Finding thrills in the UK

There are no active volcanoes in the UK, which is great, though it does mean Brits have to go abroad to try the new and bizarre sport of Volcano Surfing. Brits will also struggle to find a good place for Skijoring, where you put on skis and get pulled along by horses or dogs. While these both sound amazing, there are plenty of other ways to get an adrenaline rush in the UK. Here are a few you might not have tried:

Driving a supercar

In 2007, a man was jailed for ten weeks for driving a borrowed Porsche at 172mph down the A420 in Oxfordshire. He should have just paid for a supercar driving experience, where he could have done the same thing, but legally and more safely, on a racetrack.

If sports cars aren’t your thing, at some driving tracks you can race JCBs, or drive monster trucks, articulated lorries, and even fire engines.

Where to do it: York, Wigan, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Caving

Last year, Werner Herzog blagged himself the best caving experience of all time – he got permission to explore the Chauvet Cave in France, which contains 32,000-year-old paintings, the oldest in the world.

Watching Herzog’s film is the only way you’ll get to see inside Chauvet – it’s closed to the public. However, there are plenty of picturesque caves to explore around the UK.

Where to do it: Yorkshire Dales, the Peak District, Sutherland (Scotland).

Hostage rescue

If your friends are a bit bored with paintballing, why not buy them a hostage rescue day gift? You’ll be trained in weapons and tactics, and then have to plan and carry out the rescue, using replica weapons.

You can also do ‘spy days’, which involve sniping, electronic surveillance and driving stunts.

Where to do it: Milton Keynes.

Flying lesson

This is understandably exciting for the participants, but you’d think it would also cause a real adrenaline rush for the teacher, because you’re driving the plane, and you’ve never driven a plane before. Fortunately, they also have a set of controls, so it’s safe. In some ‘flying experience’ sessions, you’re allowed to do barrel rolls, loops and other aerial acrobatics.

Where to do it: Gloucestershire, Bristol, Cardiff.

Barefoot water skiing

The name is something of a contradiction, as if you put skis on your feet, they are no longer bare. Still, it sounds fun – you get pulled along by a boat while standing up. As you don’t have skis, you need to go pretty fast to stay above the water. In March 2011, a barefoot water skier set a new world record – 153mph. He was being pulled by a helicopter.

Where to do it Ringwood (Hampshire), Lydd (Kent).

Coasteering

The coastal equivalent of parkour, coasteering involves scrambling up cliffs, across rocky ridges, over obstacles, and through caves, as well as a fair bit of diving and swimming. It’s good exercise, adrenaline-filled, and done on remote beaches, so any embarrassing slip-ups are less public than if you were doing parkour.

Where to do it: Devon and Cornwall are full of great spots.

Alternative London – Top 10 odd places to visit in the UK capital

There’s much more to London than Big Ben, the Eye and red telephone booths. When you visit this historic city, you don’t have to stick to the tourist path – instead, you can have a unique experience filled with activities that actually interest you. Most tourists overlook the following ten secret spots when they visit London, but you don’t have to be one of them. Get out, explore and make your London experience so much more than a sightseeing yawn.

The Experimental Cocktail Club

 This chic cocktail bar is located right in the middle of the tourist bustle on Gerard Street, but most tourists overlook it. Once you enter, you are treated to plush décor that incorporates antique ornaments and modern sophistication. These guys are cocktail experts, and you will not be disappointed with the concoctions they serve you.

Eltham Palace

The perfect place to relax

 After a night of cocktails and partying, you’ll want to relax and recover, and there is no better place to do this than at Eltham Palace. Situated in South London, Eltham is a good alternative to the busy parks of central London. If you are fortunate enough to visit in the summer, you will be treated to a mesmeric display of colourful flowers.

Grant Museum of Zoology

Amazing animal specimens

Founded in 1828, Grant Museum has accumulated around 67,000 animal specimens, including various extinct creatures like the quagga and the dodo. It is London’s only university zoological museum, and you will be hard-pressed to find a more impressive collection of animal artefacts anywhere in the world.

Courtauld Gallery

It’s remarkable how quiet this museum is given that it is home to paintings by Botticelli, Monet and Goya. When you visit this museum, you will normally share the galleries with students who are enrolled at the French, Italian and Spanish courses London schools offer. Today, students seem to be the only people interested in the lesser-known museums of London.

Pizza Express Jazz Club

Great live gigs

If you’re into intimate acoustic gigs, then this is the place for you. This small basement venue hosts the brightest talents in jazz and folk, and it has provided some great exposure for lesser-known artists like Jennifer Moore and Jack Savoretti. Be sure to book your tickets well in advance, because they sell out quickly.

The Women’s Library

The women’s library was established in 1926, and today it houses a broad collection of literature contributed by women around the world. This museum isn’t about feminism as much as it is about celebrating the difference that women have made to the way we think.

Secret Cinema

When you buy a ticket for the Secret Cinema, you will have no idea what you’re paying for, because the content of the show is kept secret. Before the event you will be emailed as if you are a character in the film, and the producers will encourage you to dress in theme. Secret Cinema has reinvented cinema to make it an interactive experience that straddles the thin line between reality and fiction.

Charles Dickens Museum

The townhouse where Dickens lived from 1837-1839 is easy to miss, because there isn’t much that distinguishes it from the neighbouring homes. If you do manage to find this little time-capsule, you will be treated to a four-storey home decorated as it would have been when Dickens lived there. Literary aficionados will find this place particularly intriguing, because some rare editions of Dickens’ work are stored there.

Hunterian Museum

The Hunterian Museum contains a collection of medical specimens ranging from Winston Churchill’s dentures to the pickled organs of soldiers who fought in the Battle of Waterloo. Don’t worry if you’re squeamish, because this isn’t a gross-out museum – it’s a stylish establishment for curious minds.

Language Schools

If you’ve enjoyed your time in London and you want to stay for a while longer, then you should consider studying a language in the city. You don’t have to study English – there is a broad range of foreign languages offered at the schools throughout the UK. According to the language school UIC French in London is always a popular option, because of the UK’s close proximity to France. The longer you stay, the more you’ll be able to explore the unknown parts of London.