You don’t have to spend hundreds of pounds to have an adventure. You don’t even need to venture that far from home.
Explorer Alastair Humphreys has introduced to the world his idea of ‘microadventures’ for people who want to explore but don’t have that much time or money. The idea is these adventures are simple, easy to organise and not far from home.
Assuming you already own the basics – tent, sleeping bag, torch – then it’s guaranteed to be cheaper (and more fun) than buying two t-shirts from any surf brand or a night out in London… You’ve just got to decide, which would you rather do?
Here are a few ideas to get you started…
1. Camp Out Under The Stars
Alastair Humphreys came up with this very simple adventure for under £100 – grab a few mates and go sleep on a hill for a night.
OK, so wild camping isn’t technically legal in England and Wales, but in Alastair’s experience “nobody has ever complained, told me off, arrested me, or been in the slightest bit concerned”. So be sensible and check out his guidelines before you go.
Plus, who doesn’t like the idea of Humphreys spreading havoc across the UK by encouraging rebel campers to sleep quietly on hills?!
COST: Travel by train or car (£10-20 – you don’t have to venture too far) + food and beers (£20) + bivvy bag (£30) = £70
2. Set Off On An Urban Hike
How often do you explore your city on foot? Do you ever venture more than a couple of miles?
Five mates of mine went on an Urban Hike across London from east to west, starting at Notting Hill and finishing in Tower Hill. Our super-organised friend mapped out the route and included stops along to way to oldest bookshop in London, Emmeline Pankhurst’s grave and all important beer breaks.
We met a man who walks his parrot daily in Brompton Cemetery, spotted food critic A.A. Gill meandering up the King’s Road and we were yelled at by strangers twice, but that’s London for you.
By the end of the day, we covered 11 miles in total and saw more than I’ve ever seen in all my years living in the city.
COST: Train ticket (£6 return) + food and coffee breaks (£25) + entry to sights (£4) = £35
3. Go Wild Swimming
“Free yourself of chlorinated captivity and join the wild swimming movement!” says the Outdoor Swimming Society.
There are hundred of secluded rivers, lakes and bays to swim in around the UK. The Wild Swimming website has a great online map to help you find your nearest spot.
Possibly a better idea in summer, but who says you can’t grab a wetsuit and give it a go in autumn/spring?
COST: Travel by train or car (£10-20) = £20
4. Paddle Through The Lake District
Stand-up paddle boarding has exploded across Britain over the past few years. It’s a great way to explore the wild from the water.
Lake District Paddle Boarding run two-hour introductory sessions plus full day’s hire for £55 per person, allowing you to explore the nine-mile long lake of Ullswater.
Book yourself into a campsite for the night and finish the day with an outdoor cook-off – or try adventure number one – there are plenty of hills in the Lake District after all…
COST: Full day session (£55) + travel by car share or train (£30) + two nights camping (£15 based on two people sharing) = £100
5. Sleep In A Tree
Who needs a tent when you can sleep in a hammock between two trees? We like the idea of finding a sweet spot, stringing up a DD Camping Hammock and falling asleep under the stars.
It’s definitely more of a summer plan than a winter one. Even then, it’s a good idea to pad out the base with a sleeping mat to keep the breeze out.
If you’re going to use your hammock a lot, then it’s probably worth going for the Exped Ergo Hammock, with a fitted tarp to keep you dry.
COST: Travel (£10-20) + hammock (£27) + food and beers (£25) + camping mat (£4.99) = £76.99
6. Cycle Across South Wales
It’s not totally impossible and you’re not going to get run over by a car, because the Celtic Trail is a traffic-free cycle path from Swansea to Fishguard on the east coast of Wales.
It’s 143 miles long, so most people cover it over four days. Check out the route here. Keep it cheap by bringing a tent and all your food with you.
Sustrans cycling website recommend starting in Fishguard and travelling east with the prevailing wind (good tip!)
COST: Travel by train (£50) + food and beer (£50) = £100
7. Tackle Three Peaks In Three Days
We don’t mean those three peaks (though if you’re feeling super-fit, then why not give it a try?)
Just pick any three peaks – whether it’s the hills near your house or the Scottish highlands. You can either head back to your own home for dinner or camp out in the wild. We got this idea off the guys at Do Try This At Home and we’re tempted to give it a try this weekend.
Three days worth of walking will get you fit and definitely keep you off Facebook for a decent 72 hours.
COST: Travel (£10-20 depending on how far from your house you go)
8. Climb An Indoor Ice Wall
Always wanted to give ice climbing a go? The Ice Factor in the Scottish Highlands has the world’s largest indoor ice climbing wall at 50ft with 500 tonnes of real snow.
The two-and-a-half hour session will give you the basics in ice climbing on a very steep, technical vert. Then you’ll be set to take those skills out into the real world.
COST: Travel by train (£50) + 2.5 hours lesson (£48) = £98
9. Forage For Your Dinner
The woodland can be a minefield when it comes to poisonous roots and fungi. So what can you actually forage from the ground and eat for your dinner?
Woodland Ways run full-day foraging courses guiding you around what’s edible and how to cook it, as well as how to cook your own game on an open fire.
Entertaining and useful, so you won’t end up killing your mates next time you offer to cook them a real wild mushroom and pheasant pie….
COST: Travel by car share (£15-20) + full day foraging course (£85) = £100
10. Drink A Pint At Every Stop On The Rail Ale Trail
Ok, so this is less athletic, more booze-related adventure – but still an expedition nonetheless.
There’s an old branch railway line running from Exeter to Barnstaple in Devon with a bunch of old pubs scattered in the village en route.
The Rail Ale Trail stops at 14 stations with 10 pubs along the way. A pint at each and there’s no doubt it’ll turn into a bit of an adventure.
COST: Travel to Exeter (£20) + Branch Line Day Ranger ticket (£9.70) + beer (£35) + one night in Globe Backpackers Hostel, Exeter (£18.50) = £83.20