New Year's travel resolutions - and how to keep them

Book into La Casella, a 1,000-acre estate with equestrian centre near Orvieto in Umbria, with Real Holidays (020 7359 3938; Riding tuition is available at all levels and accommodation is provided in four renovated farmhouses with two swimming pools, a tennis court and bikes for guests.

Plus point: Children aged four to 10 can join the centre's pony club.
Cost: From £998.90 per person, full board, including flights and car hire. Riding is extra.
Take up bridge
Book a four-night Get Started with Bridge break with HF Holidays (0845 470 7558; Mornings are used for teaching and coaching sessions, with competitions organised every evening.
Plus point: HF Holidays will arrange partnerships if you are travelling alone, and you can combine bridge with walking and sightseeing excursions.
Cost From £318 per person, full board, at Abingworth Hall in the South Downs.
Send an email
Six hours of computer tuition can be combined into a four-night, midweek break at Cricket St Thomas Hotel in Somerset through Warner Leisure Hotels (0800 138 2633; The course covers computer terminology, using the mouse, creating files, emailing and surfing the web.
Plus point: The hotel is a Grade II listed 1820s mansion in 160 acres of parkland.
Cost: From £259 per person, half board, sharing an Ambassador double or twin. The "Computer Skills for Beginners" supplement is £40.
Become a wine connoisseur
Extend your knowledge of French wines with a three-night Bordeaux Wine & City tour in April, September or November organised by specialist operator Arblaster & Clark (01730 263111; A tasting on the first evening is followed by a visit to Baron de Rothschild's Château Clarke and a tour of the Médoc and Graves regions.
Plus point: Exclusive invitations to lunch at privately-owned chateaux.
Cost: From £499 per person, including breakfasts and two lunches. Travel extra.
Learn to cook
The Italian cookery courses offered by Flavours (0131 343 2500; range from a long weekend to a week at centres in Tuscany, Puglia, Sicily and Bologna. Puglia's course is based in 17th-century Casino Pisanelli, where week-long courses include outings to Lecce and Gallipoli, and a wine tasting.
Plus point: No single supplements.
Cost: from £849 per person (four nights) to £1,599 (seven nights).
Brush up your painting skills
Tuition in oils or acrylic is geared to individual needs at Hartland Peninsula Arts near Bideford in Devon (01237 441490; Courses, with artist Roy Evans, are in groups of up to five, and though daily programmes are dictated by the weather they do try to make the most of the beautiful local scenery.
Plus point: Non-painting partners and friends are welcome and qualify for a lower accommodation-only rate.
Cost: From £300 per person for three days, including tuition, meals and cottage-style rooms close to the studio.
Take the children to swim with dolphins
Travel City Direct (0844 557 6969; offers a day's dolphin swim for children aged six and over at Discovery Cove (, in Orlando, Florida.
Plus point: Package includes entry to SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay or Aquatica.
Cost: From £799 per person, based on two adults and two children sharing on a room-only basis staying at the Baymont Inn & Suites, departing mid-April with Virgin Atlantic flights from Gatwick. The dolphin swim costs £195.
Give your home a makeover
Layout, style and colours are explored on a two-day course called Be Your Own Interior Designer, which takes place at The Hamptons Hotel in Ilfracombe, Devon (01271 864246; on January 15, February 19 and March 19 in groups of up to 10. There will be lectures from a professional interior designer, who will also oversee practical tuition on texture, soft furnishing and decorative lighting.
Plus point: Participants will come away with a personal sample board.
Cost: From £378 per person, or £598 per couple with breakfast, lunch and two nights' accommodation.
Reach a higher octave
Book a one or two-week singing holiday with Authentic Adventures (01453 834137 The holidays take place in Taroudant in south-west Morocco, Kerala in India and Abruzzo in Italy, and singing sessions are combined with leisurely sightseeing, meals and walking itineraries. Group sizes range between 12 and 30 people.
Plus point: Social get-togethers are arranged with local choirs and musicians.
Cost: From £899 per person, with most meals but not flights.
Know your elymus from your elbow
Explore the flora-rich nature reserves around Flatford Mill in Suffolk on a three-night Wild Flowers for Beginners course in early June with botanist Ros Bennett. Run by the Field Studies Centres (FSC, 0845 3454071;, the course is open to families and individuals, with accommodation by the River Stour.
Plus point: Good timing for families as the course coincides with the Whitsun half-term week.
Cost: £288 per person, full board.
Take better photos
Lakeland Photographic Holidays in Keswick (017687 78459; caters for budding photographers of all ages and abilities. Workshop themes vary, but the centre is particularly strong on landscape photography. Tuition also covers the basics of Photoshop to help you make the most of digital images.
Plus point: Lovely location in six acres of beautiful woodland by Skiddaw and Bassenthwaite Lake.
Cost: From £380 per person for four nights, including all meals and tuition.
Write a novel
Refine your writing skills on a two-week cruise with Swan Hellenic (0845 246 9700; The Venetian Republic, departing in September, includes new writing workshops supervised by authors Sara Wheeler, Paul Bailey and Jeremy Lewis, covering the art of writing fiction, memoirs and biographies, travel, history and poetry.
Plus point: There's a prize for the best pieces of fiction or non-fiction writing.
Cost: From £1,925 per person.
Learn to scuba dive
Where better to learn than in the warm Caribbean waters off Grenada with Regaldive (01353 659 999;, staying at the Blue Horizons Resort. As well as numerous coral gardens and local wrecks, you can explore more than 60 surreal underwater sculpted human figures, erected on nearby Molinere reef.
Plus point: The hotel is 300 yards from stunning Grand Anse Beach.
Cost: From £1,226 for seven nights, room-only, with transfers, a PADI Open Water Learn to Dive course (including tuition and equipment). Departs Gatwick in January.
Become a twitcher
Take a three or four-night birding break in north Norfolk organised by Limosa Holidays (01263 578143; From a base in Old Hunstanton, an expert guide accompanies small groups to coastal hides. Depending on when you travel, sightings might include snow bunting, hen harriers, yellow-browed warblers and little egrets.
Plus point: There is a maximum of eight people per tour and there are no single supplements.
Cost: From £495, full board.
Learn a language
The British Institute in Florence ( runs monthly programmes, allowing you to sign up for one to four-week courses. The courses cater for all standards, from beginners to advanced (ability is assessed before classes are allocated) and the institute can also advise on local accommodation.
Plus point You can combine the one-month language course with a range of classes in Italian Renaissance art.
Cost From €205 (£183) for one week.
Hit a hole in one
Improve your swing at the luxurious Gleneagles hotel (0800 389 3737;, in Perthshire, which has an on-site golf academy and three championship golf courses. Would-be golfers and improvers can book lessons at £65 per person for an hour's group tuition (minimum two people), or £95 per person for an hour's individual lesson with a PGA Professional.
Plus point: The nine-hole Wee Course is a good starting point for novices.
Cost: From £120 per person, per night for the "Fall into Spring" season, with breakfast.
Learn to sail
Book a five-day RYA competent crew certificate at Club Vounaki, which is run by Sunsail (0844 463 6495; in the Greek Ionian Islands. A newly opened sailing school for 2010 offers various courses with accommodation in the Club rooms or on board a yacht.
Plus point: The price includes use of swimming pool, tennis courts, mountain bikes, gym and spa. Cost: From £749 per person in May, including flights and transfers.
Acquire the art of snowshoeing
Spend a long weekend snowshoeing in Sicily through pine forests and across old lava flows on the slopes of Mount Etna with Explore (0844 499 0901; The technique is easy to learn and, on this trip, is combined with cross-country skiing and hiking through the Gorge of Alcantara.
Plus point: The trip includes a visit to Taormina and its Greek amphitheatre.
Cost: From £827 per person for three nights' b & b in small hotels, two lunches and all activities, departing from Gatwick on February 19.
Improve your backhand
The new four-star Club Phokaia in Turkey's Mersinaki Bay has four tennis courts, with tuition, as well as sailing, windsurfing and mountain biking. Neilson (0844 879 8155; offers packages, and the sizeable swimming pool and large number of interconnecting rooms make it a good choice for families.
Plus point: Group tennis tuition is included in the price of the holiday.
Cost: From £570 per person in May, with most meals, children's clubs and activities. Individual coaching costs €30 per hour.
Be more creative
Stained glass and mosaic-making are two of this summer's creative courses offered by Skyros Holidays (01983 865566; at its Atsitsa Bay centre in Greece. The emphasis is on fun, and the aim is to learn the skills and techniques needed to continue the craft once you return home.
Plus point: Accompanying partners or friends can choose from a wide range of other courses.
Cost: From £845 per person (stained glass), £1,045 (mosaics), full board. Flights are not included. Read More....

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