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Outdoor Activities in London – Adventure City Guide

Find out how you can go kayaking, hiking, skating and swimming within minutes of downtown London with our Outdoor Activities in London Adventure City Guide.

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Outdoor Activities in London - Hyde Park

Are you looking for an insider’s adventure travel guide for the best outdoor activities in London?

As part of our Adventure City Guide series, Vicky from vickyflipfloptravels.com, shares with you her insider tips on the top adventure and outdoor activities in London; including how to get there and costs.

London is Beautiful, London Eye

Why visit London for adventure?

London is filled with adventure opportunities. Each London borough has it’s own personality and feel, from the hipster cool of Shoreditch to the pretentiousness of Chelsea. I can guarantee that you’ll find all the adventure you want within London, you just have to know where to look for it.

It’s so easy to get around too. There’s the train lines, the Underground, the Overground, hundreds of bus routes, the Boris Bikes and even walking. London is a brilliant city for pedestrians as there’s something to see with every step.

Outdoor Activities in London

Climbing up Pimrose Hill and Parliament Hill

Primrose Hill and Parliament Hill have two of the best views in London. Make the climb and you can see over the whole city, incredible skyline and all. In the summer I love to take a picnic and just admire the city as I munch on a baguette and sip at some cheap Prosecco.

If you want to up the adventure aspect, run to the top of the viewpoint, then run backwards to get down again. I prefer to watch them at it though, the walk to the views is enough for me.

Primrose Hill in Regent’s Park is fairly easy to climb, it’s steep but quick. Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath is a different kettle of fish. Expect to gasp some breaths before you reach the top.

Outdoor Activities in London - Pimrose Hill

Outdoor Activities in London – Primrose Hill – Photo by Ben Sutherland

Getting to the hills

The closest underground stop to Primrose Hill is Chalk Farm, but it’s easily walkable from Camden Town. To access Parliament Hill you need to get to Gospel Oak Overground or Kentish Town Underground.

Cost of walking up

Nothing!

Kayaking the River Thames in London

It’s one way to get to work anyway, and there are always a few chancers following the route every summer. If you’d like to join in the fun on one of the most polluted rivers in the whole of Britain, but also a national icon, then sign up to Kayaking London. You can choose from a beginner class, a four-hour discover London tour or three-hour Big Ben by night trip.

Outdoor Activities in London - River Thames

Outdoor Activities in London – River Thames – Photo by Paddling

Getting to the River Thames

There are lots of ways! It’s that big blue line going through the centre of London. Waterloo or Embankment Stations would be your best bet, but there are plenty of stations along the route. Kayaking London is just five minutes from Battersea Bridge, or the Worlds End stop on the Kings Road.

Cost of Kayaking in London

The Big Ben trip is £33, a four-part beginnner course is £120 and the four-hour Discover London trip is £60. There are a few other trips available, check out Kayaking London for more details.

Additional information for Kayaking in London

All the trips are run in highly stable boats so no experience is required. The expert guides are on hand to help and everything is provided.

Skating in Hyde Park

The Blue Room at Marble Arch on the edge of Hyde Park have skates and blades to rent out to wannabe skater Londoners. Just leave your deposit and strap your skates on (maybe wait until you’ve crossed at the lights) and away you go.

Hyde Park has many paths you can use to master your skill and a super slick one that goes all the way down to Victoria. Expect to meet many other friendly skaters along the way, and skateboarders too. On a Wednesday and Friday night there are ‘Skates’ going on throughout London where skaters dress up and follow each other around the city with the tunes blasting out of the ghetto speakers (yes, old school stereos ).

If you want adventure and adrenaline in London there’s nothing like weaving through the London traffic with only skates and arm pads for safety.

Outdoor Activities in London - Hyde Park

Outdoor Activities in London – Hyde Park – Photo by S Pakhrin

Getting to Hyde Park

If you want the skate hire shop you need to get off at Marble Arch and turn left away from the shops. Then it’s just over the huge scary crossing. If you have your own skates you can get to Hyde Park via Queensway, Ladbroke Grove, Hyde Park Corner or Knightsbridge underground stations.

Cost of skating in Hyde Park

It’s totally free to skate, but you need to pay to hire your skates for £12 per day from the Blue Room Skate Hire Shop.

Additional information for skating in Hyde Park

The paths in Hyde Park are pretty safe – so long as you watch out for pedestrians and inquisitive small children. If in doubt, fall to the side as the paths are all flanked by grassy banks. Just please be careful and take all the safety gear the shop offers you!

Outdoor swimming in London

The Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park, Park Road Leisure Centre in Crouch End and Tooting Bec Lido in Tooting Bec are just a few of the outdoor pools you can enjoy in London. Prepare to freeze if going in on anything other than a bright, hot, summer’s day.

The chill of jumping into a freezing pool soon becomes addictive though, and you might just find yourself wanting to tick them all off the list. Prepare for them to be packed on said sunny days with no respect for the year rounders who brave the ice for their breaststroke.

Outdoor Activities in London - Swimming in London

Outdoor Activities in London – Swimming in London – Photo by Lasse Socker

Getting to the pools

There are more than 12 outdoor spots in London to get wet in the breezy/balmy summer days. My personal favourite is the Serpentine in Hyde Park. Just head to Lancaster Gate for the closest tube, or jump on a Boris Bike and follow the signs to ‘Hyde Park’.

Cost of exploring the Serpentine

£4 for an adult

Additional information for the Union Canal

Pool opening hours change depending on the season, the weather and the day. Before you head out to enjoy a splash just make a quick phone call to check it’s open.

Best time of the year to visit London for adventure?

The best time of year to visit London is definitely from April to October. We have a bit of a reputation for rain year round, but this is our summer season so if the sun’s not shining during these months it never will. I’ve travelled a lot and firmly believe that nowhere in the world beats a sunny summer in London.

When my fellow Londoners are picnicking in the parks, the festivals have started and you can cycle around the City wearing just your tshirt, that’s when London is really at it’s best.

Finally, the reason I love London for adventure is because…

I can honestly say that every day is an adventure in London. Not the forest hiking, bungee jumping, dragon slaying kind, but the kind where you just don’t know what’s going to happen next. From the second I step out of the door in the morning and I’m greeted by the urban jungle that is Kilburn I know that any adventure I could want, I can have it London.

BIO:

Vicky blogs at vickyflipfloptravels.com about her travels, London and festivals. She’s travelled through Europe extensively, dropping in on a few festivals and picking up work as she went. She’s toured Australia, explored the Serengeti and backpacked through Morocco.

A wise man once told her, ‘In the pursuit of seeing everything, we see nothing’, and she tries to recite this to tame her travelling wants, but it’s not working. You can follow her @VickyFlipFlop, or on Facebook or Google+.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Scott

    April 28, 2013 at 1:27 AM

    Great post. I would have never considered London as an outdoor adventure city.

  2. Nigel Clifford

    May 6, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    I never knew you could do any of these activities in London, although I wouldn’t mind a bit of dragon slaying adventure if it was possible haha

  3. Travel Musts

    May 18, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    I have been to London many times but I have never thought to go kayaking or skating in Hide Park! Thank you very much for the advice! I will for sure follow them next time I will find my self in London!

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Adventure Travel

WHY WE LOVE TRAVELLING IN ANTIPOLO (AND YOU SHOULD, TOO)

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Antipolo is one of the seven most popular cities in Philippines which is located in the province of Rizal. The city of Antipolo is famous for being a pilgrimage site and is popularly known as the “pilgrimage site of Philippines”. Being the heritage city of the country Antipolo holds many beautiful and amazing places where you can explore your travel buds. The main and the enshrined attraction of the place is the marine image of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage present in the Antipolo museum which was brought from Mexico during the year 1626.

There are many beautiful and extravagant places present in the beautiful city of the Antipolo where one can easily find peace and can explore the beauty of Philippines, the Antipolo style.  The city consists of many historic and natural sites which will blow your mind off and are worth visiting. We have some tourist attractions in Antipolo where you can go exploring with your friends or family or even alone.

Antipolo Cathedral: – Being the most historic and antique church present in the city the Antipolo church is widely famous for its renowned icon, the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. The church is located in the proper town and every year on the month of May Antipolo becomes the centre of attraction for many of the visitors and tourists who travel from faraway lands and locals in order to pay homage to the Our Lady.

Boso Boso church: – This church is mostly a remnant of a centuries old church which was destroyed during the Second World War. This beautiful remnant of the church belongs to the Spanish era that dominated the country of Philippines that for more than 300 years. It was constructed in the year 1700 under the Jesuits. After getting destroyed by earthquake in 1800, the church was abandoned in the 1930 and got into a fire scandal in the year 1945; it got restored back by the government in the year 1995. If you are a great lover of history and past things this place might fascinate you.

Hinulugang Taktak: – The name of the place means “where the bell was dropped”, is a waterfall that was designated by the government of Philippines as a national park. The mesmerizing waterfall got its interesting name due to a turn of event down the history. The priest of the nearby church on the demand of the town people had thrown the church bell into the river as it was causing unwanted sound in the town every time it rang during the Angelus.

Mystical Cave: – The cave is named as mystical because one can see the several religious images that appear inside the cave. Mostly the images are in stalactite and stalagmite formations that mainly resembles religious Gods. The cave consists of two floors but the visitors are allowed to explore the first one without permission.

Pinto Art Museum: – If you adore art and paintings and want to connect with the Antipolo’s culture then this art museum is an amazing chance you to get connected with the locals. The museum mainly displays the art, sculptures and paintings of the local artist bringing out the cultural background of the place.

Not only have these amazing historic places given you a clear image of the Antipolo’s beauty and history but there is a little more than just places that you will find fascinating. As the city of Antipolo is situated in a higher elevation than the Metro Manila, it gives you a breathtaking view of the metropolis at night, which is a sight to behold in the ancient city. In order to stay in the city you can easily find vacation home in Antipolo Philippines where you can stay and enjoy of your own.

Not only just places the city of Antipolo provides you exquisite food choices to make your taste buds go bananas or you can have fresh locally grown mangoes and cashews. The most famous dish in the city is the Suman, which is normally a local delicacy that is made from glutinous rice.

Antipolo is a breathtaking place hidden in the depth of Philippines with a mesmerizing history and culture. It will not only make you fall in love with itself but also will make your eyes reach with beauty.

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Adventure Travel

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

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Top of Cappadocia day trek with Middle Earth Travel

Trekking through the valleys of Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys with Middle Earth Travel feels more like the set of a Star Wars movie than a historical region once carved out and lived in by humans. Churches, homes and pigeon houses are scattered throughout the valleys, all waiting to be explored. The best part is, Middle Earth Travel know all the hidden secrets.

Standing at the top of Cappadocia

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

On the 26th of July (which just so happens to be my birthday!) Middle Earth Travel took us on their private and guided Top of Cappadocia day trek. From Pasabag, along the top of Cappadocia and down through the Gulludere Rose Valley to Goreme, we trekked 15kms in one day! (We recommend getting your bearings with this map)

Upon arrival to the Middle Earth Offices, we were warmly greeted by our new friend Atil whom we had met a few days earlier while mountain biking through the Kizilcukur Red Valley. We were then introduced to our guide and given a briefing regarding the day. Normally, the Top of Cappadocia tour would start from Çavuşin, however, since we had already explored Çavuşin Castle, they adapted our tour to compensate ensuring we would explore new terrain!

With charged cameras, plenty of water and our running shoes on, we were driven to our starting point of Pasabag. We wandered through the fairy chimneys, coming across camels and markets – then the true hike began.

Pasabag in Cappadocia

The police station in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

It was a slow and gentle incline. With no trees to provide shade, I quickly realised why our tour guide had chosen to wear fully covered clothing! As the sweat quickly set in (a waterfall in Moss’s case) we snapped away with our cameras and enjoyed the entertaining shapes of Imagine Valley and the amazing view. We also passed a lot of rock piles, which according to our guide mean ‘father’ and are built to help lead the way.

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Middle Earth Travel, Cappadocia

Making our way to the top of Cappadocia

Father leading the way (rock pile)

Father leading the way (rock pile)

The higher we trekked, the more breath taking the views became! As we walked along the summit of Bozdag mountain (the Top of Cappadocia) we could see EVERTHING – Pasabag, Çavuşin Castle, Kizilcukur Red Valley, Gulludere Rose Valley and Goreme. We were on the Father of Valleys! After a quick nod of agreement to the guide, we pushed ourselves the extra distance and made our way to the flag, as this HAD to be the highest point and was definitely worth a photo and a selfie or two!

View from the top of Cappadocia

View from the top of Cappadocia

Flag at top of Cappadocia

From the flag we looked down upon Aktepe Hill which is known as a popular destination for watching the sun set and could spot Kizilvadi Restaurant, our destination for lunch! Kizilvadi Restaurant is an attraction of its own. With its own historic winery and Grape church, plus some Middle Earth Travel treks even stay there for the night! After having a massive feed of soup, salad and pasta plus a surprise birthday cake, we made our way down into Gulludere Rose Valley.

Kizilvadi Restaurant

Kizilvadi Restaurant

The scenery is amazing, with strong colours visible in perfect layers on the chimneys, you would wonder what an artist was thinking, had it been a painting. Also, hidden to the side of the track we walked across a little bridge and not expecting anything to be there we were wowed by the massive church carved. It was absolutely huge and hard to believe that its most recent use has been as a pigeon house!

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Church in Gulludere Rose Valley

Hard to believe this Church is carved inside a fairy chimney!

Middle Earth Travel Review

  • The team at Middle Earth Travel were extremely knowledgeable and certainly know Cappadocia’s hidden secrets. They have friendships with local tea garden owners which is also of benefit as it gained us entry to locked churches and hidden rooms that we would not have otherwise seen.
  • We covered a lot of ground, however we did not feel rushed. The whole day focused on showing us the region, therefore we had as much time as we needed to explore each church and to take ‘just one more photo’.
  • It wasn’t all about trekking. With a whole day and 15kms to cover, there were a few silly poses (especially in Imagine Valley), and we learnt a lot about the myths, legends and way of life in Cappadocia.
  • In conclusion I highly recommend Middle Earth Travel if you wish to go trekking or mountain biking in Cappadocia.
  • Cost: Day treks with Middle Earth Travel range from 50-90 euro, depending on the number of people taking part. This includes lunch, guide, vehicle transfers and entrance fees to historical sites, but excludes alcoholic and soft drinks.
  • Middle Earth Travel are outdoor enthusiasts and offer multi-day over night treks, mountain biking, abseiling, or custom made itineraries, in multiple regions throughout Turkey.
  • www.middleearthtravel.com

Disclaimer: We were provided with a discount for the trek with Middle Earth Travel, however, as always our thoughts on our adventure travel blog our own.

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Adventure Travel

Tibet Cycling: The Complete Guide to Lhasa to Ganden Monastery Cycling Tour

Tibet Cycling: The Complete Guide to Lhasa to Ganden Monastery Cycling Tour

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Tibet appeals to travellers in many ways. The first and most important thing is the beautiful natural scenery. However, Tibet is a bit different from the other scenic spots. There is a charm to this place, which is not found anywhere. Travellers have a mind which wanders and loves to explore new things. They can get this experience for their Tibet travel as the various associated activities can completely thrill them. From photography to trekking and cycling, the options never seem to end.

Almost everyone is well acquainted with the various joys of cycling in Tibet, the atmosphere is absolutely perfect. Tourists can pass through several spots and they can enjoy every bit of this beautiful natural land. Cycling happens on various routes and these routes have to be understood thoroughly. In this article, we will discuss about the cycling tour to Ganden Monastery from Lhasa and provide you every detail that you need.

Why travel to Ganden Monastery?

Tibetan Buddhism has a unique appeal which calms the soul of all wanderers. They are struck by wanderlust and the monasteries in Tibet, offer them something to cherish about forever. For those who love religious places, Tibet has plenty of offerings. The monasteries, the temples and the rituals, Tibet’s heritage have always echoed through the ages.  This brings us to Ganden Monastery, which is truly a magical place. It is an absolute wonder in front of the eyes and the viewers are left completely captivated. This was the very first monastery, which laid the foundation of Tibetan Buddhism. The vast expanse of land on Tibet’s western site is absolutely heavenly. Emperor Yongzheng who was from Qing Dynasty gave a very special name to this monastery and called it “Yong Tai”. Situated at a height of 3,800m from the sea’s level, the elevation is majestic. Lagyi Hall, Angyiukang, Yangbagyain Hall are the major construction in this monastery.

Located 47Km away from the capital city of Lhasa, this monastery witnesses a huge influx of people every year. This is an important structure as far as Tibet’s cultural heritage is conserved and it is preserved for this reason. The cultural and artistic significance is terrific and Ganden will always be the centre of Tibet’s attraction. It joins the famous Sera Monastery in a unique list, which also features Drepung Monastery. These three temples are considered “great” and the visitors value them greatly. Tibetan Buddhism features many activities and some of them are grand and marvellous. Once in a year, a giant picture of Buddha is unfolded and it easily attracts disciples from all parts of the country. Cycling to this monastery can provide a great experience, but you must follow the basic guidelines. Once these points are followed, your trip will not only be great, it will be perfect.

Highlights of the amazing cycling tour from Lhasa to Ganden Monastery

Cyclists are of different types and they begin their journey, by having different trips in their minds. We have introduced trips of various lengths and they are tailor-made for each type of traveller. Some people can opt for the short and customized tour, while, others can choose the longer version. The distance from Tibet’s Lhasa to this amazing monastery can vary slightly, depending on the route taken. Cyclists have to travel 60Km to reach their destination and not much difficulty is faced in the process.  Don’t forget to be in a relaxed mood, as you take this trip. Lhasa is a great spot to be in the right frame of mind and two days can be easily spent here.  The famous trip begins from Lhasa River and cyclists go upstream.  Picturesque villages and some amazing farmlands fall between that and they are just perfect. Reaching Ganden is easy and once you reach here, your soul will be touched by a positive vibe. The environment is filled with peacefulness and everything seems perfect here. One night can be spent here to soak in the feeling. The return journey can start next day and Chubuxi village falls in the route. Tibet is all about the unique lifestyle of the locals and this is something you can’t afford to miss.  From Chubuxi, the trekking trip to Samye commences.

The most classic 6 days Lhasa and Ganden Monastery Bike tour, you will enjoy the cycling joy and Tibet wonderful natural landscape and Tibetan monasteries architecture. Most tourists can complete this short ride after relaxing yourself in Lhasa for two days. The ride route begains upstream along the Lhasa River, and you will pass some farmlands and small villages. Then arrive in Gandan monastery, one of six Gelug sect monasteries, and worship this famous monastery. Then you are expected to spend a night at Gandan monastery to experience the peaceful environment. Next day, you will head back to Lhasa, and visit Chubuxi village at the foot of Gandan monastery. On the way you can experience the daily life of local people. Moreover, Chubuxi village is the starting point of Ganden to Samye trek. Finally we move back to Lhasa and the ride ends.

Tackling the changing altitude on the way to Ganden Monastery

The altitude in Lhasa is about 3600m, and that of Ganden Monastery is 3800m. There is no strict change of altitude, so it’s relatively easy for travellers who want to try short cycling in Tibet.  Cycling is a strenuous activity and it can take a toll on your health. That being said, cycling in the rough terrains of Tibet is even more challenging. Ganden is situated high above the normal sea level and this steep rise can often weaken cyclists. The high altitude woes will continue, if proper precaution is not taken. Carrying additional oxygen cylinders is a must and this should be done in advance. The temperature changes greatly and travellers should also be aware of this. However, if you choose us for this trip, everything becomes easier. The freezing months can pose a far bigger threat and that should be avoided at all costs.

The perfect time to take Lhasa – Ganden Monastery cycle tour

Tibet embraces every season fabulously, though the conditions are not favourable every time. Travellers and especially cyclists must understand the timing absolutely well. If the activity is done in a pleasant month instead of the harsh winter, the fun can increase manifold. The best time for cycling is from May to October because good weather and temparature. The other months can be targeted as well, but the safety issues become important in the hilly roads.

Getting the Tibet Travel Permit – How can we help?

Exploring Tibet is a fun activity, but Tibet travel permits matter greatly. Foreign travellers must fulfil the necessary travel guidelines to get in this region and we can help you from all sides. We make the process easier, by getting you the right documents at the right time.

What to pack for this cycle tour? – Bicycle Rent and Other Tips

Taking the most essential things can do the job here. The all-important ID card and travel permit is absolutely essential and it gets the first priority. Take a medium-sized backpack to put in your things and pack it with the right kind of warm clothes. Waist packs also come in handy, as they store many important things. This is a place where you will see high elevation, so oxygen should be there in abundance. Avoid getting sunburn by taking a good sun-screen cream or lotion and lastly don’t miss out on the medicines. Helmets and other cycling wear can be taken, as it is very essential. The bicycle can be rented easily and it is supplied by the tour operator itself. An important trip in this aspect would be to prepare for the changing weather. It can stay sunny or it can rain, so plan accordingly.

The challenges in Tibet are quite tough, but it will gift you an experience, which you will not forget in a long time. Cycling here is precious and it is an important aspect that strengthens Tibet’s tourism.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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