STYLE

Learn A New Skill, Expand Your Mind...Whilst On Holiday

04/01/2011 15:17 | Updated 22 May 2015

Whether it's learning a new language, making jewellery, writing your novel, or - um - beekeeping, the easiest way to keep your New Year's resolution this year is to sign up for a trip away with an expert.

We've tracked down some of the best learning holidays around, from Cornwall to Thailand, via Syria and Sicily. So if your resolution is to go somewhere hot and sunny, we've got that covered too...

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The Perfect 10: Holidays to keep your New Year's resolutions

They say that everyone has a novel in them – so why not try to unleash yours in the bustling Moroccan city of Marrakech? At chic Riad El Fenn, you can sign up to a course run by British author Raffaella Barker, with exercises, feedback and one-to-one tuition, whether you're trying your hand at your first short story or have an epic begging to be written down.

As well as the sunshine, there's a 7,000ft roof terrace and hammam to relax in, plus the main square Djemaa el Fna just five minutes walk away. The creative writing course runs from January 24-28, priced from £945, including four nights' full board accommodation. Tours without accommodation cost £705 per person. BA, Easyjet and Ryanair all fly to Marrakech.

The Perfect 10: Holidays to keep your New Year's resolutions

If you've always wished you were better on the dancefloor, you can tick off two New Year's resolutions in one and salsa off a few pounds as you learn the steps or improve your technique. Club Dance Holidays runs a string of salsa courses throughout the year for all skill levels, although it's one of the easiest dance types to pick up if you're afraid you have two left feet. And don't worry if you don't have a partner or dancing buddy, as 70% of people on the courses travel without one – and around a third are complete beginners.

Try the Champagne Salsa weekend in Barcelona, from January 29-31, including four hours of salsa classes, a chance to try out your skills in the city's clubs and do some cava tasting. Priced £299, it includes two nights' bed and breakfast, plus the tuition, but excludes flights. Easyjet flies to Barcelona from around £55 return.

There's also a Salsa in Cuba course running from March 20-27, priced £1,599 including flights with Virgin Atlantic and at least 15 hours tuition with a team of professional Cuban dancers. The company are currently offering two weeks for the price of one, so you could get 14 days in a Casa Particular, staying with locals. For more salsa courses in the UK, Europe and world-wide, go to Club Dance Holidays for more information.

The Perfect 10: Holidays to keep your New Year's resolutions

Your mum might be able to turn up a hem in the blink of an eye, but if you're not at home with a needle, it's never too late to learn. And rather than boring basics like how to sew on a button, the new sewing weekend course with Poppy Treffry at the seaside Bedruthan Steps hotel in Cornwall covers everything from pattern cutting to needle craft and stitching.

Perfect if you've always longed to design your own clothes, or give those high street purchases a few bespoke twists, the course also helps you create one finished piece of work – either a bag, tea cosy or cushion - to show off when you get back home.

The course costs from £264 per person, including two nights' accommodation, dinner, bed and breakfast, and the next course runs from March 25-27.

The Perfect 10: Holidays to keep your New Year's resolutions

Wish your holiday photos were more impressive than happy snaps? Where better to learn to take fabulous pictures than on location? Photography holiday specialists Frui Creative Holidays and Courses runs trips in various locations, so why not head to one of 2011's hottest destinations, Syria.

The eight-day tour includes Damascus, Aleppo, Palmyra, with experienced guides and expert tutors boosting your knowledge behind the camera – and of what you're snapping. If you're a beginner, the course covers many of the basics and techniques of digital photography, while more experienced photographers can recap on any gaps in their knowledge or develop their own style further.

The course costs £1,599, excluding flights, and the next tour runs from March 21-28. BMI flies to Damascus and some tours can arrange discounted flights if you book far enough in advance. Frui has also recently launched a 10-day holiday in Kerala, India, priced £1,999, excluding flights.

The Perfect 10: Holidays to keep your New Year's resolutions

Why limit your trip to keeping just one resolution when you could do even more? With i-to-i Volunteer and Adventure Travel you could spend a couple of weeks honing your Spanish skills in Argentina before giving something back to the community by working in one of the children's homes in Buenos Aires.

The Learn Spanish and Work in a Children's Home trip lasts a minimum of four weeks, with most of the first fortnight spent developing your language skills and the final two weeks working with children. There's also free time to explore Buenos Aires and practise your Spanish on the locals as well. The trip costs £1,199 for four weeks. Flights are not included. Departures are year-round and the next trips start on February 6, February 20 and March 6. British Airways flies to Buenos Aires from around £975 return in February.

The Perfect 10: Holidays to keep your New Year's resolutions

If you love food and you love travelling, it's hard to beat a trip which combines both. The Tamarind and Spice tour from Telltale Travel takes you around four regions of Thailand, with cooking lessons everywhere from an organic farm to a desert island. The trip includes meetings with local experts, who introduce you to the best local flavours and share their own recipes, as you head from capital Bangkok to the Central Plains, Chiang Mai and Krabi.

The Perfect 10: Holidays to keep your New Year's resolutions

There's also chance to do some sightseeing with a trip along Bangkok's Chao Phraya Rivera and the Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha plus ancient capital Ayutthaya, as well as meeting the headman's wife in a Thai village who'll show you how to pick the best on sale at the market, a jungle survival skills adventure and a chance to relax by the turquoise waters of the Andaman Coast.

The courses cost £1,900 including flights, accommodation, cooking lessons, activities, excursions, transport and most meals. The next trip takes place from February 5-19.

The Perfect 10: Holidays to keep your New Year's resolutions

If you're fed up spending your salary on accessories, sign up for a jewellery-making course. Learning holidays specialist GoLearnTo has a trip to Aveyron, in south west France's Midi-Pyrenees region, which lets you learn how to make and design your own creations, using silver, Swarovski crystals, freshwater pearls and semi-precious stones.

The eight-day holiday takes place throughout the year and costs from £500, including accommodation, six days of lessons, all materials and equipment, breakfast, lunch most days and sightseeing excursions. Transfers from Rodez airport or train station are also included, but flights are not. Ryanair flies to Rodez.

Or you could sign up for the Organic Beauty Products and Perfume Making Course in the Languedoc, priced £775 for six days, which takes place on May 26 and August 25, excluding flights. Easyjet flies to Montpellier and Ryanair flies to Beziers.

The Perfect 10: Holidays to keep your New Year's resolutions

There's no better place to learn a language than in the country itself, so sign up for a learning holiday with Cactus Language Training, which offers courses in 500 destinations. You could make it a double resolution trip with options like surfing and French courses in Biarritz or yoga and Spanish in Costa Rica, or sign up for an in-depth introduction to Italian on the island of Sicily.

The course covers reading, writing and speaking, and is suitable for learners of all abilities. You can join a group class for lessons in the morning, then have the afternoons and evenings free to explore. You can also choose individual courses for one-to-one tuition.

The course at Palermo in Sicily costs from around £349 for two weeks, including 15 hours of Italian lessons per week, and run year-round. You can choose from staying with a host family, a private apartment and hotel, among other options. Or there are courses at Cagliari in Sardinia from £259. Flights are not included. Easyjet flies to Palermo and Cagliari.

The Perfect 10: Holidays to keep your New Year's resolutions

Forget school art classes – if you'd like to improve your painting skills, head to a landscape that's begging to be immortalised on canvas. The Paint Andalucia course is based in Torrox, around 50km east of Malaga, where you can take your brush to the traditional white buildings (not literally) or the Andalusian scenery. The course is suitable for all levels of experience, and there will be short lectures as well as advice from resident professional artist Anna Martin to help you with your technique.

The Perfect 10: Holidays to keep your New Year's resolutions

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