Finding running routes in urban areas may not be as hard as you think. Mountain runner Max Nicholls tells us how he trains for National and World Championships by finding routes in South London.
A microadventure is an overnight (5pm to 9am) adventure so let’s define a mini adventure as a 24 - 48 hour adventure. One that can be enjoyed over weekends, snugged perfectly between Friday nights and Monday mornings, and provide a suitable smile inducing dose of outdoors time.
For mini adventures, there’s time to pop over to France and practice your best French while ordering that croissant. But living in the UK, where we’re lucky to choose from landscapes of mountains to rolling hills, moors, rivers and coasts, we can have mini adventures from our front-door. Literally!
If you want choice, the Chilterns is the place to go! Either pick a trail/way to follow or pick a start and finish such as start in Princes Risborough and finish in Henley-on-Thames.
The train takes approximately 50 minutes from London and extend the trip by wild camping in the Chilterns.
Link London’s central parks, taking in St James’ Park, Green Park, Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, Primrose Hill and Hampstead Heath.
Turn this into a bigger mini adventure, by wild camping in Hampstead Heath
OS Map: Explorer 173 (North London)
The South Downs Way is a 100-mile path that runs between Eastbourne and Winchester. Fast-pack or hike as much or as little as you’d like. The train from London Victoria to Eastbourne only takes an hour and a half, giving you plenty of hiking time over the weekend.
Again, you can camp/wild camp along the South Downs Way or if camping isn’t your thing, there's plenty of accommodation options.
Head a bit further out of London, with two-wheels...
Coastal views, famous rock formations, old fortresses and forests, this route has a bit of everything! Check out Dorset’s Isle of Purbeck area with two days of bikepacking. The train from London Waterloo to Wareham takes approximately 2 and a half hours.
Use this route, which includes a location for wild camping, overlooking the amazing British coastline.
Explore the Gower Peninsula’s scenery with two days of bikepacking, using this route. Wild camp overlooking the coast by Llangennith, just before the Hillend campsite.
The train from London Paddington to Swansea takes approximately 3 hours, so it may be worth coming down on Friday evening to make the most of the weekend's cycling time.
OS map: Explorer 164 (Gower)
For those up for a cycling-and-island-hopping adventure, head to Isle of Wight.
Train (or cycle, depending on time and fitness level) to Southampton and catch the ferry to East Cowes. Cycle the 62 mile loop around the island and have a well-deserved beer to celebrate at the end.
The train from London Waterloo to Southampton takes approximately an hour and a half, with the ferry taking about the same time from Southampton to East Cowes.
This is another perfect route to wild camp on, or there is plenty of alternative accomodation.
OS map: Explorer OL 29 (Isle of Wight)
There’s nothing more refreshing than a wild swim and even in London, there are loads of accessible spots. Some to get you started are: Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park; Mixed/Ladies/Mens in Hampstead Heath, Stoke Newington West Reservoir Centre, River Wye in Surrey, Frensham Great Pond in Surrey and Thames at Henley-on-Thames
Stand-up paddle-boarding (SUP) is really accessible, suitable for all ages and fitness levels. You can hire SUPs with Active 360 from Paddington Basin, Brentford Lock, Kew Bridge or Richmond in London.
If you haven’t tried out kite-surfing, give it a go! It’s a year-round sport with the only requirement being wind. You can do a one-day introductory day, two-days or three day courses with The Kitesurf Centre in Camber Sands
The train from London St Pancras International to Rye takes 1 hour and 10 mins with an additional short a bus/taxi ride to Camber Sands