London has so much to offer both its visitors and residents that deciding what to do is probably the biggest challenge there is.
If you’re taking a weekend break or a longer holiday in the big city, it’s probably a good idea to book into accommodation centrally situated to give you a fighting chance of squeezing in everything on your to-do list. Shaftesbury hotels are close to the centre and often offer stunning views over the famous Hyde Park. Certainly, London isn’t really a destination to choose if you’re looking to chill out and unwind but, if you’re looking for adventure, culture and nightlife, then you won’t find anywhere better.
There are a host of activities all over the city that will awaken your more adventurous side but, as only a superhero could manage all of these in one week, we’ve selected the top nine action-packed escapades to excite the thrill-seeking adventurers out there.
- Tarzan of the urban jungle
Ever since The Matrix hit the big screens, we’ve been watching movie heroes leaping from building to building, somersaulting over walls and scaling fences like super human acrobats. While it may all look a little extreme on screen (and it is), free running, or Parkour, turns the impossible into a reality. Parkour Generations is situated at the Chainstore Gym in East London and offers a wide range of classes designed at helping you build a resilient body and mind.
- Kayaking cool
Without the River Thames, London simply wouldn’t be the city it is, in fact, it may not have become a city at all. As the river runs through the heart of the city, one of the best ways to see everything this eclectic capital has to offer is from the water and, if you want a bit of a workout at the same time, kayaking has got to be one of the top choices. Hire a kayak from the west side of the city in Chelsea, and then paddle your way under famous bridges and past some of the most notorious landmarks in the world, from the Houses of Parliament to the London Eye.
- White waters run fast
The 2012 Summer Olympics brought a lot more to London than just athletes and much of it is here to stay. The Lee Valley White Water Centre was constructed as the site for the canoe slalom competition and has since become a world-class artificial white-water course. If you fancy your chances of dodging boulders while you shoot downstream on a surge of bubbling water, then this is the adventure for you.
- Dizzying heights
Another addition to brought by the Olympics now dominates the city’s skyline – created by artists Anish Kapoor, the ArcelorMittal Orbit forms the centrepiece of the Olympic Park. Those with a head for heights can enjoy a stunning view over the city before embarking on an 80m descent. If you want to let yourself down slowly, you can rappel at a steady rate and enjoy the view as you go. If you’re more of an adrenalin junky, you can go down as fast as your body allows. Either way, it’ll be an unforgettable experience.
- Make a splash
Swimming in one of London’s famous parks is a unique experience and wonderfully refreshing on a hot summer’s day. If you’re staying a Hyde Park hotel, you could even take a night-time dip in the Serpentine which is just a stone’s throw away. If you want a more famous spot to test the waters, then Hampstead Heath is the unparalleled choice with two of its three ponds open all year round.
- Peak fitness
One of the more unusual and surprising adventures available in the city is the chance to try your hand at scaling an ice wall. If you’re thinking that, maybe, scaling Everest one day might be fun then, not only are you a bit crazy, but maybe you should give this a whirl first, just to be sure. Just half an hour by London Underground from your cosy Hyde Park hotel and you could find yourself scrambling up an 8m wall of ice in temperatures as low as -12°C. Definitely not for the faint hearted!
- Take the plunge
Alongside the 02 Arena is a 160ft crane operated by London Bungee Jumping. Take a moment to absorb the views over Canary Wharf and then leap off into oblivion – but don’t worry, there’s a giant airbag at the bottom, just in case! If you don’t have quite the nerves of steel required, you can always opt for a tandem jump instead.
- Circuit route
Keen cyclists will love the velodrome track at Lee Valley. This is the fastest cycle track in the world and, if you’re really fit, you can cycle there in less than an hour from your Hyde Park boutique hotel. If you’re not so keen on speed, there is also a MBMX track, a road track and five miles of mountain bike trails to enjoy.
- Rocket man
Whizz past the famous London landmarks while enjoying a high-speed adventure with Thames Rockets. This unique experience mixes adrenaline with sight-seeing and is currently one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. Skilled skippers and witty guides will keep you safe and entertained as you speed through the city. Trips start out from the London Eye so gather your friends for a bite to eat in one of the many restaurants on the South Bank before hitting the water for the experience of a lifetime.