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Visitors to the west of England can discover a host of dramatic ways to up the action and see the region in a new light – leaving museums and galleries behind for a day for adventures ranging from simple walking to weaselling, and axe-throwing to hot air ballooning. There’s even shark diving for the more intrepid traveller.

Here are some savvy suggestions guaranteed to boost the adrenaline in the West Midlands, the region of western England that includes the counties of Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, and Worcestershire, centred on the country’s second city, Birmingham:

Birmingham’s canals: Birmingham has 56 km of canals – more, famously, than Venice – and travelling around or on them makes for a great day out. Whether walking or cycling alongside the city’s waterways to explore its industrial past, or taking a boat trip along the canals, it’s the best way of seeing the many sides of the city from its heart.

Dudley Canal Tunnel: For something truly unforgettable, take an underground boat trip through the 2,900-m. Dudley Canal Tunnel and caverns, with the Dudley Canal Trust.

West Midlands waterways: If a day on Birmingham’s canals inspires you, then speed off, albeit at 6 km per hour into the sunset, on the wide network of waterways, taking the Grand Union Canal to Warwick, or the Oxford Canal, which goes all the way to the City of Dreaming Spires. There are many narrow boat hire companies in the region such as Grand Union Narrow Boats.

Go Ape outdoor adventure: Swing through the tree-tops with the popular Go Ape franchise, which has forest sites all over the Midlands, including Buxton in the Peak District, Cannock Chase, Coventry and Wyre Forest. It makes a great day out for children and adults – not least thanks to the mega-zipline at the end.

The Bear Grylls Adventure: We’re not going to lie, shark-diving in Birmingham isn’t something we’d expect either, but The Bear Grylls Adventure offers just that in its awesome indoor/outdoor activity centre. Other extreme pursuits include a high-rope challenge, free-flying and, axe-throwing.

Ackers Adventure: For more unexpected high-adrenaline activities, head to Ackers Adventure in Sparkbrook to hit the dry ski slope or try activities ranging from abseiling to archery, climbing to canoeing.

The Peak District, photo – VisitBritain/Jon Attenborough

Peak District National Park: The Peak District was Britain’s first National Park and is still one of its most popular. There are loads of ways of enjoying it, from a leisurely walk and afternoon tea to something more energetic, with one of its many adventure tours. How about a spot of weaselling (squeezing yourself between rocks), climbing, abseiling, caving, or mountain-biking?

Cannock Chase: Forest-bathing is good for the health, so take a tree prescription and walk or cycle around the lovely forest Cannock Chase, or go horse-riding on one of its bridleways.

The Malverns: There’s no better way (apart from maybe a Morgan Driving Tour, which sounds pretty good) to see the Malverns than on foot. As one of the UK’s most beautiful landscapes, this protected Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) has many walks, from easy to strenuous.

Warwick Castle: For a spot of medieval adventure, one can go all dungeons and dragons at Warwick Castle. The almost 1,000-year-old castle has loads of immersive experiences, Bird of Prey events and live shows, as well as a Horrible Histories maze. Castles have never been so energetic.

Chatsworth House

Chatsworth House: The estate of the grand Chatsworth House in Bakewell is so vast it covers 400 hectares and visitors can roam through the rolling landscape all day – before even tackling the 42-hectare formal garden and maze.

Kenilworth Castle: Walk in the footsteps of Elizabeth I in the restored Elizabethan Garden of the vast Kenilworth Castle, near Coventry. This medieval fortress is one of the country’s biggest historical sites. A great was to see it is from on high, via hot air balloon.


First published at Travel Industry Today

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