12 must-do sporting breaks for 2012

April 21st, 2011

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How to make the most of weekends in 2011? What are this year’s hot weekend activities? Where to go for short break thrills? Here’s a list of 12 great weekend ideas for extreme fun to ensure every month is bursting with sporting adventure in the New Year.

1. Monster Truck Driving, Sussex.Tired of the traffic and ready to put your foot down in a big way? Monster trucks are a ‘bad ass’ weekend driving experience. From £226 for a two-and-half hour session, it isn’t cheap, but the memory is as big and bold as the US ‘Grizzly’ truck you could be steering. And it’s just about the only time you will be able to bully your way over two police saloon cars without an expensive trip to Her Majesty’s courts.

2. Water Spills, Scotland. No year is complete without an excursion into the wilds of Scotland. Spring snow melts make for a rush of water and adrenalin in rivers across the central belt and the Highlands, which make it great for white water rafting. Prices start from around the £50 mark. And, while you’re up there, adding some canyoning and bungee jumping can make for an exhilarating weekend. The only difficulty is making sure it’s thawing and not still snowing.

3. Walking on water. Yes, really. You too can achieve the miracle of walking on water, courtesy of a plastic zorb. From about £20, the experience is a great buy and as the flotilla of You Tube videos testify, it’s the highlight of many a weekend.

4. Canyoning, Lleyn Peninsula, Wales. Canyoning or coasteering as some people call it, is a cross between mountain climbing, walking, pot-holing and swimming. Half-a-day’s canyoning is around £32.00. For that you get to make your way down a gorge in a wet suit, tackling obstacles as you go. But be warned, depending on the level of water, it can be a challenging activity requiring a high level of fitness. Maybe one to leave until later in the year, when you’re a bit fitter.

5. Riding, Oxfordshire. For those lucky enough to be born in the country, horses are akin to bicycles – transport that keeps you fit – but for the majority of UK urbanites, they are just creatures we lose money on at the bookies. A weekend visit to a riding school such as the one near Banbury can change all that. For around £30, you get a chance to ride indoor or outdoor, with qualified instructors at a centre approved by the Association of British Riding Schools.

6. Quad biking, Yorkshire. This Doncaster site is one of the UK’s most prestigious quad centres. Visitors get the chance bump and slide on Apache RLX 150cc, RLX 100cc and 50cc quad bikes over a disused quarry site. Prices start at around £25.

7. High Ropes, Devon. Close to Dartmoor National Park, the Tavistock high ropes course is another excuse to head to the west country for a weekend. The canopy-based activities offer challenges for different ages and levels of fitness, and start at £26.

8. Scuba-diving, Buckinghamshire. Scuba diving is a sport that is becoming more accessible and popular, particularly with the over 40s. And dipping a toe into the sport isn’t expensive. Less than £30 will be needed for an introductory session.

9. Ballooning, Lake District. William Wordsworth – one of the Lake District’s most famous sons – could have said: ‘I wandered lonely as a balloon.’ Surely, there can’t be a better way to view some of the UK’s finest scenery than perched in a balloon a few thousand feet in the air. Just imagine the poetry he may have come up with as he floated on high o’er vales and hills. Prices are around the £200 mark.

10. Off-road karting, Surrey. Just a short drive from the M25 is an off-road karting circuit without any traffic cones in sight. For between £80 and £90, you can rip up the mud and blow away all the memories of weekdays stuck on the M25. Proper driving that you can only dream about in the south east of England.

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