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Community has got to be one of the best things about adventure. And as more and more of us catch the bug for the outdoors, the more opportunity there is to connect with like-minded folk, to share experiences, develop your skills and make new plans for the future with friends old and new, leaving feeling inspired and refreshed.
This year is set to be another fantastic year for festivals across the UK. From international film festivals, to challenging gravel cycling events and trail running races to family friendly introductions to the great outdoors, we’ve compiled 10 of the best outdoor and adventure festivals that you need to hit in 2023!
For those who want to Learn
Arc’Teryx Climbing Academy
Lake District, April 28 – May 01 2023
A jam-packed weekend of rock based workshops in the craggy mountains of the Lake District.
If it’s your first time on rock, you’re after a refresher or looking to take things to the next level, the Arc’teryx Climbing Academy is the perfect place to develop your climbing skills and knowledge.
The Isle of Arran is famous for some of Scotland’s most iconic island mountains. The Arran Mountain Festival provides a unique opportunity to meet like-minded people, discover a the rugged mountains of this fascinating island in the safe hands of experienced local mountain leaders.
Amongst the pine forests and dramatic coastline of the Isle of Purbeck, this weekend sets up camp in the heart of a nature reserve. There’ll be two days of riding the gravel trails, country lanes and single track dipping in and out of local towns, pubs, cafes and wild swim spots along the way.
But Brother in the Wild is as much about time off the bike as on. Expect campfires, hay bails and delicious local food and drink back at basecamp.
Four days of relaxing, reflection and rebooting on the stunning, unspoiled western edge of Wales.
With yoga, adventures in art, wild swimming, live music, inspirational talks and really, really good food, The Big Retreat offers something for everyone to recharge and immerse themselves in the great outdoors.
Arguably this one is in competition for the UK’s best festival site. Set on the hillside of land officially designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) overlooking the sea, in the grounds of a 14-century castle, it doesn’t get much better than this!
On the coast of South Wales’ stunning Gower Peninsula, Love Trails is three days of non-competitive running, coastal exploration, wellness, food, live music and all-round good vibes.
Returning once again to the heart of Wales Wales, known for its epic views and vast network of challenging off-road trails, Grinduro is about finding that sweet spot between race and party!
One long loop of gravel and dirt, where finishing times aren’t based on overall loop time, but four timed segments. but it’s far more than a bike race. grinduro is a weekend-long celebration of gravel cycling with as much emphasis on the fun with camping, live music and DJs a bike expo and plenty of swag.
After becoming the world’s first 100% live virtual adventure festival in 2020, the Armchair Adventure Festival is back, and this time in-person. With a celebration of adventure travel in the stunning Mount Edgcumbe Country Park, there’ll be talks from world-leading adventurers, adventurous activities to get involved in and fantastic live music.
Pitched as being summer camp for adults, this is one for the party goers!
By the day, there are more than 100 activities and workshops to choose from in the day, from wood whittling to quad biking, stand up paddleboarding to Nerf battles. By night, there are dinners, spas sessions, live bands, comedians, DJs and much more.
For the all-round explorers and multi-sport adventurers
Ellis Brigham Explore Weekend
North Wales, 15 – 17 Sep 2023
To celebrate their 90th anniversary, outdoor retailers Ellis Brigham are hosting a jam-packed weekend of activities on the shores of Llyn Tegid in Bala, North Wales.
There’s a whole host of guided outdoor activities on offer led by some of the UK’s leading outdoor professionals. Get stuck into hiking, trail running, climbing, wild swimming and paddle boarding in and around the largest natural lake in Wales. That’s not all – with outdoor skills workshops, cooking demos, gear repairs, yoga, forest school and guest speakers, there’s something to keep everyone busy, all weekend!
There’s no way we can talk about adventure festivals in the UK without mentioning Kendal.
With more than 40 years of history behind it, this is the original mountain festival in the UK. With an incredible lineup of films, speakers, workshops, activities and parties, there’s something for everyone as each year this town in the heart of the Lake District is transformed for four days of outdoor adventure.