Many of us spend all year dreaming of our summer holiday; two weeks spent lying on a sunbed enjoying unlimited food and drink.
While it may sound like just what you need and be relaxing at the time, many of us then return from holiday regretting indulging so much and spend the rest of the summer trying to eat healthily and frantically exercising in an attempt to shed the extra pounds!
However, it’s possible to get the best of both worlds, if you choose to go on an active holiday. Combining sun, sea and sand with exercise and – most importantly – fun will mean you return home feeling great and ready for the next adventure.
The Tour de France, Tour de Yorkshire and success of Team GB have well and truly captured the imagination of the UK in recent years and cycling holidays have exploded in popularity. Whether you’re an expert or a novice, travelling as a family, a couple or with friends, staying in the UK or heading abroad, all you need is a bike, a helmet and a need for speed. The UK has plenty of designated cycling routes, with an exhaustive list available at Cycle Route. This also provides details of mountain bike routes, giving those who prefer more rugged terrain options to get out and about and get their heart racing. If you’re really up for the challenge, consider taking on one of the stages from the actual Tour de France – but be prepared to put in some serious effort!
The UK has a surprisingly vibrant surf scene, with the south coast being a real haven for surfers of all ages and abilities. There are opportunities aplenty to try your hand at surfing on the south coast, with many areas offering surf schools for beginners. For the more adventurous, there are many great beaches in Cornwall and Devon for riding the waves. If the south coast feels too far to travel, there are many areas in Scotland too which are renowned for their surfing beaches! Surfing can be great exercise (mainly due to climbing back on after falling off) and can give you a chance to enjoy the sun.
You may not associate skiing with summer, but not only is it possible, it can also be cheaper than going during traditionally busy periods. Understandably, many resorts at lower altitude are closed during the warmer months, but even in Europe there are some that stay open through July and August. Tinges in France, Hintertux in Austria, Saas Fee in Switzerland and Breuil-Cervinia in Italy are all located above 2,500m and benefit from crunchy snow even while the rest of Europe is basking in sunshine. With family ski passes sometimes half the price due to the understandably limited access to some slopes, there are bargains to be had and plenty of fun on the snow for those with little ones who love the white stuff.
Closer to home
If you don’t want to travel abroad but still want to get active, the likes of Center Parcs, Haven and Butlins offer the chance to get on your bike, in the pool, in the trees and a host of other options at many locations across the UK. If you want to stay even closer to home, why not considering camping somewhere local (or even in the back garden!) to offer a little sense of adventure and the chance to sleep outdoors.
There are plenty of options for hiking and walking in almost every county. From Loch Lomond in Scotland to Dartmoor on the South Coast, there are 15 National Parks in the UK that each offer something different for holidaymakers of all ages and abilities. Pembrokeshire in Wales is the only fully coastal national park, while the Lake District is the biggest, at 912 square miles. From rowing and canoeing on Lake Windermere, to scaling the Yorkshire Dales’ famous Three Peaks (or just one of them), a plethora of activities await those who choose a National Parks holiday.