The best outdoor pursuits near London

Get ready to go higher, faster, and further, with our pick of outdoor pursuits close to London
Man Wakeboarding
By Laura Lee Davies and Katherine Lovage |
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Lucky for all of London’s adrenaline junkies and extreme(ish) sports lovers, there are plenty of ways to get your kicks without shelling out for a trip to the alps and a ski pass. Here’s our pick of activities that are guaranteed to get your blood pumping, and better yet, they are all just a hop, skip and a jump from London.

If you want to spend your weekend doing something a little more daring than gallery hopping, try one of these ace outdoor activities that are pretty close to London. Ready to feel the wind beneath your wings?

RECOMMENDED: the full guide to outdoor London

Kitesurfing

The Kitesurf Centre in Whitstable, Kent, is the closest of its kind to London. Courses here are run by BKSA and IKO qualified instructors and even if you haven't tried the sport before, there is a beginner's session that can be tailored to your ability.

How do I get there?
Whitstable rail

Motor racing

Goodwood has a thing about racing - whether it's horses or cars, if it goes fast, it's in. But all year round you can give one of their ultimate driving track experiences a spin, just choose on the track or off-road, in a Mini or the latest luxury number. One option even includes a 'Butler's Picnic' lunch...nice.

How do I get there?
Chichester rail then bus

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Hang gliding

The acres of rolling National Trust parkland at Devil’s Dyke in East Sussex are the perfect setting for taking to the skies. Whether you want to try paragliding or hang gliding, the Southern Hang Gliding Club can make it possible. Experienced pilots are on hand to show you the ropes before you take off into the sunset.

How do I get there?
Brighton rail then bus

Wakeboarding

Box End Park near Bedford has a range of outdoor watersports for all ages and abilities. If your visit to the children's aqua park playground makes you long to get wet and wild, then try the water ski and wakeboard sessions for adults. There are open water swimming sessions too. 

How do I get there?
Bedford rail then taxi

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Skydiving

With a 180mph updraft, you can hover in the air as if you're really flying. Twinwoods Adventure Centre just north of Bedford offers this flying experience along with surfing, climbing, shooting, archery and simulated motor racing.

How do I get there?
Bedford rail then bus

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Hovercrafting

Conqueror of both land and sea, the hovercraft is not a vessel that many of us frequently encounter. However, Hovercraft Adventures in Paddock Wood have a dedicated experience where you can steer one of those bad boys. Full tuition is available, and since this is situated at the Hop Farm, you can spend the rest of the day exploring the estate (and cuddling the animals). Winner.

How do I get there?
Paddock Wood rail then bus

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Quad Biking

Got a need for speed? Then put your foot down during a Quad Biking session at Marwell Outdoor Activity Centre. Based in Hampshire, the centre also offers aerial and assault course adventures, as well as 16+ only activities such as clay pigeon shooting.

How do I get there?
Winchester rail then taxi

Take a trip to the beach this summer

Things to do

Ten brilliant beaches near London

Thankfully, London is excellently connected to some of the best beaches in the country, where picturesque dunes, indulgent ice creams and the chilly, refreshing sea all await. Don’t believe us? Get a load of these salty stunners.

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