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The ultimate outdoor bucket list

• Outdoor activities • Jan 20, 2022 • 15 mins

50 outdoor activities you must try

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Trying something new brings so much satisfaction, increases confidence, and can provide a much-needed dose of fresh air. There are hundreds of weird and wonderful outdoor activities out there to enjoy, some you may never have heard of.

So, we’ve put together the ultimate bucket list of 50 outdoor activities that you must try before you're 50 1/5. There's no age limit here! Young and old can give all of these activities a go and make memories to last a lifetime!

Up for the challenge?

white water rafting Llangollen

Rafting

1. White water rafting

Llangollen, Snowdonia

What does it involve?
You’ll join others (typically between 2-20) in a rubber raft and make your way down a river, riding the white water rapids as you go. A white water raft is designed for just that and you can take on rapids of varying difficulties, depending on your experience. If you become more experienced, you can combine rafting with backpacking and cover longer distances down a river, camping on the way.

What do you need?
You’ll need a white water raft, a helmet and a life jacket. The organisation you choose to white water raft with will provide everything you need. Rafts are expensive and you’ll need some practice, so it’s not something you’ll go out and buy on your first go.

Where can you do it?
Britain is home to some fantastic rivers suitable for white water rafting. The River Dee near Llangollen is particularly good and you can expect to enjoy the thrills and spills of grade 2/3 rapids in a beautiful setting. You can book a half day experience with Whitewater Active here.

Ryvoan Bothy

Ryvoan Bothy

2. Overnight in a bothy

Cairngorms National Park

What does it involve?
A bothy is a backcountry hut, usually in fairly remote locations. Staying in a bothy is completely free and suitable for all ages. Most bothies are maintained by the Mountain Bothies Association which is run by volunteers. Reaching a bothie requires a scenic walk and there are some just a couple of miles from the road/car park which make them more suitable for families. You may find the bothy occupied with others or you may have it to yourself. Most bothies have a bunk room (or two), a communal room and fireplace. Some have proper loos. A stay in a mountain bothy is an experience you will never forget. Share stories with other walkers around the log fire, make yourself a mug of hot chocolate and don’t forget to sign the guest book!

What do you need?
You'll need to bring everything with you (sleeping bag, mat, food, cooking equipment) and most importantly, you'll need to carry it back out with you ensuring that you leave no trace. It's best practice to carry a tent with you in case the bothy is full or closed.

Where can you do it?
Most British bothies are found in Scotland but there are a few scattered elsewhere. A stay in Ryvoan Bothy in the Cairngorms National Park is a great overnight family-friendly adventure. On this walk you'll get to enjoy views from Meall a' Bhuachaille.

wild swimming bucket list outdoor 

Wild swimming

3. Wild swimming

Upper Eskdale, Lake District

What does it involve?

Wild swimming involves swimming outside in nature (so not in a manmade pool). There are many health benefits of wild swimming and it’s especially good for our wellbeing.

What do you need?

Apart from your bathers and a towel you don’t need any equipment to go wild swimming and it’s completely free! Some people wear a wetsuit, gloves and swimming booties to help them stay warm. Many people also use a high vis tow float to be seen in the water, especially handy in winter. You'll see swimmers wearing the popular Dry Robe when they leave the water to help them keep warm.

Where can you do it?
There are two main things you need to consider when choosing a wild swimming spot. Firstly, is it safe to swim? Secondly, whether swimming is permitted. It’s safer to swim with others and you’ll often find groups of people at various points along the shore meeting up for their daily swim. The Lake District has some fantastic wild swimming holes you can enjoy including one called Tongue Pot in Upper Eskdale.

Canicross midlands 

Canicross

4. Canicross

Cannock Chase, Staffordshire

What does it involve?
Canicross is cross-country running with your dog. It requires you to work together. Dogs are harnessed and attached by an elastic lead to the runner, who drives the dog with voice commands. The dog leads the way. It's a great way to strengthen your relationship with your dog and improve both your fitness.

What do you need?
You’ll need a dog (of course) and an elastic lead which attaches to your waist.

Where can you do it?
Canicross is best done on country forest trails, but it can be done almost anywhere. It’s best to avoid crowded places or fields with livestock in. Cannock Chase in Staffordshire is a great option. It's an Area Of Natural Beauty and boasts plenty of wide forest paths. It's also one of the meeting point of the Canicross Midlands club. There are a number of other Canicross clubs you can join across Britain.

Via ferrata Honister Slate Mine

Via ferrata

5. Via Ferrata

Honister Slate Mine, Lake District

What does it involve?
Via Ferrata offers an extraordinary mix of alpine hiking, scrambling and rock climbing. You’ll make your way over steep rocky terrain using metal cables, pins and footholds that are secured to the rock.

What do you need?
You’ll need a helmet, a harness and a special Via Ferrata device to allow you to safety clip on and off. The great thing about Via Ferrata is that it’s not technical so you don’t need any experience, just be good with heights and have experience of moving on rock. You’ll also need to understand how to use the device which is rather straight forward. If you’re a little unsure then it’s wise to join an organised group or head out with an instructor.

Where can you do it?
Via Ferrata is mostly done in Europe where it originates from but there are some places in Great Britain where you can have a go. Once of the most popular places is Honister State Mine in the Lake District where a number of guided tours operate.

Gravel riding new forest

Gravel riding

6. Gravel riding

New Forest National Park

What does it involve?
Gravel riding lets you immerse yourself in nature by cycling off-road but typically takes gentler trails than you would do mountain biking. Gravel bikes are tougher than a road bike but faster than a mountain bike, so they let you cover more ground when cycling all terrain.

What do you need?
Apart from a gravel bike and the usual essential bike tools, you won’t need much else. You can wear any clothes, although breathable sports gear and padded shorts if on a long ride are best. If you don’t have a gravel bike, you can hire them quite easily, especially near locations suitable for gravel riding.

Where can you do it?
There are some fantastic gravel tracks across Britain with the New Forest being one of our favourites. Here, you’ll be able to choose from a huge selection of all-weather trails, most flat or undulating. You’ll ride through beautiful forest and heathland. If you’re lucky, you may even pass the free roaming New Forest ponies. If you’d like to try riding a gravel bike and see what all the fuss is about, there are plenty of guided rides to join.

boot camp bucket list outdoor activitiy 

Boot camp

7. Join a boot camp

Bristol

What does it involve?

Most boot camps last around an hour and include different activities to have you work up a sweat. They’re a great way to keep fit and healthy and meet new people in your local area. They may involve circuit training, HITT or an even military-style assault course. You can push yourself as hard as you like, with the aim to give it your best effort to get the maximum from it. Some are pay as you go and others you’ll need to sign up for a set number of sessions - great at keeping you motivated!

What do you need?

Your instructor will provide everything you need and some sessions may not involve any equipment at all. Just turn up wearing something you can exercise in and a willingness to give it a go.

Where can you do it?

There are boot camps you can join all over the country and a quick online search will show you your nearest. Cities, such as Bristol, have the biggest choice and often the best value, the Bristol Boot Camp Company is one example. These usually take place on public playing fields on in community halls but we much prefer to do it outside!.

coasteering Newquay

Coasteering Newquay

8. Coasteering

Newquay, Cornwall

What does it involve?
Coasteering is a mix of wild-swimming, scrambling, jumping, caving and exploration that takes you to incredible places along the shore. It's one of the UK’s fastest growing extreme adventure sports!

What do you need?
Coasteering is a great way to immerses yourself in nature and is best done with someone who knows what they’re doing. You’ll need a helmet, a warm wetsuit, buoyancy aid, neoprene shorts and a rash vest. Your guide should be able to provide this so all you’ll need to bring is a pair of trainers you don’t mind getting wet and a towel.

Where can you do it?
There are coasteering sessions up and down the coast with qualified leaders and you’ll be in a group, so it’s the perfect activity to do with friends – and you may even make new ones! Newquay in Cornwall is a fantastic place for water sports, especially coasteering.

wild camping Dartmoor National Park 

Wild camping on Dartmoor

9. Wild camping

Dartmoor National Park

What does it involve?
There’s nothing quite like sleeping under the stars and wild camping offers the ultimate adventure. The name says it all, wild camping is camping in the wilderness and not at a campsite.

What do you need?
For this, all you need is a shelter (tent, tarp, bivvy) and something to keep you warm like a sleeping bag. It's up to you what else you bring, you may wish to take something to cook with or spare clothes in case it gets cold.

Where can you do it?
Choose your spot carefully, away from civilization so you don’t disturb others – walking or cycling to your spot is best. It’s important you camp responsibly and leave no trace. There are organised wild camping weekends in Dartmoor (where it is legal to wild camp) if you’d like to build up your confidence, join others and brush up on your navigation skills.

Weaselling Peak District

Weaselling in the Peak District

10. Weaselling

Hope Valley, Peak District

What does it involve?
Weaselling is a fun and athletic activity, like caving but on the surface. As well as scrambling and easy low-level climbing between the rocks, you’ll look for the the smallest gaps, tunnels and caves to squeeze between! It’s a good physical challenge and is great fun for anyone who doesn’t mind getting a bit grubby.

What do you need?
In weaselling there are no ropes involved as there will be no high climbs. You will need a helmet and instructors should provide this. All you’ll need is some warm clothes and some trainers or walking boots – don’t bring your best gear, you will get muddy!

Where can you do it?
The Hope Valley in the Peak District offers a great place for weaselling and the perfect base to explore the bizarre gritstone rock formations. Join a qualified instructor for half a day to try it.

Stand up paddleboarding 

Stand-up paddleboarding

11. Stand up paddleboarding

Combe Martin Bay, North Devon

What does it involve?
Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is one of the fastest growing water sports in the UK. It involves standing up on a board and using a paddle to make your way through the water. You'll use your arms while standing or kneeling to propel you and your board forward.


What do you need?
SUP is one of those water sports that most people can pick up fairly easily with just a few pointers. Paddleboards don’t come cheap (£200+) so it may be best to have a lesson or at least hire a board before you become a pro.

Where can you do it?
You can paddleboard in the sea, a lake or a river – anywhere where you’re allowed to swim or kayak (please check first). Paddling at sea is a fantastic experience but should only be attempted in calm waters as waves make it much harder than if on a lake or river. Combe Martin Bay in North Devon is a fantastic place to give it ago and you can hire boards here too.

skating london

Roller skating

12. Skating (Roller, Skateboarding, Ice)

Hyde Park, London

What does it involve?
For many, roller skating and skateboarding brings back childhood memories, but you’ll be surprised how many people haven't even tired it! If you haven’t, skating is a ‘must do’ and there are many forms. In-line skating became popular in the 90s/00s and involves skates with four wheels in a single line where as classic roller skating includes skates with four wheels in a square. Skateboarding on the other hand, is totally different and involves propelling yourself along on a board. It's all down to personal preference although in-line skating is generally said to be easier. It's great fun and a excellent way to meet new people and keep active.

What do you need?
You’ll need a pair of skates/skateboard and elbow/knee pads plus a helmet. Equipment may be hired from your local skate park, or you can pick up something second-hand online or in a charity shop.

Where can you do it?
You’ll be surprised at how many parks and open spaces are suitable for skating and you’ll often find groups meeting up at a certain time and place skate. There’s a huge skating community out there and they are a friendly bunch. Smooth, flat concrete is best for first time skaters or your local skate park, where experienced skaters will be more than willing to help. In Hyde Park, there's a London Friday Night and Sunday Stroll meet up. They are free, weekly marshalled street skates and great for those wanting to get involved.

peak bagging 

Peak bagging

13. Peak bagging

Betws-y-Coed, Snowdonia

What does it involve?
Peak bagging, or summit bagging is the challenge of trying to reach the top of as many hills or mountains as you can. Many people set themselves peak bagging challenges, whether that’s reaching the summit of all the Wainwrights or all the Munros in Scotland. For many it’s become an addiction!

What do you need?
Apart from a good pair of walking shoes and suitable clothing, you don’t need much to reach the top of most hills or mountains in Britain. There are some that are slightly more technical and require some scrambling or even specialist rock climbing equipment. Start small and once you're an experienced hill walker you can move on to tougher peaks.

Where can you do it?
If you’re looking to set yourself a peak bagging challenge and want to improve your scrambling skills then there’s no better place (in our opinion) than in Snowdonia. Betws-y-Coed and surrounds offer the perfect backdrop and is home to some of Wales’s classic ridges and peaks. If you’re new to scrambling, you best start off with an instructor.

e mountain biking retro new forest 

Retro e-MTBing in the New Forest

14. E-Mountain biking

Lymington, New Forest

What does it involve?
An electric mountain bike (E-MTB) is a regular mountain bike with the addition of an electric motor and battery. You’d use it just as you would any mountain bike but you’ll be able to travel further and faster with the help of an electric motor.

What do you need?
An electric mountain bike and the usual bike tools you’ll normally carry. Electric mountain bikes can be expensive so if you’re going to want to hire one unless you already love mountain biking and intend to use it regularly! Check you'll have enough charge to go the distance and whether you'll need to stop somewhere half way to plug it in.

Where can you do it?
The coastal town of Lymington in the New Forest is a fabulous place to explore, especially on two wheels with the wind in your hair and the sun on your face. From Lymington, there’s easy access to miles of off-road tracks and trails, quiet country lanes and stunning New Forest beaches. You can join a guided tour on retro e-bikes for something a little different.

rock climbing yorkshire 

Rock climbing

15. Rock climbing

Ingleton, Yorkshire Dales

What does it involve?
From a young age we all loved to climb, whether it was across the sofa or up a tree in the local park. Climbing on rock offers that same excitement and the satisfaction of reaching the top. There are two types of rock climbing; traditional (trad) and sport, with trad requiring more equipment but you’re less restricted to where you can climb.

What do you need?
Rock climbing requires specialist safety equipment and if you’re tying it for the first time, a highly experienced instructor will get you on the rock, enjoying the surroundings, the challenge and the adventure. They will also provide all the equipment you need. All you’ll need to bring is warm clothes, waterproofs and a pair of sturdy trainers.

Where can you do it?
There are some fantastic climbing locations across the UK with different types of rocks suited to different types of climbing - Dartmoor, Jurassic Coast, Peak District and the Lake District to name a few. Another great place to climb in in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales which is famous for limestone pavements and crags. Here you can join a taster session to give it a go and learn the ropes.

backpacking Norfolk coastal path

Backpacking the Norfolk Coastal Path

16. Backpacking

Norfolk Coast Path

What does it involve?
Backpacking involves travelling over multiple days with your luggage on your back. Typically, you’ll travel by foot or by public transport. We recommend walking to get the full backpacking experience.

What do you need?
You’ll need a good pair of shoes, a sense of adventure and as much walking gear as you can fit in your backpack without it weighing you down. If you plan to camp on route, which will add to the adventure, then you’ll need sleeping gear and a shelter. If you have limited time or want to visit certain places, it’s best you carry a map.

Where can you do it?
You can backpack all over the world. To get started, have a go backpacking on one of Britain’s best long-distance walking trails. There are thousands to choose from and they can be split into sections, making them perfect for backpackers.

parkrun

Christmas parkrun with family

17. parkrun

Bushy Park, London

What does it involve?
parkrun is one of the most accessible outdoor activities you can do in your local area. It’s open to all, it’s completely free and you don’t need to be a seasoned pro to take part. Run, jog or walk your way around the same 5km course at 9am every Saturday. You can take your dog, a buggy and there’s even a shorter Junior parkrun on a Sunday morning for the kids. Although it is a ‘race’, most people do it for fun and only compete with their previous times.

What do you need?
If you want an official time, you’ll need to register online and bring your bar code so the volunteers can scan it at the end. Apart from that, all you need is to wear something you can run in. Decide which of your nearest parkruns you’d like to try (there may be lots of choice) and find out what types of paths it’s on. Some parkruns are on tarmac whilst others take on forest trails which may become a little slippery in winter (so trail shoes are recommended)

Where can you do it?
All over the world! Bushy Park was the first ever parkrun, starting in 2014 where there were just 13 runners. Now, it’s one of the most popular parkrun in the UK as it passes through the scenery of the beautiful Bushy Park, the second largest royal park in London. It’s also flat and fast making it perfect for those wanting to beat their time.

Find over 1100 Trusted parkrun routes in OS Maps Premium. Just filter by 'running'.

River Soar kayak 

Kayaking

18. Canoeing and kayaking

River Soar, Barrow upon Soar, Leicestershire

What does it involve?
Canoeing and kayaking involve paddling in water with a single (canoe) or double (kayak) bladed paddle. You can paddle solo or with others (usually one other person) and both are great for leisurely meandering down a river. Should you wish to explore further you can combine these paddle sports with backpacking for an overnight stay as you travel down stream. Many canoes and kayaks have a space for belongings such as a small tarp or tent.

What do you need?
You’ll need a canoe/kayak, a paddle and a lifejacket. There’s always a chance you may end up in the water so don’t wear/bring anything you wouldn’t want to get wet.

Where can you do it?
Many rivers and lakes allow canoeing/kayaking (check whether you need a licence first) and there are specialist centres across Britain where you can hire equipment and learn how to paddle. Join a tour on the River Soar in Barrow upon Soar to explore, picnic or even paddle to the pub!

foraging outdoor bucket list 

Foraging

19. Foraging

Cotehele, Calstock, Cornwall

What does it involve?
Foraging is the art of gathering wild food to eat. It’s thrifty, fascinating and a brilliant excuse to get outside!

What do you need?
The only thing you need is knowledge of what’s safe to pick and eat. You should be able to correctly identify plants and flowers and only take what you intend to eat.

Where can you do it?
You can forage almost anywhere except for private land where the plants and flowers will belong to someone. You’ll find different foods in different locations and you’ll learn this once you do you research. For an introduction to foraging, you can join a course or an organised activity to learn what to gather and how to cook it. Remember to only take what you need.

Horse riding Holy Island

Horse riding

20. Horse riding

Holy Island, Northumberland

What does it involve?
Riding a horse is a great experience and you’ll likely to witness some fantastic scenery as you’ll be higher than if exploring by foot or cycle. The horses at your local riding school will be used to people sitting on their back so there's no need to feel worried.

What do you need?
You’ll need a horse, a saddle and a helmet which will be provided at your chosen riding school. There are many companies offering horse rides across Britain, not just at riding schools, and they’ll set you up correctly and explain what you need to do.

Where can you do it?
Many horse rides take place in scenic areas like the countryside and beach to enhance your experience.

30 others you need to try

21. River bugging
22. Caving
23. Skiing
24. Fishing
25. Snorkelling
26. Paintballing
27. Clay pigeon shooting
28. Parkour
29. Disc golf
30. Learn to navigate
31. Nordic walking
32. Surfing
33. Orienteering
34. Zip lining
35. Forest bathing
36. Volunteering
37. Wildlife watching
38. RIB boating
39. Alpaca walking
40. Abseiling
41. Bushcraft
42. Outdoor photography
43. Archery
44. Gliding
45. Kitesurfing
46. Assault course
47. Sailing
48. Slacklining
49. Cave biking
50. Snorkelling


If you'd like to try something new this year, whether it's during the weekend or on your summer holiday, you can find organised sessions, qualified instructors and experience days for all these outdoor activities (and more!) in the events section of the GetOutside app. You can book organised sessions via Beyonk which you can access through the GetOutside app.

Published: Jan 20, 2022 Edited: Jun 24, 2022

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