Summer isn’t all sun-kissed skin and cocktails by the pool - although we do like the sound of that too. Summer amongst the valleys, vales, mountains and beaches of Wales are full of action-packed adventures and extreme things to do that will keep thrill-seekers satisfied and energetic children (and big kids) entertained.
Known as a country of contrasts, not only is Wales the perfect summer holiday for adrenaline junkies but it caters for those who crave luxury too – here you can have the best of both worlds. Big houses, with a big appeal, offer a place of tranquil indulgence and somewhere to reflect on your newfound bravery.
We have tested our nerves and sought-out some of the most daring activities across Snowdonia, the Brecon Beacons & Pembrokeshire - the perfect inspiration for your adventure holiday in Wales:
- Ride the fastest zip line in the world
- Abseil through the abandoned mines of Snowdonia
- Try your hand at white water rafting
- Test your nerve with a spot of gorge walking
- Traverse Pembrokeshire’s rocky coastline
Ride the fastest zip line in the world
With the name ‘Velocity’, it goes without saying that Zip World is sure to be an exhilarating experience. Travelling at speeds of over 100mph above Penrhyn Quarry, you will feel like a bird as you soar for 1555 metres, with views over the stunning Welsh countryside. As your feet touch the ground with a rush of adrenaline, the feeling of euphoria will stay with you for days. Come back down to earth on the outdoor terrace at Blondin Restaurant, where you can gaze over the turquoise waters of the lake in the quarry before reliving your experience as Velocity 2 zips by just metres above your head.
Young thrill-seekers: 10 – 17-year olds can enjoy the zip wire too! They just need to be accompanied by an adult.
Groups: Great for hen dos and stag parties, there is a 10% discount for bookings of 12 or more.
Once the thrill of flying like a bird has worn off, it’s time to relax and this impressive 16th-century manor house is the perfect place to unwind. Hop in the private hot tub in the walled garden to reflect on the excitement of the day, while enjoying beautiful views over the River Conwy, or retire to the paved terrace, backed by a honeysuckle-covered pergola.
Abseil through the abandoned mines of Snowdonia
Left just as it was when the mines were abandoned, Go Below Underground Adventures takes you beneath Snowdonia to an underground world. Tackle obstacles as you discover forgotten lakes, eerie mining machinery and deep caverns. You will test your nerve as you climb a vertical shaft, boat across a lake, zip-line through cavernous spaces and negotiate waterfalls before abseiling to the deepest point in the UK. The Mine to Mountain experience is a mammoth 14-hour experience which will take you from the lowest point right to the top of Snowdon. If you are looking to whet your thrill-seeking appetite, the 5-hour Go Below challenge will be sure to satisfy.
Young thrill-seekers: Children aged 10-years and older can take part in the half-day challenge if they are accompanied by an adult but the full day Xtreme trips are for over 18-year-olds only.
Groups: Great for hen dos, stag parties, corporate team building or for family and friends, groups of 10 or more can be offered private trips with possible discounts.
Stay nearby: Gilar House | Near Betws-y-Coed, North Wales
If you are still pumped with excitement after your underground discoveries, there are 500 acres of farmland and woodland to be explored at this beautiful 17th-century farmhouse. If putting your feet up sounds like a better reward for your climbing and scrambling efforts, head inside for a traditional farmhouse welcome or soak up the evening sun in the walled garden with its quirky Gatehouse dating back to 1623. Located in Pentrefoelas close to Betws-y-Coed, the gateway to Snowdonia National Park, thrill-seekers will have plenty to keep them occupied this summer.
Try your hand at white water rafting
It’s not difficult to see why white-water rafting is one of the most popular water sports in the UK. The mix of gentle paddling and fast-flowing water makes it a great sport for first-time adrenaline seekers. As you crash down through the natural rapids, the cool water will splash at your face, leaving you feeling alive. At the National White Water Centre near Bala, you can choose from a variety of white-water rafting experiences, but we dare you to test your bravery with the Rafting Full Session.
Young thrill-seekers: To take part in the full and taster rafting packages children must be aged 12 or over. The Rafting Safari is perfect for families, a slightly gentler route allows for children 10 or over to get involved too.
Groups: Sure to prompt plenty of laughs, this is a great activity for stag or hen dos, but also as a fun activity to pack into your family holiday. Split your group into teams of 4 – 7 per raft and see who fares best on the choppy waters of the River Tryweryn.
Where to stay: Ty Ucha | Near Denbigh, North Wales
As the adrenaline of your white-water rafting adventure wears off, you can spend the evening soaking beneath the stars in the private hot tub. If the day's activities haven't burnt you out completely, stroll to the village of Llannefydd where you can swap stories from your experience on the river, over a delicious meal in the village pub.
Test your nerve with a spot of gorge walking
Gather a team and head to the wildest gorges of the Brecon Beacons for an extreme adventure. Scramble up or down rivers and streams that run through steep gorges and take on various challenges from abseiling down 30ft waterfalls to jumping 26ft into a cool plunge pool. Once back on dry land you are sure to feel fresh, free and invigorated, albeit ready to climb into a hot tub or relax with a glass of wine.
Young thrill-seekers: With four different gorges of varying difficulty, children as young as six can take part. Seek advice from the team on which gorge is most suitable for your younger adventurers.
Groups: This is a great way to bring the office together, have some family fun or cause plenty of laughs among a group of hen and stags. There is a small discount for groups with 11 – 20 participants.
Where to stay: Abercynrig House | Near Brecon, South Wales
If gorge walking wasn’t enough activity for you, this magnificent country house has a games room and tennis court to keep you busy. If you’re feeling the strain though, the sun loungers on the terrace, a hidden spot by the lake or a quiet corner inside one of many rooms in the elegant house may tempt you far more for lazy summer afternoons. Set in 120 acres of its own land, you can spend the rest of your summer holiday lazing in the sunshine in the grounds of this beautiful Welsh manor house.
Traverse Pembrokeshire’s rocky coastline
Described as ‘everything your parents told you not to do as a child’ by Celtic Quest Coasteering, coasteering certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted. Under the watchful eye of an experienced guide you will plunge into deep waters, practice stunts and flips from low ledges, scramble and climb sideways along rock faces, explore dark sea caves and marvel at natural water chutes, whirlpools and features that go by the name of ‘toilet flush’ and ‘washing machine’. As well as putting your bravery to the test, coasteering will bring you face-to-face with the natural beauty of Pembrokeshire’s dazzling coast and its fascinating wildlife.
Young thrill-seekers: Coasteering experiences can be tailored to allow children as young as 8 years old to take part. The family packages allow kids to test their confidence and mum and dad to release their inner child. Everything is optional, and the coasteering safety kit will help less confident swimmers.
Groups: Every coasteering experience can be different, stag and hen parties may choose to 'go big or go home', or to amble along the coast through caves and coves on a gentler sea safari. There is a reduced price for groups of six or more.
After leaping into the depths of the ocean, retreat to this imposing farmhouse set in a beautiful rural location. Its traditional farmhouse style, period features and wonderful views combine to create a relaxing escape close to the Pembrokeshire coast. Once you’ve dried off after your coasteering adventure, pour yourself a drink, fire up the BBQ and unwind on the patio or challenge each other to a game of pool.
Go wild in Wales this summer
Whether you are looking for a property for a hen party or stag do, somewhere to host a team building corporate event or a base for an action-packed summer holiday, there are plenty of extreme things to do in Wales. Our big houses in Wales are sure to offer a hint of luxury and space to unwind after all the excitement.