One of the most enduring civilizations in the world, you'd think that most would go to England for its cultural attractions: the mega-city of London, the remnants of a sprawling and ancient Rome, and the castle-on-every-hill philosophy of Cornwall. What many travelers don't recognize is that England, despite being smaller than the state of California, has diverse geography and a great variety of adventure attractions that range from leisurely boardwalk strolls through seaside towns to wave-crashing rafting trips to long-distance treks along the crumbling remains of a two-thousand-year-old wall. Sure, it's fun to try and make the Queen's Guard break character or to eat genuine fish and chips, but if you want to round out your adventures Embark-style, then you need to read on.
For enthusiasts on the extreme end of the spectrum, there are plenty of opportunities for activities like rock climbing, skydiving, bungee jumping, and even sports car races. For rock climbers, Dartmoor National Park is a fantasy world of innumerable crags and boulders, where whitewater lovers also can get their fix from a jaunt on the Dart River. For skydiving, there are some good tour operators (check our listings) and a number of drop points in all corners of England, including London, Devon, Yorkshire, and Cornwall (nearly twenty in all). Bungee jumpers also have a few unique chances to fall from the sky, including a jump at the O2 Arena in London and a transporter bridge outside of Manchester. Finally, there are a few airfields and race tracks that do more than cater to “professionals”: they put you in the seat of a high-powered sports car and let you pound the throttle. Seighford Airfield near Birmingham has a lot to offer, while tracks like Silverstone and Knockhill also provide intense speed experiences.
In the mood for some good news? You can spend your whole trip in the United Kingdom taking in the coast. There are areas that mix a sense of adventure with the usual beaches and promenades of a domestic weekend trip. Hunstanton on the east coast, known for its striated cliffs, watersports, and sunset views, and Bournemouth to the south (surfing is boss here) are both popular, but the plethora of small communities near these two are privy to stretches of coast that could make a traveler swoon. The coastline west of Bournemouth is known as the Jurassic Coast; it's fossilized cliffs are a giveaway for the name's origin. East of Bournemouth is the South Downs region (from Winchester to Eastbourne), where the idyllic chalk cliffs have been scrupulously photographed. Our favorite stretch of coast is in Cornwall, where the phenomenon of coasteering has gained a (literal) foothold. A perfect storm of rock climbing and swimming that originated in Wales, the cliff-jumping and rock-hopping of this extreme activity have found a stunning context in this run of coastline. You'll find that no matter where you stay, though, you'll never be further than a day trip away from a blue-flag beach, a quality hike or a unique adventure opportunity.
Speaking of hikes, some of England's best traverse distances that will need multiple days to complete. Take a ferry to the Isle of Man and follow the Raad ny Foillan ("Way of the Gull") in a circumnavigation of the island; follow the old battlements of Hadrian's Wall between the eastern and western coasts of northern England; then there's the longest trail in the UK, the South West Coast Path, which is 630 miles of grandeur that includes the inspiring Exmoor National Park. There are plenty more that cover regions like the picturesque Lakeland Fells (fells = mountains) to the northwest, the Yorkshire moorlands to the northeast or even the charming vistas of the Cotswolds in central England.
For adventures more specific to a region, take a look at our city-specific pages or browse the full list of adventure activities. No matter your preferences, though, a trip to England will undoubtedly satisfy.