Days Out: Bear Grylls Adventure, Birmingham

Last weekend we went to Birmingham for an adventure or two. On our to do list was a visit to the brand new Bear Grylls Adventure centre which is at Birmingham NEC. My husband is no stranger to adventure and extreme sports, so as a special treat I’d booked him in to experience the Base Camp and to go snorkeling with sharks.

We drove from Birmingham and parked a 15 minute walk away in the designated car park. There might be closer parking, but if not, take a coat, the walk around the lake to the centre is very blowy. The Bear Grylls Adventure centre is easy to find and you can see if from quite far away as you approach. We got ourselves booked in; husband had the Base Camp + Snorkeling ticket and the boy and I had spectator tickets, he was too young to take part and someone needed to take care of him.

Days Out: Bear Grylls Adventure, Birmingham

My husband (who henceforth will be referred to as Matt, because that is his name) signed a waiver. He then went through to the lockers and joined his group. People go through the Bear Grylls Adventure in groups, so this would be a really great thing to do with a group of friends or through work maybe.

He was soon ushered off to complete the first Base Camp activity. There are four Base Camp activities which your group works their way through; Survival Maze, Escape Room, Assault Course and Target Archery. Included in the Base Camp package are digital photos, so you get a little book all about your adventure, which is a nice touch. Tickets to do the Base Camp only are £20.

Days Out: Bear Grylls Adventure, Birmingham

There are other “Hero” activities which you can add on. There are High Ropes, Climbing Wall, Snorkeling, iFly (indoor skydiving) and Scuba Diving. We went for the Snorkeling, which including the Base Camp cost £45 per ticket.

Matt went through all the Base Camp activities; this should have taken a little under two hours, but there was a problem with a group ahead of them and they ran out of time so didn’t get the chance to try the archery. The groups were led around Base Camp by a pair of guides. The guides helped everyone through, so if you struggle, there is someone there to help. Matt especially liked the Assault Course, he’s done similar things like that before and he’s a keen runner so it was really up his street.

Days Out: Bear Grylls Adventure, Birmingham

After he’d finished the Base Camp portion of the afternoon he met up with the Snorkeling group. There they were given instructions and a safety talk, he changed into a wet suit and he was plunged into a cage in the shark tank.

From our point of view, the angle and positioning of the cage made it really hard to see him. In fact from the outside you wouldn’t know there was anyone in the cage and he couldn’t see us either. The shark tank contains 14 black tipped reef sharks, stingrays and a whole shoal of colourful fish. It’s very beautiful to look at and is rightly the visual centrepiece of the Bear Grylls Adventure centre.

Days Out: Bear Grylls Adventure, Birmingham

Although he really enjoyed the snorkeling activity, he’s since said that he would have preferred to do the scuba dive. We watched a group scuba dive in the tank and it was much more interactive. But the snorkeling is probably about the right level if you’re a beginner or a bit nervous.

The inside of Bear Grylls Adventure is really well done; the floor looks like a rutted, muddy track and there are expedition trucks, crashed planes and replica crocodiles to admire. There’s also a Bear Grylls figure clinging to a rock which you can go and pose near for photographs.

From a spectators perspective, there’s not a great deal to do to fill the hours. There’s a cafe area and you can hang around in the main area waiting for your friend or in my case, husband to briefly appear before moving onto the next challenge. We did get a bit bored after a while, so if you’re just going to support someone, take a book.

Days Out: Bear Grylls Adventure, Birmingham

The Bear Grylls Adventure centre is very well put together. The activities are well organised and everything feels safe. I think the prices for the activities are very reasonable; it would be a great way to spend an afternoon bonding with friends or work mates.

If like us you have a Merlin Annual pass, then you get 25% off the cost of your adventure. I do recommend that before booking you read the FAQ section on their website and have a good think about what “Hero” activities you would like to do.

Husband left with a big smile on his face. He didn’t quite know what to expect when we arrived; but he’d scrambled through a survival maze, eaten dried insects, escaped the escape room, scrambled over the assault course and snorkeled with sharks. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Birmingham!

Find out more about the Bear Grylls Adventure Centre in Birmingham by visiting their website

Disclosure: We are Merlin Annual Pass Ambassadors this year. All images and opinions are our own.

How it feels to be the victim of online bullying & trolling

Tuesday was a funny old day really. I got trolled on Twitter by some men with nothing better to do than pick on someone for being not very feminine. They suggested a number of things about my lifestyle and life choices, but were unnecessarily nasty about it and then patronising when I failed to respond. This is online bullying. I’ve encountered these types before, they were doing it to provoke a reaction, so I gave them none, but it just made me feel very sad and cast a gloomy cloud over my day.

I’m not perfect, but I try where I can to be nice to almost everyone. Online I’m friendly and supportive, occasionally forthright in my opinions, but more often than not I am very happy to see both sides and as a result I rarely get any stick. I’m not used to it, I’m not a fence sitter, but I’m not naturally argumentative. I hate conflict, so when it happens, when people turn on me for no other reason than for their own entertainment, it shocks me and gives me an unwanted shake up.

Of course the right thing to do was to block them and try to give no further thought to it. It’s something or nothing in the grand scheme of things and I doubt they’ll go to bed with anxiety about it twisting in the pit of their stomach.

I’m not even going to attempt to figure out why randomers are mean to people on the Internet. If I was putting myself out there with maybe a slightly outlandish political opinion, or I was inviting heated debate into my Twitter timeline, then I would almost expect some stick or some online bullying, but I’m not. I’m a normal girl who writes occasionally amusing tweets, chats online to friends and Tweets pictures of her breakfast (a lot, sorry about that).

There are plenty of women, ballsy women, who take this unwanted attention in their stride. I am not one of them. I had thought of a rather good retort, but I felt a response would give them some satisfaction that they had got to me in some way, which of course they had.

My anxiety is always there, sometimes it is a big voice, a grinding in my stomach, a pounding in my heart and I can hardly catch my breath. Sometimes it just whispers that I should be fearful, but when it whispers I can usually ignore it. Today it’s been the big voice anxiety. I’ve seen Twitter pile-ups happen and I have a dread that my notifications would be swarming with hate. Thankfully (touch wood) just a couple of nasties said their piece, got bored when I wouldn’t bite and then I quietly blocked them.

Quite simply. Why do some people need to be so mean?

I’ve been watching The Island with Bear Grylls (which has been brilliant). He has a saying which I’m quite taken with, “with courage and kindness you can conquer the world”. And do you know, I think he’s right. I need a bit more courage and mean people need a bit more kindness. Wouldn’t the world be a better place for us all if kindness, compassion and courage were at the heart of everything we did? Nannight xx

Online bullying

“With courage and kindness you can conquer the world.”