15 achievable UK adventures, from wild tenting in Scotland to crusing salt marshes in Norfolk

0
22

Navigate the Inner Hebrides in a 1933 sailing boat

For drama, wilderness and a sense of isolation, this adventure has it all. The expedition begins on the far west coast of the Isle of Mull, where you set sail on the Birthe Marie, a beautifully restored 1933 Danish fishing boat piloted by Mark from the Hebrides. You’ll quickly adjust to the rhythm of the ocean as you glide towards Lunga, the largest of the Treshnish archipelago, where you’ll drop anchor to explore. You will be greeted by the sharp cliffs of this uninhabited island and greeted by thousands of circling seabirds, the most notable of which are puffins. Scheduled trips from £35 per person or skippered boat hire from £400 per half day, boattripsiona.com

Kayak along the Pembrokeshire coast

Stretching 186 miles across south-west Wales, the Pembrokeshire coastline is characterized by dramatic cliffs, rock arches and huge sea stacks. One of the best (and cheapest) ways to experience this extraordinary corner of Britain is by kayak. Starting from Porthclais, where the River Alun meets the sea, you can spend a warm summer afternoon dipping into the coves, navigating small islands and swimming at hidden beaches. The water is beautifully clear and every bend reveals something different, making for an action-packed afternoon of sea adventures. Kayak hire £60pp, tyf.com/pages/kayaking

Swim in a slate quarry

Overlooking the Atlantic near Tintagel, Kudhva is a campsite with a difference in Cornwall, characterized by the striking geometric shapes of its distinctive treetop cottages that blend seamlessly with their surroundings. At the heart of the site is a 45-acre abandoned quarry that is now filled by a small lake that is backed by a waterfall. Reclaimed by nature, its once rocky slopes are now covered in ferns and wildflowers, making it a magical place to swim. Descend the steps to cool off from the pontoon before making your way back to a wood-fired hot tub. Accommodation from £90 per night for two people, kudhva.com

The Kudhva slate quarry (Photo: The Travel Project / Charlie Wild)

Surf the Causeway Coast of Northern Ireland

The drama of the Causeway Coast hits you right away and might make you ask, “Why haven’t I been here before?” The coast is as wild and rugged as it is varied, with vast sandy beaches and towering cliffs rising above the ocean. The exposed conditions at Portrush make for some of the best surfing in the UK, with each beach offering something different for surfers of all skill levels. Immersing yourself in the ocean off the coast of Northern Ireland has a surprising sense of contentment, the cold water and dramatic setting make you feel completely alive. Group lessons from £42.50 per person, portrushsurfschool.com

Snorkel with seals in Devon

Lundy is a small island off the Devon coast in the Bristol Channel. Although it is just under 2m² it is teeming with wildlife, the most notable residents being puffins and gray seals, the latter of which you can snorkel with. Take a boat trip to explore this beautiful little island before jumping into its turquoise waters to snorkel with the surprisingly friendly seals. Lundy is also a great UK dive site with several shipwrecks to explore off the rocky coast. Snorkel Safari £20pp per hour, Landmarktrust.org.uk

Watch The Wailing Widow

Every now and then you’ll be presented with a view that will take your breath away, and Wailing Widow Falls does just that. Located in the Assynt region of the Scottish Highlands, the waterfall is the result of the beautiful Loch na Gainmhich falling from a steep cliff face and plunges 50 feet into the valley below. The size of this landscape makes you feel tiny, the display of brute force is humiliating to behold. Just standing on top of the cliff and watching the show is utterly captivating – Britain at its best. A car is advisable to reach Loch na Gainmhich; Parking is available on the road up to the falls

Sunrise at the end of England

Seemingly tucked away on Cornwall’s Penwith Peninsula lies Pedn Vounder. Land access is via an unassuming path that takes you out onto Treen Cliff for your first glimpse of one of England’s most spectacular views. Hidden beneath the towering coastline lie the white sandy beaches and turquoise waters of Pedn Vounder. A narrow but well trodden path takes you down through sea thrift to the sand. Head out in the morning—preferably out of season—to have the entire beach to yourself. Those tempted by a sunrise swim should be aware that there are currents and no lifeguards. Access to Porthcurno Beach, Treen Farm Campsite or the Minack Theatre, southwestcoastpath.org.uk

Pedn Vounder Strand (Photo: The Travel Project/Jessica Last)

Climb Pen-Y-Fan

Pen-Y-Fan is a great option for those seeking fresh air and dramatic Welsh scenery. Part of the Brecon Beacons National Park, Pen-Y-Fan is the highest mountain in South Wales and offers exceptional views of the surrounding valleys. There are four main routes, all of different lengths, but all relatively accessible for all ages and fitness levels. It’s a great place to hike all year round, but be sure to check the weather forecast and conditions if you’re climbing in the fall and winter. Check the conditions on breconbeacons.org; Route planning at nationaltrust.org.uk/brecon-beacons

More on this UK travel

Discover the ‘Desert’ of Dungeness

If you are looking for an otherworldly adventure then this could be for you. Dungeness is one of Britain’s most bizarre landscapes. Bleak, barren and oddly beautiful, it is often (wrongly) referred to as Britain’s only desert. One of the largest pebble beaches in Europe, Dungeness is a Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest, home to hundreds of plant species. A stroll through this quirky corner of Kent transports you to another world. dungeness.org.uk; rspb.org.uk

Sail the salt marshes of Norfolk

A sunset sail through the backwaters of Norfolk’s wild salt marshes is pretty hard to beat. The salt marshes on the north Norfolk coast are part of a vast protected wilderness that makes them difficult to access and therefore beautifully desolate. As you set off in the afternoon in an ancient conch boat with deep red sails, you begin to meander through the intricate network of waterways. The landscape here is flat, allowing you to see for miles in all directions, creating a completely captivating sense of isolation. This is only a short adventure, but it will leave a lasting impression on you – especially. Excursions from Wells-next-the-Sea are £385 for four people, coastexplorationcompany.co.uk

Sailing through the salt marshes of Norfolk in a former mussel boat (Photo: The Travel Project/Charlie Wild)

Explore the Welsh coast

This is for seafood lovers. Along with his Pembrokeshire Golden Retriever, Llew, Craig takes groups along the South Wales coast to show them just how diverse and rich in edible ingredients this area is. This adventure takes you across the beach where you’ll leave no stone unturned in pursuit of our dinner. If you’re lucky, you’ll find shrimp, crab, soft-shell mussels and sea fennel, which Craig then cooks over an open fire right on the beach. This is an adventure with a difference that will make you feel more connected to your food and the nature on our doorstep. Foraging from £80pp, coastforaging.co.uk

Walk through the dark hedges

On an otherwise unremarkable country lane in Co Antrim lies the Bregagh Road, lined with beautiful 18th-century beech trees whose branches have grown together over the centuries, twisting into a natural tunnel for most of the length of the road. Walking through them is a spectacular experience as you will be dwarfed by the magnitude of this natural phenomenon. The Dark Hedges have become a tourist attraction thanks to their Game of Thrones connection, in which they appear as King’s Road, but if you get there early you’ll likely have the road to yourself. The road leads up to Gracehill House, now a golf course. causewaycoastandglens.gov.uk

The Dark Hedges (Photo: The Travel Project/Jessica Last)

Drive the Northumberland 250

If you’re looking for a UK road trip with a difference, encompassing beautiful beaches, a vast national park and miles of unspoilt countryside, the Northumberland 250 might just be for you. The 250 mile loop winds through Northumberland, England’s most sparsely populated county, and its relatively empty roads offer the perfect conditions for a road trip. The journey takes you from the epic coast in the east to the vast forests in the west, the wild borderlands in the north and down to Hadrian’s Wall in the south. northumberland250.com

Settle in Norfolk

On a quiet country lane lies a hideout called Settle. A handful of old railroad cars, a lakeside cabin, and a collection of tipis are scattered neatly among the greenery. The 30-hectare site also has three lily-studded lakes, ideal for cooling off in summer. The Settle encourages guests to indulge in outdoor baths and cold water, and cook over an open fire using locally sourced ingredients. It’s a journey that will leave you feeling refreshed. Two nights from £300, siedlnorfolk.co.uk

Wild camp on a Scottish island

There are few better ways to connect with nature than to swap modern conveniences for the simple basics of wild camping. Unlike the rest of the UK, wild camping is legal in Scotland, meaning you can pitch your tent wherever you like unless the land is private. And with over 900 islands, Scotland has no shortage of spectacular places to stay. Set up on Mull’s far west coast and spend your time surrounded by nothing but Scottish wilderness, waking up each morning to white sandy beaches and turquoise waters. For wild camping guidelines, see outdooraccess-scotland.scot

Follow @the.travel.project for more inspiration on achievable adventures in the UK, or visit achievableadventure.com