5 family adventures near London to try this season

by Anna Lane

Are you looking for activities that the whole family can take part in this season? After many months in lockdown, we are all eager to get outside to make the most of the British outdoors. Now is the perfect time to embark on new adventures, and there are so many places just a stone's throw away from central London. 

Enjoy a bonding experience with your family whilst appreciating the benefits of exercise and fresh air. To help inspire you on your next family adventure, we have listed 5 great activities to try - and they are all within a 2-hour drive of London!

Book canoeing with Back of Beyond Adventures

1. Sailing

Sailing is an incredibly fun and diverse activity accessible for all ages, making it a perfect family experience. If you have never sailed before there's a lot of great sailing lessons and fun sessions available. Once you have mastered the skills, there are a lot of different new adventures to be had. Choose to cruise along leisurely in a yacht or feel the thrill of high-speed racing, there is something for everyone. If you are a keen explorer this is the opportunity to discover new breathtaking landscapes only accessible by water. 

Where to go: We recommend visiting SWAC (Southampton Water Activities Centre) based along the beautiful River Itchen, a secluded waterway flowing through Southampton. With gentle conditions, it’s a perfect place to learn to sail for beginners. Just 1hr45 minutes drive from central London!

Book sailing with SWAC

2. Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP)

SUP is another amazing activity for the whole family. You don’t have to head to the coast to find great places to go, there are many stunning canals to explore in central London. Being a low impact activity, it's great for all skill levels and ages. Take the opportunity to either rent SUP boards or book a session for your family. Why not stop for a picnic or have a delicious lunch at one of the many beautiful riverside pubs along the way?

Where to go: There are loads of wonderful places to go SUP in London. Active 360 holds a wide range of sessions exploring the stunning London canals starting off from several different locations across the city. Experience the blissful, fresh waters of the River Thames in Richmond with Back of Beyond Adventures offering a great number of SUP adventures. If you venture a bit further south west you’ll find Blue Chip SUP School in the lovely Walton-on-Thames offering sessions for all levels.

Book SUP with Active 360

3. Cycling 

Cycling is one of the hottest activities this season. It's suitable for all ages and levels so perfect for the whole family to get involved. Exploring your surroundings is often what makes cycling so fun. You will have the opportunity to discover many exclusive places that you cannot access by car. Experience the countryside in a new way and discover the small villages, secret trails or hidden beaches that are all off the beaten path.

Where to go: Visit Hadleigh Park Cycles based in the beautiful Hadleigh Country Park in Essex. Get the whole family out for a fun adventure and rent bikes for the day. They also offer beginner classes for children and private coaching for those wanting to perfect their cycling skills. The centre is just 1hr50 minutes drive from London. 

Book cycling with Hadleigh Park Cycles

4. Canoeing 

Canoeing is a great activity for a family day out. Canoes can fit larger groups of people making it a very fun social activity. It’s a perfect day trip and there are endless possibilities for exploring the unknown! Paddle through the tranquil waters and gaze out at the extraordinary wildlife from the comfort of your own canoe. If you are looking for more thrill and excitement you can also try white water canoeing. Bring a picnic and make it an all day adventure for the entire family.

Where to go: For canoe sessions based near central London, we recommend Back of Beyond Adventures offering self-guided canoe adventures. They provide a great socially distanced way to get outside for the whole family. If you are looking to hire canoes, you can visit Active 360 at their Paddington basin location. Further outside central London, you will find Whoosh Explore in Sawbridgeworth, who organise a wide range of canoe sessions along the beautiful River Stort. Just a 1hr drive from London. 

Book canoeing with Whoosh Explore

5. Kayaking 

Kayaking offers an exciting adventure. It provides an ideal sightseeing opportunity and gives the ultimate sense of exploration. Kayaking is very versatile - you can kayak on almost any body of water: lakes, rivers, streams or even the ocean. The sport can be as extreme or tranquil as you like. Paddle along the calm canals or over rapids and waterfalls on a wild water kayak. There is certainly something for everyone. Kayaking does not require a lot of specific technical work so kids can easily join in on the adventure. By the end of the session, you’ll be sure to have spent some great quality time bonding with the family.

Where to go: We have many kayaking outlets within close proximity to London. Rent kayaks at The Sharks in Osterley Park or take a self-guided kayaking adventure with Back of Beyond Adventures along the River Thames. Go kayaking in Essex with Splash Kayaking, offering affordable and family-friendly kayak hire or visit Essex Slalom Squad for a wide range of sessions. Looking for a few days away? Thames Kayaking and Adventures in Surrey offers fun-filled weekend camping and kayaking trips once a month. 

Book kayaking with The Sharks

Escape the city and make the most of the British outdoors with your family this year. Check out the eola marketplace to find and book your next adventure. 

Looking for more inspiration for activities near London? Read more about 3 great places to go canoeing near London and the best surfing locations near London.

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