Adventurous sports for families in the UK

Often, we arrange family days out and head to the same places. Are you looking for something different to do with your family that will get you all active and enjoying quality time together? You should consider getting involved with an extreme sport to boost health and communication while creating solid family memories!

It’s important to look at what kind of day out will be good for your troop. From what equipment you need and safety processes you should be aware of, to relevant trivia and a look at the origins of each sport, Chill Factore, home to the UK’s longest indoor real-snow slope for family days out in Manchester, explores the nation’s best extreme sports for families…

Considered rock climbing?

If you’re looking to get your little one fully-engaged with physical sport, rock climbing is a good choice and will show great courage and determination. But where did it all begin? Rock climbing started to become a loved sport around the end of the 1800s, with the Lake District considered one of three, major ‘birthplaces of rock climbing’ (the others are in Italy and Germany).

The sport grew in popularity in the 1950s, as it became more accessible for younger people and their families. From steel carabiners to nylon ropes, technology has helped to propel rock climbing into mainstream sport. Today, you can climb all over the UK — both at indoor venues and on outdoor walls — and the sport has grading system that rates the difficulty of a climb and the climber’s skill to help make the sport even safer — but still just as exciting!

What are the benefits?

  • Builds upper and lower body strength.
  • Enhances problem-solving skills (i.e. considering the best route for reaching the top).
  • Encourages concentration.

A sport for the family

The opportunities are endless to rock climb with your entire family. If you’re just starting out, make sure you choose an instructing company with a high customer rating — especially for safety and teaching. The Association of British Climbing Walls is a good place to start if you’re looking for a climbing wall in your area.

When it comes to participating in rock climbing activities, you’ll tend to use your lower limbs more than your upper. Although you and your family will improve in time, it may be worth opting for a few indoor sessions until you’re all confident with the height and physical strain. Once your family feels ready and has learned a few techniques, why not book an outdoor climbing session? There are lots of packages at popular landmarks across the UK and you can even make it into a weekend away.

If you’re in the UK, there are plenty of fun things to do in Manchester — why not take a look and book your trip today?

Considered snowkiting?

If you love winter sports, this could be the ideal activity for you — and is only growing in popularity. Generally, the snowkiting season runs from October until June, with the best time to go snowkiting being around Christmas time — ideal for a winter sun or festive family break with a difference. In snowkiting, your family will use the power of a kite to board or ski over snow. After time, you can learn to pull off big jumps and land with ease, plus you have the opportunity to snowkite over frozen lakes which offers an unforgettable experience.

Born out of snowboarding and the love for foil kites, snowkiting is a relatively new sport that has caught the attention of the British public. Although the US and France are both touted as being the sport’s origin, snowkiting is now available across Europe and North America in resorts such as Tirol and Haugastøl.  

What are the benefits?

  • Improves balance and coordination.
  • Allows you to breath in fresh, unpolluted air.
  • Uses all major muscle groups.

A sport for the family

It’s time to book your winter getaway! When considering snowkiting as a family, bear in mind that this is not a simple activity to master and there are risks involved — so only book a session that is designed for youngsters by a reputable company.

Snowkiting is an intense aerobic activity and you can easily overheat, so wear layers — including a helmet and snow shoes — that you can easily remove and put back on. You’ll also need goggles and gloves to make sure your vision is not impaired, and your hands stay warm and easy to move. There are excellent kids’ snow gear available online but check with the snowkiting company first to see if you can simply hire what you need on the day.

When you participate in snowkiting activities, you can wear a board or skis — so ask your little ones what they’d be comfortable using. It also might be a good idea to book your child a few extra snow lessons at a venue in the UK prior to your holiday to make sure they’re refreshed on how to hold themselves on the slopes!  

Considered rafting?

If you want to go to the extreme, why not try rafting? Encouraging team work and a great way to explore British waterways and countryside, it’s no surprise that families opt for rafting experiences to enjoy quality time together.

You can’t deny that us Brits love to carry out watersports! The British Canoeing organisation — the UK’s national governing body for paddlesports — has been around since 1936, while the International Scale of River Difficulty is adopted by most nations to rate rapids to help keep rafters safe.

There’s plenty of locations to carry out these activities too — think River Tummel in Scotland and River Derwent in England. The UK is filled with waterways and sailing is obviously a huge part of British history. But did you know that the first rubber river raft was invented nearly 200 years ago by US soldiers?

What are the benefits?

  • Helps boost communication, as your family must speak clearly to each other to navigate the boat.
  • Allows for family bonding — no time for, or place to keep, phones and tablets on board.
  • Enhances self-esteem and gives a feeling of accomplishment. You and your family can track your journey and take on key roles on board to make sure you reach the end safely.

A sport for the family

There are multiples areas you must think about before booking this type of sport with your family. Obviously, there are some risks involved with rafting, so we’d always recommend making group bookings that provide an on-board instructor. If you haven’t done this sport before, you’ll need to wear synthetic layers (e.g. long-sleeve shirts and trousers), life jacket, windproof jacket, and helmet. Renting a wetsuit might be a good idea, too, and you’ll need to make sure you have rescue throw bags, if your rafting company doesn’t provide you with these.

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  • Me, too, Ali! I hadn’t had them in so long, and thought they would be so fun for the kids as a special treat. But now I just picked up another box…for myself! And I might share with the kids, too… 🙂