50 reasons to love the UK and Ireland
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Sailing or skiing, swimming or swinging a golf club, wherever your passion for sport lies, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Buckinghamshire. Cast your eyes back to 2012 when the eyes of the world were on London for the Olympics.
A proportion of that attention came to Dorney Lake, where 30,000 spectators visited daily to see Team GB bag 12 medals – six gold, two silver and four bronze. Today the lake is a world-class rowing and kayak training and competition facility, but the site also hosts open water swimming clubs, dragon boat racing, triathlons and more. The 5km round route makes it ideal for running, walking or cycling round – or even roller skiing!
Another Olympic legacy is Stoke Mandeville Stadium – the national centre for disability sport. The stadium developed out of the Stoke Mandeville Games – the forerunner of the Paralympic Games – and now boast the highest grade facilities for leading sportsmen and women.
If you’re a horse lover, trot along to one of the county’s many riding schools. Addington Manor Equestrian Centre is one of the country’s best venues, catering for all levels of competitors and was a training venue for London 2012. For a different equestrian experience, place your bets at Towcester Racecourse, just a short canter over the border in Northamptonshire. Alternatively, Ascot and Windsor racecourses are a quick click of the hooves away in Berkshire.
Not extreme enough? Why not look to the skies and try a treetop zip wire adventure at Go Ape Black Park or Wendover Woods? Or look to the skis, this time at the Xscape Entertainment Complex in Milton Keynes. Here you can enjoy high-energy fun including indoor skiing and snowboarding, rock climbing and indoor sky diving.
Why not look to the skies and try a treetop zip wire adventure at Go Ape Black Park or Wendover Woods?
Go up a gear at the Silverstone circuit in the north of the county. Watch one of the many national and international motorsport events or get behind the wheel yourself. Take binoculars and a portable radio for keeping up with all the action – pit stops, tyre strategy and weather predictions (87.7FM). Trying to keep track just by watching is possible but will begin to make your brain fizz around lap 40. And take some ear plugs.
Shooting enthusiasts will be blown away at the award-winning E. J. Shooting Ground, set in the stunning West Wycombe Estate. Also Guy Bond, the former Great Britain team manager from 1993 to 2005 and current manager of the England Clay Pigeon Shooting Team, runs a shooting school near Aylesbury.
Trampolining centres are springing up all over the place at the moment – the most recent being Rush in High Wycombe. A great way to tire the kids out! Also see Bounce in Milton Keynes – the first of its kind in the UK!
Water babies will be in their element at The Longridge Activity Centre in Marlow, which provides a range of water and land-based activities from sailing to climbing. Scuba diving can be enjoyed at Scubaducks, Aylesbury. Open-air pools can be found at Chesham and in High Wycombe, and gyms and leisure centres are in most of the bigger towns.
For golf, swing on by to one of the county’s many courses – of which Buckinghamshire has the highest concentration in the UK – including world-class venues such as Stoke Park. Sometimes being a spectator is better than taking part, so don’t miss the chance to see the MK Dons FC play at stadium:mk, Milton Keynes, or Wycombe Wanders FC at Adams Park, High Wycombe.
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