We dare not say this too loudly but is the weather finally going to change? After one of the longest winters ever the sun has finally started to peep out from behind those grey clouds. It has not rained all day, the first time we can remember for what seems to be forever and people are starting to shed their winter clothes. The ducks that live in my garden are frisky and we will quite soon, I am sure, have a line of cute fluffy little ducklings playing in my back yard. I expect your children are feeling the excitement that comes with the onset of Summer so why not treat them to a day out if there is enough time and money in the budget to take them on a trip to a local forest or outdoor activity.
We have been busy researching outdoor activities throughout the country and here is our list of the best. There are so many excellent ones to name that we have broken them down into regions and those that are nationwide.
Go Ape have 31 locations throughout the UK and courses to suit all ages from 4 – 18 years old. Even if you are a school situated in inner London you are not far from one of their venues as they have a site at Battersea.
Another organisations that offers zip-wiring along with water sports and typical team building activities is the Girl Guides who have activity centres in West Sussex, Hampshire and Lancashire.
WWT have sites throughout the country at Arundel, London, Slimbridge in Gloucestershire, Llanelli in Wales, Martin Mere in Lancashire and Washington in the North East of England.
London and The South East of England
For London Schools the Chelsea Physic Garden is London’s oldest classroom dating back to 1673 offering both affordable education sessions to support your children’s learning both at the Gardens or offer outreach programmes as well.
Just outside London in Hertfordshire is Celtic Harmony Camp which gives your student the opportunity to experience what is was like to live in Stone Age and Iron Age Britain. Situated in a beautiful woodland setting you can visit for a day or longer.
Not far way is ICANDO that offers both residential and day courses running fun activities to nurture creativity and teambuilding.
Hautbois Activity Centre near Norwich offers over 30 onsite activities including stand up paddle boarding as well as canoeing, raft and bridge building.
Hilltop Outdoor Centre near Sheringham is another well equipped activity centre offering high ropes and mountain bike trails in a secure and safe environment.
Avon Tyrrell Outdoor Centre is situated in the heart of the New Forest National Park and offers stays from 1 night or more.
UKSA on the Isle of Wight offers water based activities including learning to sale. A truly magical part of the world the Island is only a short hop across the water but is another world away.
Wales and South West of England
The Calvert Trust in North Devon offers residential breaks encompassing many activities including horse riding, archery and bush craft.
Conway Centres on Anglesey run by Edsential offer young people the opportunity to experience new challenges at their centre on the beautiful island of Anglesey in North Wales.
For teachers wanting to do their own thing the Plas Dolau hostel at Aberystwyth offers both self-catering and catering facilities. Situated in a great location it is both close to the sea and mountains.
Northumberland & The North East
The Sill is Northumberland National Park's newest venue. Situated at Bardon Mill, Hexham it offers excellent courses and is a perfect base with a brand new YHA hostel for exploring Hadrian’s Wall.
Beamish Wild is the centre for activities in this part of the world with a wide variety of outdoor activities including den building, archery, bush craft and team building.
Dalby Forest is the Great Yorkshire Forest in the heart of the North Yorks Moors National Park. Orienteering, den building wildlife and habitats are just a few of the subjects your pupils can enjoy. They also have a Go Ape centre in the forest as well.
The Yorkshire Arboretum near Malton is another magical place for your students to explore. This unique 120 acre site has a dedicated Education Officer who can take your pupils on mini beast hunts, shelter building and pond dipping.
Hatfield Outdoor Activity Centre is the number one choice of many schools seeking outdoor fun both on land and in the water. They also have an excellent residential centre for those schools wanting to stay for longer.
The Sheffield Cable, Water ski and Aqua Park offers something a little different with the opportunity to teach your pupils new water skills and the opportunity of learning how to water ski.
It is a magical time of the year to enjoy the wonderful waterfalls at Ingleton Waterfalls Trail as the woodland and forest creatures are wakening up at this time of the year. You can do a circular walk from the falls to White Scar Cave, Yorkshire’s premier show cave with the walk which makes for a great day out.
Day trips as well as residential are also offered at Carlton Lodge near Thirsk. Activities offered on site include abseiling and archery as well canoeing in their lake. But do expect to get wet as it is traditional to jump in afterwards!
Thorp Perrow Arboretum, near Bedale is another venue with trails and a falconry as we well as a play area for younger children and at this time of the year they have a stunning array of bluebells.
The North West of England
The Lake District is of course a natural playground for outward bound activities but for a day trip we would recommend RSPB Leighton Moss for wildlife experiences and activities.
Williamson Park in Lancaster, is another venue offering outdoor fun whilst teaching your children about animals and the great outdoors and even has a butterfly house, the beautiful butterflies never cease to fascinate all ages plus woodland walkways and a mini beast cave and zoo .
In the Heart of England another fabulous Butterfly Farm is at Stratford and offers tailored educational visits to fit in with the national curriculum.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens boast glasshouses where you can experience an authentic rainforest, a Mediterranean climate and an Alpine climate with tailor made teacher led sessions to complement your studies and ages of your children.
Derbyshire boasts the award winning visitor attraction Conkers. Set in 120 acres of woodland it is the perfect place for an outdoor adventure and for your pupils to have lots of fun!