A mini-break doesn’t have to be about indulging in food and wine. Unwind and discover new skills away from the stress of daily life…
Sailing in County Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Ahoy there, matey! Fancy channelling your inner Captain Jack and learning how to sail? On the Sportsyacht Start Sailing Course, you’ll find out how to tie basic knots, rig the boat, set the sail, steer with the tiller – and learn what weather to go out in and what to avoid! The course is held at the Irish National Sailing Club, and you’ll need to book your own accommodation. Choose between the classic glamour of the nearby Royal Marine Hotel, or the more modern Fitzwilliam Hotel, which is a 20-minute drive away in central Dublin. COST £169 for a weekend course
CALL +353 (0)1 284 4195 or visit The Irish National Sailing Club, Royal Marine Hotel, The Fitzwilliam Hotel.
Yoga at Tilton House, Sussex
If you don’t know your ‘downward dog’ from your ‘warrior’, don’t worry. Whatever your level, at these weekend-long yoga workshops, experienced tutors help you unwind from the hectic pace of modern life. Nestled beneath the South Downs, Tilton House is the perfect place to de-stress. The gorgeous Georgian country house has seven bedrooms, decorated with natural materials, with hammocks in the garden to kick back in and relax, and a firepit in a woodland clearing – the perfect setting for stargazing as night closes in. For the more energetic, there is a tennis court, and walking maps are available to help you explore the beautiful countryside.
COST approx £330 for a weekend, including five or six yoga sessions, all food and accommodation
CALL 01323 811570 or visit tiltonhouse.co.uk
Bushcraft on Raasay Island, Scotland
With its conifer and natural birch forests, heather moorlands, remote lochs, and miles of untracked land, the Scottish island of Raasay is the perfect setting for escaping urban life and going a little bit feral. You can tailor the weekend to suit you, choosing from a number of activities. On the bushcraft course, learn to distinguish between the edible and inedible, forage and fish for your dinner, and then cook it over a fire you’ve started without matches. Then take your pick from other activities, such as bird and deer watching, archery, kayaking, coasteering, and gorge walking.
COST From £15 (£250, including accommodation and food)
Medicine making at Trill Farm, Devon
Discover Mother Nature’s best-kept secrets on this intriguing two-day course about the history, folklore and healing properties of herbs. Over the weekend you’ll learn about 15 common herbs, where to find them in nature, how to use them as medicine, and how to create your own remedies to take home with you. As well as these courses, you can choose from a wealth of different activities, from beekeeping to basket making. Over the weekend, you’ll stay in the comfortable eco guesthouse – a renovated old stable block, featuring ground source under-floor heating, solar-heated water, and a log burner.
Creative writing at Tŷ Newydd, Wales
Channel your inner Austen while relaxing in the gorgeous surroundings of West Wales. Tŷ Newydd Writers’ Centre is set in an old country house in Llanystumdwy. With its secluded gardens and stunning views over Cardigan Bay, where better to get inspired to pen a bestseller? You don’t have to be a veteran wordsmith to enjoy it, either – they’re open to all levels of experience, in whatever genre or language you choose to write, including travel writing, poetry or storytelling. In your downtime, take a walk along the beach and river, or venture into the nearby mountains of Snowdonia.
COST ranging from £275 for a weekend course including accommodation and food
CALL 01766 522811 or visit literaturewales.org/ty-newydd/