From a ‘breakfast with red squirrels’ experience to the thrilling sport of ‘wind-winging’, days out that will see your staycation take off
- Staff at Nomadic Kitesurf, Hampshire, are offering sessions to try wind-winging
- Join the new Breakfast With Red Squirrels experience in the Lake District
- Make a visit to Leeds Castle in Kent more adventurous by booking a Segway tour
Every week our Holiday Hero Neil Simpson takes an in-depth look at a brilliant holiday topic, doing all the legwork so you don’t have to. This week: Adventurous days out in the great outdoors.
No one wants to be indoors when the summer sun is shining, and it’s not too late to book some brilliant experiences that will make staycations even more memorable.
A day to remember can begin with a new Breakfast With Red Squirrels experience in the Lake District. After an early start, you’ll join a guide and a small group in a well-concealed RSPB hide near Haweswater reservoir.
New wave: Try the thrilling sport of wind-winging in Hampshire
Open up a specially prepared breakfast picnic box as you look out across mossy woods to spot the endangered creatures. Then take a guided hike to see how local efforts are helping red squirrels to thrive.
The experience is one of more than 70 days out on offer in national parks this summer.
Another is the Fossils, Forage & Feast day on the North York Moors. Group leaders take guests hunting for ammonites, Jurassic fossils, dinosaur footprints and Whitby jet – a gemstone formed from decaying wood that washes up on the town’s beaches.
You’ll then explore hidden coves on the coast near Boggle Hole before scouring rock pools for seaside snacks to cook on a bonfire on the beach at the end of the day. An evening of star-gazing can follow.
Visit nationalparks.uk/experiences for the full list of days out. Prices start at about £30pp.
There’s more adventure on offer in Wales, where den-building, bushcraft and survival skills are taught at Plas Menai, the National Outdoor Centre on the banks of the Menai Strait near Caernarfon. Half-day courses begin at £35.
Other courses for youngsters include mountain-bike skills sessions on dirt tracks and forest trails. Parents and grandparents can relax in the centre’s Coast Cafe or Seaboard Bar while their children head to the hills. There are also plenty of day-long courses for sailors and swimmers. Visit plasmenai.co.uk.
The latest watersports are taught on a lagoon near Calshot in Hampshire, where the New Forest National Park reaches the sea.
Rare: Go red squirrel spotting in the Lake District
Paddle-boarding and kitesurfing are always popular, but this year staff at Nomadic Kitesurf are offering extra sessions to introduce wind-winging.
The new sport has to be seen to be believed – you stand on a surf board that rises on a ‘foil’ a foot or so over the surface of the water as you hold on to an inflatable wing. Small-group or private lessons can get you aloft and racing across the lagoon within a day.
Half-day introductory classes with equipment cost from £120 – go to nomadickitesurf.com.
Back on dry land, the whole family can join forces in a tongue-in-cheek treasure hunt. Researchers and writers with the Treasure Trails group have created hundreds of hunts in towns and villages across the country. Choose from three key themes: playing amateur detective in a light-hearted murder mystery, chasing spies in an international adventure, or solving clues that guide you towards traditional hidden treasure.
The Segway tour around Leeds Castle in Kent takes groups across rolling fields
Sign up to a hunt from £9.99, then download a booklet stuffed with stories and clues and set off on any day you want.
The answers that guide you from point to point may be hidden in plain sight on buildings or landmarks, but there’s a helpline if you’re really stuck on a clue. Learn more at treasuretrails.co.uk.
A visit to Leeds Castle in Kent can be made more adventurous by booking a Segway tour around the perimeter, with plenty of help so everyone is ready to roll.
The half-hour Scenic Tour takes groups across rolling fields while an Adventure Tour goes further afield. It costs from £23 with segwaytours.co.uk.