Feel like shaking things up this year? So do we, and the good news is, to make 2014 a healthier, dancier, artier, foodier – generally more fun-filled year – you don’t even have to venture to far afield as the UK has loads to offer…
Luxury fitness with 38° North, Cornwall
Luxury eco hotel The Scarlet in Cornwall is teaming up with 38° North to offer Luxury Fitness Holidays in the New Year. 38° North is a team of qualified fitness experts offering personalised training tailored to individual abilities. The fitness breaks focus on re-awakening your passion for exercise concentrating on fun, enjoyable and varied activities. Think runs across the Atlantic coast paths, beach workouts, yoga in the Scarlet studio, mountain biking across Cornish moorland and surfing sessions on Mawgan Porth beach. Then you can take time to recuperate in the Scarlet spa in a cliff top hot tub and refuel with delicious locally sourced, healthy dishes from the Scarlet restaurant. Breaks run from January to April and start from £1,259 for three nights.
Learn to dance in Manchester with Strictly stars
Join BBC Strictly Come Dancing stars Anton Du Beke & Erin Boag for a weekend dance break in Manchester. Enjoy a dance class with Anton and Erin, watch them showcase their ballroom skills up close and personal, get exclusive back-stage access after their performance for autographs and join a black tie ball in the evening. Accommodation is at the four star Village Premier Hotel and Leisure Club and the early bird package price is just £175 per person.
Learn how to snap like a professional, Lake District
Idyllically set in the Lake District and suitable for everyone from beginner to expert, Lakeland Photographic Holidays take participants off the beaten track to some of Cumbria’s most awe-inspiring views to focus on nature, landscapes and walking. Each day is spent doing rather than talking, with John Gravett – one of the most respected landscape photographers in the UK – providing practical coaching from the field. Delicious breakfasts and packed lunches are provided and at night participants can enjoy four-course home-cooked dinners complemented with post-production reviews of images taken during the day. Workshops cost from £685 for six nights, including accommodation, tuition, food, soft drinks and excursions.
Learn to drive a steam train at the Old Windmill, Norfolk
From March next year, the Bure Valley Steam Railway at Cromer in north Norfolk will offer courses in steam train driving. Much more than just riding on the footplate – these will comprise an education in the principles of steam locomotives – including safety, preparation and driving the train. Stay nearby at the Old Windmill, a former corn mill built in the 1800s which has been converted into an unusual home for six. The property features three bedrooms, an open plan living area, wood-burner and secluded patio garden. A two-night mid-week break in the spring costs from £275 for up to six sharing. The one-day steam train driving courses cost from £225 per person.
Become a domestic god or goddess, Devon
A weekend dinner party course at Ashburton Cookery School will give you a host of dinner party ideas and teach you fail-safe recipes for canapés, starters, main courses and desserts. Over two days you will learn a selection of simple-to-make but guaranteed-to-impress recipes and will even be given pointers on how to best organise your kitchen so you can get ahead and actually spend time with your guests when they arrive. This is a hands-on course so you will be cooking throughout the day, learning to perfect the recipes and picking up some great plating and presentation tips. At the end of the weekend you will be brimming with new ideas and confident to execute a fantastic dinner party – or sign up for the next series of Come Dine With Me. Courses cost £315 per person including two days’ tuition, course notes, recipes, meals. Accommodation on-site from £59 B&B (single), £89 B&B (double).
Singing for the tone deaf, Cumbria
If you were ever told NOT to sing when you were at school, then this break is for you. This weekend away at Higham Hall in Bassenthwaite, Cumbria, is designed both for those who have attended previous Singing for the Tone Deaf weekends at Higham, and also any interested ‘beginners’, including those who have never dared sing before. Over the two-night break you’ll learn plenty of new songs, vocal exercises and music reading skills. Success is guaranteed – fun certainly is – and students will go away having achieved much more than they dared hope for. The next course takes place 7 – 9 February and costs £209 including accommodation.
Craft or chill at Bedruthan, Cornwall
Slow to Cornwall’s pace and marvel at the breath-taking coastline whilst learning a new skill at Bedruthan in north Cornwall. This award-winning hotel has a plethora of crafty breaks on offer, from learning how to sew and weave baskets to cob oven making and bee keeping. Alternatively, if you’re keen to make a fresh start in 2014 and fully detox from all the festive partying, book a spa break and sit back and relax in Bedruthan’s luxurious spa pool, cleansing cedar sauna, eucalyptus steam room and lavender caldarium.
Honey making, Shropshire
Get close to nature on a weekend-long bee-keeping course at Tiger Hall in Shropshire – you’ll get expert tuition and guidance from Charles Millar, who has been keeping bees for 12 years. Combine several hours of practical beekeeping – working with the bees, in pairs or on your own – with the relevant theory and learn fascinating facts as you go. Two-day courses take place in April and May next year and cost from £375 with an overnight stay at the nearby Long Mynd Hotel.
Any fun day out or memorable weekend away in the UK heavily depends on the weather, to get an up-to-date forecast, click here.
For more great ideas to help make 2014 a year to remember, go to: www.visitengland.co.uk