The UKs Most Adventurous Cities

30 April 2018

If it’s the great outdoors that you’re after then the UK has it all. We’re not just talking about sedate coastal walks and countryside ramblings. It’s all about adrenaline filled activities that get your heart pumped. We are talking rock climbing up sheer cliff faces; nothing but you and an outstretched surface in front. We’re speaking about caving; exploring an undiscovered world underneath the earth’s surface. We’re talking about mountain biking; mastering rocky terrains and conquering them on two wheels.

So just how popular are outdoor sports? And whom among us are the most adventurous? By analysing Google Trends, we’ve mapped the popularity of outdoor adventure sports across UK cities.

Willerby used Google Trends to assess the popularity of 20 outdoor sports across 22 UK cities. Google Trends attributed a number between 0-100 for each sport. The popularity of outdoor sports as a collective has been awarded by calculating the average Google Trends number across all 20 sports.

Our study revealed that Edinburgh is the most adventurous city in the UK with an overall popularity score of 70. Snowboarding had the highest Google Trends score across all 20 sports that were analysed. It was Glasgow that claimed second place with an overall popularity score of 59. However, Glaswegians have more of an interest in bouldering than any other adventure sport. In third place it was Bristol with a popularity score of 51, making it the most adventurous city in England. It’s rock climbing which was the outdoor sport of choice in this city.


You heard it here first, straight from the horse's mouth (see what we did there?) Equestrianism is the most popular outdoor sport in the UK, with a Google Trend score of 83. Horseback riding is a pastime that has been around for centuries and is very much part of the UK’s history. There are plenty of horse riding centres up and down the country and what makes horse riding so accessible is the fact that it can be enjoyed by all ages and by differing abilities.

It seems that the tale of Robin Hood is an inspirational one, with Archery claiming second place as the UK’s most popular outdoor sport. With a Google Trend score of 82, the sport is one that is popular with families as just about anyone can take part.

Rock climbing is a popular pastime in the UK and also has a popularity score of 82. The interest in the sport can be attributed to the fact that it offers so much flexibility. Accomplished rock climbers have so many places to challenge themselves, from the 350 climbing routes at Cheddar Gorge to the lofty heights of Glen Coe. However, there are plenty of beginner friendly options too, as well as the growing number of indoor climbing centres.

Popularity of Outdoor Sports Over Time

The number of outdoor activities available in the UK has certainly grown over the last decade, with many of us looking for alternatives to holidays by the beach. Nowadays, it’s all about savouring the ‘experience’ and doing something that is unique.

From our analysis, there are four outdoor sports that have significantly grown in popularity over the last 10 years. Stand-up paddleboarding is a water sport that is growing in popularity all over the world. Google Trends showed a popularity increase of 766% over a ten year period. Bouldering has enjoyed a popularity increase of 100% over the last ten years, with more and more people up for a vertical challenge. It is so popular that the sport is now scheduled to feature in the 2020 Olympic Games. It’s no surprise, given the vast density of green land in the UK that hiking has also grown in popularity- by 105%. Rock climbing has also enjoyed an increase of 30% in popularity levels.

If you’re planning a staycation this summer, why not try something new?