10 of the best fitness breaks in the UK

Coast-to-coast cycling

Depending on experience and fitness, Saddle Skedaddle’s self-guided 140-mile coast-to-coast cycling trip is offered as a three-, four- or five-day trip. Via country lanes, cycleways and paths, participants head from Whitehaven, in Cumbria, to Tynemouth near Newcastle – from the Irish to the North Sea – through the Lake District, and north Pennines, with plenty of viewpoints, pubs and cafes en route.
Three days from £375, four days from £495, five days from £595pp, including accommodation, luggage transfers, breakfasts, lunches and vehicle support, flexible dates, suitable for all ages, skedaddle.com

Wild swimming and lakeside walks, Lake District

SwimTrek’s guided Lakes and Tarns Weekender includes swims in Grasmere (Windermere’s little sister), with easy access from the shingle beach, and Rydal Water, the shallowest and warmest lake in the region (warm being a relative term!). The trip is suitable for competent and more-experienced swimmers looking for outdoor swimming in a stunning location. Each day includes around 2km-3km of swimming, split into two sessions. Also on the itinerary is trekking to the pool at the top of Easedale Tarn, the secluded Loughrigg Tarn, and other optional rambling.
From £450pp including two nights’ accommodation, all breakfasts, lunches and one dinner on the Friday. Dates in June, July and September, ages 18+ or 16+ with an adult, swimtrek.com

Coasteering, surfing and more, Pembrokeshire

In the UK’s only coastal national park, this fitness weekend– run by eco-lodge and adventure centre Preseli Venture – includes a variety of activities, from coasteering to yoga, surfing, wild swimming, and beach and woodland runs. There’s also an optional dance workshop and use of a nearby spa (for an additional cost, with massages and use of facilities from £30). Rich in wildlife, this scenic coast includes waterfalls, sea caves, natural rock arches and sandy coves, home to Atlantic grey seals and their pups from July to September, and porpoises and dolphins year-round.
From £295, including full board, suitable for 18+, various weekends in May, July and August, preseliventure.co.uk

Bikepacking and stargazing, Peak District

Explore gravel tracks, country lanes and bridleways around Hope valley, with an introduction to bikepacking on this two-day trip with Much Better Adventures. The break teaches the skills to create self-supported cycling trips: from understanding essential kit to how to load your bike. Both days include a 60km ride against a backdrop of moorlands, lakes, rocky outcrops, farms and villages, including the Mam Nick climb and the ancient hill fort of Mam Tor – one of the best viewpoints in the Peaks. In the evening, stargazing from the wild Dark Peak area is accompanied by a fireside dinner and camping in a teepee.
From £225pp, including accommodation, bikes, one dinner and one breakfast, suitable for ages, muchbetteradventures.com

Tai chi and valley trekking, Shropshire

HF Holidays’ four-night trip combines guided countryside walks in the Shropshire Hills (an area of outstanding natural beauty) with two tai chi sessions a day, aiming to reduce stress, improve posture and increase core strength. The many surrounding trails around Church Stretton, on the border of England and Wales, include Long Mynd moorland and up to the iron age fort atop Caer Caradoc. The private house also has a heated outdoor pool with views across the valley.
From £489pp, including full board, next trip in April, suitable for all ages, hfholidays.co.uk

Yoga, and Snowdon hiking, north Wales

Top and tail hiking up Wales’ highest mountain with yoga and meditation sessions in a nearby country house, as part of a three-day break with Zest Life Retreats. Yoga sessions, which include restorative and energising practice, alongside pranayama (breathing) exercises, take place in the restored Georgian estate of Plas Cadnant on Anglesey. There are walled gardens and it’s home to waterfalls, a river and private parkland with views of Snowdon – which is climbed on the second day (on average taking 5-7 hours total). Onsite massages are also available (from £45).
From £450pp, including full board, next running on 3-5 and 24-26 April, suitable for all ages, thezestlife.co.uk

Beachfront circuit training, Isle of Wight

Taking place on the beach beside the chalk cliffs of Freshwater Bay, on the island’s south coast, this new three-night boot-camp break offers customisable training sessions that participants can replicate once they get home. Each morning begins with a pre-breakfast, hour-long HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and strength session – with short bursts of intense cardio and short intervals, and a late-afternoon intensive hour-long circuit training session. Days can be spent exploring on ebikes (rented from the The Bay B&B for £35) – the Isle of Wight Randonnee is either a 55km or 100km scenic loop around the island via minor roads and lanes.
From £420 for two or £390 for single occupancy B&B, suitable for all ages, runs year round, stayfreshwaterbay.co.uk

Trail-running Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland

Retrace the footsteps of Roman legionaries along the Unesco world heritage site, with a Contours’ trail-running trip. Coast to coast, from Wallsend in the east to Bowness-on-Solway in the west, it follows the line of the wall where possible. There are steep climbs and views across Northumberland national park and the historic surrounding landscape and ruined forts, churches and settlements. There are varying challenges for different abilities to cover the 134km trail: from gentle six-day trips of 12 to 16km running a day, right up to two one-day 67km runs for the super-hardcore. Rest days can be added.
From £275 for two days, up to £575 for six days, including B&Bs and luggage transfers. Suitable for all ages depending on ability, year round, contoursrun.co.uk

Surf and stay, Cornwall

The two-night Surf and Stay package with Escape Surf School is based at St Christopher’s Inn hostel, on the cliff overlooking Towan beach and Newquay Bay. Each day includes a two-hour lesson tailored to ability, and all equipment – including winter wet suits, boots and gloves for those coming for quieter beaches off-season. Sessions aim to develop skills in the water, while improving core strength, balance and cardiovascular fitness. Escape also offers couples surf weekends (from £270 for two), including a private room in a local B&B. There’s also the option to request additional surf lessons or paddleboarding.
Surf and stay from £69, including dorm room B&B accommodation and all equipment. Suitable for all ages, running year-round, escapesurfschool.co.uk

Rock-climbing and mountain adventures, Highlands

A full-body workout while hanging from a cliff edge, rock climbing is particularly good for increasing muscle strength, flexibility and stamina. The two-day Discover Rock Climbing course at Glenmore Lodge – the National Centre for Rock Climbing in Scotland – helps to develop core techniques and movements, as well as how to act as leader and second climber. There are numerous hikes and trails in the surrounding Cairngorm national park, too. The Cairngorm peaks are among the highest in the UK, with Ben Macdui the second highest. Rock-climbing beginners are welcome on the course, and being relatively fit or with some experience of bouldering/indoor climbing is advantageous.
From £335 including accommodation, all meals and transfers from the railway station. Suitable for ages 18+ with under-18 sessions in the summer, various dates, centre open year round, glenmorelodge.org.uk

Looking for a holiday with a difference? Browse Guardian Holidays to see a range of fantastic trips

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