Acorn Adventure, south Wales
Soak up the views of the Brecon Beacons at this adventure camp in south Wales. Acorn takes advantage of its campsite’s proximity to Llangorse Lake with a variety of watersports, such as Kata Kanu and paddleboarding. Stays range from three to six nights, with a choice between its pre-erected tented village (with a central marquee for eating and socialising) or glamping in more luxurious camping pods. There’s also an indoor area that hosts discos and talent shows in the evenings.
• Three-night stay from £178 (5-15) and £208 (adult), includes room and board, acornfamilyholidays.co.uk
PGL, various locations
A veteran outdoor education provider (it’s been going since 1957), PGL has eight centres across the UK, many of them in extravagant country mansions, including Bawdsey Manor, a new (but Grade II-listed) centre near Woodbridge, Suffolk. Each centre has acres of woodland and landscaped lakes to enjoy. The company offers four-day and week-long getaways as well as weekend trips, with both family rooms and separate adult and child rooms available. There’s a chance to try out everything from fencing to the trapeze, and evening entertainment includes quizzes and talent shows.
• A two-night, full-board stay with five activities costs from £99 per child (ages 5 to 18) and £129 (adult); children 2-4 go free, pgl.co.uk
Kingswood Adventures, various locations
From the Isle of Wight’s beaches (pictured) to the north Welsh countryside near Moel Famau, Kingswood Adventures runs seven UK centres – with bookings now available for the August bank holiday weekend. Activities continue into the evening with night walks and fire lighting after dinner, on top of abseiling and archery during the day. The sites offers their own mix of activities, as the variety of settings means each has its own specialities – beach games on the Isle of Wight or caving at Colomendy in Wales, for example. Families can relax in the communal yurt or enjoy a campfire barbecue before retiring to their room for the night.
• Two-night stay with up to 10 activities from £79 (6-17) and £99 adult; includes room and board with five meals; an optional lunch on the last day costs extra, families.kingswood.co.uk
JCA, Shropshire, plus four other England locations
Condover Hall, a Grade I-listed Elizabethan manor in the Shropshire countryside, is home to the JCA adventure centre. The lavish setting is used to the full, with many activities taking place within the building: the house has an indoor pool, laser maze and cinema room. Full room and board is provided for stays of between two and four nights, with dormitory-style family rooms in a secluded block near the main hall. Across the 78 acres of countryside and gardens, families can also take part in buggy-buildling, a nocturnal safari and a centre-wide game of Cluedo.
• Two-night stays from £109pp (children 4 and under go free); August bank holiday stays from £179pp, jca-adventure.co.uk
YHA, various locations
The Youth Hostel Association has launched a new adventure camp programme aimed at giving families a chance to spend quality time together, providing a private family room, meals throughout the stay, and a host of activities. Choose from a two-night, four-night or week-long stay in Edale (pictured), in a converted country house in the Peak District, or in Okehampton, Devon, at a modern hostel on the edge of Dartmoor national park. Canoeing, high ropes and orienteering are all on offer as well as site-specific activities like gorge scrambling at Okehampton.
• Two-night stay from £120 (under 18s) and £140 (adult), includes room and board, yha.org.uk
And for family day trips …
Hilltop Outdoor Centre, Norfolk
This family-run centre in Norfolk runs jam-packed adventure days on weekdays throughout the summer, fitting five to six activities into just seven hours. Its newest attraction is the Air Jump, a 16-metre tower that you leap off before dropping onto an enormous inflatable pad. Other activities include a tree-top obstacle course, a giant swing and a climbing wall with eight stages of difficulty. Check the centre’s weekly schedule before booking, as each day has a different set of activities.
• Full day (9.30am-4.30pm) with 5-6 activities from £40pp (must be ages 8+), not including food or accommodation, hilltopoutdoorcentre.co.uk
The Jungle, Magherafelt, County Derry
In the woodlands of the Sperrin Mountains, the Jungle “opened” in 2005 as just a paintballing site. Today, between llama trekking, clay-pigeon shooting, zorbing, laser tag, a Gruffalo trail and a Mad Hatter’s tea party, families are spoilt for choice. Family fun days start at £15 for six tokens (in addition to the £15 booking fee) and take place throughout summer. Heading out in groups is well advised, as it’s promised “organisers go free” with bookings of more than eight people.
Lusty Glaze Adventure Centre, Newquay
Across a sheltered cove on the Newquay coastline, fun on land and sea is on the agenda here. With a beach for those that prefer to catch rays (or play dodgeball) and “terror” tightropes for thrill seekers by the cliffs, getting in touch with nature is almost compulsory here. The centre also offers surf lessons, banana boat rides and jet ski lessons. Activities are priced individually and booking is essential.
East Links Family Park, East Lothian
Only an hour’s drive from Edinburgh, East Links is set in more than 20 acres of land and has a train safari, JCB young driver’s zone, crazy golf, an animal farm and family go-karting. With a mission to unite the classroom and countryside, a learning experience is promised for parents and children, with an Education Zone, as well as indoor and outdoor farm animal areas. For families of more than four there are discounts available, too (£56 for four – 2 adults + 2 children – then £1 off per head thereafter)
• Admission £15 adult/child, under 2s free, eastlinks.co.uk
Land and Wave, Swanage, Dorset
Land and Wave has grown from a business started with a modest £600 savings and operated from a couple of laptops in a front room to an outdoor adventure experience offering a huge range of activities. These are split into 2-3 hour activities (such as coasteering, sea kayaking and paddleboarding), full-day activities (including a kids’ holiday club) and overnight experiences, featuring a kids’ adventure camp. Swanage is the main base but sites in Purbeck and at Corfe Castle are also used.
• Activities are priced individually, a full day at the kids’ holiday club costs £39, landandwave.co.uk
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