Whether you’re visiting London for the first or fiftieth time, there is something new and exciting to experience — and it doesn’t get much more exciting than extreme sports. The UK’s capital has a lot to offer in regards to activities, from paintballing to bungee jumping and much much more.
If you have an upcoming day trip or an extended visit to this incredible city planned, London has not just enough sights and attractions to keep you occupied, but also extreme sports and activities to keep you entertained. Whether you’re a curious first-timer or seasoned adrenaline junkie, the activities below provide enough diversity to suit the needs of many. Here are five extreme sports you simply must take the time to experience while visiting the UK’s capital.
Rock climbing may not be a new activity, but it’s one that maintains an engaging and challenging nature. London has an array of climbing centres, all containing a variety of different climbing structures to conquer. Whether you’re in the city with family, friends, or even on a solo venture, rock climbing provides the ideal activity to quench your thirst for adrenaline.
While rock climbing may well be a challenging task, it’s safe to say that scaling a wall of ice brings with it a whole new level of difficulty and excitement. It’s also an activity that one would assume involves travelling to a much colder climate. On the contrary! Human-made/maintained walls of ice are available to climb throughout the entire year, but you’ll need to book in advance, as such a unique activity is bound to be popular.
London, as well as many other major European cities, is well-known for hosting a huge number of cyclists. You’ll see pedal-powered commuters on a daily basis, as well as those who simply just enjoy the city more from a saddle. Those of you who prefer something a bit more extreme and exciting will, of course, prefer the off road antics of Mountain biking (MTB).
While the inner city offers minimal opportunities for cyclists who prefer the thrill of mountain biking, you won’t have to travel too far to experience dirt tracks, steep hills and challenging terrain. With surrounding forests in every direction — some of which with areas dedicated to MTB — you won’t struggle to find something to suit your mood and ability on two wheels. One example is the MTB course at Hadleigh Country Park which was built for the 2012 Olympics.
All extreme sports are considered to be an alternative or niche activity when compared to regular sports, such as football and rugby. However, there are a few extreme sports that have broken through thanks to their popularity, like skateboarding and BMXing. Then there are others that are unique in nature and in an entirely different category. That’s where you’ll find the world of paintball.
As a sport and leisure activity, paintball offers the excitement of authentic combat scenarios in a way no other accessible pastime can. High-intensity games require you to move fast and cover a lot of ground, making it the ideal combination of exercise and fun. Paintballing for kids and adults both separately and together makes paintball the perfect activity for special occasions and family days out. Rallying the troops for paintballing birthday parties is also a great way to celebrate the occasion in an unforgettable way.
The world of extreme sports has diversity by the bucketload. The 21st century has given birth to some of the most outside-of-the-box activities to date — one of which is parkour (or freerunning), using your environment as a playground and getting from A to B as swiftly and acrobatically as possible.
Parkour has become increasingly popular and reached wider audiences due to its inclusion in videos games (the Assassin’s Creed and Mirror’s Edge series, to name just two) and films, such as a brilliant chase scene in Casino Royale. Many people are self-taught parkour enthusiasts, but there are parkour lessons, centres and workshops that can be enjoyed and experienced while spending some time in London. This is ideal for first-timers or experienced parkourists looking for a fix.
Certain extreme activities such as bungee jumping, require locations and environments you wouldn’t expect the UK to offer, which is why it’s a popular activity for people on holiday. But, believe it or not, it is possible to bungee jump in London — right next to the O2 Arena, in fact! You couldn’t ask for a better view of the UK’s capital — although this view will be upside down and at great speed…
No matter the purpose of your visit, it’s safe to say the swift plummet of a bungee jump will inject some excitement into a day trip, family holiday, or even a romantic weekend away. The chance to experience the adrenaline rush of a bungee jump, without having to travel out of the country, is naturally very attractive. Booking well in advance will definitely be necessary to avoid disappointment.
London is amongst some of the most popular cities in the world for tourism. A visit will surround you with historical locations, amazing architecture, beautiful sights and a vast array of activities to enjoy. As long as extreme sports continue to excite the masses, cities like London will embrace them to the fullest — and so should you during your time in the UK’s capital.
Creative Commons photo by Jon Choo