Sporting adventures for sceptics
Forget shivering in a school field in shorts that you never quite grew into. We’re not going to rugby-tackle you. You don’t have to get covered in mud – although you can if you want to.
At these places there are so many sports to choose from that you’ll find an activity to delight even the most sceptical child / friend / mother-in-law. From swinging through the trees, to canoeing by starlight, this lot could keep you busy for an entire holiday. Now there’s a thought…
* Hire mountain bikes, canoes or kayaks.
* Join one of our family events, such as our adventure days to try archery, orienteering and canoeing.
* Scramble over rocks, explore caves and jump into the water with coasteering, which can be tailored to suit all different ages and abilities.
* See seals, whirlpools and shipwrecks on Strangford Sea Safari.
* At Castle Ward, we’ve just opened a network of 21 miles of multi-use trails. Take a trip to the lough, or through sheltered woodland and deer parks.
Where to stay
The Potter’s Cottage is a quaint hideaway near the lough shore, sleeping four. Or if you’re feeling a little bit more adventurous take a look at the snug camping pods at Castle Ward. Traditional camping and caravanning is also available.
* Sky Ride Newcastle & Gateshead offer organised sociable bike rides from the city to Gibside.
* Free entry and a free tea await all those who cycle to Gibside.
* During school holidays you can join a free have-a-go team sports session with our trained coaches.
* Join a beginners’ running group in this historic setting.
* Have a go at archery on selected dates.
This island is bursting with outdoor adventures. Bring your list of 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ and see how far through you can get. When it comes to going on a really long bike ride this is certainly the place to get going.
* The Isle of Wight has been named as one of the top ten destinations in the world for cycling by none other than the Lonely Planet Travel Guide. See our cycling page to discover the best routes.
* Compton Bay is one of the best spots on the Isle of Wight for swimming and surfing lessons.
* Race to find the geocaches at Tennyson Down. All you need is a GPS or smartphone and bags of energy.
* This one is more for the grown-ups – you can fly solo or as a passenger on a paraglider at many of our Isle of Wight places.
If you’re looking for a taste of adventure there are few better places to visit than the Lake District. But it’s not all ice climbing and tough mountain trails. There are plenty of activities that are perfect for families and those looking for a slightly mellower adventure.
* Cycle along the shores of Lake Windermere to Wray Castle on our newly created Windermere West Shore Path.
* Climb trees with ropes, knots and karabiners at Fell Foot Park. You can also hire rowing boats and kayaks here from April-October.
* Scrambling for beginners is available at Cam Crag Ridge, in the Langstrath Valley.
* Kids can try abseiling at Keswick.
* Embark on a canoeing adventure, try wild swimming or hire a rowing boat on Derwentwater Lake.
* Hire rowing boats, kayaks or canoes at Coniston.
* Moonlit canoeing, rock climbing and scrambling await you at Low Wray Campsite.
Where to stay
Trees is a log and stone cottage for four. It’s complete with a log burner and overlooks Lake Windermere. Or if you’re in a bigger group book Holeslack Farmhouse for views of Sizergh Castle. Campers are spoilt for choice in the Lake District: from wooden pods, to gypsy caravans and yurt-shaped delights.
* Try Kayaking at Mullion Harbour with Lizard Adventure.
* Try coasteering at Lizard Village with Lizard Adventure.
* Have a dip at any of our six fantastic beaches on the Lizard.
* Join the Dan Joel surf school at Poldhu to learn about beach safety and how to ride waves. Just around the corner is the Barefoot surf school at Gunwalloe.
* Take your bike for a spin on family-friendly cycle routes at nearby Penrose. You can hire bikes for all ages at Porthleven Cycle Hire.
Our eco centre is a bustling hub of family-friendly activities, set amongst dunes, beaches, woodlands and lakes. There’s more than enough going on here to fill up a whole holiday. For more information on any of these activities please call 01646 661425
* Families can learn how to go sea kayaking on ‘sit on tops’ from the sheltered Stackpole Quay.
* The beaches at Stackpole are a popular destination for swimming, diving, surfing and shallow water photography. You can hire our snorkelling kit to see the rich marine life.
* If you stay with us you can hire from our fleet of mountain bikes too, subject to availability.
* Try coasteering, an adrenaline fuelled activity featuring cliff jumping and swimming. You will be accompanied by experienced instructors and safety equipment is provided.
Where to stay
Bunkhouses, cottages or bed and breakfast accommodation is all available at Stackpole. Alternatively, families can join us for a wild camping adventure with one of our rangers – experts in bush craft, camping and foraging. Call us on 01646 661425 to find out more.
* Swimmers only zones operate at Knoll Beach and South Beach during the summer.
* Hire mountain bikes and Studland Watersports will provide trail maps of the local area.
* At Studland Watersports you can hire a glass bottomed kayak to explore above and below the water. You will also get a trail map, snorkel, mask and wetsuit. Each kayak has space for one adult and one child.
* You can also try sailing, windsurfing and kayaking with Studland Watersports.
* From 5 June 2014 you can try our new kayak trail. The trail starts at Middle Beach and closely follows the coast towards Old Harry Rocks. Ask at Knoll Beach Shop or Studland Sea School for more information.
* Get expert kayaking tuition from Studland Sea School for all levels and abilities.
* Go horse riding on the beach with Studland Stables.
Where to stay
Seaview cottage was once a tennis pavilion. Today it sleeps six, standing on the edge of Studland village with wonderful views of the beach.