Britain’s Best Ways to Take to the Sky

Abigail Whyte thinks that if the ground's not exhilarating enough for you, you can always defy gravity and explore Britain from above.




Ascending the skies in a plane without an engine may sound reckless to some, but this silent way of flying is an unforgettable experience that you can try once, or have lessons and become a pro. The Midland Gliding Club in the Longmynd, Shropshire, is one of very few places in Britain and indeed Europe to use the bungee launching method, when conditions allow.

Hot Air Ballooning

This thrilling, yet serene way of flying can accommodate up to 12 people per basket so you can go up with a group of friends, as well as have some romantic time with your beau. The main flying season – weather permitting – is from March to October. Alba Ballooning’s flights make the most of the dramatic landscape near Edinburgh, the Lothians and northern Scottish borders.

Paragliding and Parahawking

This has to be the closest thing to feeling like a bird in flight. With Axis Paragliding and Paramotoring, you can actually enjoy the experience of gliding alongside a red kite, over the gentle slopes around Abergavenny.

Tandem Sky Diving

The experience of free fall at 13,000 ft is about as adrenaline pumping as you can get, but it all calms down when the chute opens and you can then relish a silent, breathtaking descent. You wont have to do a thing apart from hitching up your legs on landing, as you’ll be strapped to an instructor who’ll do most of the work. Hinton Skydiving centre on the Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire border offers reasonable prices for beginners and those who want to take it further.

Power Kiting


This is for those who like the idea of leaving the ground for short bursts, and want to feel the power of the wind at their fingertips. This hugely popular sport has been taken up by thrill seekers and those who simply love the relaxing nature of kite flying. You can hire kites and have lessons with Paracademy, based in Dorset. As well as power kiting, they also provide lessons in kite surfing and the unusual sport of snow kiting.