Thursday , September 21 2023

10 of the best UK activity holidays and summer camps for teenagers

Adventure camp, West Sussex

Cobnor Activities Centre in Chichester harbour runs senior adventure camps for young people who want to learn new skills and make new friends. It involves full-on days of canoeing and sailing expeditions, plus climbing, bushcraft, rafting and aeroball (a cross between basketball and volleyball – on a trampoline). Evenings are spent honing cooking skills at the outdoor pizza oven. Teens stay in log-cabin dorms.
£345, ages 13 to 16; 8-12 and 15-19 August,

Sailing camp, Isle of Wight

UKSA Summer Camps

UKSA, a sailing academy in Cowes, runs watersport summer camps. Teens can try dinghy sailing, keelboating, kayaking, windsurfing, paddleboarding and raft building/racing. Land-based activities include archery, pool games and crabbing. The evening programme includes a cinema night, disco and the “UKSA olympics”. Accommodation is bunk-style; buffet breakfasts, packed lunches and hot dinners are provided.
£280 for five days, ages 8 to 15; 1-26 August,

Festival of sport, Norfolk

This festival in the grounds of Holkham Hall offers children expert coaching in their favourite disciplines, in lesser-known sports. The core programme comprises football, tennis, netball, rugby, hockey, athletics, gymnastics, cricket and rowing. Each sporting zone is led by a “legend”; the rugby zone boasts Will Greenwood, Austin Healey, Mike Tindall and Rachael Burford. Families can bring their own tent or book a bell tent, tipi, yurt or Airstream.
From £370 for one adult and one child, ages 5 to 17; 12-15 August,

Kids fish summer camp, Hampshire

Kids Fish Summer Camp, Hampshire

Teens can spend three days at Nether Wallop Mill learning to fly-fish. The course covers tackle and gear, fishing knots, casting, catch and release and safety. Participants will progress to a day’s fishing on the River Test and learn about chalk streams, trout and other river wildlife, go bug-hunting, and learn how to cook their catch. The camp concludes with a casting competition and team speed-fishing contest.
£285 excluding accommodation, ages 12 to 15; 25-27 July,

Horse riding holiday, Denbighshire

Lone girl and her pony  in countryside
Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Springhill Farm stables, near Llangollen and Oswestry on the Welsh/English border, has been running riding holidays for teenagers for 17 years. The six-day holidays include hacks, jumping lessons and a tack and turnout class. The highlight is a two-day trail ride through moors and woodlands, with a night’s wild camping. Riders take packed lunches, fire up the barbecue at camp, and toast marshmallows over the fire at night. Back at the stables, everyone competes for rosettes in equitation and the team gymkhana. Teens stay in bunkhouses or cottages and have use of a hot tub.
£790 for six nights, ages 12 to 19 (must be able to canter in open countryside); 10 July-26 August,

Tryout camp, North Yorkshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Derbyshire

The Summer Camps Trust runs one- and two-week camps for children who have never attended an overnight camp before. Week-long camps are at Longtown Outdoor Centre in Hereford, Frank’s Place in Worcestershire and White Hall in Derbyshire; the two-week camp is at Aysgarth school in North Yorkshire. Outdoor activities are mixed with games, exploring the countryside, and stories around the campfire. Children sleep in small dorms, all meals are included, and accompanied travel on public transport is available at no extra cost.
£295 for a week or £495 for two weeks, ages 8 to 16; 10-23 July and 21-28 August,

Expedition summer camp, Highlands

Teenage Rock Climber on Climbing Wall

Photograph: Dedy Andrianto/Getty Images

unning since 1969 and attracting participants from around the world, this camp is based at an adventure school in Ardmore. Expeditions include a mountain adventure – three days and two nights trekking and wild camping – and a sea kayaking trip, with a night on a deserted beach. There are survival skills, rock climbing and abseiling sessions; and a beach day with bodyboarding, swimming and games. A highlight is an adult-free night on uninhabited “Survival Island”.
£1,475, ages 14 to 18; 8-19 August,

Skills courses, Snowdonia

Plas y Brenin outdoors centre runs five-day summer camps. The week features a taste of everything: climbing, kayaking, coasteering, mountain walking and orienteering. There are also weeks focused on a single sport. Evening activities include competitions and quizzes. The price includes bunkhouse accommodation and pickup/drop-off at Llandudno Junction station.
From £689, ages 12 to 17; 25-29 July and 1-5 August,

9 | Sea kayak expedition, Highlands

Kayaking on the west coast of Scotland
Photograph: Alamy

Arisaig Sea Kayak Centre runs all-inclusive sea kayaking and wild camping expeditions for families with older teens who have paddlesport experience. They range from three or five days exploring remote beaches and lochs in the Sound of Arisaig, to more challenging weeks in Mull, the Summer Isles, Harris and Lewis or Orkney. Most trips include kayaking and camping kit, breakfast, dinner and transport from Inverness or Fort William. There are also two- and four-day beginners’ kayaking courses.
From £390 for three days, ages 15+; until 17 September,

10 | Surf club, North Yorkshire

Group of surfers heading in dunes
Photograph: Alamy

Families on holiday in Scarborough can send the children to surf school – there is one in Cayton Bay throughout the summer holidays. Scarborough Surf School’s Grommets Summer Surf Club is suitable for beginners and improvers who can swim 25 metres. It includes five mornings of surf lessons, from beach safety to stand-up surfing, plus paddleboarding and games. The week culminates with a coasteering session and a beach barbecue.
£150 for five mornings (excluding accommodation), ages seven to 15 (parents to remain on site with under-10s); 25 July to 26 August,

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