Live, work and breathe the city? Yearning to escape the rat race? No time to plan? Well I think I’ve found just the thing to help you along the way.
Vespucci Adventures are a UK outdoor adventure company dedicated to encourage people to experience life outside the city. From day trips to weekends away there is something for everyone.
Named after the 16th century Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci who discovered the Americas and gave the country its name. The company aims to encapsulate the explorers sense of adventure and love of maps and inspire its own customers with their curated, self-guided travel guides.
The trips range from easy day adventures for families or beginners to longer trips to the Highlands or South Downs. There are three different types of adventures – Impulse, which are free to download from their website; Signature, between £20 – 35 and Bespoke, at a cost tailored to your specific needs.
All the walks, rides and mini adventures which make the itineraries are all tried and tested by the team of curators. In order to guarantee all the activities are possible in the timescale, accessible and easy for anyone to enjoy.
The Signature Adventures are their premium offering, some of which involve overnight stays. Once ordered, adventure packs arrive through the letterbox containing a customised OS map and guide for your experience along with travel, accommodation, points of interest and kit lists. Most importantly the best places for coffee breaks, picnics and pub stops are all included, saving you from time-consuming research.
Recently I was invited to experience one of the Impulse Adventures, designed to provide a fun one day outing with a group of bloggers and journalists. There really is no excuse not to acquaint ourselves with the great outdoors with these free guides. The thought of escaping the hustle and bustle of London yet experiencing an adventure so close to the city – well I was overcome with excitement, so I was. And it went a little bit like this…
MISSION: Canoe down the River Thames from Cookham to Windsor
Arrived at Paddington Station full of enthusiasm at kicking the office to the kerb for one day. Freedom from the daily grind nearly enough to tip me over the edge, until a cuppa tea appeared and all was calm.
I boarded the train with a smug smile on face. Thrilled at waving ‘bye’ to London for the rest of the day.
Disembarked in Maidenhead raring to go and begin a 7.5km walk to the historic village of Cookham. Once out of the town centre the walk continues along quiet country paths and onto the riverside path.
Literally walking with my mouth open in awe at some of the seriously impressive and beautiful shoreline homes. It was quite exciting to catch the first glimpse the river where I’d soon be flexing my arm muscles.
Once in Cookham we collected our canoes from the lovely Steve at H20 Adventures. We were guided through all the safety aspects of being on board a Canadian canoe and ready to begin our water adventure.
From this point on timings depend on the pace set for the day. If you fancy a stop for a coffee or just to rest and take in the scenery, it’s up to you. The aim of these adventures is to relax and enjoy the experience, not to race the clock.
We were graced with the hottest day of the year on our canoe trip, temperatures reached a sweltering 35 degrees. It felt more like the River Nile than the River Thames at some points. Drinking enough water and slathering on suncream a must!
Luckily there were large shady stretches, where we managed to stop for a breather. When it got too hot some of the team cooled right down and jumped in for a quick dip too.
Paddling downstream we floated past some majestic landmarks, like the stately Cliveden House. Some of the riverside homes were eye-wateringly gorgeous too.
We stopped for a much-needed break and lunch at a picnic area near Boulters Lock. Happily refueled we were ready to take on the river again.
The sunny, peaceful river air along with the rhythmic paddle strokes and riverside wildlife really is the best way to enjoy the British summer time. We spotted the elusive fish (yes they do exist in the Thames!), herons, swans with their cygnets and lots of very large vibrantly colourful dragonflies. An idyllic setup providing the perfect fix to escape the everyday.
We spent four hours on the river, crossed four weirs and steered through numerous locks. Around 3600 paddle strokes later (my arms personally thought more) we finished at Windsor Rowing Club.
I’ve never canoed before in my life and I felt such a great sense of achievement. I’m not going to lie, I found it tough at some points particularly in the heat but so much fun. I left with a renewed sense of adventure and pride.
‘Leave your worries behind and enjoy the mindfulness that a VA itinerary inspires. Re-connect with the world around you!’
So what are you waiting for? Go find your best adventure at www.vespucciadventures.com
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary experience with Vespucci Adventures. However, all views, opinions and photos unless otherwise stated are my own and remain a trademark of the Curious Pixie.
Watch the ‘A day in the life of a Vespucci Adventurer‘ from Vespucci Adventures.
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