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Emma Frampton, co-founder of Adventure Queens shares her six best mini adventure locations and routes in the UK, from walking to wild swimming and bikepacking.

The UK is an adventure playground. FACT. From the miles and miles of coastline to lakes, rivers, hills and mountains... the sheer variety of landscape in this little island of ours, and the outdoor playground it offers, is astounding. It means there’s something for everyone. And you don’t need bucket-loads of time, money or have to travel far to have a mini adventure in the UK.

For me, grabbing my bivvy and snuggling down for the night under a blanket of stars, surrounded by the sounds of nature is truly magical. And even better, is combining it with another activity from wild swimming to cycling and hiking - aka winning outdoor combo in my books!

So to help you enjoy more of our outdoor playground, here are my favourite six mini adventures in the UK.

 

Hiking

Hike the Pembrokeshire Coast Path

Pembrokeshire Coast Path.jpg

Description: We’re spoilt for choice with coastal hiking but my favourite is Pembrokeshire Coast Path. It has 180 miles of well-signposted coastal path to choose from and it’s that little bit more remote than other coastal paths, with views that are that little bit more rugged.

Time: Over to you - you can walk as much or as little as you’d like from a day walk to the full 186 mile long-distance walk. You can plan your route using the Pembrokeshire Coast National Trail website and use the coastal bus to help with non circular walking routes.

Cost: Varies

Where to sleep: Plenty of cheap B&B's along the way or wild camp for a more immersive experience. One of my favourite areas of the coast path is Little Haven to Marloes Sands. For this start your hike further north and camp in a sheltered spot before St Brides.

OS Map: Explorer OL36

Top tip: If it’s a sunny day, take a wild swimming dip at Marloes Sands.

Don't miss: A refuel stop at the scrummy Runwayskiln Cafe.

 

Climb Cadair Idris

Cadair Idris.jpg

Description: If you want a more challenging hike, climb up a summit. Cadair Idris, Wales’ second highest peak at 893m and located in the southern end of Snowdonia National Park, is one of my favourites in the UK - it’s accessible enough for a weekend but much quieter than Snowdon. There are different paths but I’d recommend doing a loop, going up the Minffordd Path and down the Pony Path. 

Time: Half a day hiking, plus any travel

Cost: Just your travel

Where to sleep: There are plenty of good campsites near Cadair Idris, including Cwmrhwyddfor Campsite which is basic but comfortable. As always for the full-fat adventure experience we recommend wild camping, either on the peak or in a more sheltered spot down below.

OS Map: Explorer OL23

Top tip: Finish the walk with a refreshing dip at the bottom!

 

Wild swimming

Wild swim and wild camp at Lulworth Cove

Durdle Door.jpg

Description: Marvel at the magical Durdle Door. Park at Lulworth Cove and walk 1.6km down to Durdle Door beach. Enjoy a picnic dinner or barbecue on the beach overlooking some of the country's most stunning coastal views. Top this micro-adventure off with a midnight dip before snuggling up for the night. Wake up with a refreshing beach swim before walking back up the hill to Lulworth.

Time: Overnight. Even better, if you live nearby you can do this mini adventure any day of the week and be back at your desk by 9am.

Cost: Any transport and if driving, potentially parking costs

Where to sleep: Wild camp on the beach

OS Map needed: Explorer OL15

Top tip: If parking overnight use the paid-for carpark by the visitor centre

Don't miss: If swimming late at night, look out for sea fairies - aka bioluminescent plankton.

 

 

Quarry Dipping at Foggintor Quarry, Dartmoor

Foggintor Quarry.jpg

Description: Dartmoor is a wild swimming paradise with rivers, lakes, waterfalls and quarries to choose from. Foggintor is one of my favourites for its beauty and quietness - perfect for a wild swimming and wild camping combo. 

Time: overnight or, even better, if you live nearby you can do this mini adventure any day of the week and be back at your desk by 9am.

Cost: Any transport and if driving, potentially parking costs

Where to sleep: Wild camp on the flat grassy areas around the quarry

OS Map: Explorer OL28

Top tip: If driving, park in the free parking area just off the B3357 and follow the track for about 1.5km past Yellowmeade Farm to the quarry.

Safety: The quarry has many cliffs around a deep-water pool. Watch your step when walking into the quarry and when swimming, be careful of any submerged objects like rocks.

 

Bikepacking

Cycle the Isle of Purbeck

Isle of Purbeck.jpg

Description: With coastal views, famous rock formations, old fortresses and forests, this route has a bit of everything 

Time: Two days, plus any travel

Cost: Any travel costs

Where to sleep: Wild camp overlooking the coast.

OS Map: Explorer OL15

 

Cycle Gower

Gower Peninsula cycling.jpg

Description: From city to sea, and everything in between, explore Gower Peninsula with two days of bikepacking

Time: Two days, plus any travel

Cost: Any travel costs

Where to sleep: Wild camp overlooking the coast by Rhossili, just before the Hillend Camping Park 

OS Map: Explorer 164

Top tip: Start the day with a swim in the sea and a coffee at Eddy’s, before getting on your bike for the day. And if you do this mini adventure during Summer, look out for ripe blackberries!

Emma Frampton is co-founder of Adventure Queens, a community of like-minded adventurous women. Emma wears the Merrell Siren 3 GTX, a hiker designed specifically for women, for confidence no matter what the terrain.