Lockdown is easing! After three months of being predominantly inside, gazing out at the most cruelly ironic stretch of non-stop sunshine, the gates to the playground are once again being unlocked, and we’re allowed to go outside and play!
And thankfully for all of us, we live in a glorious city that caters for fans of just about every type of outdoor activity you can think of (think less Duke’s Mound, more sports and adventure). From the sea, all the way up to the South Downs, there are some amazing people that provide the rest of us with imaginative and exciting ways to enjoy all that the outdoors has to offer in our spectacular city and beyond. Below are half a dozen venues and companies offering outdoor activities we’ve not been able to do for the last three months and which, I for one, am chomping at the bit to go and enjoy.
Situated at the Q Leisure complex, just six miles north of Brighton awaits the chance for us all to enjoy a taste of the F1 lifestyle (minus the millions of pounds and stupid haircuts – I’m looking at you, Lewis…). An 800-metre track, including a fly-over (a freakin fly-over!), and with karts that reach 50mph, this is quicker and more exhilarating than any indoor track, and offers the possibility of off-the-chart smugness if you can beat your friends to claim the chequered flag! They offer race formats for every occasion, ensuring you get the most out of living life in the fast lane. Reopening the same day as the pubs (kart first, then pub, not the other way round), the fantastic staff have installed a raft of measures to ensure customers’ safety so you can concentrate on enjoying an amazing day out. Ladies and gentleman, start your engines!
Jolly Explorer – Brighton Bike Tour
Ease back into exercise whilst exploring the city at a leisurely pace, and in a way you can’t in the car (such as actually moving). Enjoy a 2½ hour grand tour during the day, or a 90-minute twilight tour, capturing the city as its most atmospheric. Bikes and helmets included, as well as a local, knowledgeable guide to enlighten you about Brighton’s colourful history and iconic landmarks. This is a gentle ride so would suit cyclists of all capabilities, from muppet to Sir Chris Hoy. (Disclaimer: the Muppets and Sir Chris Hoy may not be in attendance on your chosen tour).
Like sports? Like water? Like Brighton? (You can see where I’m going with this). Then Brighton Watersports have got everything you need. Found in the Kings Road Arches between the piers, this is your go-to place if you’re thinking of wakeboarding, water skiing, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, scuba diving… pretty much everything short of building a James Bond-style one-man stealth submarine. Offering lessons, hire equipment, and adventures along the Sussex coastline and beyond, including days of mountain biking on the Downs coupled with exploring the county’s glorious rivers, this one-stop smorgasbord of sports is more than your normal surf shop. Now open and welcoming people back to the water.
Yellowave Beach Sports
The first and only permanent centre of its kind in the UK, and set up by a family with beach sports heritage, this bespoke space on Brighton beach, east of the Palace Pier offers volleyball courts and footvolley, football and rugby pitches, all on an oasis of sand. It caters for players of all levels, offering classes, parties, corporate events and kids’ activities, as well as leagues and the option to hire a court or pitch privately. With their onsite café and clubhouse offering a comprehensive menu of breakfasts, lunches, bbqs and booze, an afternoon spent at Yellowave is like an afternoon in the Med! (Weather dependent…) Yellowave is now open, and they’re even offering vouchers, so that’s any of your friends’ summer birthdays sorted. And why not join them there and take advantage of the brand-new craft beer and ice cream bar?
Based at Brighton Marina, Brighton Diver is in an ideal location to access amazing dive sites, including hundreds of wrecks along the Sussex coastline. They also offer fishing trips that cater for first-time fishers and experienced anglers alike, with expert knowledge of the local waters. Beyond this, Brighton Diver also run tours out to the Rampion Wind Farm, offering the scientifically curious a close up look at the towering turbines that make up this phenomenal feat of engineering that provides enough green energy to power almost half the homes in Sussex. The tour also affords passengers stunning views of Brighton seafront and the surrounding coastline.
A short drive up the A23, this side of Crawley, you’ll find the closest branch (sort of pun kind of intended) of the phenomenally popular Go Ape. The adventure company that makes monkeys of us all encourages big kids and actual kids alike to bring out our inner daredevils and scamper around the treetops in their arboreal playground. Zip wires, wobbly bridges (wobbly by design, not shoddy contractors), and high rope adventures are all on offer, defying any man of a certain age not to sound a loud Tarzan call the moment his feet are off the ground. Set in stunning parkland and offering a range of other activities, there is something for everyone. Reopening on the 4th July, Go Ape are already taking bookings for your next adventure.