Memories are made of this: 5 ‘one of a kind’ exciting experiences close to home

Memories are made of this

5 ‘one of a kind’ exciting experiences close to home


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Amazing experiences are what we treasure most.

They spur imagination, fill photo albums, and make us smile. There’s always room for more. But it’s a big world. So, what to do? Where to go?

With endless options out there, it can be tough to make a choice. Don’t worry. Our ideal mix involves excitement, emotion, and exclusivity.

Here are five suggestions to get you underway:

1. When your beach hut’s your castle

The British beach hut is a unique piece of architecture. Straddling the thin damp line between sea and land, they present a frontline view of the water, yet still allow residents to lounge like home.

Colourful, whimsical, enduring, beach huts conjure visions of times gone by – when a holiday was a week at the coast, complete with Punch and Judy, a stick of rock and an outing on the pier.

There are more than 20,000 beach huts in the UK, and most of them are closed to visitors. However, not all huts are no-go for those who wish to dabble in the experience without buying their own.

Short-term rentals offer terrific huts in dozens of locations around the UK; be on the seafront in Brighton, have a cliff top view in Cornwall, try a tiny two-man, or live large in a hut for eight. Many huts have a mini-kitchen, some even have a loo. 

The choice is as wide as the styles of hut, with no two quite the same. Hire by the day or by the week, (you usually cannot stay overnight). Some huts even provide equipment like deck chairs, parasols, and a portable grill. 

Sit back and dip your toes in the sand from the comfort of your own beach house.

2. Fly like a bird without leaving the ground

Sky-diving is a topic that pops up on many memory lists, but though the idea is thrilling, the thought of jumping out of an aeroplane is a step too far for most. However, you can get the thrill of a parachute jump without leaving terra-firma. 

Indoor sky-diving is like a free-fall from 5,000 feet, but within the safer confines of a vertical wind-tunnel. These ‘sky tubes’ use turbine fans to push vast volumes of air upwards at high speed.

Flyers enter the tube to ride the air cushion and float like a butterfly without the sting of the fall. No chute is required. Slip into an over-suit, helmet and visor and you’re good to go. 

Take the experience to the max with virtual reality goggles. These high-tech eyepieces create the illusion of being among the clouds as your body feels almost weightless. 

Flights typically last a full minute, which is around 20 seconds longer than most tandem sky-dives in the great outdoors. Flyers of all ages can ride the ‘sky’, and even those with disabilities can still enjoy this experience. 

Fly like a bird. Dive into indoor sky-diving.

3. Walk in Hadrian’s footsteps

Built in AD 122, Hadrian’s Wall protected the Roman empire from fearsome marauders. Stretching 73 miles across the north of England, it was a formidable barrier complete with a string of forts to garrison soldiers. 

Today, remains of the wall still exist, and it has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site that presents an amazing slice of ancient history to those who walk its length.

Setting off from Bowness-on-Solway in the west or Wallsend in the east, the full walk can take as long as a week. However, there are shorter options for those on a tighter timescale. Either way, you’ll discover the most dramatic landscapes and visit more than twenty fascinating sites along the route.

Hadrian Wall experience

‘Must-sees’ include Housesteads Roman Fort, Chesters Roman Fort, Corbridge Roman Town, and Birdoswald Roman fort. Choose to go it alone or travel with seasoned operators who provide guided walks and the detail you may miss when going independent. 

See the border as Hadrian saw it. Be an Emperor for the week, or just the weekend. 

4. Get a new perspective

The world looks very different when you travel the UK by train instead of road. Viewing from a new perspective, reveals amazing sights you normally never see. 

Now imagine what it looks like when you travel by boat.

UK operators offer a range of coastal cruises to suit every kind of landlubber; travel the British coast from Southampton to the Scottish Isles, cruise around the Irish Sea to a Liverpool finale, circle the Channel Isles and drink in the Cornish coast.

With breath-taking views, exciting stopovers, onboard entertainment, quality accommodation and food and drink on tap, a UK coastal cruise is like world-class travel without going far from home.

Alternatively, for voyagers seeking an authentic sailing experience, a handful of operators offer travel by wind power. Large sailing cruisers use the natural elements to power your ride. See the coast the way sailors saw it in the 18th century. 

Get on the water to create a sea of new memories.

5. Get into real heavy metal

Not the music, this is real steel. Drive a tank and find out what it feels like to be in command of fifty tonnes of moving metal. 

Tank days are the ultimate thrill for those with an interest in engineering or a love for all things motorised. Experts reveal the secret to guiding these mighty monsters over rough terrain, through muddy water and even over a donated junkyard car. Some tank day experiences allow the amateur to fire paintballs from the modified gun. Others provide a purpose-built ‘wartime’ set, complete with smoke and sound effects. 

Vehicles range from lightweight scout cars, all the way up to 70 tonne behemoths.

With some machines as old as WW2, taking the time to explore a tank can give a unique insight into military history.

Bring your own boots and expect to get wet or muddy. Helmets, goggles, and jumpsuits are usually provided. 

Anyone from the age of 12 and up can ride on their own, or as part of a team, no special license or experience required. Just buckle up and get ready for a very bumpy ride.

So what do you think of our list?

Any of these activities you’d be keen to try? Or perhaps you’ve already tried some of them?

We’d love to hear about it.

Chris Godfrey

Chris Godfrey is a professional writer from West London. Interested in almost anything with an engine, he collects classic cars and follows motor racing around the world.