Your portal to central England and all of Wales, Birmingham is an adventure destination for those who need to put some distance between the rows of concrete that make up London and become more intimate with some of the most gorgeous, unheralded stretches of coast to be found anywhere. There are also dark sky reserves, skydiving centers, cliff-side hikes, sprawling city parks, and much more. You starting to get the idea that this just may be better than the same old resort holiday the grandparents have been on for the last thirty years? Good. It is.
Within Birmingham's city limits, there are plenty of quality parks if all you need is a moment away from humanity and their structural accomplishments. Sutton Park is a huge park to the north of the city brimming with heathland and lakes, while Cannon Hill Park and Lickey Hills Country Park both are popular for their variety of recreational opportunities. Another attractive open space lies at the edge of Bristol, over an hour's drive south, called Clifton Downs, which overlooks the lovely Avon Gorge. Although not a park, you should also stop in at the Ackers outdoor center in Small Heath if kayaking or rock climbing are your thing.
For the adventurer who'd like to head east, the British coast tells its lengthy history in the striations of its cliffs. Less popular for domestic holidays than the warmer waters to the south, towns like Hunstanton are great for the aforementioned natural formations and water-based activities, particularly in the summer. Much closer to Birmingham is the Peak District National Park, a massive natural area that is home to excellent options in caving, rock climbing, hiking, and much more. If you're looking to travel north to Manchester, this is a great place for a day of adventure in between.
Perhaps most intriguing to an embark traveler is the whole country of Wales, which has three magnificent national parks. The first worth mentioning is Snowdonia, home to a number of peaks that provide a variety of challenges depending on the season; think ice climbing, rock climbing, hiking, whitewater rafting, etc. Located to the country's north, Snowdon is the highest mountain at 1,085 meters (3,560 feet), but there are plenty of ancient castles, waterfalls, lakes, and other natural attractions for the discriminating adventurer. Also of note is Brecon Beacons National Park, which has the geological appeal of six peaks at least 750 meters (2,460 feet) high, waterfalls (Sgwd Henrhyd, which served as the entrance to the Batcave in Christopher Nolan's Batman films), and massive cave systems like Ogof Ffynnon Ddu and Dan-yr-Ogof (The South Wales Caving Club). Two distance bike paths that span the park are the Beacons Way and the Taff Trail. Finally, our favorite of the three has to be the Pembrokeshire Coast. What can we say, we're suckers for large tracts of unbroken coast, excellent surfing and diving, and overland hiking trails that bring you right to the edge of these epic cliffs.
Although you'd have to travel a bit further toward southwestern England, there are also plenty of climbing and hiking destinations in this region as well, including the dark sky reserve of Exmoor National Park. For further information on what can be found within a day's trip of Birmingham, consult the adventure activity listings or your map and prepare to embark on a memorable trip.