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Best Places in the UK to Paraglide

Looking to ditch the everyday monotony for something a bit more…uplifting? Paragliding might be your ticket to a literal high! The UK, with its heart-stopping landscapes and terrain variety that would make a mountain goat jealous, boasts some fantastic locations to take flight. So buckle up, or rather, harness up! Here are some of the best UK paragliding spots for both fresh-off-the-ground beginners and seasoned cloud-chasers.

1. Westbury, Wiltshire

paragliding wiltshire

Kicking off with a classic, the Westbury White Horse in Wiltshire is so beginner-friendly, you’d think it was your grandma (but way more exciting, no offence to grandmas). Managed by the Bristol & Wessex Aeroplane Club, this spot is a dream when the wind is coming from the east to the southeast.

Getting there: It’s about a two-hour drive from London, which isn’t bad unless you get caught in that dreaded M4 traffic. If you prefer trains, it’s a relaxing one and a half hour journey from London Paddington to Westbury.

Pro tip: Those overhead power lines on the east side of the site aren’t there for festive decoration. Keep clear, land at least 100m away from them.

2. Beachy Head, East Sussex

paragliding in sussex

If soaring over dazzling white cliffs while the English Channel sparkles below sounds like your cup of tea, you’ll love Beachy Head. Perfect for intermediate to advanced pilots, this site is run by the good folk at the Southern Hang Gliding Club. It’s a go-to for winds from the west through north to the east.

Getting there: Hop in your car and two hours from London, you’re there. Alternatively, grab a train from London Victoria to Eastbourne, then it’s just a short taxi or bus ride.

Pro tip: Beachy Head can whip up some strong sea breezes, so keep an eye on the weather forecast and get good with top-landing. Bottom landing? Not so much here.

3. Mount Caburn & Newhaven, East Sussex

Paragliding in Newhaven, East Sussex - adventuro

The Lewes and Brighton Paragliding Club watches over these spots, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all, with the best conditions found in winds from the northeast to southeast.

Mount Caburn offers a paragliding experience that combines the thrill of flight with the serenity of the English countryside. Its prominence in the landscape provides an ideal launchpad for pilots of intermediate skill, though beginners, under supervision, can find joy here too. The area is known for its stunning views across the South Downs National Park, so be sure to take a moment to appreciate the panoramic beauty.

Newhaven, situated halfway between the major southern coast vacation spots of Brighton and Eastbourne, provides plenty of opportunities for paragliding experiences. Visit the cliffs lining the coast of this charming small port town and soar through the skies over the white chalk cliffs of this section of the south coast.

Getting there: Just an hour’s journey from London, the area is remarkably accessible. Drive down to Lewes, the nearest town to Mount Caburn, or take a train from London Victoria to Lewes station. From there, a short taxi ride or a brisk walk will lead you to the base of your adventure. Or drive directly to Newhaven.

Pro tip: Keep a vigilant eye on the weather to ensure your flight is as smooth as the breeze that carries you.

4. Long Mynd, Shropshire

paragliding in shropshire

Run by the Long Mynd Soaring Club, this is the spot to test your beginner wings. Best flown in a westerly wind, you’ll be rewarded with eye-watering views of the Shropshire countryside.

Getting there: It’s roughly three hours from London by car. If you’re train-ing it, the nearest station is Church Stretton, a modest 3 miles away.

Pro tip: Model aircraft enthusiasts love it here too. Don’t get buzzed!

5. Mam Tor, Derbyshire

paragliding in derbyshire

Mam Tor, nestled in the heart of the Peak District, is like the mothership of paragliding sites. Operated by the Derbyshire Soaring Club, it’s perfect for all skill levels when the wind is blowing from the west.

Getting there: A three-hour drive from London or if you prefer trains, take the three-hour ride from London to Edale, then it’s a short hike or taxi ride.

Pro tip: Things can get a bit busy in the sky, especially at peak times, so watch out for your fellow fliers!

6. Rhossili, Swansea

paragliding in swansea

A jewel on the Gower Peninsula in Wales, Rhossili offers a coastal paragliding experience so stunning, it’ll bring a tear to your eye. It’s perfect for beginners and intermediates, favouring winds from the southwest to northwest. The site is looked after by the South Wales Paragliding Club.

Getting there: It’s about a four-hour drive from London. Trains from London to Swansea take about three hours, followed by a short bus or taxi ride.

Pro tip: Keep your eyes peeled for hang gliders as this is a shared airspace site.

7. Yorkshire Dales National Park, England

Paragliding in Yorkshire Dales National Park, England - adventuro

Offers open-air with scenic views stretching to the horizon in every direction. The optimal launch spots are located near the charming towns of Settle, along the southwestern fringe of the Dales, and Hawes. Managed by the Yorkshire Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club, it caters to all experience levels, particularly shining when the wind flows from the south through to the east.

Getting there: From London, it’s a solid four-hour drive, a journey that’s as scenic as it is straightforward. For those preferring the rhythm of the rails, the nearest major station is Leeds. From there, a combination of local trains and buses will ferry you closer to your aerial adventure.

Pro tip: Keep a keen eye on weather patterns, as the Dales can switch from serene to challenging swiftly. Be mindful of the livestock; make sure your landings are as respectful as they are graceful, avoiding any furry or feathered locals.

8. Isle of Arran, Scotland

Paragliding in Isle of Arran, Scotland - adventuro

Known as “Scotland in Miniature,” Arran is the essence of Scottish landscapes, from rugged coasts to majestic mountains. The island’s biodiversity is a spectacle in itself, so while you’re navigating the winds, you might catch glimpses of red deer, golden eagles, and seals. The area is a favorite among paragliders for its diverse flying sites, accommodating every level from beginners to advanced pilots. Make your way to Goatfell, the island’s highest point at 874 meters, and launch from its slope to enjoy magnificent views of the mountain, the verdant island, and the waters around it. The Arran Paragliding Club is your go-to guide for the best launch spots, especially favoring winds from the west to southwest.

Getting there: The adventure to Arran starts with a scenic drive to Ardrossan, about an hour from Glasgow, followed by a ferry ride that promises stunning views before you even take off. Once you land on the island, local transport can take you closer to the skies you’re about to explore.

Pro tip: Keep your descent into consideration as you soar, aiming for spacious, safe landing zones. Remember, the weather here can be as changeable as the tales of old, so stay updated on forecasts and always prepare for a swift change.

9. Lake District National Park, England

Paragliding in Lake District National Park, England - adventuro

The Lake District National Park is a masterpiece of lakes, fells, and forests. It’s a paraglider’s dream, offering a combination of tranquility and thrill, suited for pilots of all skill levels and a variety of launching spots. To enjoy stunning views of Derwentwater, one of the larger lakes in this national park, head to the launch spots near Blencathra peak. The area is looked after by the Cumbria Soaring Club, which oversees a variety of sites perfect for catching the breeze, ideally when it comes from the north to northeast.

Getting there: It is a five-hour drive from London. If you’re setting off by train, aim for Windermere station, where you’re just a bus ride away from witnessing the Lakes from above.

Pro tip: Conditions can change rapidly, so always be prepared with the latest weather updates. Be mindful of the protected wildlife and ensure your landings are safe and considerate of the environment. Additionally, the Lake District is a popular spot, so while sharing the skies, camaraderie and communication are key to a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.

10. Dunstable Downs, Bedfordshire

Paragliding in Dunstable Downs, Bedfordshire - adventuro

These Downs are a hotspot for pilots with a range of experiences, though the site shines brightest for those with at least some experience under their belts. The open spaces make it an ideal location for both flying and landing, but it’s also a place of significant natural beauty and history, standing within the larger Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Managed by the Dunstable Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club, the area is most welcoming when the winds flow from the southwest.

Getting there: Located just an hour away from London by car, the Downs are remarkably easy to reach. For those preferring public transport, direct trains from London St Pancras to Luton, followed by a bus or taxi ride, will get you to the heart of Bedfordshire’s most beloved flying site.

Pro tip: Keep an eye on the sky not just for other pilots but also for the abundant birdlife. And while the ridge offers long, smooth flights, always be prepared for sudden changes in weather, as the Downs can quickly turn from calm to challenging. Remember, safety first: make sure your equipment is checked and that you’re familiar with the landing areas.

11. Bossington Hill, Somerset

Paragliding in Bossington Hill, Somerset - adventuro

Located in the heart of Exmoor National Park, Bossington Hill offers a paragliding journey that is as much about the Somerset landscapes as it is about the thrill of the sport. With its rolling hills and panoramic views of the Bristol Channel, it caters to paragliders of all skill levels. It is especially appealing to those with some experience due to the varied wind conditions it offers that range from the northeast to the northwest.

Getting there: Bossington Hill is a hidden gem located about a three-hour drive from London. The nearest train station is Taunton, from where you can take a bus or taxi to get closer to the hill. The rural setting might require a bit of a hike to reach the exact launch points, adding to the adventure of your paragliding experience.

Pro tip: The winds here can offer exhilarating flights, but they can also be tricky, so always check the weather forecast before setting out.

12. North Downs, Surrey

Best places to Paraglide - adventuro

This stretch of the Downs, particularly around the area of Box Hill, offers paragliders a unique vantage point over the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, suitable for pilots of various skill levels but particularly appealing to those with intermediate experience. The Green Dragon Gliding and Paragliding Club oversees activities here, capitalizing on the favorable winds that predominantly come from the south to southeast.

Getting there: Box Hill, a well-known beauty spot on the North Downs, is under an hour’s drive from London, making it an easily accessible retreat from the city. For those opting for public transport, direct trains run from London Waterloo to Dorking, followed by a short bus journey or a hearty walk up to the hill.

Pro tip: The views over the Mole Valley, with the winding river and patchwork fields, are truly spectacular, offering a serene backdrop for your flight. After your descent, the local area offers plenty of opportunities for post-flight relaxation, including exploring the quaint villages and sampling local Surrey fare.

13. The Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains, South Wales

Paragliding in The Brecon Beacons, South Wales - adventuro

The area is particularly rewarding for those with a sense of adventure and a love for exploring the untamed landscapes. The South Wales Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club plays a pivotal role in the flying community here, guiding enthusiasts to the best launch sites to make the most of the prevailing westerly and easterly winds.The panoramic views from above are truly breathtaking, encompassing rolling hills, deep valleys, and on a clear day, the distant sparkle of the Bristol Channel.

Getting there: The journey to the Brecon Beacons is a rewarding expedition from London, taking approximately three to four hours by car. Alternatively, direct train services to Abergavenny, followed by a bus or taxi, offer a seamless route to the heart of the mountains.

Pro tip: The topography of the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains offers a diverse range of flying conditions, from gentle slopes to more challenging mountainous terrain. This diversity means that it’s crucial to be well-prepared for varying weather conditions and to have a solid understanding of mountain flying safety. This area is also popular for hikers, cyclists, and nature enthusiasts, so be mindful of sharing this beautiful space respectfully. 

14. Antrim Hills, Northern Ireland

Paragliding in Antrim Hills, Northern Ireland - adventuro

This area, characterized by its rolling hills and captivating landscapes, is an ideal setting for paragliders looking to explore the natural beauty from above. While the Antrim Hills may not boast the same altitude as some of the UK’s higher peaks, their beauty lies in the unique landscape and the panoramic views they offer, including the possibility of seeing the Scottish coast on clear days. The Northern Ireland Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club often frequents this area, offering guidance and support for both novice and experienced pilots. The Antrim Hills are particularly accommodating when the winds are coming from the south or southwest, providing smooth lift and breathtaking views. 

Getting there: The Antrim Hills are accessible, lying just a short drive from Belfast. This proximity makes them a popular destination for local and visiting pilots alike. For those coming from further afield, Belfast offers excellent rail and road links to the area.

Pro tip: Pilots should be aware of the variable weather conditions that can occur in Northern Ireland and prepare accordingly. Respect the local guidelines and ensure you’re well-informed about the designated landing zones to protect both the environment and the sport’s reputation in the area. 

Remember, paragliding is weather dependent. Check the forecast and site conditions before you go. Fly safe, and most importantly, enjoy the high life!

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Images by Susanne Jutzeler, Schweiz 🇨🇭 💕Thanks for Likes; Greg Larcombe; Roger Thissen; gren; ian kelsall; Harry Burgess

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Max
Co-founder and Chief Adventurer

I am Max, the co-founder and CEO of adventuro. We are on a mission to help you get into the sports you have always wanted to try, or develop in the sports you love, exploring new skills and locations. We do this by partnering with the best instructors, guides, and activity centres to get a great spread from beginner all the way to instructor training.

For too long, it has been way to confusing to find your next steps, or even to know where to start when getting into adventure sports. I am an experienced and/or qualified paraglider, skydiver, scuba diver, freediver, power boat driver, snowboarder, kitesurfer, kayaker, mountain biker, surfer, dirt biker, wakeboarder, and sailor.

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