7 Outdoor Hobbies Full Of Discovery & Adventure To Try Today

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Ideal for discovering a part of the UK you never knew existed!

Do you ever get the feeling that there is an abundance of unexplored, undiscovered potential right on your doorstep? That you may have been wasting your time and money on all those holidays far-flung when the UK has so much to offer in its own right? That you’d love to find a new motivation to get out there and traverse pastures new?

Today, we’re here to give you that new motivation. Whether you’re living in a city and want to discover the hidden secrets nestled in the nooks and crannies of the urban landscape, or you have the Great British countryside on your backdoor and you can’t wait to explore, we have an activity for you. Here are 7 outdoor hobbies full of discovery and adventure to try today, IDEAL for discovering a part of the UK you never knew existed.

Stand-up Paddleboarding (SUP)

In the UK, we’re never too far from a suitable body of water – our green (and rather wet) land is home to canals, lakes and rivers aplenty, all of which are ideal for stand-up paddleboarding (SUP). Not to mention, we’re an island surrounded by water, and SUP on the seas is very much a thing, too! 

Aside from that ease of accessibility, there are so many other great reasons to try stand-up paddleboarding. Since you’re here for adventure, exploring the lakes and canals sounds pretty exciting to us. Moreover, there’s something magically meditative about being at one with nature and the water, standing tall and in control. It lets you unplug and switch off, allowing you to explore the corners of your own mind just as mind as the landscape around you.

What’s more, you get to enjoy the scenery from a whole new vantage point, bringing you closer to nature and far more in touch with the changing of the seasons and the movements of the earth than scrolling through your Instagram feed could ever get you.

Metal Detecting

Hunting for treasure? Now that sounds pretty adventurous to us! Indeed, on the back of the success of the tender, perfectly-pitched hit BBC comedy Detectorists, interest and participation in the hobby of metal detecting has risen hugely, with record numbers of discoveries happening in a post-lockdown boom for the pastime.  

That said, there can sometimes be tension with genuine archaeologists, and metal detecting should be treated as a bit of fun, rather than a way to unearth buried treasure and cash in. 

As The National Council for Metal Detecting told the Independent, “Detectors are hobbyists. They don’t go out to make a fortune. Any serious metal detector knows there isn’t much money in it. And they don’t dig without getting a special licence and abiding by the rules.” 

Abide by those rules, however, and you’ll find a sociable past-time that helps you explore the length and breadth of the UK in one of the most unique ways possible. If you’re keen to get involved, then England’s east coast is the most popular place for metal detecting, with East Anglia and, more specifically, Norfolk, the epicentre of the fun.

Gold Panning

A hobby that is similar to metal detecting and has seen equivalent spikes in popularity is gold panning.

A wonderful way to get outside and enjoy some fresh air whilst exploring the vast British countryside, gold panning involves sifting through sediment found in shallow lakes and rivers that run near gold mines in order to find small pieces of gold or other treasure. Mountains and hills are also popular locations for gold panning, with the Lake District, Northern Pennines and the Forest of Dean the current UK hotspots for the activity.

Again, there is regulation on gold panning in the UK. As the BBC points out, ‘’You must have the landowner’s permission and avoid sites with an environmental designation.’’

Once you’re sure that your gold panning exploits aren’t breaking the law, it’s time to make the most of your newfound hobby to explore some of the UK’s most beautiful countryside. Check out our tips on the top things to do on your visit to the North Lakes for more on that.

Bouldering

Rock climbing is a great way to challenge yourself physically and mentally, as well as exploring some of the country’s more striking scenery. 

But if you’re really going to take things up a notch, then have you considered bouldering? This is a type of rock climbing that does not require any ropes or harnesses, leaving the boulderer (perhaps not the official term) free to explore and discover any which way they choose!

Some of the best places for bouldering in the UK include Snowdonia and its Llanberis Pass boulders, the valley boulders at Burbage in Derbyshire, (Cratcliffe in the county is another great bouldering spot), and Stone Farm in East Sussex, to name but a few.

You could also try Fisherground in Eskdale, which is part of the Lake District, if you’re keen to try out gold panning and bouldering in a single sitting!

Canyoning

Whilst we normally associate canyons with the USA, you might be surprised to hear that the UK boasts some dramatic, stunning canyons, too.

Canyoning is a great way to gain access to parts of the country you may have never seen before (and certainly areas not available via convenient footpaths or by car!), as it involves hiking, rappelling, kayaking and even swimming through canyons in the name of accessing new and exciting scenery and vistas. 

Whilst the Lake District, once again, provides some of the finest canyoneering opportunities in the UK, it’s in Scotland that the majority of the finest canyons are found. 

According to Red Bull (hey, those wings it gives you might come in handy here!), the Grey Mares Tail Canyon in Kinlochleven is our premier destination for this thrilling, hands-on hobby, with Bruar Falls in Perthshire and the Dollar Canyon in Clackmannanshire also great canyoning spots.

Geocaching

Geocaching is the world’s largest treasure hunt, and can be done with any smartphone as all you need is access to GPS. In fact, it’s an activity taking the world, and that includes the UK, by storm. 

Simply search your location and find out about hidden gems near you and as you find more treasure, you’ll be given clues to move on. Sometimes, the treasure takes the form of a logbook and pen, to record your movements, or sometimes a Tupperware box containing a trinket is your reward. 

It’s a great activity for summer and you can do it alone, in pairs or bring the whole family along for the ride. It’s also a fantastic way to discover natural and interesting places in your local area or when on holiday.

With meets and events up and down the country, it’s a hugely sociable activity; check out the Geocaching Association of Great Britain for more on getting started!

Parkour

For those keen on a spot of urban exploration mixed in with some good ol’ fashioned exercise, then it’s time to limber up and let fly. Indeed, parkour has experienced a huge rise in popularity and visibility in recent years, and there are now multiple parkour facilities all over the country.

Many choose to learn the ropes (spoiler: there are no ropes) in a padded, risk-free environment first, establishing better balance and gaining confidence, before taking to benches, walls and first-floor rooftops for parkour-proper. 

In the UK, Brighton is generally considered to be the best place to enjoy a spot of free-running, with plenty of open space, low-rise buildings, and a wide range of pylons, walls, bandstands, railings and coastal landmarks right on the seafront. The famously tolerant nature of the residents in Brighton certainly does no harm either, as you run, jump and vault in public with abandon!

While you’re in the city, check out these other alternative things to do in Brighton and Hove. We’ll see you on the promenade?

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