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The ultimate bucket list: 50 outdoor activities you must try once

• Family activities • Oct 25, 2000 • 10 mins

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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 1/2. 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?

1. Plogging

To put it simply, ‘plogging’ is the act of picking up litter whilst running or jogging. Not only does this help keep your favourite routes looking mighty fine but gives you a reason to go out. This is a great activity if you are easily bored when running, plus you’ll get extra satisfaction once you reach home knowing you’ve done your bit. All you need is some gloves and a bag to collect your litter!

2. Nordic walking

What does it involve? Nordic Walking turns a simple walk into full body exercise. It involves a unique technique where your upper body moves in a similar way to a cross country skier whilst walking at a brisk pace.

What do you need? It involves the use of specially designed poles which look like hiking poles but are very different.

Where can you do it? Just like walking, anywhere! Open spaces and trails are best. Join one of the hundreds of organised sessions across Britain to learn the technique and borrow poles.

3. Orienteering

Unleash your competitive side by trying your hands at Orienteering. Whether you’re racing others or the clock, Orienteering will exercise your mind and body as you try to navigate to specific points using a map and a compass. The aim of the game is to reach each point as fast as you can, using the map to find the most efficient route. Walk, run, cycle, the choice is yours. British Orienteering have details of all the permanent courses and regular events across the UK including downloadable maps. Most courses are free.

4.Gravel biking

Tougher than a road bike but faster than a mountain bike, gravel bikes let you cover more ground when cycling all terrain. There are some fantastic gravel tracks across the UK with the New Forest being one of our favourites. 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 and bikes to hire.

5. Bothying

A bothy is a country hut, usually in fairly remove locations. Staying in a bothy is completely free and suitable for all ages. Most British bothies are found in Scotland but there are a few scattered elsewhere. Some involved a long walk in and out, but others can be reached after a couple of miles making them more suited towards families. Accommodation is basic and you’ll need to bring your own sleeping bag and cooking gear but it’s a great experience you’ll never forget. Share stories with other walker around the log fire, make yourself a mug of hot chocolate and don’t forget to sign the guest book!

6. Forest bathing

Forest bathing is a great way to chill and relax in a natural surrounding by absorbing the sounds and smell of the woodland and relieving yourself of stress and reconnect with nature. This could also mean taking part in an activity such as sitting around a campfire and cooking a simple meal or just watching the dancing flames. Relaxing in nature can be done solo or if you’d like to share the experience, learn more and keep the kids entertained, then join an organised activity.

7. Wild Camping

There’s nothing quite like sleeping under the stars and wild camping offers the ultimate adventure. For this, all you need is a shelter (tent, tarp, bivvy) and something to keep you warm like a sleeping bag. Choose your spot carefully, away from all forms of 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.

8. Coasteering

Coasteering is a mix of wild-swimming, scrambling, jumping, caving and exploration that takes you to incredible places along the shore. It’s a great way to immerses yourself in nature and is best done with someone who knows what they’re doing. 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!

9. Volunteering

Volunteering can come in many forms and will leave you on a high. Volunteer your time at a community garden, take a neighbour for a walk, organise the next beach clean or marshal at your local Park Run. There are thousands of ways you can offer your time in the great outdoors.

10. Rock climbing

From a young age we all loved to climb, whether it was across the sofa or up a tree at 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. 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. 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.

11. Stand up paddling boarding

Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is one of the fastest growing water sports in the UK. It’s one of those water sports that does not take much to get started, with just a few pointers and a super stable inflatable board, you’re ready to go. Paddleboard 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. Combe Martin Bay is a fantastic place to give it ago and you can hire boards here too.


Published: Oct 25, 2000 Edited: Oct 29, 2021

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