Adventure activities in North East England
PUBLISHED: 16:00 20 April 2011 | UPDATED: 19:14 20 February 2013
If you're looking for a once in a lifetime experience the North East is full of fantastic things to do. So what are you waiting for? Ruth Addicott picks ten of the best
Whether its white water rafting on the Tees Barrage, Thundercat Racing in Hartlepool or kitesurfing off Druridge Bay - theres nothing more invigorating than trying a brand new water-sport. Former European champion Kevin Anderson runs KA Kitesurfing school in Beadnell.
Kitesurfing is the most exhilarating sport you can do and its not as difficult as people think, he says. We have got some of the best beaches for kitesurfing in the world. Prices range from 99 (one day) to 189 (two days). Hartlepool Marina has also launched The Thundercat Racing Co-Pilot Experience - perfect for anyone whos always wanted a speedboat. For Teesside White Water Course, call 01642 528689.
Sky-dive at Peterlee.
Jumping out of a plane at 13,000ft takes a bit of nerve, but it is without doubt an experience youll carry with you for the rest of your life. The Skydive Academy at Peterlee takes 6,000 people up in the air every year. Director and chief instructor Ian Rosenvinge has done over 3,500 jumps.
Its the elation you feel in freefall, having overcome the fear, he says. After jumping out of the plane on TVs Im A Celebrity, Linford Christie said it was the best thing hed ever done - and hes won an Olympic gold.
A tandem costs 285, but theres a 30 discount if you book in a group of five or more. Another option, of course, is do it for charity. Call 0191 517 1234.
More than 70 people bungee jump off The Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough every Sunday - this is your chance to leap 160ft and join them. Its such an iconic structure and its the only bridge authorised for bungee jumping in Britain, says bridge-master Alan Murray. Weve had all sorts of costumes, all the comic heroes - everything from wet suits to mankinis. A bungee jump costs 60. Call 01642 728162.
Hawk Walks and Birds of Prey
Few people get the chance to hold a European Eagle Owl or Golden Eagle at arms length. Beamish Wild Birds of Prey Conservation Centre offers all this and more, as well as an opportunity to see magnificent Bald Eagles, African White Backed Vultures, Snowy Owls and little baby owls. The Owl Experience takes three hours and costs 45 per person (maximum of five people). An introduction to falconry course costs 45 for half a day and a two hour Hawk Walk is 35. For further info, call 01207 233733.
Evening Deer Safari Walk
Theres nothing like the sense of anticipation you get tip-toeing through the forest on an Evening Deer Safari Walk. Kielder Water and Forest Park is offering a unique chance to join experts and rangers and see roe deer in their natural habitat.
The walks are being held as part of the Wild About Kielder season, a series of wildlife events from April to September. Dont forget to wrap up, take sturdy footwear and a pair of binoculars. The next Evening Deer Safari is April 20 (10 per person) followed by a Morning Safari on April 21 (16 including breakfast).
Call 01434 250 209
Ditch the pool and go for a swim in a river, lake or secret plunge pool instead. Its one of the simplest adventures you can have, says Daniel Smart author of Wild Swimming and www.wildswimming.co.uk. You dont need any equipment and you get an incredible natural high. Daniel recommends Linhope Spout in the Breamish Valley. Its a magical, secret plunge pool in the woods with a 60ft chute of water, he says.
Northumberland also has some of the most incredible wild beaches in Europe. At Bamburgh, youve got the dunes, an incredible castle and rock pools just 100 yards north of the beach. Its important to consider safety aspects and advisable to stay close to the shore, especially if youre a beginner.
Hot-air Balloon Flight
Take to the sky and savour the silence on a Virgin Balloon Flight. With the launch pad near the village of Shincliffe, County Durham, its a unique chance to see Durham cathedral and castle from the air. Virgin is currently offering up to 50 per cent off on flight vouchers. For further info, call 01952 212750 and quote North East Life Magazine before June 1st 2011.
Tour the mine at Killhope, North of England Lead Mining Museum
Complete with hard hats, cap-lamps and Wellington boots, the mine tour at Killhope in Upper Weardale is an unforgettable experience which the whole family can enjoy. The award-winning tour at the 19th Century lead mine offers a fantastic insight into the lives of the lead-mining families of the Pennine Dales. At its peak, it was one of the richest lead mines in Britain. Adults 7, children 4. For further info, call 01388 537 505
Dine like rock royalty
Its not every day you can get top tips from someone who has cooked for the likes of Elton John, George Michael, Bob Dylan and The Spice Girls.
Yorkshire born Sarah Muir cooked for some of the worlds most famous rock stars for 20 years before returning to the North to set up The Arches Cookery School near Whitby. The school caters for all the family and has more than 70 courses from Wok and Bowl Asian Cookery and Wonderful Spring Dishes to Cake & Bake and Slimmer Dinners. It has also started week day evening classes (50).
Bat spotting under the stars
Kielder Castle is home to colonies of beautiful pipestrelle and brown long-eared bats, who are known to breed and hibernate in the roof. Join a real life bat man - a licensed bat worker on an evening walk around the castle to see and hear the bats using ultrasound detectors. The next Bat Night is 30 April at 8.30pm - 10pm and costs 6 per person (5 concessions and 16 for a family of four). All walks must be
pre- booked. For further info call 01434 250 209.