expect some of you have come across climbing instructors over the years, please do drop your suggestions in the comments below.
05. Surfing at The Wave
I’ve not been surfing for years. I think the last time was a weekend trip to Watergate Bay with friend Lucy a few years ago. I love the water, as you know, and the rush of catching a wave is so thrilling.
I’m much less fit these days, and it’s been an age, so I don’t think I’d be able to pop up if I just headed to the beach and hired a board. So on my buy-an-adventure list is some time at The Wave in Bristol for both fun and coaching.
They do a beginner lesson for £55 which includes everything you need, including wetsuit hire. I’m very tempted to get it booked for this month. I mean, why not?!
06. Alpine Coaster and Quarry Karts
Just like Zip World Velocity (read my post about that here), the Alpine Coaster and Quarry Karts up in north Wales look SO much fun. Probably one of the quickest-to-finish adventure experiences on my buy-an-adventure list, I’ve combined the two to make it a proper afternoon out.
The Fforest Coaster at Zip World is the country’s only alpine coaster. You actually get three rides coaster, which I guess means you can be a bit careful the first time to get the hang of it and then just get faster and faster. It’s basically a self-controlled toboggan on rails through Snowdonia woodland, traveling at 25mph. Costing £20 for three runs, it’s also more affordable than many things on this list!
Half an hour’s drive North West, the Quarry Karts are based at the same place as Zip World Velocity (which I highly recommend but can’t be included here as I’ve done it twice before…). The unique downhill dirt track includes twists and turns to the backdrop of incredible views of the Snowdonia mountain range and beyond. £45 gets you two runs down the steep course. Yes please.
Coasteering combines cliff jumping, scrambling, body surfing, wild swimming, and sounds like an absolute blast. I’ve seen it described as “everything your parents told you not to do at the beach as a child”. Where do I sign up?! (And why haven’t I done this already?!)
I’m told that one of the best places in Great Britain to go coasteering is in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, over in Wales. I would certainly need a guide, I’m not about to don a wetsuit and tombstone into unknown waters, and the guys at Celtic Quest Coasteering look like they know what they’re doing. I’d be happy to give them my £50 for a coupe of hours of extreme rock pooling fun.
08. White Water Rafting
I can imagine myself on a pack rafting expedition down the Colorado River one day, but in order to prepare for that I should certainly make sure I give white water rafting a go here in the UK. There is something wonderful about noisy fast flowing water, and the idea of bounding down in it a dingy (albeit a very good dingy!), appeals greatly. Yes I am probably a bit strange.
I think for the best white water rafting in the UK I’d need to head up to the Cairngorms for a sail down the Tummel. But in all honesty, I’d be super happy with a man made course for starters, something like Holme Pierrpoint in Nottingham, or Lee Valley White Water Centre, built for the 2012 Olympics.
A good compromise would be this buy an adventure experience on the River Tryweryn in Snowdonia National Park; maybe I should head to North Wales and bag a few of the things on this list?
09. Guided Mountain Biking
My entry level mountain bike hasn’t seen much proper trail action, and it’s time to change that. It’s hard to know where’s good to ride, and in the same way that I enjoy a guided hike or guided climb, there is something rather wonderful about asking someone to show you the way so you can concentrate on enjoying the activity rather than doing all the planning as well.
There are so many mountain bike trails in Great Britain, but I reckon it’s the Brecon Beacons I’d head to for this one. There are over 200km of natural trails to ride, it’s not far from my home in Gloucestershire, and I guess I just fancy exploring the Brecon Beacons on two wheels without an engine for a change!
I’ve actually done a guided walk with Huw from Treads and Trails on The Blorenge near Abergavenny (read about that in this post), and really liked his style and manner; I wouldn’t hesitate to book him as a mountain bike guide.
10. Paragliding over the Lake District
One of the reasons I loved my skydives so much, is because I was able to see the whole world as I gently drifted through the sky. And I certainly want more of that. I really fancy paragliding, and more specifically, the idea of seeing the Lake District from the air.
Enthusiasts call it the simplest form of human flight, and it’s reasonably accessible too (assuming you aren’t hiking up the fell to find somewhere to launch). Using air currents and shifting their own body weight, paragliders can fly to heights of 23,000 feet (7,000 meters) with their paragliding sails. But yes, all about the views.
One option is Jocky Sanderson, who charge £130 for a tandem paragliding flight over the Lakes from their base in Braithwaite. I’m sure there are others, too, let me know if you’ve been paragliding in the UK – where was it and who was it with.
What do you think of my buy an adventure list?
Which of these things would you book first?
And what hasn’t made it on my list that you’d include on yours?
Let me know in the comments below.
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