City breaks can be great fun, but what is the best way to explore? Forego the usual tour bus for the outdoors, to get up close and personal with a new urban environment.
Although boat tours are a traditional favourite, there has been a growth in smaller boat hire to explore urban centres, including urban kayaking. The website Canoe London offers information about exploring the capital by canoe or kayak. Various companies run kayak and canoe tours, allowing you to see the capital from a new angle. If you haven’t kayaked in a city before, try a guided tour as an introduction. Alternatively some urban kayak companies offer lessons tailored to the city environment, giving you a chance to learn the skills of the sport. With a little experience and confidence, you can then go it alone and hire your own craft.
Guided kayak tours are also available at Oxford, where you can forego the traditional punt and explore the city and its surroundings by kayak or canoe. Similarly, Scudamore’s of Cambridge may historically be a punt hire company, but you can also rent single and double kayaks by the hour or for the day. Elsewhere, Bristol’s Outdoor and Adventurous Activities Company offers unusual ways to see the city, from canoe and kayak sessions around regenerated harbour area to abseiling in the stunning Avon gorge.
I Like to Ride my Bicyle
Cycling tours are another way to discover a new city. Guided tours and cycle hire are available in many popular city break destinations – from the flat terrain of York to the more challenging hills of Edinburgh. Different routes are available to cater for different tastes and abilities, as well as family-friendly tours. Alternative London offers a range of unusual ways to approach the capital, including East End bike tours and walks aimed to show off the street art of the capital. Similar alternative tours are available in other cities, such as Seecret tours of Liverpool, whose walking tours take in street art and overlooked sites.
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Walking tours are the cheapest way to get out and about in a new city. Although guided tours are available, there are many guide yourself options, so all you need is comfortable, sturdy footwear and suitable bag or backpack to head out and explore.
Self guided walks are a great way to explore urban centres and are available on a wide variety of themes. Try a quirky animal themed walk, such as Leeds Owl trail to engage kids, or check out cultural trails, like Hull’s Larkin trail, celebrating sites linked to the city’s most famous resident. These, and many others, can be downloaded for free as self guided walks.