Rock the wall

Got a head for heights? Whether you harbour ambitions to scale Ben Nevis or are just looking to move up in the world, indoor rock climbing is a great way to get started. Not only is it brilliant exercise, it's also an all-weather activity that is suitable for people of all ages, and it's pretty addictive once you get the hang of it.

Most good climbing centres will have activity areas for small children, while there are various courses according to your experience and daredevil instincts. The walls range in difficulty according to height, angle and surface type, so it's not too daunting to put your foot on the first grip and get moving, and there's plenty of room for improvement if you get hooked on the high life...

 

Where to try it:

The Edge, Sheffield:sheffieldclimbing.com

Lakeland Climbing Centre, Kendal:kendalwall.co.uk

Awesome Walls, Liverpool and Stockport:awesomewalls.co.uk

The Leeds Wall, Leeds:theleedswall.co.uk

Manchester Climbing Centre, Manchester:manchesterclimbingcentre.com

 

On track for gold

Impressed by Team GB's medal-winning performance in the Olympic and Paralympic velodrome? Well, here's your chance to get involved and maybe become the next Jason Kenny, Victoria Pendleton or Laura Trott.

Manchester's velodrome is in no small part to thank for Britain's prowess on the indoor track and with Glasgow's velodrome (named after the legendary Sir Chris Hoy) opening its doors this October, there has never been a better time to get on your bike and try those sloped edges for yourself. There will be hour-long taster sessions for all ages, and bikes to hire while you're there, and even if you don't have an Olympic future yourself, you'll probably be cycling alongside someone who does. After a bumpier ride? Manchester's velodrome also boasts the UK's first permanent indoor BMX track...

 

Where to try it:

National Cycling Centre, Manchester:nationalcyclingcentre.com

Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, Glasgow:glasgowlife.org.uk/velodrome

 

Surf's up

It may not strike you as the most British of pastimes, but surfing is big business in the UK - and winter is a great time to try it, provided you have a decent wetsuit and a good instructor. Scarborough offers some of the best beach-break waves on the east coast and the surf school there has all of the facilities you could wish for (changing rooms, a hire and demo centre, hot showers…), plus its location on Cayton Bay is one of the only spots in the area that can be surfed at high and low tide equally well.

If you can't quite bring yourself to brave the cold sea waters, head to FlowHouse Xscape near Leeds where you can try the surf simulator in the comfort of an indoor setting. Book yourself a Flowboard session and enjoy an hour of thrills and spills, complete with tuition and equipment hire.

 

Where to try it:

Scarborough Surf School:scarboroughsurfschool.co.uk

FlowHouse, Castleford:flowhouse.co.uk

 

 

High octane

After something more unusual? Why not have a go at these high-energy activities that are guaranteed to raise your pulse rate!

 

Go retro

Embrace the 1980s and 1990s by heading to your local Laser Quest. There's brilliant fun to be had with a bunch of mates running wild and zapping each other for the best points score, and it's definitely less painful than its paintball equivalent!

Where:Venues in Edinburgh, Manchester, Carlisle, Hull: laserquest.co.uk

 

Take the plunge

If you like the idea of jumping out of a plane thousands of feet in the air, why not try the freefall sensation in the safety of a trial centre first? The Airkix centre in Manchester offers you the opportunity to do just that, with an indoor skydiving simulator guaranteed to make you giggle.

Where:Manchester: airkix.com

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