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A Summer of Adventure - 50 Books to Inspire!

Summer is almost here and adventure awaits! Whether you are planning a staycation, or hoping to get a bit further afield, we have a brilliant collection of books to inspire your next adventure.

Our sister site, LoveReading, has been working with the London Mountain Film Festival on a bookfest collection, all with an outdoor, adventure theme.  From this curation we have selected four fantastic, family friendly books to share, with practical tips and ideas to make the most of the great outdoors this summer.

We joined the contributing authors for a quick Q&A...

100 Great Walks with Kids - Fantastic stomps around Great Britain by Jen & Sim Benson : Brilliant walks, practical tips and ideas for family adventures

100 Great Walks with Kids is a must-have guide for families, especially useful at the moment with walking near the top of most weekend activities. Give us your top tip to encourage a reluctant young walker!  Our kids love being outside, and they almost always tackle a walk with lots of enthusiasm and energy - once they're through the door. It's that first step that's often the hardest. We find talking to them about something they'll find exciting along the way helps  - perhaps there's a cafe, a playground or even a castle to explore. This gives them something to aim for, and to look forward to, and kids will always view an adventure with far more enthusiasm than a walk.

The pandemic has encouraged us to get out and explore our neighbourhoods...have you stumbled across a new and exciting place you'd never before noticed?  We usually travel quite a bit for work so, in many ways, it has been really nice to have the time to explore closer to home. It's been fun to rediscover places we had previously only been to alone - usually out running, or walking the dog - with the kids for company. It's fascinating to watch and listen as our familiar local places change with the seasons and the weather, too. Even the same walk never feels the same two days in a row.

Do you have a favourite area of the UK to walk?  That would be an impossible choice! We've been lucky enough to spend the past few years exploring the length and breadth of Britain for our job, visiting so many incredible places along the way. Although it's relatively small, this country is packed with so much variety in its landscapes, wildlife, cultures and stories. It feels like there's always something new and unexpected to discover. 

Now restrictions are lifting, where are you and the family heading for your first adventure?  We both spent many years living and adventuring in Devon before we moved away, 10 years ago. We usually go back regularly, catching up with family and friends and making the most of the incredible diversity of landscapes, from Dartmoor to the sea. We've really missed it over the past year, so a return to Devon is definitely top of the list.

Who's around your campfire? Ray Mears - he's a campfire cooking genius!

Nice choice!  Read a full review and download an extract from 100 Great Walks with Kids here & you can get some top tips for family ambles and adventures with Jen & Sim in this interview with the London Mountain Film Festival

Wild Nights Out - The Magic of Exploring the Outdoors After Dark by Chris Salisbury :  An exciting and illuminating guide to night-time adventures.

Wild Nights Out is full of brilliant activities and ideas for nocturnal explorers, from bat detecting, barefoot walking to a full moon viewing party. How do young people benefit from exposure to a darkened world?  We are all somewhere on the spectrum of nature-deficit disorder, and when it comes to the night time, we have dismissed its invitation so completely as a modern culture that any time spent in the dark will feel exciting, as it’s become such an unfamiliar experience. Wildlife encounters can be manifested quite easily in the dark, with a few tricks of the trade, which are always a big thrill, and we should not underestimate the impact of seeing real wild creatures in their habitat. The darkness somehow intensifies the experience, and lends itself well to the 'wow' factor. I'd also say there are aspects to the outdoors at night time that feel qualitatively different, quieter and more reflective. Dare I say it feels a more soulful place, and to use an old-fashioned word there is more enchantment in the interplay between the shadows and mystery of what we cannot see. If there are stars and/or a moon to observe, then we are given a perspective of our place in space, which again feels a lovely 'otherness' to the busy daytime routines. 

A night-time adventure outdoors sounds exciting to many, but some children might be apprehensive - do you have any tricks to calm young worriers?  As all educators know, it’s all in the invitation that’s made. Enticement and reassurance is the right blend, and a little perspective. After all, we are not compromised by apex predators higher up the food chain, as we would be nightwalking in the Kalahari. Britain is benign, and safe from dangerous animals and so it’s really the realm of imagination that conjures up fears of what may be lurking in the shadows. Starting in the dusk, with some visibility is one tip, so that the incoming tide of darkness is gradual and acclimatisation is nice and slow. Heading out when the moon is bright, can also help - we are such a sight dominated species that the more we can see, the more relaxed we will feel. 

Tell us a bit about WildWise and what you offer.  WildWise offer a broad menu of enticing invitations to spend time in nature. Over the last 21 years we have learned to offer a diverse range of events to suit all tastes, from the delightful short excursions to the longer more immersive experiences. We are known for the creative and soulful quality of our provision and whether you are a teenager wanting to come on our epic Hunger Games camps, or a family that wants to spend quality time in our beautiful Devon locations, or you're a wild child in need of some wild times we are pretty sure you will be able to meet your needs and interests. Check out our acclaimed year-programmes and professional training courses too

Now restrictions are lifting, where are you heading for your first adventure?  My love affair with the wildest valley in England continues - I'm lucky to live and work in the beautiful Dart Valley, where there are endless mysteries to sustain my interest. Our first wider excursion is to take our students up to wild Scotland for a 5-day canoeing adventure....needless to say, we can't wait!

I bet! And other than those lucky students, who's around your campfire? I have a lengthy list of champions and heroes relating to my work, and I'd love to invite them all of course. For now though, I'd like to re-connect with one of my inspirations in my career, who very kindly offered a foreword for my book, Ray Mears. He's got such good stories to share, and I remember firesides filled with his laughter and good humour.

We have a full review of Wild Nights Out and a sneak peek at the book, plus Chris shares his passion for nature & night-time adventures with the London Mountain Film Festival.

The Young Cyclist's Companion by Peter Drinkell : A practical and persuasive introduction to the joys of the beautiful machine

When did your enthusiasm for cycling begin? I got the cycling bug around the age of 10, it gave me the opportunity to roam further afield, groups of us cruising around our neighbourhoods getting up to mischief and exploring.

Three great reasons to get kids cycling... Cycling is great for kids because it gives them confidence, it’s a real challenge to begin with and once they master it, it’s a real sense of achievement. Great for their fitness keeping them active and opens up a whole new world of adventure.

Cycling has been extraordinarily popular through lockdown - how can we encourage people to continue cycling rather than returning to their cars?  I think one way to keep people cycling post lockdown will be to highlight the health benefits from cycling and how that can combat illness, keeping you fit. Also a great way to avoid public transport and a positive step towards reducing pollution.

Now restrictions are lifting, where are you heading for your first adventure?  I would love to get out into the mountains some where and do some bike packing with my son.

Who's around your campfire? The person I would love to have around my campfire would be my Dad at the moment, I haven’t been able to see him for over a year and not likely soon either as they are in Australia. He has recently started cycling and I would love to be able to go on a trip with him on our bikes and end up around the campfire..

Read our review of The Young Cyclist's Companion & enter our competition to win a copy of the book!

100 Adventures to Have Before You Grow Up by Anna McNuff :  From building a den to going on a skateboard journey, discover a life outdoors with this exuberant guide!

As an ambassador, what has been your greatest contribution to Girlguiding?  That would have to be doing the 'Barefoot Britain' adventure. I ran 2,352 miles from Shetland to London, with no shoes on (as you do) and gave talks about adventure and resilience to over 1700 young girls along the way. There's no substitute for standing in front of a group of girls in your running kit, with grubby feet and saying 'I have no idea if I can do this... but I'm going to try.' 

Now restrictions are beginning to lift, have you any excting travel plans?  Oh my... I'm not letting myself think too far ahead yet but ABSOLUTELY. We're planning a few summer European adventures when we can (I love The Alps), and a visit to New Zealand for next UK winter. In between that I'm equally excited to do some more travelling around the UK. The Lake District, Scotland, Cornwall, Devon - all of those are getting me just as excited as going abroad. 

What advice can you give to would-be adventurers?  Just start. Wherever you are in life. however much money you have. Whatever your skill level for outdoorsy things. Just make a plan, no matter how small, tell three friends, put some money aside, mark it in your diary and commit. Everything else will take care of itself. 

Who's around your campfire?  Tina Turner (so she can sing and dance for us), Elizabeth Gilbert (so she can tell stories and inspire me to let me creativity out) and my Grandpa (sadly no longer with us) so he can tell me stories about the war. 

You can catch up with Anna McNuff in interview at the London Mountain Film Festival talking about her new book Bedtime Adventure Stories for Grown Ups.

If you have a question for any of our authors please post in the comment box below & we'll do our best to get you an answer....and if you haven't got a question then we'd love to hear who's around your fantasy campfire!

Scroll down for books on adventure, nature and ideas for activities outdoors.

The London Mountain Film Festival, now in its second year, is a celebration of adventure and the outdoors. The festival screened over 40 world-class adventure films, plus interviews with film-makers & authors - the interviews are available to view here.

And thanks to @swagfamilyhughes - credit to Andrew Hughes - for the fantastic feature photo, taken from 50 Ways to Cycle the World by Belén Castello and Tristan Bogaard.

Find out more 

Comments (46)

Michelle B - 5th July 2021

I live in rural Northumberland. We step out at night and view the stars as there is no light pollution. Every day here is an adventure. My grandchildren love going on rambles with me. There is always something new to see. We always take a camera so we can identify unknown plants, flowers and creatures when we get home

Fiona K - 5th July 2021

I think my granddaughter would enjoy the nighttime adventures. We could start in our garden where there is a family of foxes.

Laura P - 5th July 2021

The Norfolk Broads for a boating holiday!

adrian p - 5th July 2021

id love to take my kids to Nepal

Charlotte W - 4th July 2021

We're off to Northumberland and hoping to have some dark skies adventures there !

melanie c - 28th June 2021

you can have a night adventure in your own back garden

Jo B - 24th June 2021


Susan B - 23rd June 2021

How inspiring! Love the south Devon coast and hope to head there soon.

Nicola B - 18th June 2021

Love outdoor adventures north Wales is our next destination. I absolutely love this place and can’t wait to take my daughter for the first time now she is old enough to explore

Rebecca W - 14th June 2021

reading is so important for adults and for kids

Ellen S - 14th June 2021

Great selection of books. Thanks for sharing.

chris b - 14th June 2021

The Isle of Wight for our next adventure

Gill M - 14th June 2021

Fantastic! My children love an adventure, I'll definitely be working through these for them.

Mike P - 14th June 2021

Excellent collection

Tracy B - 13th June 2021

Certainly an inspiring list of books

Michael O - 13th June 2021

Wonderful selection for the kids

Sheri D - 12th June 2021

These books look amazing, we love adventures

Susie W - 12th June 2021

Our next adventure is a walk in the nearby woods, always something new to discover!

Laura C - 11th June 2021

We’re going to north Wales on our next adventure

Bethany I - 11th June 2021

Can't wait to take my little boy on an adventure. Lockdown has been so hard for all of us

Susan B - 11th June 2021

Have come back for another read and to add some of the many books of interest to my bookshelf!

Tracey B - 10th June 2021

Love the books and we love adventures! Always looking for the next one

YVONNE B - 9th June 2021

What a great selection of books to bring new adventures to children of all ages.

Charlotte W - 5th June 2021

Off to zip world in north wales tomorrow!!!

Christine L - 5th June 2021

2020 and so far 2021 have been seriously lacking in adventure but we plan on lots and lots of walking/cycling this year to make up for it and first up is The Monsal Trail in Derbyshire

Laura P - 5th June 2021

We're heading to the Norfolk Broads!

lynn n - 5th June 2021

We hope to explore Wales next!

Susan B - 4th June 2021

Love the interviews! Love the booklist! I ALWAYS love your booklists. Thank you.

Joanne F - 29th May 2021

All the books look great! We hope to go on a bat walk at the bottom of the local hills as I know there are bats there.

Kay G - 29th May 2021

North Wales for us - looking forward to a few days away from home.

Iris W - 29th May 2021

We're of to lovely Whitby tomorrow for a walk by the beach and some sea air, the first time we are leaving our area since last march and we're very excited

Nicola B - 28th May 2021

Some fantastic books here, not sure who’s more excited me or my daughter. We love exploring and the outdoor world

kathleen m - 28th May 2021

We’re off to Whitwick Manor this week to walk in the grounds

Rebecca B - 25th May 2021

Love coastal walks. Always feels like an adventure by the sea.

Michelle H - 25th May 2021

Love going on mini adventures with my little girl. Can’t wait for the summer holidays to go on more. X

Jacqui G - 25th May 2021

Great selection of books.

Helen S - 23rd May 2021

Fantastic collection of books.

jean v - 20th May 2021

A plethora of books showing how every outing can become an adventure, a wonderful collection.

Sally C - 11th May 2021

Wow, these books are amazing!

kathleen m - 9th May 2021

Adventure books are the best

Marion G - 9th May 2021

You Can Have an Outdoor Adventure looks great, as do loads of these books.

Christopher P - 9th May 2021

Having adventures with children is so good for helping stimulate their own imaginations.

Lucy F - 9th May 2021

This is making me want an adventure right now!

Kayleigh P - 9th May 2021

Being outdoors is the best remedy for everything, my 5 kids are never in they are always out getting muddy and exploring some hole or pond. The books we love most to read are Fact/Knowledge books like "Beach explorer" or "Wildlife guide of Birds".

Linda W - 8th May 2021

Some great books on this list.

Gill W - 7th May 2021

Always love an adventure. Can't wait for my next one.

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