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Go Ape on Your Summer Staycation

Hallelujah. Here come the summer holidays - and this year we are loving staycations more than ever before!

For anyone with a sense of adventure and appetite for the great outdoors, Britain is a natural playground: and Go Ape is ready to supercharge the experience with no fewer than 34 forest-canopy locations. Our network spreads all the way from the edge of Dartmoor to the Trossachs.

The hubs are already up and running - with additional cleaning and social-distancing protocols in place. So wherever you’re heading this summer, you won’t be far from a thrilling day out. It’s the perfect opportunity to wake up your senses, connect with nature, and rediscover the beautiful countryside that lies just beyond our doorsteps.

Here, to kick-start your planning, are seven of Go Ape’s most staycation-friendly locations.

The Lake District



Go Ape FOrest Segways at Whinlatter


Cumbria’s
mix of fells, crags and sparkling water makes it a spectacular and energetic setting for a summer holiday. Our two Go Ape centres are located at Whinlatter and Grizedale within beautiful Forestry England locations and have plenty of amenities and activities on offer.

Whinlatter sits beside a mountain pass with same name – where the road hauls itself over the fells en route to Loweswater, Crummock Water and Buttermere. Up here, amidst 2,500 acres of sitka spruce, Douglas fir, larch and oak, we offer one of our more testing Treetop Challenge courses, complete with a formidable Tarzan Swing. It’s also a great location for a Segway safari: soaking up the views onto Bassenthwaite Lake as you whizz along the forest tracks.

On a sunny day the only way to follow that is by jumping in the car and heading to the northern end of Crummock Water. With the whale-backed summits of High Stile and Starling Dodd stretching out in front of you, there can be few more beautiful spots for wild swimming.

Grizedale lies further south. It’s a canny wet-weather option, because it lies deep in a sheltered valley between Windermere and Coniston. So you can have day of eye-popping adventure while everyone else is mooching round the shops in Ambleside, grumbling about the weather. Every grade of treetop course is available here, along with nearly two miles of zip wires. And when you’re done, the rest of Grizedale Forest beckons. Covering 8,000 acres, it’s an under-visited pocket of national park, and its sculpture trail, footpaths and bike tracks are a tranquil refuge when Windermere, Coniston and Grasmere feel too busy.

The Forest of Dean



Woman in jeans on a zip wire

It’s not just the size that will impress you. It’s the diversity. Here, amidst nearly 30,000 acres of trees, you’ll find everything from ancient oaks to Douglas firs, as well as bike trails, playgrounds, wildlife reserves and a sculpture park. Exploring such a big forest, and discovering its many landscapes and moods, is a fascinating experience: and you can supercharge the sense of adventure by tackling our two Go Ape centres at Mallards Pike and Beechenhurst.

If you’re new to Go Ape, or have young children (who are at least 3ft 3ins/1m tall) then Beechenhurst is the place to start, on our Treetop Adventure. Those looking for a tougher and higher course should head to Mallards Pike for our Treetop Challenge. Both will open your eyes to the woodland environment, and you’ll enjoy the rest of the forest even more as result. Be sure to check out the mysterious and tangled landscape of the Puzzlewood - which has starred in movies ranging from Star Wars to the Secret Garden. And don’t forget your bikes (or hire some at Cannop, close to our Beechenhurst centre). The forest is home to a nine-mile Family Cycle Trail, as well as tougher Downhill and Enduro courses.

If you are looking for somewhere to stay then why not try the ultimate forest retreat and head to Forest Holidays? They have a range of cabins nestled in the forest as well as a children’s play area and forest ranger activities to keep all the family entertained. They have 10 other locations across the UK all in beautiful forest locations for the perfect staycation. What’s more, by actually staying in the forest, you’ll be able to enjoy it at the beginning and end of the day, when everyone else has gone home.

Dartmoor & South Devon



Man in red t-shirt on a Go Ape crossing

Is there a lovelier summer playground than Dartmoor and South Devon? Here, the sparkling seaside gives way to lush farmland and deep river valleys, before the vast bulk of Dartmoor takes over. For an energetic and adventurous family, the possibilities are almost endless. Big walks on the moor are a given: spiced up, perhaps, with a rock-climbing course. Meanwhile paddleboarding along the Dart is the perfect way to explore one of our leafiest estuaries. And if you’re looking for a quiet stretch of coastline, can we suggest burrowing into the South Hams? Its narrow, winding roads can be maddening. But not the crowd-free coves at the end of them, such as gorgeous Gara Rock beach.

Then, when your senses are sharpened and you’re ready for real challenge, it’s time to take on Go Ape Haldon. There are two treetop courses to tackle, set in a 3,500 acre forest park, with big views onto Dartmoor and the nearby Jurassic coast. The hilltop-to-hilltop zip wire is a classic; and with five bike trails (and a bike rental centre) on offer in Haldon Forest, it’s easy to fill a whole day with high-octane fun.

The North York Moors



Woman climbing a cargo net

Why aren't the North York Moors more famous? After all, there aren’t many places that can match its combination of plunging sea cliffs, windswept moorland and evocative history. As a result, summer holidays here offer an almost endless sense of variety: with steam railways, sandy beaches, fossil-hunts and roof-of-England walks all on the menu. Plus, of course, the dark allure of Count Dracula, whose first port of call in England was the pretty harbour town of Whitby.

Whatever else you’ve got planned, our Dalby Go Ape centre will get your holiday off to a flying start. Set on the southern edge of the national park, it’s home to a Forest Segway and Treetop Adventure, as well as a Treetop Challenge that’s a must for anyone in search of proper, white-knuckle thrills. The highest part of the course is set at a dizzy 115ft, so you’ll need a steady nerve and a head for heights.

Bring bikes (or rent them) if you can. Dalby Forest covers 8,000 acres and is home to 55 miles of trails, which range from an easy 8-mile family circuit to a white-knuckle World Cup MTB descent. If you’re not sure what kind of trail is right for you, take a spin in the cycle skills area. Here, you can sample sections of green, blue and red trails before committing to a whole course.

Bournemouth & The New Forest



Two girls bouncing on Go Ape Nets Adventure

One is the epitome of a bustling seaside resort. The other preserves a medieval landscape of heathland, ponies and ancient oaks. But whether you’re focusing on Bournemouth or the New Forest, you’ll add an extra dimension to the trip by including our centre at Moors Valley Country Park, just outside Ringwood.

Set amidst 800 acres of pines, Moors Valley one of our biggest and most popular centres. The fun starts with our Nets Adventure. 27 feet up from the forest floor, a giant bouncy den of nets creates a playspace like no other, and anybody who can walk unaided (provided they are more than a year old) is welcome. Meanwhile, our Forest Segways and three grades of high-ropes courses will keep the more advanced adventurers in your group happy.

The Trossachs



zip wire at Go Ape Aberfoyle

When it's time to scale up your sense of adventure, head to Scotland's Trossachs National Park. Not only is it home to 21 mighty Munros (the local term for a mountain higher than 3,000 feet). It's also the setting for two of the UK’s longest zipwires, both of which are part of the Treetop Challenge at Go Ape Aberfoyle. The first is 353 metres long and gets you to the start of the forest-canopy course. The second finishes it. A quarter of a mile long, it is – at one point – nearly 150 feet above terra firma. Eek.

You’ll find Go Ape in the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. A 50,000-acre mosaic of pine trees and broad-leafed woodland, it stretches from Loch Lomond to Strathyre, and is equipped with its own upmarket forest cabins. It’s also a hub of Scotland’s new gravel-biking scene. This retro-flavoured pursuit harks back to the early days of mountain biking, when bikes were simpler, lighter and faster. Not surprisingly, the forest roads and steady gradients are perfect for all-terrain pedalling. Meanwhile, hikers will relish the chance to tackle such shapely peaks as Ben Vorlich and Ben Lomond. The Trossachs are where the Highlands begin: on a clear day you’ll wish you could keep walking all the way to Cape Wrath.

South Wales



Woman in blue jeans on a zip wire

Feeling brave? Then this might be the summer to launch yourself off Britain’s biggest Tarzan Swing: a giant leap of faith that ends in a wall of netting - and helpless, adrenaline-soaked laughter. You’ll find it at our Treetop Challenge at Margam Country Park, between Swansea and Cardiff. The course has been likened to a rollercoaster in the trees, and will add extra fizz to any South Wales holiday, whether you’re surfing on the Gower Peninsula, or exploring the wild, open uplands of the Brecon Beacons National Park.


There’s plenty more to do at the country park. Margam Park Adventure offers everything from mountain bike hire to lessons in bushcraft, and even a gentle walk in the 800 acres of parkland is a treat: with an 19th-century gothic castle and a herd of 400 deer as the backdrop.

Those in search of experiences to match the Tarzan Leap might also like to visit BikePark Wales, Britain’s largest and most diverse selection of downhill mountain bike trails. It’s a 40-minute drive from Margam Park, near Merthyr Tydfil. This isn’t expert-only terrain. The guided Ticket to Ride experience is based on a three-mile, single-track downhill course that’s tailor-made for beginners.

Free Parking & 15% Off Go Ape

If you fall in love with one of the forests in which we’re set, consider a Forestry England Membership. Annual membership gets you free parking in the forest’s car parks, as well as member benefits, such as 15% per person off Go Ape, 12½% off Forest Holidays log cabins, and 15% off purchases at a range of clothing retailers, including Muddy Puddles and Cycle Surgery.

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