New figures reveal active breaks are racing ahead in popularity stakes

When it comes to taking time away, we all have our own ideas about what we would like to do. I personally love getting a balance of sightseeing and rest and relaxation but that isn’t right for everybody.


Time from work is precious, so it’s imperative that you choose a break that suits your needs. This is causing an interesting shift in terms of holidays; gone are the days of relaxing by the beach or slopping in front of the pool. More and more people are looking to get away, in the UK or abroad, to unwind on an activity holiday.

There many different ways to enjoy an active holiday, but there is one activity accelerating out in front of the pack.

Any ideas?

Pedal power

It is, of course, cycling. This year has seen several high-profile cycling events taking place in the UK. The Tour de France had its opening leg in the UK, while earlier this month, Prudential Ride London closed down vast swathes of central London and Surrey as bikes took centre stage on some of our busiest roads. And if that isn’t enough, Spain’s La Vuelta will be on ITV4 throughout September.

All of this has led the Guardian to report a 10-40 per cent increase in interest in cycling-related holidays. This all adds up to some 3.8 million people looking to take to two wheels this holiday season. All of which combine to make cycling the activity that has seen the biggest gains in recent years.

But it’s not just from the relative comfort of a saddle that people are keen to get out and keep active. A YouGov survey found that over the past five years, 52 per cent of respondents had set out on a walking or rambling holiday,  while 26 per cent had opted for a more rigorous hiking or trekking holiday. This all appears to be a far cry from the package beach holidays of yesteryear. Cycling comes in at a disappointing 17 per cent over the same five-year period. However, this is before the 2012 Wiggo-factor really came into its own.

Shift in mindset

This two-wheel trend is not just coming from the under-35 bracket either. In fact, activity breaks extend across generations. As a nation we are becoming much more health aware; 29 million Brits tried to improve fitness and shift the pounds in 2013. While that doesn’t necessarily show that we’re becoming healthier as a nation, it certainly points towards a shift in perspective of the British psyche.

But perhaps there is more to this trend than just the desire to stay fit and healthy. A term you hear bandied around the travel community these days is refined wilderness. It’s an interesting term that suggests not only a touch of the outdoors and activity, but finessed with a touch of class and personalisation. Activity breaks with that touch of individuality and luxury during which you can do as much – or as little – as you want.

There are lots of holiday and break providers popping up catering towards this, Center Parcs, now in its 27th year in the UK, are at the forefront of this.

If these trends are anything to go by it suggests that not only the young but also the more mature travellers are taking an interest in keeping active, both on holiday and at home.

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Amy Dickson

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Amy Dickson

As Brand Content Manager I plan, create and curate the best articles, photos, videos and music for our channels, in particular the blog. With a degree in Journalism under my belt and many years’ experience in the big smoke as a journalist and editor, my focus is firmly on discovering the little gems hidden away in Center Parcs life, before buffing them up to make them sparkle online. From on-village events to the latest travel industry trends, I’ll be there – notepad in hand – to bring you the most entertaining and interesting stories.