Outdoor adventures to be discovered In the South West

Welcome to the picturesque UK region offering high-adrenaline excitement alongside relaxing walks.

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Promoted by Great Western Railway

Great Western train in Bath

If you love spending time outdoors, feeling the sun on your skin and breathing in fresh, clean air, then the UK's South West is the place to head for a getaway. And if you enjoy tackling a challenge, experiencing the thrill of a new water sport or simply feeling your mind declutter as you hike along moors or around scenic coastal paths, you need to book your train tickets right now.

Here are some suggestions to help plan a holiday that delivers on adventure and a lifetime of fun-filled memories for all the family.


Come on in!

Cornwall is where you go to try a new water sport, from the surf schools dotted along the north coast in towns such as St Ives and Truro, to gentler kayaking and canoe trips in Falmouth in the south and sailing in Looe.

Meanwhile, stand up paddle boarding suits every age from four upwards. Even as a beginner, you will soon be exploring caves around Penzance, with the potential for a seal to pop up, or the river and salt marshes near Truro. No wonder it's the world's fastest growing water sport.

High adrenaline adventures

The aptly named Adrenalin Quarry at Liskeard, Cornwall (just 11 mins walk from Menheniot station) has been "throwing people off cliffs since 2009" and does it with style as charmingly calming staff launch you into the air.

Double zip wires stretch 490 metres across the flooded quarry, allowing you to shriek in unison as you reach speeds of up to 40mph. The youngest to speed down the wire has been 19 months and the oldest 94, so there is no excuse.

There's also a giant cliff top swing for a truly heart-pumping encounter. Three lucky participants are pulled in the air and launched 170ft over the lake. Coasteering - climbing up cliffs and jumping off into the quarry water - is supervised and suitable for children aged 10 and up. The quarry is also a beautiful spot to hang out, with a cafe and picnic area.

High-octane fans will love Combe Castle Circuit in Chippenham, Wiltshire, the West Country's home of motorsports for 65 years. Children over 12 can get behind the wheel on the famous course, while parents can drive a real racing car on the racing circuit or get in a spin rally driving. There's also go-karting for both children and adults. And in terms of convenience from the nearest train station, it is only 13 minutes from Menheniot.

The Extreme Academy on Watergate Bay, Newquay lives up to its name, offering surf lessons, kite surfing, wave skiing and land boarding along the two mile beach, and is a 10-minute taxi ride from Quintrell Downs. If you want pure adrenaline, take a turn on a twisting, turning high speed power boat or RIB.

Coastal walk

Walk on the wild side

Kids' wails of "not another family walk!" will be swiftly forgotten once you set off on the South West Coast Path Trail with its stunning views out to sea from the clifftop pathway. You could take the train to the fishing port of Looe or the seaside town of Weymouth to start your walk.

Or, how about a stretch of the Cotswold Way, starting from any number of locations, such as Moreton in Marsh and taking in summer meadows, shady beech woods and pretty villages along the way?

Don't forget there are plenty of stables en route offering day and half-day pony trekking for all ages and experience.

On your bikes

Cycling is a wonderful way to enjoy the local scenery and give your body a workout, whether racing to beat your kids or sedately pedalling and chatting. North Devon's Tarka Trail is 11 miles, starting at Barnstaple along a flat, traffic-less route. You can hire bikes for all ages at Tarka Bikes, conveniently located next to Barnstaple train station.

The Two Tunnels Greenway route is also 11 miles long. It begins in Bath, takes in the splendid Somerset countryside before following the canal towpath and River Avon back to the city. Or you could cycle across more sedate flat country lanes from the walled city of Salisbury in Wiltshire, ending at the historic Stonehenge.

Adventures start here! Travel by train between 26th June and 19th July and get great deals with GWR's Summer Sale.