10 ways to get your adrenalin pumping in South West England

If you 're looking for an action packed adventure, there's plenty to keep your adrenaline pumping as you travel around England's South West - surfing, sailing, caving, hot-air ballooning, coasteering and kayaking to name a few.

1. Tackle the 2012 Olympic Sailing course, Weymouth & Portland, Dorset

Olympic Sailing in Weymouth © VisitDorset Olympic Sailing in Weymouth © VisitDorset

As the host venue for the sailing events of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the waters provide the perfect setting for sailing, angling and diving.  Opt to sail with a team of highly qualified instructors and coaches from the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy. Or why not try out a new activity, learn a new watersport, or take a white-knuckle boat ride out in Weymouth Bay? For more land-based activities why not try rock climbing, paragliding, hiking, cycling or pony trekking.  The countryside and cliffs provide the ideal locations for these and many more activities. After a day of activity, share your experiences and relax with a well-deserved meal at a nearby restaurant or a pint at the pub, overlooking the mighty sweep of Chesil Beach.  

Find out more about Weymouth and Portland

2. PierZip Bournemouth, Dorset

PierZip at Bournemouth Pier © VisitBournemouth PierZip at Bournemouth Pier © VisitBournemouth

With the popularity of zip wires extending beyond play parks and forest adventure settings to ever more impressive locations, Bournemouth’s Pier Zip ensures thrill seekers will keep coming back to Bournemouth – voted the UK’s Best Coastal Resort in the British Travel Awards 2014. There’s a dual line so riders can race family, friends or colleagues to the landing pad on Bournemouth’s award-winning, sandy beach. Prices are £15 for a single rider or £26 for two riders together.

Find out more about PierZip

3. Hot Air Balloon across Bristol

Inflating a Hot Air Balloon in Bristol © BristolBalloons, VisitBristol Inflating a Hot Air Balloon in Bristol © BristolBalloons, VisitBristol

Floating high above the city, watching the landmarks of Bristol unravel below –Brunel’s ss Great Britain, the magnificent Georgian rows of Clifton Village, the Clifton Suspension Bridge - has to be one of the most memorable ways to view the city. Enjoy hot air balloon flights across the West Country with several picturesque launch sites including Ashton Court Estate and Bath. Choose to fly at either dawn or dusk for breath-taking views over Bristol and the surrounding countryside and end the ride in style with a glass of Champagne. 

Find out about ballooning in Bristol

4. Go caving, Cheddar, Somerset

Caving in Cheddar Caves © VisitCheddar Caving in Cheddar Caves © VisitCheddar

Challenge yourself on an adventure caving expedition deep into the Mendip Hills at Cheddar Gorge, located just one hour outside of Bath in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Alongside a caving guide you’ll embark on a quarter of a mile route and climb, crawling and squeezing through many different chambers and caves. The final obstacle is to slide headfirst through a tiny gap known as the ‘letterbox’ before finishing a proud and muddy hero.

Find out about caving in Cheddar

5. Kayak & Coasteering, Exmoor National Park

Kayaking on Exmoor © VisitExmoor Kayaking on Exmoor © VisitExmoor

Exmoor has a fantastic selection of lakes, rivers and coastline perfect for water enthusiasts and its rugged coastline is particularly remote with the highest cliffs in the county. Sea kayakers can explore the remote West Somerset and North Devon coastline where local guides are available to help you navigate the highest tides in Europe. There are plenty of inland opportunities too from the expanses of Wimbleball Lake to the white-water rivers of the moor offering grade 2-4 paddling. Coasteering is the latest exhilarating activity. Kit yourself up with a wetsuit, buoyancy aid and helmet then scramble, swim and jump some of the most beautiful rocky coastline in the country.

Find out about activities on Exmoor

6. Horse Riding, Devon

Horse Riding in Devon © VisitDevon Horse Riding in Devon © VisitDevon

A wide range of horse riding activities are available such as full or half day treks, moor and beach riding, carriage riding and even western riding. Explore the amazing places around Wembury with the family run Wembury Bay Riding School or with the Cheston Farm Equestrian Centre in South Brent with such close proximity to Dartmoor, you can enjoy the freedom of exploring miles of unspoilt remote riding    

Find out about horse riding in Devon

7. A Surfer's Paradise, Cornwall

Surfboards at Watergate © AdamGibbard, VisitEngland Surfboards at Watergate © AdamGibbard, VisitEngland

With over 300 beaches to choose from, everyone can reap the benefits of surfing along Cornwall's rugged coastline. Plus you’ll get up close and personal with nature and away from the crowds. Whether you're a complete beginner, experienced or if you are just up for some fun, a surfing lesson is a must for your Cornwall itinerary and will ensure that you make the most of its amazing beaches. From St Ives to Newquay to Bude, there are some really great surf schools worth checking out which offer lessons for the complete novice but also those looking to brush up their water sports skills.    

Find out about surfing in Cornwall

8. Hop from Isle to Isle, Isles of Scilly

Island Hopping on the Isles of Scilly © VisitScilly Island Hopping on the Isles of Scilly © VisitScilly

One of the greatest pleasures when staying on Scilly is to island hop and discover each island's distinct charms. There are five inhabited islands that make up the Isles of Scilly - all small and all very close together. There are many uninhabited ones to explore, too. It's easy to do one island a day (or indeed, three in one!) so hop on a "tripper" boat and go explore. Walking is the best way to get around - and you'll soon discover that each of the inhabited islands has a unique charm and character of its own.

Find out about the Isles of Scilly

9. Surf a 20 mile wave, Minsterworth, Forest of Dean

Surfers on the Severn Bore © VisitEngland Surfers on the Severn Bore © VisitEngland

The Severn Bore is a truly spectacular phenomenon, a tidal surge that sweeps up the river Severn and the tidal range is the 2nd highest in the world. It can be viewed from a number of places, but one of the best spots is from Minsterworth. A popular pastime of this wonderful phenomena is surfing and water skiing the wave. Perfect for those seeking that kick of adrenaline.            

Find out about the Severn Bore


10. Mountain biking in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

Flyup714 in the Forest of Dean © Flyup714, VisitEngland Flyup714 in the Forest of Dean © Flyup714, VisitEngland

New for 2016, Flyup417 is a hundred acre site in the heart of the Cotswolds with six downhill mountain bike tracks supported by an uplift service (a bus that takes you and your bike to the top of the hill).  You’ll also find a world cup standard 4X track and dual slalom run, a jump bag, freeride area and two acre dirt jump arena!  For wet days you’ll find two separate indoor riding barns, a café, bike shop and workshop on site – the perfect day out for great bike adventurers and a great base to explore the wider Cotswolds countryside.

Find out about cycling in the Cotswolds


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