Learning holidays offer adventure travel for both body and mind
If you usually come home from holiday with nothing more than a great tan, why not consider returning with something more enduring? Newfound knowledge! As travellers seek to combine fun and relaxation with an educational experience, more and more resorts and hotels are offering programmes on countless subjects. Here are some of our favourites:
Orient-Express Hotels offers botanical and wildlife painting classes in several of its hotels. Why not try the Peruvian Orchid Painting trip led by Carol Woodin, a botanical artist? The eight-day programme starts in Lima, Peru, taking in Cuzco and Machu Picchu.
Cactus Language offers courses in a wide range of languages all over the world and classes are small.
Inntravel offers three-night Cook Around Europe weekend breaks. Learn about Norman dishes in the Auberge du Val au Casne in Normandy.
The Holiday Place offers salsa courses in Cuba. Try the two-week “Salsa Caribe” trip.
PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) and BSAC (British Sub-Aqua Club) both offer internationally recognised qualifications.
The International School of Mountaineering offers a vast range of courses for everyone, from beginners to technically advanced climbers. The “Summits and Skills 4,000 metre” is a six-day course in Leysin in the Swiss Alps, which introduces the techniques of Alpine mountaineering. Participants climb a 4,000 metre peak at the end of the week.
Arblaster & Clarke Wine Tours offers wine tours all over the world, including vineyard walks, gourmet tours, and champagne and wine cruises. New this year is a three-night opera and wine tour in Lucca, which also takes in two performances at the Puccini Festival.
Distillery Destinations offers a range of bespoke Scottish tours, teaching the art of whisky making in the region’s numerous distilleries, from Bunnahabhain and Glenfiddich to Highland Park and Glenturret.
Light and Land offers holidays across the UK, Europe, North America and Namibia. A professional photographer travels with the group. Their week in Catalonia is led by the photographers Phil Malpas and Clive Minnitt.
Ride World Wide offers trail riding for experienced riders all over the world. Imagine a 10-day safari on horseback in the Kenyan Masai Mara – unforgettable!
Marriott’s Grande Vista Resort in Orlando, Seaview Resort in New Jersey and Shadow Ridge in Palm Desert, California, all offer the perfect getaway for golf enthusiasts. Each has a Faldo Golf Institute, designed to help golf students of every age and ability, providing top instruction in beautiful settings.
As you will see, learning holidays offer a great mix of relaxation, exercise, adventure, discovery and the deep satisfaction that comes from exploring a long-neglected hobby. So, whether you want to perfect your harmonica, learn how to tell a planetary nebula from a globular cluster, master the greens, become an expert in navigating by compass or discover what the F-stops on your camera do, there is a learning trip out there for you. Whatever your interest, wherever your destination, long after the tans and photos have faded, the satisfaction of a learning holiday will remain.