If you are asked to imagine a holiday in United Kingdomyou may be struck with images of seaside carnivals or all-inclusive holiday parks.
But look beyond the busses and queues for ice cream and you’ll find a paradise for adventurers and lovers of the great outdoors. So while Everest Base Camp is a little harder to reach and kayaking in Costa Rica is on hiatus, those of you in the UK don’t have to look far for adventure to get your heart pumping (and that’s just from the view!) .
We spoke to Radek Nowak, Intrepid Active Product Manager and expert in all things energy, about our new range of active adventures in Great Britain.
What inspired you to create a range of active adventures in the UK?
Active adventures in the UK were on my radar for a while for two reasons. First, I love all things active, and I know there are many people out there who, like me, enjoy a little activity added to their vacation. Maybe it’s the feeling of satisfaction after a long walk or bike ride, or the feeling of well-deserved rest after an active day. As we were all stuck at home for much longer than we wanted, the desire to go out and enjoy the freedom of the outdoors grew more and more.
Second, we often underestimate how amazing our own neighborhood is. Every time I get out to explore parts of the UK (and believe me, I still have so much to discover!), I’m amazed at how many opportunities there are to be active. To wear Peak District or cycle in lake areacrosses the coastal paths Dorset or Pembrokeshire, follow fantastic rivers on foot, in the saddle or even better, in the seat of a kayak – it’s an endless playground. So my inspiration was Britain itself: the rolling hills, winding rivers and unique landscapes!
Are these tours only for the super fit marathon running types?
No not at all. I’m not a marathon runner myself, so I couldn’t aim to design such trips. These tours are for anyone who is mobile and willing to be active and join in – the will is the most important thing! On some of these tours we cover quite a bit of ground – over 12 miles on foot or around 30 miles on bike. That sounds like a lot, but if you’re willing to prepare a little bit by cycling around your favorite routes at home, maybe a bit more than usual, or doing a few extra trips leading up to the trip, you’d be surprised to discover that these distances are actually not that difficult to complete!
What makes the UK stand out from other remote active destinations?
In my opinion, it is the number of national parks and protected areas that are so well looked after and managed. And the relative ease of access to these places, the good infrastructure and the welcoming British culture. You can board a train in the morning and in just a few hours be in a completely different destination, enjoy an unforgettable active adventure in a well-protected and naturally beautiful area, and then have a delicious meal in a local pub with a bunch of friends people . It’s the perfect recipe for an incredible experience close to home.
What’s your favorite experience on the new range of active adventures in the UK?
Having recently discovered the beauty of the South Walesthe idea of spending a few days kayaking down River Wye is very tempting and I have to say it is my favorite addition to our range of active adventures. Paddling down from Glasbury to Whitney Bridge and stopping for a lunch break in Hay-on-Wye and then enjoying a BBQ evening in our riverside accommodation is something I could do right now!
And what’s the best place for breathtaking scenery?
It’s so hard to pick just one! The Peak District and Stanage Edge stole my heart when I first visited a few years ago. Then the coastal paths in Pembrokeshire are pretty amazing too! And where should we place Scotland and Cairngorms National Park? But if I have to choose one, this one Jurassic Coast, from Devon to Dorset is my favourite. The easy access from London, small local pubs in beautiful villages located along the coast and endless walking paths along white, rocky cliffs would always make me smile with appreciation. Read our blog for the 5 reasons to visit Cornwall.
How about your favorite home?
Again, so many to choose from! I love accommodation at our River Wye: Walking, cycling and kayaking fairy tale. We stay in a locally owned lodge in the Elan Valley – it’s pretty far from civilization, which means you get the best stargazing opportunities (if you’re lucky enough for clear skies!). Also, glamping at the Whitney Bridge next to the river after a day of kayaking is a truly memorable experience. But I can’t forget the accommodation at ours Devon: Walking, cycling and kayaking trip – staying in a quirky hotel in the grounds of Buckfast Abbey has to be up there with the best of them!
What are the benefits of traveling with a local guide instead of going alone?
I will use an example from ours Walk Hadrian’s Wall highlights fairy tale. It’s relatively easy to go and organize it yourself (if you can spare enough time to contact all the hotels, organize all the meals, transfers, etc.), but it’s definitely not that easy to learn all the important, fun and interesting facts about this crucial milestone in British history. Yes, you can read something, but it just doesn’t come close to the insider knowledge a local can share with you. In addition to having all the historical and cultural information, your guide also knows all the best places to grab a bite to eat or pick up a local brew, helping you avoid falling into tourist traps. Not because they have done more research online than you, but because these are the places they go themselves.
Do you have any advice for anyone embarking on an active adventure in the UK?
It’s always best to think about local exploration with an open mind. Maybe I’ve been to that region before, or heard a lot about it, or know someone who is from there, but I still go with a willingness to learn and discover. Putting myself in that frame of mind always helps me find something new, exciting, and just plain awesome, even in familiar territory.