In Britain, you don't have to head out into the middle of nowhere for an adventure. In fact, with no place in Britain more than 2 hours’ from the beach, there are exciting, nature-loving experiences within easy reach of the major cities.
Cycling and deer spotting in Richmond Park
Sprawling across London's western limits, Richmond Park is the largest and wildest of the capital's royal parks. Kings used to hunt here, but today's visitors get their kicks from woodland treks, off-road cycling and deer-spotting (about 650 red and fallow deer call the park home, and they're particularly lively during the September-November rutting season).
Walking on the White Cliffs of Dover
Thanks to the wonders of high-speed rail, you can have breakfast in London and be walking on the fabled White Cliffs of Dover just over an hour later. An undulating trail runs atop these grass-capped cliffs, offering breath-taking views over the English Channel. Stop for refreshments at Mrs Knott's tea room by the South Foreland Lighthouse.
Cruising from Manchester to Liverpool
A jewel of Victorian engineering, the Manchester Ship Canal threads 58km between Salford Quays, in the shadow of Manchester's United 'Theatre of Dreams', Old Trafford stadium, and the UNESCO World Heritage-listed waterfront of Liverpool. Take a leisurely six-hour canal cruise and much of time you're in bucolic countryside, drifting past fields and sleepy villages.
Cardiff Sea Safari
For something more turbo-charged, Cardiff's Mermaid Quay is the springboard for hair-raising trips on high-speed Ribcraft boats. Options include a 15-minute Bay Blast, a full-on rush around the waters fringing the Welsh capital, and an hour-long coastal and island tour along the beautiful shores of south Wales.
Glasgow's Great Escape
© VisitScotland / Kenny Lam
Whether you prefer biking or mountaineering, canoeing or golfing, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park is the go-to place for anyone seeking thrills, fresh air and peace and quiet from Glasgow. The park is an hour's drive from Scotland's largest city and you won't forget its majestic landscapes in a hurry.