Bear Grylls Adventure in Birmingham will leave you feeling exhausted in the most satisfying way

I AM staring upwards when I feel an insistent tap on my shoulder. I wave my husband away – but feel another nudge.

Rolling my eyes, I turn to wave him away again . . . and am confronted instead by a small cownose ray bumping into me.

I’m in a tank filled with one million litres of saltwater, surrounded by almost 1,000 types of fish, shark and ray.

Perhaps most surprisingly of all, I am in Birmingham.

It is thanks to Bear Grylls, of all people, that I am here.

His adventure park aims to challenge visitors, both physically and mentally, with an array of adrenalin-pumping challenges.

Credit: Ben Queenborough

One of its greatest draws is this huge underwater world in which I find myself, humming Under The Sea from The Little Mermaid.

It takes a short dive-skills briefing with chatty instructor Mike before we can slide into the water, kitted out with our bouancy control device, masks and fins.

But as soon as we are in, we are bombarded with a glittering display of sealife.

As wide-eyed visitors gawp from the outside, we squeeze bottles of fish food into the water – and are enveloped in a cloud of hungry puffer and angel fish.

It is a staggering 50-minute experience that gives you an impressive taste of what diving has to offer.

Even for experienced divers, the novelty of getting to see so much marine life up close will make your jaw drop.


But our adventure day with Bear is far from over. Following that underwater world, we head for the high ropes course.

Dangling from a safety harness, we wobble our way up four storeys of ropes and wooden platforms.

Bonded by our mutual terror, I manage to make many friends 20 metres above the ground, encouraging them across tougher platforms and laughing with hysterical fear as we make it across. You can even throw yourself off the freefall platform if you feel like you need an extra shot of adrenalin.

And if that is not high enough for you, the iFly experience is sure to get your heart racing.

It simulates sky-diving with the help of a wind tunnel.

I am thrown into freefall with a stupid grin stuck on my face, my arms and legs waving wildly.

 The iFly experience is sure to get your heart racing - it simulates sky-diving with the help of a wind tunnel


The iFly experience is sure to get your heart racing – it simulates sky-diving with the help of a wind tunnel

Luckily I have Sergio, a skydiver with more than 4,000 jumps under his belt, by my side.

He manhandles my flailing limbs until I am in the right position before the wind pushes us up even higher, twisting and turning into nothingness.

Weird. I was submerged a few short hours ago, and now I am flying through the air?

Next door there is archery, across from that a shooting experience and a rock-climbing wall around the corner.


THE Bear Grylls Adventure is at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.

Tickets to Basecamp are priced at £20, with combined Basecamp and adventure packages from £35.

Basecamp plus a Shark Dive is from £100. A Go ALL IN Pass is from £160 for a full day adventure.


You can even race through a combat course, complete with netting to crawl under and walls to scramble over.

It makes for an exhausting day . . . and Bear’s excited voice from the introductory videos is still ringing in my head. But it has also been a day without phones, thankfully.

The physical demands consumed my thoughts and pushed me into things I never thought I would have done.

Heading back to London, my friends promptly fall asleep on the train – truly the sign of an exhausting, satisfying adventure.

I tap my husband’s shoulder, nudging him awake.

“So when can we go diving again?” I ask.

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