Learning holidays are the perfect way for you to pick a new skill while surrounded by beautiful scenery. %VIRTUAL-ArticleSidebar-dream holidays% If you're looking for an unusual holiday idea, then this little selection will definitely tickle your fancy.If you've always wanted to learn how to take great photos, why not head for exotic Marrakech to capture colourful snaps with a pro?
Or fancy taking to the sea and learning how to sail? In Mauritius you can do it in the beautiful turquoise sea while relaxing in the sunshine too.
Creative breaks are all the rage and offer travellers more than just sun, sea and sand. Not only will do they offer you amazing holiday memories, but you can learn valuable skills that you have always dreamed of having.
Cooking, surfing and dancing are just a few of the activities you can experience to do something different on holiday.
Here are ten terrific new learning holidays for you to return home with more than just a fridge magnet...
Top ten learning holidays
Ten fabulous new learning holidays for 2014
Fancy learning a new skill but don’t want to give your entire, precious holiday to the project? In Mauritius you can learn to sail while soaking up the sunshine of the exotic Indian Ocean island. Wildwind Adventures' new winter sun adventure holiday combines sailing with other activities and relaxation. Whether realising a childhood ambition or topping up existing skills, the Indian Ocean offers great conditions for both beginner and expert alike. The holiday includes sailing lessons with rainforest tours, catamaran trips and even stand-up paddle boarding, with prices from £1,495 per person for seven nights' half-board at the Coral Azur hotel, flights from Gatwick and activities.
Tanneries, carpet sellers, spices and souks - Marrakech is a delight for the eyes and a photographer's haven with a myriad of colour and movement to capture on camera. This year, Mosaic Palais Aziza & Spa has teamed up with professional photographer Terry Munson to give guests the chance to snap the streets of Morocco's Imperial city with the help of an expert. You'll rise early to catch the morning light, visit a colourful vegetable market and dip in and out of the souks to capture daily life in the city on the photographic tour. Marrakech through a Lens costs from €745 per person based on two sharing a pavilion on a B&B basis for three nights, with return private airport transfer, dinner at Maroliano restaurant on one evening with a bottle of local wine, hammam and scrub spa treatment each and a photography tour of the medina with Terry Munson.
Ever wondered what it would feel like to ride an elephant? At The Sarojin in Thailand you can find out and learn under the expert guidance of a local mahout, the name for a professional elephant rider. You’ll discover how it feels to perch atop the head of an elephant and command which way it goes. Introductory classes include a half day on The Sarojin beach and options for a full day trekking on foot or by elephant back through some of Thailand’s most incredible jungles. Prices start from £1,980 including five nights' accommodation with all-day à la carte breakfast and sparkling wine.
A unique blend of martial art and dance, the Brazilian sport of Capoeira incorporates quick rhythmic moves and use of core strength to produce acrobatic performances. Visitors to Rio de Janeiro are often treated to impromptu street performances, which crop up all over the city. You can go one step further and learn from an expert at the Nestor Capoeira School, which offers classes in English. With Sunvil Traveller, a seven-night trip to Rio costs from £1,975 per person including flights from Heathrow, private transfers and seven nights’ B&B.
Forget struggling with clutch control and grappling with hill starts. The driving lessons in Finnish Lapland teach you the art of mushing: driving a husky-pulled sled. Over the course of a five-day husky safari with The White Circle you will lead your own team of dogs through a wild and unspoilt landscape of snow and forests, learning to guide their sled and emulate the natural rhythm of the canine team. Nights are spent in wilderness accommodation, unsullied by pollution or noise. Holidays are between December and March and the Harriniva Husky Safari costs from £1,845 per person, including flights from London, six nights’ full-board and warm clothing.
Make your visit to the Caribbean more than just about topping up your tan by training with Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Becky Adlington. For a Caribbean break with a difference, Virgin Holidays is offering a stay at the Palm Island Resort in the Grenadines and a swim workshop with the Olympics star. The free Swim Palm Island with Becky Adlington workshop runs from 4 to 7 May 2014 and covers the health and therapeutic benefits of sea swimming, concluding with an optional open water challenge in the tranquil turquoise waters around the island. Set over four days (2-3 hours daily) during a seven-day stay on Palm Island, the workshop also includes one-to-one time with Becky for questions. Seven nights in Palm Island including scheduled flights with Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick to Barbados with onward transfers to Union Island, accommodation at the Palm Island Resort on an all-inclusive basis and the Becky Adlington workshop starts from £2,099.
Head for South American and experience life as a gaucho - the rugged Argentinian equivalent to cowboys that roam the pampas. A trip with Rickshaw Travel starts in Buenos Aires with a bus to Gualeguaychu before heading out to the pampas and peaceful estancia. Activities with the gauchos include cattle herding, a horse-drawn carriage tour, cooking classes and horse riding across the plains. The two-day trip starts from £265 per person and includes travel to and from the estancia, meals and accommodation.
Cook up a storm in Brazil and learn how to make traditional Brazilian food and cocktails. GetYourGuide.co.uk offers four-hour hands-on classes where you can taste and make Brazil's coconut seafood stew, moqueca, cassava sticks and caipirinhas. There are two menus to choose from and once you've mixed your cocktails and cooked your first Brazilian meal, you can enjoy eating what you've made. Classes take place in Centro and start from £46.50 per person.
Go on a unique journey with an aboriginal tour in Australia to discover tropical North Queensland through the eyes of its original inhabitants. The Bama Way's Walker Family Tours are bushwalks with a difference and invite you to listen to the close-knit women of the Walker Family as they discuss the history of the land and cultural significance of the area through the eyes of those who have lived there for tens of thousands of years, before taking you to the magnificent Bloomfields Falls. Linc and Brandon Walker will teach you how to spear fish for crabs in the mangroves and forage for bush tucker. They then take you back to their beach front home to cook the catch of the day so you can enjoy the best of Queensland’s fresh seafood. The Walker Family Tours cost from $25 (£15) per person for adults and $12.50 (£7.50) per child.
Hit the waves in Ireland and get the kids learning how to surf on a family holiday. Cliff House Hotel boasts a seaside location and encourages guests to engage with the great outdoors. This year, the hotel has teamed up with Ardmore Adventures to offer children the chance to learn how to surf. Children can experience the thrill and excitement of catching their first wave in Whiting Bay, around the corner from Ardmore. They will also learn about safety in the water to ensure they get the maximum from their surfing experience. After surfing the Irish Sea, children can play on the beach, go kayaking or enjoy a swim or read by the hotel pool. Family stays at Cliff House cost from £430 per night in an interconnecting Terrace Suite room. Surfing courses start from £20 for two hours for under 16 years and £30 for two hours for over 16s.