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5 family adventures this winter

Family adventures
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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Rather than spending winter hiding indoors, here are five fun family adventures to get you out of the house.

When the nights grow longer and the temperature starts to drop, it’s all too tempting to turn on the TV and hibernate indoors. But as the majority of parents know, particularly during seasonal breaks, cabin fever can often set in as children get bored. So rather than spend the winter hiding in a cave, here are five fun family activities that will get you out of the house.

Taking the Highlands plunge

The Scottish Highlands offer a wealth of fun outdoor activities for the family, in a region famous for its breathtaking scenery and wide array of wildlife (the Highlands has the highest biodiversity of anywhere in the UK). You can go gorge walking, canyoning and coasteering, and if the idea of dunking yourself in an icy highland stream just doesn’t appeal, you can always take part in a mini Highland Games.

Take the SkyWire over the Eden Project

If running over boulders seems a bit too much like hard work, why not try something a little more sedate? The SkyWire at Eden is the longest zip-wire in the UK and you don’t have to do anything but get strapped in and let gravity do the work – still, it’s not for the faint-hearted. You’ll cruise 660 metres at an eye-watering 60mph. And if that’s not adventurous enough, there’s a giant 20m cliff swing. You’ll probably need a nice cup of tea and scone with Cornish clotted cream by the time you’re finished.

A full day of adventure in Norfolk

Why not visit the Hilltop Outdoor Centre in Norfolk? A family-run venue that hosts adventure days packed with six or seven activities. These include a tree-top obstacle course, a climbing wall, archery and the Air Jump, a 16m tower that you can fling yourself off (before landing on a large inflatable pad). If you decide to visit for the weekend, Norfolk also offers some of the UK’s most incredible Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), which are perfect for a winter walk.

Go ice skating on the Fens

If the temperature has dropped below zero and you’re still keen to get out of the house, then why not go ice-skating on a natural rink? Several areas across Cambridge and Lincolnshire have flooded meadows that turn into an ice skaters paradise. ‘Bury Fen’ can be found between the villages of Earith and Bluntisham. There’s also the ‘Whittlesea wash’, just north of Whittlesea and the ‘Welney wash’ which lies between the two rivers. The Welney Skating Association can provide a pair of skates for free, but stocks are limited so it’s best to get in touch if you don’t have your own pair.

Try Blokarting in Northern Ireland

If the waves look too cold and the water too choppy, you can still have some boating fun on dry land. Windy winter days are perfect for land yachting on the beach. You’re in charge of a small ‘boat’ that is set on wheels with a large sail. A good wind will see beginners whipping along the shoreline at speeds of up to 20mph but that can double with just a little bit of training. There are plenty of places to try this activity and after just a few hours of lessons, you could be ready to compete – try not to get hooked!