Adventure Activities in the North

Polly Checkland Harding

The North of England is home to the longest high wire bridge in Europe, over 1,000ft above the Honister Pass in Keswick, and one of the UK’s largest outdoor inflatable water assault courses near Sheffield. This part of the world, then, has no shortage of incredible adventure activities.

This guide highlights a selection of the very best, each one showcasing a spectacular aspect of the landscape of the North. From white-knuckle Krazy Karting through woodland in the Lake District to learning to surf the swell in Saltburn, our top picks are all about injecting some adrenaline-filled days into your routine; they say that new experiences mean we perceive time as passing more slowly, and there are few better ways to truly feel alive than to pit your body against a physical challenge in stunning surroundings.

Ascend up to 18 metres into the canopy of trees at Manchester’s Heaton Park for a network of aerial challenges and zip wires, try caving or gorge walking with Yorkshire Dales Guides, or experience the unique thrill of having a bird of prey land on your arm at the Turbay Woods Owl and Bird of Prey Sanctuary. Abseil down to camp on a Portaledge 500ft up on the cliff face at the last working slate mine in Europe, or learn how to waterski at one of the North’s biggest cable water parks. Alternatively, gain an in-depth appreciation of the heritage, hidden features and challenges of the Yorkshire Dales on a walk with the Barefoot Shepherdess, or pass safely across the treacherous sands of Morecambe Bay with guides who’ve been required to lead travellers on the crossing from the coast of Lancashire to the hills of Cumbria since the time of Henry VIII.

There are adventures included for little people too: the imaginary world of BeWILDerwood in Cheshire is filled with giant swings, ‘sooopa’ slippery slides, a sky maze and more, while the £31m real snow centre Chill Factore offers an introductory snow school for children. There are orienteering courses to equip young people for their own expeditions, archery lessons for anyone over seven and a family-friendly Treetop Adventure in Delamere Forest. Whatever your age, these exhilarating activities promise an unforgettable experience – and a new appreciation of the great outdoors.

Our top picks

Treetop Trek Heaton Park

Treetop Trek Heaton Park, Heaton Park St Margaret's Road, Manchester, M25 2GT - Visit now

An award-winning family-friendly adventure high in the canopies of Heaton Park. Unleash your inner Indiana Jones on the 14 zip lines and 20 aerial challenges set above the beautiful parkland.

Treetop Adventure Manchester
Treetop Trek

Poole’s Cavern & Buxton Country Park

Poole’s Cavern & Buxton Country Park, Poole's Cavern Visitor Centre, Green Lane, Buxton, Derbyshire, SK17 9DH - Visit now

Just a ten-minute walk from Buxton, an extraordinary underground world is waiting to be explored. You’ll find expert guided tours, a visitor centre, adventure activities and a nature-inspired sculpture trail.

Poole's Cavern & Buxton Country Park
Courtesy of Poole's Cavern & Country Park

Honister Slate Mine

Honister Slate Mine, Honister Pass, Borrowdale, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 5XN - Visit now

Rope bridges, zip lines and Tarzan swings aplenty – how about trying some truly adrenaline-pumping activities at the last working slate mine in England?

Courtesy of Honister Slate Mine

BeWILDerwood

BeWILDerwood, Bickley Moss, Whitchurch, Cheshire, SY13 4JF - Visit now

Designed to provide a day of adventures for children, BeWILDerwood in Cheshire combines fun, forest activities with the world of BeWILDerwood itself, based on the books by Tom Blofeld.

Courtesy of BeWILDerwood

Bay Cycle Way

Bay Cycle Way, Morecambe, Lancashire, LA44BU - Visit now

The perfect introduction to long-distance cycling, with beautiful coastlines, phenomenal views and historic sites along the way.

The Bay Cycle Way is a perfect introduction to long-distance cycling. Morecambe Bay is one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the UK.
Bay Cycle Way

Sheffield Cable Waterski

Sheffield Cable Waterski, Rother Valley Country Park, Mansfield Road, Wales Bar, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S26 5PQ - Visit now

If you’ve ever watched Total Wipeout and wanted to have a go at something similar, Sheffield Cable Waterski is the place to head to.

Courtesy of Sheffield Cable Waterski and Aqua Park

Yorkshire Dales Guides

Yorkshire Dales Guides, Hornby Laithe, Stainforth, Settle, North Yorkshire, BD24 9PB - Visit now

Did you know that one of the longest cave systems in the world runs between Kirkby Lonsdale and Ingleton in the Yorkshire Dales? The self-described ‘adventure specialists’ at Yorkshire Dales Guides are dedicated to delivering unforgettable experiences in this spectacular part of the world.

 

Courtesy of Yorkshire Dales Guides

Hazlewood Castle Activity Centre

Hazlewood Castle Activity Centre, Live For Today, Hazlewood Castle, Paradise Lane, Tadcaster, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS24 9NJ - Visit now

Only a 20-25 minute drive from Leeds, York and Harrogate, Hazlewood Castle Activity Centre hosts a range of adventure activities across 70 acres of off-road terrain.

Courtesy of Live For Today Adventures

CBK Adventures

CBK Adventures, 1A Norma Crescent, Whitley Bay, NE26 2PD - Visit now

Based on the seafront between Tynemouth and Whitley Bay, CBK Adventures deliver award-winning coastal activities including guided tours and lessons in kayaking and paddle boarding. Expert instructors are on hand to teach everyone from beginners to improvers.

CBK Adventures
Courtesy of CBK Adventures

Brockhole on Windermere

Brockhole on Windermere, Brockhole on Windermere, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 1LJ - Visit now

Attempt to hit a clay flying at 65mph or navigate the obstacles along a wood chip track on a Krazy Kart, all within the grounds of a 19th century Arts and Crafts style house in Cumbria.

Courtesy of Brockhole on Windermere

Barefoot Shepherdess Walks

Barefoot Shepherdess Walks, Firbank, Sedbergh, LA10 5EL - Visit now

With an intimate knowledge of the landscape, culture, history and wildlife, guided walking days with the Barefoot Shepherdess are a unique introduction to the Yorkshire Dales, the Lakes and beyond.

 

Courtesy of The Shepherdess

Turbary Woods Owl and Bird of Prey Sanctuary

Turbary Woods Owl and Bird of Prey Sanctuary, Turbary Woods, 92 Chain House Lane, Whitestake, Preston, Lancashire, PR4 4LB - Visit now

There are few more thrilling things than having a bird of prey swoop in to land on your arm. With over 90 birds of prey resident here, Turbay Woods Owl and Bird of Prey Sanctuary offers the chance to do just this.

Courtesy of Turbary Woods Owl and Bird of Prey Sanctuary

Delamere Forest

Delamere Forest, Linmere, Delamere,, Northwich, Cheshire, CW8 2HZ - Visit now

With walking, horse riding, mountain biking, tree top adventures and self-led trails, there’s an impressive array of activities to be found in Cheshire’s Delamere Forest, all within a stunning woodland landscape.

Delemere Forest
Courtesy of Delamere Forest

Guide over Sands

Guide over Sands, The Lookout, 2 Morecambe Bank, Grange-over-Sands, LA11 6DX - Visit now

At low tide, the exposed bed of the Irish Sea connects the Lancashire coast with the Cumrian hills across Morecambe Bay, allowing safe crossings over the sands. Expect utterly unique views of Morecambe Bay, the Lancashire coast and the Cumbrian hills.

Courtesy of Guide over Sands Trust

Anderton Centre

Anderton Centre, New Road, Anderton, Chorley, Lancashire, PR6 9HG - Visit now

Lower Rivington Reservoir, one of the largest bodies of water between the Midlands and the Lake District, is the perfect setting to try stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing or sailing.

Courtesy of Anderton Centre

Chill Factore

Chill Factore, 7 Trafford Way, Manchester, M41 7JA - Visit now

The winner of Manchester Tourism’s ‘Access for All’ Award and home to the UK’s largest indoor ski slope, Chill Factore is a welcoming environment where you can get your pulse up as you speed down real snow slopes.

Three children with an instructor on the slope at Chill Factore

Whistle Punks Axe Throwing

Whistle Punks Axe Throwing, Unit 20, Atrium level, Great Northern Warehouse, 235 Deansgate, , Manchester , Lancashire, M3 4EN - Visit now

Based at the Great Northern Warehouse, this one is pretty much as it sounds: axe throwing sessions, designed for first timers but also perfect for anyone more experienced in the sport.

Saltburn Surf School

Saltburn Surf School, Lower Promenade, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, TS12 1HQ - Visit now

The rush of getting upright on your board and riding the waves is also hard to beat: if you’ve never tried this adrenaline-filled sport, Saltburn Surf School is a great place to start.

Courtesy of Saltburn Surf School

Cycle Heaven

Cycle Heaven, 31 Hosptial Fields Road, Fulford, York, Yorkshire, YO10 4FS - Visit now

Whether you’re an enthusiast or a novice, if you’re in York and need anything bike-related, Cycle Heaven is your one-stop-shop, plus you can have a bite to eat while you’re at it.

Cycle Heaven
Courtesy of Cycle Heaven.

Grizedale Forest

Grizedale Forest, Grizedale, Hawkshead, Cumbria, LA22 0QJ - Visit now

Home to 60 site-specific sculptures, Grizedale Forest near Hawkshead offers a pioneering and permanently evolving environmental arts and adventure programme.

Pillock at Contact
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