Lee Valley Regional Park
This enormous green space is an adventure playground for outdoor lovers and families, with masses to see, do and explore, from nature walks to white water rafting. Go wild!
This postivively huuuuge 10,000 acre park stretches 26 miles along the (you guessed it) leafy banks of the River Lee, from Ware in Hertfordshire, via Essex, to the East India Dock Basin on the Thames. Lee Valley Regional Park a one-stop shop for all things outdoorsy and there are literally hundreds of things to do here.
So, where to begin…. If you’re into wildlife, there’s no shortage here. Visit one of the park’s 12 nature reserves (don’t forget the binoculars) where you could spot up to 150 species of birds and 35 different mammals, including the rare bittern and over half the UK’s species of dragonfly, as well as cute otters and water voles – how very Wind in the Willows.
From waterside to woodlands there are masses of guided walks to explore too, as well as houses, gardens and heritage sites to visit, including Myddleton House, Broxbourne Old Mill and Waltham Abbey Gardens, where you can get a bit of a culture fix as well.
If you prefer to explore on two wheels (or four hooves!) check out Lee Valley VeloPark – yep the Olympic one in London, where you can have a go on the BMX track, ride the velodrome track or take on the many mountain biking trails – or Lee Valley Riding Centre.
Meanwhile, those with a taste for adventure will make a beeline for the Lee Valley White Water Centre, where you can try out white water rafting, tubing or hydrospeeding on the rapids. There’s also canoeing, paddleboarding, open-water swimming, and, one for the kids – a giant inflatable park and beach. On that note, little ones will love meeting the residents at Lee Valley Park Farms (nab a summer holiday pass for just 18 quid!)
With so much to do, why not make a weekend of it and pitch up a tent (or caravan) at one of the four fab camp sites including Dobbs Weir in Herts – you can also pick a luxury lodge, wigwam or safari tent – and the Almost Wild Campsite where you can get back to nature with bushcraft courses and kids’ holiday camps. A proper wilderness advernture – Ray Mears, eat your heart out!