Wild Adventures On Your Doorstep
Holidaying in the UK all too often gets overlooked in favour of more ‘exotic’ destinations; yet the British Isles are packed with beautiful, wild, landscapes which offer an incredible array of adventurous activities. On top of that, not getting on a plane is often more convenient, and always better for the planet. Here are six great staycation ideas selected by the team at Active Traveller Magazine.
Stay In The Sky Den Treehouse,
Kielder Forest Park
Kielder Forest Park, right on the Scottish border, prides itself on having some of the clearest night skies anywhere in England, and what better way to see them than a treehouse with a roof that opens up to the stars? A stunningly-designed space that blends into its natural surroundings, the Sky Den offers access to the largest forest in England. With mountain biking, hiking, horse riding, and a whole range of watersports right on your doorstep, you could happily spend weeks holed up here and not get bored.
Wild Camping & Whisky On Jura,
It’s just 60 miles from central Glasgow but the Isle of Jura feels so remote it might as well be a different planet. With just 200 people living in 366 square kilometres, there’s a huge area to walk and wild camp in. The Paps of Jura, three peaks over 700m, dominate the island and offer incredible views over the surrounding seas. In the south-west, the famous Jura whisky distillery offers tours and tasting sessions.
The South Downs Way
Through Sussex Wine Country
Just a few hours south of London lies rolling green hills speckled with vineyards, bisected by one of Britain’s great hiking routes: The South Downs Way. The final section of the route, in particular, offers stunning views, and a multi-day trek along it, finishing with a stay in the Belle Tout Lighthouse near the iconic cliffs of BeachyHead should be on everyone’s bucket list. Make sure you stop off at Breaky Bottom vineyard for a tasting session en route.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding
By Night In Snowdonia
As one of just 11 designated ‘Dark Sky Reserves’ anywhere in the world, Snowdonia National Park is one of the best places in the country for stargazing. Now local outfit Psyched Paddle Boarding have come up with a new and unique way to show visitors the cosmos - from the top of a Stand-Up Paddle Board. Using head torches and special boards equipped with under lights, Psyched will take you on a tour of Llyn Padarn, a sheltered lake in the heart of the park.
Hike To Ben Alder Bothy,
If staying in a restored crofter’s cottage miles away from civilisation sounds like your idea of a good time, then Scottish Bothy-hopping is for you. The Ben Alder Cottage, at the foot of one of the remotest Munros in the Highlands, offers the quintessential Bothy experience - miles from any road, it’s best approached from Loch Rannoch, a 13km hike away. As with all bothies, once you’re there you can stay as long as you like for free - until your food runs out, or you start to miss the outside world, which in surroundings this stunning isn’t likely to happen soon.
Forage For Your Own Food
With Fat Hen, Cornwall
Set up by zoologist and self-confessed wild food nut Caroline Davey in 2007, the Fat Hen Cookery School in Cornwall was one of the first in the UK to promote foraging for ingredients in the manner made so fashionable by Noma and the New Nordic chefs. As well as weekend-long retreats and a variety of one-day courses, the school’s location, to the West of Penzance means that a visit is easily combined with hiking, coasteering or sea kayaking around the Penwith Heritage Coast.