The Best of British Activity Holidays

Top 4 Adventure Holiday Websites

Compare the best UK Adventure Companies

expert tour guides - unforgettable experiences - complete travel packages - small groups - ATOL protected

Neilson Activity Holiday Logo

Neilson Holidays - H4 Review

  • Multi-activity holiday experts
  • Beach Clubs - Ski - Sailing
  • Family activity holidays
  • Couples & solo holidays
  • Wellness & fitness breaks
G Adventures Logo

G Adventures - H4 Review

  • Premium Active Adventures
  • Travel Solo in a Group
  • Locally Based Travel Guides
  • Flexible & Fun Itineraries
  • Average 10-12 People per group
Explore Logo
Explore Worldwide (top 5 features)

Explore - H4 Review

  • The adventure travel experts
  • Discover famous sights
  • Expert tour guides
  • Small group trips
  • Flexible booking conditions
Exoticca Travel Logo
(top 5 features)

Exoticca - H4 Review

  • Adventure Holiday Specialist
  • Late Deals & Special Offers
  • Pioneers of Community Tourism
  • Small Group Tours
  • Locally Based Guides

Best UK Adventure and Activity websites compared

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We compare some of the best UK-based companies for sport, activity and adventure holidays. We hope our review helps when researching your next active adventure or relaxed-paced cultural tour.
The companies reviewed include Neilson Active Holidays | G Adventures | Exoticca Travel | Explore Worldwide. Our review and comparison research is based on the following criteria:

Introduction: Adventure tourism is a dynamic and exhilarating niche within the broader travel industry - and caters to adventurous individuals who seek a sense of fun, plus an ever-increasing desire to explore the world and its wonders.

Adventure tours often consist of a small group of travellers that follow a fixed itinerary. Escorted guided tours are a great way to enjoy new adventures, by allowing experts to manage the logistics of a complex, active and often highly scenic holiday experience - leaving you free to enjoy the tour and the company of like-minded fellow travellers.

The four adventure companies in our review provide some of the best 'variety and choice' in cultural and adventure tourism. For more information on planning an adventure holiday, check out our How to Plan & Book Activity Holidays blog post.

All four companies provide detailed tour descriptions and itineraries, plus additional pre-booking information and advice - often there'll be a team of experts on hand to help via phone, email or live chat if required.

All four companies are ATOL protected and take a responsible and sustainable approach to operations where indicated - (see individual company websites for details).

Lastly, the four companies reviewed are known to be industry leaders - and while they all provide similar services, there are differences in the style and types of holiday experiences they offer. Each operator has unique strengths that can enhance your overall holiday experience - we look forward to sharing our findings with you.

White Water Rafting

(1) Best company for variety and responsible travel experiences.

For this category, we concentrate on companies offering the widest choice of adventure holidays and who operate responsible travel practices. All four companies provide a wide variety of holiday options, and after careful consideration, we found one particular 'stand-out' company in this category.

We found G Adventures to be the 'Best Company for choice and variety'.

G Adventures

Founded in 1990 by Bruce Poon Tip, G Adventures has grown into a highly respected global operation and has gained a reputation for offering a diverse range of 'continent-spanning' adventures that cater to a variety of interests, activity levels, and travel styles.

Guided Tours: We found the company's commitment to providing authentic, immersive, and sustainable experiences is reflected in its extensive offering of activity-based tours.

The G Adventures tours portfolio includes:
  • CLASSIC TOURS: These tours are designed for travellers seeking a balanced mix of activities, cultural experiences, and exploration. Classic tours cover a variety of destinations worldwide, including iconic landmarks, historical sites, and local interactions.
  • ACTIVE TOURS: Ideal for adventure enthusiasts, active tours focus on physical activities such as hiking, trekking, cycling, and other outdoor pursuits. These tours are designed for those who want to combine exploration with an active lifestyle.
  • NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC JOURNEYS: In collaboration with National Geographic, G Adventures offers enhanced travel experiences that delve deeper into the natural and cultural wonders of the world. These tours feature expert guides, exclusive experiences, and a strong focus on sustainable and responsible travel.
  • THE GELUXE COLLECTION: Experience the ultimate adventure with the Geluxe Collection - with 28 premium active trips across 16 countries. Whether you're looking for a thrilling hike or a serene bike ride through picturesque landscapes. Geluxe Collection ensures you stay comfortable throughout your adventure, so you can focus on enjoying the experience to the fullest.
  • MARINE TOURS: G Adventures offers marine-based adventures for those captivated by the world's oceans. From sailing the Greek Islands to exploring the Galápagos by yacht, these tours provide unique perspectives on marine environments and wildlife.
  • WELLNESS TOURS: Recognising the growing interest in wellness travel, G Adventures offers tours that focus on rejuvenation, mindfulness, and physical well-being. These tours often include activities like yoga, meditation, and spa experiences in scenic locations.
  • FAMILY TOURS: G Adventures caters to families with specially designed tours that balance adventure and family-friendly activities. These tours provide opportunities for creating lasting memories and a good selection of family-friendly destinations.
  • ROAMIES BY HOSTELWORLD: The perfect combination of adventure and quality hostels. Catering to small groups of 18 to 35-year-old travellers, allowing you to explore iconic destinations and stay in some of the best hostels - conveniently located, with good amenities and a choice of rooming options. Roamies have the freedom to travel solo while providing the assurance of an organised group. You'll have various ways to adventure, knowing that you have the support of a guide when needed.
  • NATIONAL PARK TOURS: Nature lovers can explore some of the world's most stunning national parks with G Adventures. These tours focus on the beauty and biodiversity of protected natural areas.
  • PRIVATE GROUP TOURS: G Adventures offers the flexibility of private group tours, allowing friends, families, or organisations to customise their adventure experience. Private groups can choose from existing itineraries or work with G Adventures to create a personalised journey.

Responsible tourism: We found G Adventures places a strong emphasis on sustainable and responsible tourism and actively seeks to minimise its environmental footprint, support local communities, and promote conservation efforts.

Diverse adventure experiences: We found G Adventures caters well to the interests and preferences of a diverse clientele. Whether it's trekking to the summit of Kilimanjaro, exploring the Amazon rainforest, or sailing the Galápagos Islands, G Adventures offers experiences that range from physically challenging to culturally enriching.

Smaller Group Sizes: We found many of G Adventures' itineraries were designed to create authentic and memorable experiences and help immerse travellers in local culture and the environment. This is supported by having a small-group travel policy and recognising that smaller groups promote interaction, including 'hands-on' and sustainable experiences.

Mountain Snowboarding

(2) Best company for challenging adventures.

Adventure tourism goes beyond cultural city breaks and active beach holidays. It offers adrenaline-pumping activities in breathtaking landscapes that push boundaries and connect you with nature. Activities like hiking, rock climbing, zip-lining, white-water rafting, and paragliding provide a unique and immersive experience that challenges physical and mental limits, stimulates personal growth and provides a sense of accomplishment.

Unfortunately, there are no extreme or technically challenging activities provided by the operators featured in our review; however, there are 100s thrilling and challenging tours available - tours such as Amazon Rainforest Trek, Antarctic Circle Expedition, Mt Kilimanjaro Trek, Inca Jungle & Rainbow Mountain Hike or Polar Bear spotting in the Arctic.

We have no overall winner for this category, so we have listed a few of our favourite (more challenging) tours instead. These tours are available from the following operators: G Adventure, Explore an Exoticca.

Explore, G Adventures & Exoticca

As adventure tourism continues to gain popularity, more travellers are seeking new and exciting experiences and a deep connection with the natural world.

Our Favourite Challenging and Natural World tours include:
  • EXPLORE - An active tour of Sri Lanka. Cycle, hike and paddle around the island of Sri Lanka on a two-week active adventure. Discover the sites of the cultural triangle, hike on the Knuckles Range and whitewater raft on the Kelani River.
  • EXPLORE - Cycle Cuba. Appreciate the Cuban pace of life on two wheels. Discover the colonial delights of Havana & Trinidad. Cycle through the beautiful regions of Pinar del Rio Province and Viñales.
  • EXPLORE - Highlights of Mont Blanc. Hiking parts of the famous Tour du Mont Blanc with Alpine hospitality in spectacular mountain scenery, inc comfortable chalet hotel with indoor pool and sauna.
  • EXOTICCA - Incas, Amazon and Galapagos. For lovers of wildlife and culture, this trip includes the Galapagos Islands, Machu Picchu and a stay in the Amazon rainforest!
  • EXOTICCA - Safari Adventure, Cape Town & Garden Route. South Africa for all it has to offer, from a safari adventure where you could spot the Big 5 to the eclectic metropolitan city of Cape Town and the impressive landscapes of the Garden Route in Knysna.
  • G ADVENTURE - Mt Kilimanjaro Trek (8 day Machame Route). Conquer Africa's highest peak, trek past verdant forests and silent glaciers and watch the sunrise from Uhuru Peak.
  • G ADVENTURE - Active Canadian Rockies Adventure. Camp out under the stars in the Canadian Rockies, wander past pristine alpine lakes, catch your breath at the top of mountains, and take in the stunning views below and the fresh mountain air.

To sum up:

As more active travellers seek experiences outside the ordinary, the more adventure tourism continues to evolve. Whether it's conquering a challenging peak, navigating wild rivers, or exploring remote landscapes, the three operators in this category (Explore, G Adventures & Exoticca) continue to open doors to a fascinating world of discovery.

(3) Best company for inclusive sport & active holidays.

Inclusive sports and active holidays mostly revolve around physical activities and sporting programmes. These programmes are offered in conjunction with a wide choice of accommodations - ranging from tourist-grade properties, through to luxury all-inclusive resorts - allowing you to comfortably fill your days with activity, fun and adventure.
There are many new and trending overseas activities to get involved in, from water sports and mountain biking to snowboarding, ski guiding and coaching. If you want to switch off from 'time to time' that's fine - you can chill out by the pool or book a soothing spa treatment - the choice to relax and recharge or stay 'active & sporty' is yours to make.

All-inclusive sports holidays are becoming increasingly popular, especially as younger holidaymakers seek alternatives to the traditional two-week beach break. The all-inclusive sports package includes a wide range of activities, allowing you to enjoy multiple sporting options (without worrying about the budget).

Learn something new. An adventure holiday can be the perfect way to learn a new sport, such as diving, sailing, snowboarding, kayaking or golf, with most all-inclusive holidays including optional tuition to help you get started.

The sports activities included can vary widely depending on personal preferences, fitness levels, and choice of destination. The following is a list of our favourite activities you may find available on a typical active sports holiday, for both families and individuals:

  • (1). Outdoor & Adventure Sports - Trekking, mountain biking, rock climbing, zip-lining, archery, tennis and horse riding.
  • (2). Water Sports - Surfing, scuba diving, snorkelling, paddleboarding, kayaking and canyoning.
  • (3). Winter Sports - Skiing, sledging, snowboarding and snowshoeing.
  • (4). Team Sports - Soccer/football camps, basketball camps and volleyball retreats.
  • (5). Cycling Tours - Road cycling, mountain biking and multi-day cycling tours.
  • (6). Fitness and Wellness Retreats - Yoga retreats, wellness and mindfulness retreats with active elements.
  • (7). Golf Vacations - Golf tours and packages in scenic locations.
  • (8). Multi-Sport Adventures - Including triathlon camps and multi-sport tours, combining activities such as biking, hiking, and kayaking.

To sum up: Active sports holidays are suitable for individuals, groups or families who enjoy physical challenges, team activities, exploration, and the thrill of engaging in various sports in different countries and settings.

Active sports holidays can be tailored to different skill levels, from beginners to advanced, and are often organised and provided by specialist tour operators or adventure travel companies.

The destinations for active sports holidays range from mountain resorts to worldwide tropical beaches, providing a (diverse) range of experiences for those seeking fun and active adventures. Adventure trips range from booking just the activity to booking a fully inclusive package, including flights, accommodation, transfers, meals, sports tuition and equipment hire.

For this category, Holiday4 finds Neilson Holidays to be 'Best company for inclusive sports & active breaks'.

Neilson Active Beach & Ski Holidays

Neilson is a UK-based travel company specialising in 'inclusive active holidays' for individuals, groups and families. The company has been trading for over 40 years and operates to various European destinations, including popular beach resorts, Alpine ski resorts, and other adventure-focused locations.

Known for its emphasis on 'fully inclusive' active holidays, the company offers a wide range of packaged activities such as skiing, sailing, windsurfing, mountain biking, and much more.

The Neilson programme includes 11 different Beachclub resorts, located in Sardinia, Croatia, Greece and Fuerteventura. These resorts offer a variety of sports options and activities such as scuba diving, spa & wellness treatments, dinghy sailing, windsurfing, water skiing, wakeboarding, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), fitness, tennis, and mountain and road biking.

All-inclusive holidays include quality accommodation, meals, and a variety of activities, meaning you get to enjoy a diverse range of experiences without worrying about additional costs. Our research found resort staff to be super able, friendly, approachable and always ready to assist.

The company provides quality instructors and guides throughout - whether you're learning to sail, trying your hand at windsurfing, or exploring the local terrain on a guided hike. Accommodation is good quality with high standards, and offers a variety of menus catering for different tastes and dietary preferences.

Responsible tourism: We found Neilson to have ongoing commitments towards sustainability, with resorts implementing eco-friendly practices and promoting responsible tourism.

Stand-out features of the Neilson Ski Holiday programme:
  • WELL-ORGANISED SKI PACKAGES: Ski packages are comprehensive, easy to book and well-organised - with ski passes, equipment rental, and lessons integrated into the package if required, eliminating any extra involvement or potential stress for travellers on arrival.
  • ACCOMMODATION & APRES-SKI: Resort locations provide easy access to the slopes and cater to a wide range of skiing abilities, from gentle slopes for beginners to challenging runs for advanced skiers, the variety ensures that everyone can find slopes that match their skill level and preferences. The accommodations are cosy, and après-ski activities are well-curated, providing a perfect blend of relaxation and entertainment.
  • SUPERB SKI DESTINATIONS: Neilson Ski offers access to some of the finest ski resorts across Europe. From the snow-capped peaks of the French Alps to the breathtaking slopes in Italy and Andorra, the range of locations caters to skiers of all levels, from beginners to seasoned enthusiasts.
  • FAMILY FRIENDLY SKI HOLIDAYS: Families are well-catered to, with Neilson Ski offering family-friendly resorts and activities. Kids' ski schools and dedicated childcare services allow parents to enjoy the slopes with peace of mind.
  • FLEXIBILITY AND OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: Not everyone will be solely focused on skiing, Neilson Ski provides a range of optional activities. Whether it's snowshoeing, snowmobiling, or exploring charming alpine villages, the flexibility in itinerary allows guests to tailor holidays to suit their interests.

To sum up - The combination of exciting activities (beach, water & ski), comfortable accommodations, friendly staff and a commitment to sustainability, makes Neilson Holidays our recommended top choice when researching for your next action-packed sporting holiday.

Mountain Hike Switzerland

(4) Best company for cultural & educational tours.

Cultural holidays allow you to explore and experience traditions, history, art and lifestyles - they can also help discover unique aspects of a community's identity, heritage and way of life.

We found numerous types of cultural holidays and educational tours available, including guided tours of historical sites, visiting museums, participating in local festivals, trying different foods and interacting with locals and their traditions.

If you're travelling independently and arranging your own cultural city break, check out our Best Ticket Websites for City Sightseeing & Tourist Attractions guide.

Types of Cultural & Educational Tours Available:
  • HISTORICAL EXPLORATION - Visiting historical landmarks, monuments, and heritage sites to gain insights into a region's past and cultural evolution.
  • ART & ENTERTAINMENT - Experiencing local art, music, dance, theatre and other forms of cultural expression.
  • CULINARY EXPERIENCES - Sampling traditional cuisine and participating in cooking classes or food tours to understand the local gastronomy.
  • FESTIVALS & CELEBRATIONS - Planning trips around local festivals and events to witness and participate in cultural celebrations.
  • ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN - Exploring unique architectural styles, historical buildings and cultural landmarks that define a region.
  • CULTURAL IMMERSION - Travelers actively engage with local cultures, interact with locals and participate in traditional activities.

Cultural tours are often sold as all-inclusive packages and include flights, hotels, meals, activities and entrance fees (see tour descriptions for full price details and chargeable extras).

Cultural holidays provide a unique opportunity for travellers to explore beyond the usual tourist experience. They can help you gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the diversity and richness of different cultures. Such journeys can lead to personal growth, enhanced cross-cultural understanding, and help preserve cultural heritage.

Our chosen tour operator for 'Best company for cultural & educational tours' is EXPLORE.


Explore is one of the UK’s most recognised adventure travel companies, offering over 350 tours in around 100 countries, with trips designed to help experience the culture, history and sights of each destination featured.

We found the company offers a diverse range of destinations and caters well to the needs and preferences of most travellers. Whether customers seek cultural enrichment, adventure, or relaxation.

Stand-out features of EXPLORE:
  • WIDE RANGE OF DESTINATIONS - We found Explore provides an extensive portfolio of destinations. Choose tours from around 100 countries - from Scandinavia to Asia and the Arctic to the Americas.
  • EXPERT TOUR GUIDES - We found Explore to have knowledgeable tour guides. Guides are multilingual and play a vital role in creating immersive and enriching travel experiences.
  • TAILOR-MADE ITINERARIES - Explore offers personalised travel experiences catering to different demographics. Whether it's a family vacation, solo excursion or group expedition, Explore Holidays can prepare itineraries to meet individual preferences.
  • ACCOMMODATION & TRANSPORTATION - Our research shows Explore acknowledge the importance of comfort and convenience during travel. We find that Explore partners with high-quality hotels and accommodation suppliers - to ensure travellers enjoy a seamless and comfortable stay. Additionally, there's a wide range of transport options offering convenience and flexibility.
  • ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY & COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABILITY - Explore uses advanced technology to enhance the overall travel experience. From user-friendly online booking platforms to advanced trip management systems, the company uses cutting-edge technology to streamline the holiday process. The company actively engages in eco-friendly practices, supports local communities and contributes to conservation efforts.

What Impressed us!

We think Explore Holidays makes an excellent choice for travellers seeking a unique, personalised and sustainable travel experience. Explore also have a loyalty programme, flexible booking policy and generous discounts during their Big Blue Sale.

Camel Riding Desert