Part of the ethos of microadventures is that they are not prescriptive. This leaves scope for people to interpret them however they wish and come up with novel ideas of their own. This is why I generally avoid putting maps up for any of my trips.
However, I appreciate that for those living in big cities, it can be a difficult thing to dream up a first microadventure. Surrounded by city it is hard to imagine that not far beyond these towerblocks and dark satanic mills lies a green and pleasant land. Places where you can hear birdsong and little else. Where you can watch the sun set all the way down to the horizon. Where -hopefully- you have no phone reception.
So here are a few suggestions of places to head for if you live in London. Leave work promptly and dash for the train. As May approaches the nights are getting longer so it’s pretty easy to reach all these spots in time for sunset. Climb a hill with a friend or two, sleep on the top, and be back at your desk recharged and amused by 9am the next morning.
I have been deliberately brief with these suggestions allowing you to do most of the discovering for yourself. Rest assured that the hard part is only getting yourself motivated enough to jump on the train. You’ll figure the rest out!
- Marylebone: train to Wendover. 48 minutes. Head along the Wendover Arm Canal, down the Icknield Way or into the Wendover Woods. Or go mountain biking at Aston Hill.
- Paddington: train to Henley-on-Thames. ~60 minutes. Follow the Thames path either upstream or downstream. Head for Remenham Wood. Or go armed with a packraft and you could paddle back to London!
- Victoria: train to Amberley. 1hr 25. This is quite a long train ride (there are nice places nearer along the same line). But the South Downs here are really lovely and a chance to get up high. Chanctonbury Ring is about 10 miles away. Or explore the atmospheric river Arun.
A quicker option from Victoria is to take the train to Otford (~45 minutes) and explore the woodlands high up to the east of the village.
- Liverpool Street: train to Sawbridgeworth (~45 minutes). Follow the river Stort out of town into some pockets of peaceful farmland.
If anyone can compile a similar list for microadventures close to other cities I’d love to hear from you and add them to this site.
Similarly if you can offer improvements to my suggestions close to London, please send me an email…
Adam (@adomasw) sent me these suggestions:
I live in inner city London, in the east end and work in the centre. About as far from “adventure as it’s possible to get”, however, I’ve had some great microadventures.
Two of my favourites:
One of the highest spots on the South Downs. I work near Farringdon, so can jump of the Thameslink Train towards Brighton. Get off at Hassocks, about 45mins, then a 30 minutes walk up the hill. Great views over to Brighton to the south and watching planes head to Gatwick to the north. It’s also perfect for watching the warm air come in off the coast and hit the land and fog appearing to pour like water over the Downs!
Take train from Fenchurch St towards Southend. Get off at Leigh on Sea after about 45mins. Walk about 30 minutes West to Hadleigh Castle (possibly via Old Leigh to get chips!) Sleep in a ruined castle overlooking the Thames Estuary. Luxury!
You get to tell your colleagues you stayed in a (ruined) castle the next day!
If you do head off on a microadventure, please let me know. Tag it on Twitter with the hashtag #microadventure or pop something on the new Microadventures Facebook Page.
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I don’t apologise for this being an overly London-centric blog. I hope that what it shows is that if you can do microadventures like this close to enormous, crowded London which lies so far from any decent wilderness then you can definitely do them where you live!
- Walking Home for Christmas
- Walking the M25
- A Milton Keynes Microadventure
- A St Albans Microadventure
- A South Downs Microadventure (with nice food!)
- A Thames Estuary Microadventure
Now use this infographic to actually make your microadventure happen!