By Jamie Weber
They may only be a stone’s throw across the Severn, but Bristol and Cardiff are hugely competitive cities when it comes to being active.
For any student, Cardiff, the capital of Wales, is no place to get bored! Despite the reputation for being a bit wet, Cardiff is a year-round destination and there are heaps of mad things to do in all weathers, without the requirement of webbed feet.
Bristol has really come to the fore over the last few years, with huge sums of money being pumped into redeveloping this former relic of the colonial past. Now Bristol packs a huge punch with activities galore.
But which city to choose when it comes down to it? We’ve road tested the very best activities for students that each city has to offer and produced our definitive activity guide.
- Welsh Games – Cardiff
The Welsh weather not as bad as it’s cracked up to be so why not move outdoors now and a little way out of the city itself. Welsh Games, a newcomer to Cardiff activities, is pretty much what it says on the tin. Nine crazy games with a Welsh theme, offering some seriously silly fun with gaggles of giggles guaranteed.
So whether you are celebrating a birthday, graduation, or simply fancy a get together with your mates, then check out Welsh Games and you could be king (or queen) of the sheep rodeo. Yee-haaaa!
- Pirate Walks – Bristol
Ahoy me hearties! Perhaps one of Bristol’s best loved attractions, join Pirate Pete on his tours around this city’s famous maritime history. Tours last around one hour and are a great way to discover Bristol’s turbulent past.
A great way to finish off would be to step inside one of the old timber framed haunts of swashbucklers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries on King Street, which are just as popular today, although now renamed the “Beermuda Triangle”.
- West Country Games – Bristol
Now a Bristol front runner, this heavyweight of Bristol activities will have you rolling in the hay with laughter.
West Country Games celebrates all things south west so put on your wellies and straw hats for one of the most hilarious days out you have had in years! Battle it out with your mates in hugely funny games such as Vicky Pollard Handbags, The Cider Run, Mangold Dangling and Wurzel Knockout to name but a few!
When your Mangold really has been completely dangled, head to the farm restaurant on site for a picnic lunch washed down with local cider to round off a great day in the country. Proper job!
- Coasteering – Cardiff
So you want a really mad activity? Something a little dangerous and very pointless? Welcome to the wacky world of Coasteering. An activity that involves jumping off cliffs, swimming along the pounding surf and then climbing back up a rock face to do it all again.
I think you’ll agree, it’s a pretty crazy way to spend your weekend. Surprisingly popular, Coasteering is perhaps not as dangerous or mad as we are making out, with safety very much coming first.
- School Sports Day (again!) – Cardiff
Remember your good old school sports day? Usually held under the sunburn inducing May sun, these events were probably the highlight of your PE teacher’s entire year.
They provided a unique opportunity for overly competitive dads to cheer on their precious little darlings, as they scamper across the school fields, like a herd of terrified antelope, being chased hard by a big cat, all in the name of competitive fun.
Remember, it’s the taking part that counts, said no successful athletics coach, ever.
Well you’ll either be secretly pleased or slightly horrified to know that the whole school sports day experience is now available for adult groups. There are a couple of outfits in Cardiff that will have you turning your ankle in the sand pit and then hobbling in three legged races with your friends. Ready…Set…Go!
- Drawing Nude Life – Cardiff
Here is something a little different if you can bare it. Let’s not beat around the bush here, it’s not one for the kids but would make a great activity for a female group of students.
For your hard earned salami you’ll get a professional nude model and enthusiastic instruction from a qualified artist. You never know, there might be a Picasso hiding in you or more likely you’ll just make an indescribable mess, all in the name of modern art.
- Rock Climbing – Bristol
Bristol’s rock climbing enthusiasts are lucky enough to enjoy one of the most beautiful spots in the country. The winding gash of Avon Gorge designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is a 70-metre-high winding crag of quarried limestone. Several specialist companies offer rock
- Six Nations Rugby – Cardiff
For rugby fans, Cardiff holds the allure of the 74,500 seat Principality Stadium. This is home to the Welsh national side, fondly nicknamed the Red Dragons. On match days, thousands throng here, creating a sea of red in the stands, together with a carnival display of nodding and bopping dragon and daffodil head attire.
Even if you’re not here on match days, you can still sneak a glimpse into the dragons’ lair. Stadium tours allow you to peek inside the dressing room, tread in the footsteps of giants through the players’ tunnel and hold a trophy aloft for yourself.
- Stand up Paddle Boarding (SUP) – Bristol
The craze of Stand Up Paddle Boading, or SUPing as it has become known, has spread like wild fire over recent years. And Bristol’s River Avon certainly plays host to one of the most scenic and easily accessible urban locations around. So pick up your paddle and jump on board – it’s harder than it looks though!
- Urban Adventure Challenge – Bristol
A cross between orienteering, problem solving and adventure racing, this activity is a fantastic way for a group of friends or colleagues to bond together. Conveniently located around Bristol’s historic Harbourside, the area is divided into separate zones in which you must complete a tricky set of challenges.
Using a map, compass and clues your team must navigate by foot to outwit other challengers and win the challenge.
- White Water Rafting – Cardiff
This international standard white water rafting centre is situated perfectly on Cardiff Bay. Up to Grade 4 rapids will meet you as you navigate your way down the man-made river course.
The facility is a centre for excellence for training and provides various courses in their paddle school. So get wet and wild in this adrenaline pumping day out on the rapids.
Both cities pack a mean punch when it comes to getting active. But with all things considered we think that any game called Mangold Dangling, found at West Country Games, must surely give Bristol the edge.