The Isle of Wight will play host to a variety of sailing events between May and August during Summer 2011, culminating in the popular Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week held every August. One of the longest-running events in UK sporting history, the free event attracts 8500 participants and over 100,000 visitors for a week of sailing – including the Extreme Sailing Series, plus parties and live entertainment. RIBEX from 13-15 May, is dedicated to adventure powerboating plus features RIBFEST, a two-night waterside great classic-rock music concert at Cowes Yacht Haven. The Yarmouth Old Gaffers Festival from 3-5 June will see thousands of visitors fill the harbour town as 100 traditional sailing craft, including the Old Gaffers fleet, who take part in racing while spectators enjoy music, singing, food and beer tents. The Round the Island Race on 25 June is the UK’s fourth largest participation sport, with over 1700 boats and 16000 sailors (including Olympic and World Championship talent and a sprinkling of celebrities) taking part in the one-day race. The Isle of Wight promotes its location and strong sailing tradition as proof that the isle is the perfect place for beginners to learn to surf, and offers ‘learn to sail’ packages all year round. More info at www.islandbreaks.co.uk.
Wales adventure holidays are becoming more popular, like at Cardiff Bay’s new International White Water Centre, where the 800-foot aqua race track is the latest development in the ongoing transformation of the capital city’s historic docklands. Kayak and raft lessons here start from £42.
Experience a spring adventure break in Pembrokeshire, West Wales with an adventure package with Activity Wales. One such package includes two nights’ accommodation, full breakfast, and go-karting at a premiere hi-tech indoor track, a paint-balling session set in ten acres of woodland forest, and a hard core Quad Biking session on a twelve-km woodland course filled with twists, turns and obstacles to tackle. Accommodation is set within a bunkhouse on St Davids Peninsula with sea views and an on-site BBQ area.
For an entirely original day out, drive a B-Bug in the Brecon Beacons. These ‘bugs’ are powered by rainwater, and if you stay at any hotel located within the Brecon Beacons, you can request delivery of the bugs to your hotel’s front door.
Wales is just a few steps from having an all-Wales coastal path. The most recent opening was the September 2010 opening of the walking route on the Gower Peninsula which stretches from Llanmadoc to Port Eynon, which takes in Worm’s Head and Rhossili Beach – voted one of the best beaches in the UK. The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path is comprised of 186 miles of weather-battered headlands, cliffs and deserted coves, while the Llyn path stretches 91 miles and Anglesey spans 125 miles along the Welsh coast.
With Wales Cycle Breaks, there are plenty of mountain-biking trails through man-made forests and high-intensity fearsome single tracks such as The Beast in Coed y Brenin Forest and The Wall in the Afan Forest Park, which combined have created Wales’ world-class reputation for offroad thrills. Wales has roughly 1,200 miles of National Cycle Network trails, over a quarter of which are traffic free, the longest of which is the 250-mile Lô Las Cymru, from north to south.
The best way to experience the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads (especially during Spring) is by getting out on the water, says Martin Dunford, Norfolk & Soffolk TripBod, but the only way to get really up close to nature is on a guided canoe tour run by Mark Wilkinson (and his dog Mr Darcy), which takes you into silent creeks and dreamy inlets to spot otters, kingfishers and bitterns to your heart’s content. He also runs bushcraft courses and tipi canoe trails. Mark used to sell insurance in London so his new career is an inspiration to wage slaves everywhere!
Easter Sunday will see a new wildlife attraction open in Brockholes, near Preston, Lancashire. The wildlife park has already been featured on BBC Countryfile and won tourism awards.