Active Holidays for Families
Published: Tuesday 5th Aug 2014
Written by: Betheny Ellis
Active holidays for families are a top way of bonding with your children – they get to burn off all that energy and you get to keep fit. Whether walking or cycling, kayaking or climbing, getting out and about and physical is a great way to see new landscapes. There are a host of places where activities are possible; you just have to do your research. Here are a few pointers:
Canoeing and kayaking is a wonderful way to see a new location from a different perspective. Locations recommended for paddlers include the Norfolk Broads, the sea off the beaches at Stackpole on the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales, the River Stour in Suffolk, Kynance Cove near Lizard Point in Cornwall and the stunning Studland Beach near Swanage in Dorset.
A good leg stretch with the children is a great way to spend quality time together. Out in the open and moving at your own pace, you have the time to chat, take in the landscape and point out items of interest. Some of the best-known walks have been designated National Trails and while some people set out to walk the entire length, you can easily just join them for a few hours. How about spending a day on the Pennine Way as it passes through the Yorkshire Dales or setting foot on the Norfolk Coast Path across the beach at Holkham? The walk through Kent on the North Downs Way follows the old Pilgrims Way, while Glyndwr’s Way in central Wales takes you through open moorland, farmland, woodland and forests.
Those with a head for heights might want to try a spot of rock climbing as part of their active family holiday. If you haven’t done it before, it will be something new to try and you might just find yourself a new hobby. Training is also available at a number of places in Wales, such as the National Mountaineering Centre in Snowdonia or indoor facilities in the Brecon Beacons. The magical rock formations at Brimham Rocks in Yorkshire are also a good starting place for budding climbers.
What better way to see the Great Outdoors than on two wheels? If you fancy a few days out cycling as part of your holiday, you should be searching for areas where there is little traffic or off-roads paths that allow you to pedal away from cars and exhaust fumes. If you are in North Devon, the 32-mile long Tarka Trail takes you between Braunton and Meeth on disused railway lines and passing through countryside made famous by Henry Williamson in his classic novel ‘Tarka the Otter’. In East Sussex, the Cuckoo Trail is part of the national cycle network and again uses disused railway lines, so you can pedal through Hailsham above Eastbourne. At Llanelli in south-west Wales the Millennium Coastal Path is an easy, seven mile traffic-free tarmac path that takes you through a mixture of stunning coastline and beautiful woodland.
Those looking for a white water rafting adrenalin rush should head for the National White Water Centre on the River Tryweryn in the heart of Snowdonia, where people aged 12 and upwards can take taster sessions. If you want to give sailing or windsurfing a try then sheltered areas like Poole Harbour in Dorset and the Fal estuary in Cornwall are the best places to learn. To try archery there can be no more appropriate place than Battle in East Sussex, where King Harold was reputedly slain by an arrow in 1066. There the Archers of Battle offer training facilities and equipment for all ages from children to senior citizens. If you’re more of a water baby then try surfing, a holiday in Newquay, Cornwall is the sport’s spiritual home in the UK and arguably the place to learn.