The UK’s capital doesn’t fall short when it comes attractions and activities, many of which are perfect for thrill-seekers. London’s abundance of alternative activities — from paintball to bungee jumping — makes it the ideal destination for adrenaline junkies.
Extreme sports and adventure activities are amongst some of the most popular hobbies and pastimes. Not only do many of these sports have huge global followings and exposure at a professional level, but they’ve become massively popular as a tourist activity. Cities like London have fully embraced the adrenaline-fuelled frenzy, so here are a few of the must-do activities while visiting the capital.
Skateboarding is very much the poster child of extreme sports. Over the years, it has amassed a loyal following and developed its own culture, having been the focus of video games and other media. Skaters need somewhere to skate, which is why the UK has a large amount of both indoor and outdoor skateparks — and many of the best skateparks and well-known skating locations are in London.
If you’re a street skater who prefers to embrace the city’s urban terrain, London has lots of exciting spots and a world-famous intertwinement of skate scenes from various boroughs (South Bank Centre, Kennington Bowl, Euston Bowls). Some prefer the smooth concrete and transitions of London’s skateparks, all of which have become beneficial to communities as a way to get kids involved with sports and social activities. One skatepark has even gained listed status; the first of its kind in Europe.
Extreme sports and adventure activities are still relatively new compared to more conventional pastimes. Parkour (or freerunning) is an activity that came about a few years ago and managed to take the world by storm. A great example of this is the parkour chase scene in Casino Royale, which is probably the best advert for the sport to date.
In its simplest form, parkour is getting from point A to point B using your surroundings and as much acrobatic flair as possible. When it comes to turning an urban environment into a playground, you couldn’t wish for better surroundings than London. If you haven’t attempted parkour yet and would rather your first try be in a padded environment, London has a few parkour centres that are great for newbies.
One activity that stands alone in its own category is paintball. While other sports such as BMX racing inject a competitive edge to the extreme sports world, paintball offers the added excitement of authentic combat scenarios. Although the hustle and bustle of London’s streets aren’t ideal for paintballing, you won’t have to travel far from the inner city to experience woodland battlefields.
Paintballing birthday parties and stag dos are examples of how people embrace the sport for special occasions, but it can be just as ideal for a unique and memorable day out while visiting London. If you happen to be visiting the city with your family, paintballing for kids — either with or without adults — gives you the option of experiencing the excitement of paintball as a whole group.
London is one of the most popular tourist locations in the world, so as you would expect, it has a huge selection of sights and attractions to check out. With that said, there are some activities — bungee jumping, for example — that you could only experience while on holiday. With that in mind, you might be surprised to know that you can bungee jump right next to the O2 Arena, with a fantastic view of the city.
If a bungee jump sounds like your cup of tea, or you think it would be the perfect present for a family member or friend, you’ll need to book ahead. As you can probably imagine, it’s a much sought-after activity. You’ll be disappointed if your plan is to just turn up on the day and jump, so make sure to book ahead.
Much like paintball, Zorbing is an activity that’s in a category of its own. Yes, there are plenty of other pastimes that involve fast movement down a hill, but the vehicle of choice isn’t usually a giant orb. It’s unique, hilarious, requires no skill to enjoy and is definitely an experience you won’t be forgetting in a hurry.
London’s insanely busy streets, as well as a lack of hills, make it less than ideal to tumble around in an orb. Luckily, though, you won’t have to stray too far from the city centre to experience the downhill delight of a rural environment.
For popular tourist locations like London, extreme sports and adventure activities provide an engaging alternative to sightseeing tours or attractions. While open-top bus rides and museum tours may be the classic tourist activities, there’s no reason why you can’t mix it up with an afternoon of paintballing or the thrill of a bungee jump.