Taking incredible adventures, and indulging in activities that get the blood pumping out in nature, doesn’t necessarily require a passport and a holiday budget. If you weren’t already aware, the UK boasts a thriving scene for adrenaline junkies who love the thrill of extreme sports. From the breathtaking Scottish Highlands to Cornwall’s coastal waves, there are plenty of locations to get your fix if you’re searching for somewhere to enjoy a heart-pounding hobby.
Discover the heights of freefall in a tandem skydiving experience, scale vertiginous cliffs while rock climbing in picturesque national parks or ride the waves along iconic stunning coastlines. Whether you’re an avid surfer, a mountain biking enthusiast, or taking a leap of faith with a bungee jump, there’s something for everyone on our humble shores, from curious beginners to seasoned enthusiasts.
In this guide, we give you our recommended destinations for various extreme sports activities in the UK.
Rock climbing in the Peak District
The Peak District is the ideal location for rock climbing, with towering limestone crags, gritstone edges, and incredible views for miles around. Rock climbers of all skill levels, from novices to seasoned pros, are drawn to the national park’s natural beauty, with the chance to take on everything from delicate slab climbs to bold traditional routes. The climbing community here thrives on camaraderie and mutual respect for vertical challenges of the geological variety.
Local climbing schools and guides support beginners learning the ropes and honing their skills in a safe and supportive environment. Otherwise, you can access the area’s rock climbing hotspots for free. These include Burbage North, which is favoured by beginners, Froggatt Edge, known for being relatively sheltered from the elements, and Stanage Edge, England’s most famous gritstone crag.
Watch this YouTube video from The Guardian on learning to rock climb in the Peak District.
Skydiving at Netheravon, Salisbury
The biggest skydiving club in the UK, Netheravon, caters to learners and experienced jumpers, military members and members of the public. They’ve been specialising in Army Parachuting for over 50 years, so they’re recognised as a premier destination for learning the sport and they have great facilities. You don’t need any experience to take part and there’s a range of one-day courses available.
Their skydiver qualification training is priced at £390 for level one of the Accelerated Free Fall Course (AFF), which can be completed as a one-off experience. If you want to progress, it’s £215 for level two or three, or £150 for level four to eight. Coaching prices are on request. The First Jump Course, including kit hire and packing, is £230. If you want to join in the fun of a tandem skydive, prices are £225-235 per person, depending on group size. For experienced skydivers, a max jump is priced at £25 for 13,500 feet.
See Netheravon’s YouTube page here.
Surfing at Fistral Beach, Cornwall
The birthplace of British surfing, Newquay’s Fistral Beach, is an iconic destination which hosts the annual international championship, Boardmasters. Renowned for its powerful Atlantic swells and consistent waves, Fistral stands as a mecca for both seasoned surfers and anyone looking to catch their first wave. If you want to surf with an instructor, Fistral Beach Surf School offers training starting at £45 per lesson, with discounted prices if you book multiple sessions.
The beach’s unique geography creates varied surf conditions, so you’ll be at home here whatever level you’re at. The primary peak, known as the Cribbar, produces powerful, challenging waves that attract experienced riders who live for an adrenaline rush. Meanwhile, the beach’s mid and north sections offer gentler waves, making it an ideal training ground for beginners.
Take a look at Fistral Beach Surf School’s YouTube page.
White water rafting on the River Tryweryn, North Wales
A standout destination in North Wales is the River Tryweryn, near Bala. Operated by the National White Water Centre, this river features dam-controlled releases that give consistent, exciting water levels throughout the rafting season. There’s a good mix of technical rapids, including the renowned Chapel Falls and Graveyard, making it an ideal location for both beginners and experienced rafters.
The National White Water Centre’s guided ultimate rafting experience costs £82 per person, in a shared raft of up to six people, or the group price is £360 per raft. A rafting safari is £320 per raft, which will fit between two and five people. You can also opt for a shorter rapid session at £52 per person or £260 per raft, giving you two runs down the rapids.
See the experience for yourself in this YouTube video.
Bungee jumping at Killiecrankie, Highland Perthshire
Scotland’s Highland Fling Bungee Jump, in Killiecrankie, is a picturesque site where you can enjoy a unique freefall experience. The UK’s first purpose-built, static bungee jump location, it sits over an incredible gorge surrounded by trees. Leap down a 40-metre drop from a bridge over the River Garry at over 50mph, under their careful guidance.
Anyone aged 14 and over can take part and it’s open all year round. The bungee jump usually takes an hour and is priced at £84. You can also make use of group discounts and video packages. Bungee Jump Scotland ensures the safety of participants with professional and certified jump masters, state-of-the-art equipment, and adherence to rigorous safety protocols.
See how it’s done over on Highland Fling Bungee’s YouTube page.
Mountain biking in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire
Fancy enjoying some of England’s most picturesque landscapes on two wheels? Gloucestershire’s ancient Forest of Dean is a much-loved destination for mountain bikers, with an extensive network of trails that wind through dense woodlands, challenging descents, and scenic viewpoints. The terrain is suitable for riders of all skill levels. Beginners can enjoy the family-friendly Green Verderer’s Trail, while experienced riders can tackle the technical challenges of the Red Freeminers and the exhilarating downhill sections of the Launchpad trail. You can also make use of pump tracks and skills areas to hone your techniques.
If you’re in need of a bike, Pedalabikeaway offer bike hire for all abilities, with a range of sizes and models available. Prices start at £15 per day for children or £23 for adults. You can also take private coaching, with three-hour private or family sessions priced at £155.
Take a closer look at the action on Pedalabikeaway’s YouTube page.
Coasteering at Abereiddy Beach, Pembrokeshire
Coasteering on Wales’ Pembrokeshire Coast is a dynamic adventure, as the area is renowned for its dramatic cliffs and pristine waters. This makes it ideal for the sport’s elements of rock scrambling, cliff jumping, and swimming through sea caves. Coasteering is versatile enough to be suitable for various skill levels, though the need to prioritise safety remains, ideally under the guidance of experienced instructors and with the use of specialised equipment. Celtic Quest Coasteering offer guided sessions at Abereiddy Beach, which is known for the iconic Blue Lagoon, a former slate quarry filled with vibrant blue-green water.
Celtic Quest Coasteering’s prices start at £45 per person, with sessions lasting for three and a half hours, including briefing, changing and two hours in the water. You’ll just need to take a swimsuit, towel, shorts and trainers; they’ll provide you with wetsuits, buoyancy aids, watersports helmets, wetsuit gloves, hoods, and socks. Anyone over the age of eight can take part, although they also offer slightly adapted sessions for children as young as five.
Get the lowdown on Celtic Quest Coasteering’s YouTube page.
Hang gliding and paragliding in Keswick, Lake District
Latrigg, near Keswick, is a picturesque location for hang gliding and paragliding, with gentle slopes and stunning vistas. The area provides the ideal environment for beginners looking to take their first flights, as the launch site has a gradual slope that allows for easy takeoffs. It’s also equally suitable for experienced pilots wanting a captivating soaring experience.
As you lift off, you’re greeted by panoramic views of Keswick, Derwentwater, and the surrounding fells. The gentle thermals and reliable wind conditions make Latrigg a consistent and enjoyable location for hang gliding and paragliding throughout the year. Local clubs, such as the Cumbria Soaring Club, offer private coaching with prices available on request.
Get Extreme Sports Insurance with SportsCover Direct
If you’re looking to enjoy extreme sports in the UK, the last thing you want is for anything to go wrong. But whether you’re experienced in your chosen activity or not, the unexpected can’t ever be prevented from happening. Taking risks is all part of the thrill of high-octane sports after all, but that doesn’t mean you need to completely be at the mercy of the universe. Rather than throwing caution completely to the wind, take out the right insurance and then you can focus on having the time of your life with the appropriate protection.
SportsCover Direct’s extreme sports insurance offers three policy options, with protection for over 500 different sports. If you do choose to continue enjoying your chosen sport abroad, our travel insurance includes cover for medical costs, trip cancellation and more. If you simply require sports accident insurance for the UK, we give you benefits such as personal liability and income protection.
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