Calling all city dwellers - come and experience the fresh air of the countryside. Leave the smog, hustle and bustle, and chaos behind in favour of the simple life.
While you discover what fresh air smells like, try your hand at a variety of country pursuits such as horse riding, clay pigeon shooting, polo, and even archery!
Saddle up for a magnificent horse riding experience which delivers plenty of unbridled fun, regardless of your experience level. From Western riding lessons (think John Wayne, minus the shooting) and leisurely treks around the British countryside, to advanced sessions for those who were born in the saddle, there are plenty of different riding experiences on offer. It’s ideal for any age (after all, you’re never pasture prime to learn how to ride) and it will teach you as much about horsemanship as it does about riding. Surely that makes good horse sense?
Try your hand at horse-riding or go all western with an authentic Cowboy adventure.
Make like a true rancher and learn how to ride ‘em, rawhide! If you’re a shaky beginner who’s saddled by nerves, this is the perfect chance to rein in your apprehension and give it a go. But it’s not just for beginners, as seasoned riders can get bucketfuls of fun out of it too – either by fine-tuning their skills or simply trotting off on a leisurely trek. There are plenty of reasons to get onboard, so what are you waiting for? Yee ha!
Food for thought:Enjoy an hour horse riding in an experience near Lingfield, Surrey, specifically catering for beginner, intermediate, and advanced riders. Your experience is based on your skill level so you can learn the basics if your a newbie or get a few pointers if you're a pro.
Clay pigeon shooting
Get your day off to a bang in this thrilling clay pigeon shooting experience. With the help of qualified instructors and expert one-on-one tuition, you’ll learn how to handle a powerful shotgun and get these fast-moving targets between your sights. It’s certainly a satisfying feeling when you pull the trigger and the clay smashes to smithereens! All levels of ability are welcome and even shaky novices could be picking off the clays one-by-one within minutes. This is a fun-filled experience with a difference and you’re bound to have a blast. Only one question remains – will you steal the sharp shooter’s crown?
Watch a demonstration before having a go yourself. The instructor will be present throughout and will help to familiarise you with the gun, including how to hold it correctly, and how to train the sight on the target. Tuition will usually take place in small groups, and there will be others shooting at the venue on the same day.
Get the guys and girls together for a few rounds of ‘catch the pigeon’ – with a difference! Learn the precision sport of clay pigeon shooting under the watchful eye of trained and qualified instructors. This is not for the trigger happy – the art of target shooting is all about staying cool, calm and collected. Discover how to handle a shotgun, keep a steady hand and set your sights on the flying clay – then see the explosion after each successful shot. And why not go one further by making a competition out of it? Keep a scorecard and see who’s got the steadiest hand, the sharpest vision and the surest shot. Who knows, you might even ruffle a few feathers.
A top choice:Head near Market Harborough, Leicestershire, for a thrilling session shooting clay pigeons. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, the event is tailored to your abilities. Learn the basics if you need to and practice with 50 cartridges and clays. You can purchase extra clays on the day if needed.
Saddle up, ride off and make like Prince Harry in this adrenalin-pumping polo experience day. Whatever your riding skill, you’ll get to swing sticks and learn everything there is to know about the sport of kings. Horse play aside, polo is harder than it looks – but with expert tuition from seasoned pros you’ll learn how to control your pony, hit the ball, go for goal and even play a chukker. That might not make much horse sense for now but one thing’s for sure, after this polo experience you’ll certainly be ‘hooked’!
Learn about the sport and its basic rules from qualified instructors, with the help of various demonstrations and training tools such as a board with miniature pieces. To master the swing, participants will first learn the actions on the ground or from an elevated platform, before trying it out onboard a polo pony. Receive training on how to ride, control, and steer your pony before combining it all together and trying out some stick and ball while mounted. Later, there’s the opportunity to take part in an instructional chukka – a game of competitive polo – giving riders the chance to put their skills into practice.
If you thought polo was all ‘la-di-da’ and ladies in heels squashing divots, think again. There’s no horsing around in this exhilarating experience. It’s a heart-racing, hoof-pounding sport that’s all bumps, checks and backshots. Join the blue-bloods and master this tricky fast-paced ball sport as you learn how to control your pony, swing sticks, hit the ball and ride off. You’ll master the rules and put it all into practice with an instructional chukker – a period of play – before reining it in and enjoying the chance to watch the pros in action. This is one of the most thrilling equestrian sports out there for beginners and experts alike – ‘barn’ none!
How about this?:Head to Woking in Surrey for an introduction to the sport of polo. Learn the rules and tactics and the polo swing with the four basic shots. Then it's time to put it all into practice with some stick and ball – riding your horse while hitting the ball with your mallet.
Ready… take aim… twang! That was the sound of your arrow flying straight and true towards its target – sounds good, doesn’t it? Just like Robin Hood, the most famous of all archers, you can enjoy a day of target practise amidst the trees. Archery is one of the oldest forms of hunting, war craft, and sport around, as it dates all the way back to when the cavemen where first starting to get to grips with the world. That’s around 10,000 BCE. In the many, many, many years that have followed these first tentative and rudimentary creations made from wood and various animal innards, archery has become a well loved and enjoyable past time, and the bows and arrows are made using modern technology (with not an animal gut in sight!).
If that all sounds intriguing, of you (or someone you love) has always fancied themselves a modern day Robin Hood, then why not book an archery experience day? Let the arrows fly, and learn more about a sport that might just become a lifelong hobby – or more!
A fun and informative safety briefing will teach you exactly how to look after your archery equipment, how to use it safely, and the dos and don’ts of archery. Next, it’s time to learn how to use a bow and arrow properly – learn from experts in the field, and listen carefully; this sort of advice is worth its weight in gold! You’ll receive a hands-on tutorial from someone who really knows what they’re doing; don’t forget to ask questions, as you’ll be guaranteed to get the answers, and you’ll find out more than you ever realised there was to know about the sport.
Become a toxophilite (that's an expert in archery) and join in the fun!
A top choice:In Macclesfield, Cheshire, you'll master archery. Learn the basic skills and try your hand at target practice.
Head to the Hills - What You Need To Know
- WHEN: Events take place year-round. Some are more limited than others. Some also take place in all-weather indoor arenas while others are open-air activities, which might be weather-dependant.
- WHERE: Head to the countryside for many activities although there are plenty of locations dotted around the country offering such experiences.
- WHO: These outdoor pursuit experience days are all about picking up a new skill, and who knows, perhaps even a new hobby. Have a go riding a horse or playing polo, or how about shooting clays or arrows? Experiences are open to all abilities, from beginners to the more advanced. There are also junior experiences designed for pint-sized fun.
- OCCASIONS: It's not every day you get the chance to ride a horse or go shooting, so these experiences make ideal birthday or Christmas presents.
- PRICES: Archery starts from around £20 per person. Clay pigeon shooting starts from around £30 each as does horse riding. Polo lessons start from around £80 a head. Longer and more in-depth experiences tend to attract larger price tags. (correct at the time of writing)
- QUESTIONS: Need help? Ask questions here and I'll try to help as best I can
- TRIED THIS?: Would you recommend it? Share your thoughts here
(Photo credit to Alexas_Fotos)