From learning a new skill to making new friends, a holiday resolution could offer contentment in the new year. We’ve found 23 in total – see how to save money and where to indulge.
Do more of what you want
Home Tresco, the idyllic, privately owned island in the Isles of Scilly, is hosting a new Sacred Self Retreat from 2-7 March. The moment visitors arrive on this tranquil, car-free island, they will shift down a gear, before embarking on a daily schedule of yoga and meditation with plenty of time for beach walks and relaxation. Five nights’ B&B is £820pp with daily classes, one dinner and a spa treatment, tresco.co.uk
Away Two of the biggest sporting events next year are the Rugby World Cup in France (September to October) and Fifa Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand (July to August). While the ballot for rugby tickets has closed (resales start 24 January), travel-inclusive packages are available. A two-night trip to Nice to see England vs Japan on 17 September costs from £1,145pp with accommodation and match tickets. rwc.englandrugbytravel.com
In Australia, single-match passes are on sale until 3 March. England (in group D) play Denmark in Sydney on 28 July and China in Adelaide on 1 August. Travel-inclusive packages will be offered by official partner Sports World. sportsworld.co.uk
Learn a skill
Home Sail off from Southampton into the Solent to learn how to navigate by the stars. The small-group course, which is based on a yacht, teaches up to four participants how to guide a ship using a sextant, which determines the angle between the horizon and celestial bodies, as it travels down to the Needles on the Isle of Wight and back. Two-night break for £497pp full-board, with tuition, firstclasssailing.com/learn-to-use-a-sextant
Away Take your Duolingo practice to a new level with an immersive language course. In the historic setting of Granada, Spanish lessons can be supplemented by theatre and cinema visits, as well as tapas nights out. One-week courses from €540 (£475) in a single room in a shared apartment, excluding travel to Spain, responsibletravel.com.
Or, if you’ve always been curious about skiing, ease yourself in with Crystal’s Slope Starters package, which takes place in Flaine, in the French Alps, from 11-18 March. Beginner’s course for £995pp including flights, half-board, equipment hire, tuition and lift passes. There is also snowshoeing and social nights out, crystalski.co.uk
Combine work and travel
Home How about a long weekend in Edinburgh or Margate without having to take time off work? Hotels are increasingly focusing attention on their communal spaces, which prioritise Wi-Fi, coffee and desk space over comfy sofas and cocktails (though they are often still available at the end of the day). Eden Locke, an apart-hotel in Edinburgh’s New Town, has 72 compact, stylish apartments with mini kitchens and living areas and a communal café (from £100 a night, lockeliving.com), from where East Lothian, or the drama of the Trossachs, are on the doorstep.
On the Kent coast, Selina has a chic dorm and private rooms, a café and bar – plus you can bring your dog (from £59, selina.com/uk/margate).
Away When holiday giant Tui launches “workation” packages, you know a trend is gaining traction. The digital nomad lifestyle was given a boost by the pandemic when destinations from Caribbean islands and Latin American nations to Malta and Mauritius lured visitors back with new working visas. Spain is expected to ratify its own remote working visa in the coming weeks. The world’s first “Digital Nomad Village” launched in Madeira two years ago. With space for 100 guests at its hotel and co-living spaces in the Ponta do Sol site, and apartments elsewhere on the island, it is a picturesque base for work, with “eternal spring” weather and majestic mountain hikes on the doorstep. digitalnomads.startupmadeira.eu
Develop your palate
Home Portuguese, Korean, Ethiopian… you can take a tour around the world through the many cuisines available in London’s smaller restaurants and cafés. Along Brick Lane, try an understated spot such as Graam Bangla. Its Sylheti dishes are recommended by travel writer, author and journalist Tharik Hussain, who is one of six co-writers of the Lonely Planet book Experience London (£16.99).
Away Take a four-night rail trip through northern France with slow-travel specialists Byway Travel. A food market filled with local produce in Wazemmes (Lille), a cooking workshop tutored by a local chef in Arras and a seafood lunch in Boulogne (France’s largest fishing port) are among the culinary highlights. You will travel to and from France via Eurostar and on local railways between each stop. From £625p, B&B accommodation included, byway.travel
Go somewhere new
Home Rutland is England’s smallest and one of its least-visited counties. Self-styled as the “county of good taste”, the East Midlands region is ideal for an indulgent short break. A new hotel, Barnsdale Lodge, will open near the picturesque Rutland Water in spring under the stewardship of the company that has reinvented The Mitre in Hampton Court and The Retreat at Elcot Park in Wiltshire – expect bold and bright patterns, and exemplary food. signet.ltd
Away Greece has been a popular destination for British holidaymakers this year, but few go to the pine-clad island of Agistri, between Piraeus and the Peloponnese. Alongside a trio of pretty villages are gorgeous beaches, hiking and cycling trails, all easily accessed from Athens. A week’s B&B at Oasis Beach Hotel from £748pp with Gatwick flights, olympicholidays.com
From some of the world’s oldest vineyards to techno raves, Georgia is a fascinating but often overlooked holiday destination. A new group tour for 18- to 35-year-olds packs in highlights from the capital Tbilisi to fortresses and the Caucasus mountains. Eight days from £1,909pp, excluding flights, contiki.com.
British Airways will start flying direct from Heathrow to Guyana in March. The only English-speaking country in South America is drenched in rainforest, with the magnificent Kaieteur Falls a highlight. Eight-day jungle trekking holidays from £1,552pp, excluding flights, responsibletravel.com
Home Start the New Year feeling rested with a stay and spa day at Horwood House in Buckinghamshire. It is offering discounts on its “Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Stay” package, including one night’s accommodation, use of the spa, a treatment, £26 to spend on dinner and a gift of sleep-promoting products. From £190pp for stays between Sunday and Friday, horwoodhouse.co.uk
Away Take a trip to Cortina d’Ampezzo in northern Italy where you can test out a clutch of technology designed to encourage good sleep at HOTEL de LEN. A “sleep radiance panel”, a tool for reducing “electromagnetic disturbances” and a filter for “electromagnetic fields” are fitted in each room. Less high-tech means of inducing sleep include mountain hikes and a spa treatment. From £300 per night B&B based on two sharing, hoteldelen.it
Make new friends
Home American holiday camps of the sort seen in Dirty Dancing are taking hold in the UK. Camp Kindling offers summer breaks for parents with children under 18. Summer’s offering includes three days of activities such as dodgeball, beekeeping and swing dancing. As well as children’s discos, there are nightly adults-only after-parties. Adults from £215, children from £95, campkindling.co.uk
Away School or university may be the easiest times to meet like-minded people, but group holidays can offer an alternative avenue later in life. Skyros Holidays organises multi-activity breaks in Greece’s Atsitsa Bay. Around 70 per cent of guests are aged 35 to 65, with stand-up comedy, yoga, kayaking, music, dance and writing among the courses on offer. Holidays in Atsitsa Bay run from 1 July to 23 September 2023, from £845pp a week, excluding flights, skyros.com
Take better pictures
Home Scotland’s dramatic scenery is particularly photogenic, and a smartphone is unlikely to do it justice. Glencoe is an ideal place to start. Accompanied by a professional photographer, you will have one-to-one tuition that can also include drone photography. From £1,250 for up to three, pauldavidsmith.co.uk
Away Many of us are guilty of over-zealous smartphone snapping, but a wildlife-focused trip can concentrate our attention on getting the best pictures, using a good old-fashioned camera. On Ireland’s Great Saltee, a renowned breeding ground and bird sanctuary, are Atlantic puffin, guillemots, razorbills, skylarks and more. Spring tides coincide with golden hours, making it a decidedly photogenic spot. As well as photographic tuition, there is time for editing back at base. Six-night trip, departing 21 May, from £2,195pp with full board and tuition, wildlifeworldwide.com
Home Head to Liverpool, the Unesco City of Music that will host Eurovision on behalf of Ukraine in May, with fan zones and cultural events that will precede 25th anniversary celebrations of the city’s Biennial – a visual arts festival that will run from 10 June to 17 September. visitliverpool.com
Away Australia is set to host Sydney WorldPride 2023, from 17 February to 5 March. It is the 50th anniversary of the first Australian Gay Pride Week, which should ramp up the celebrations. 12-night holiday to Sydney during the event from £2,879pp, flightcentre.co.uk
Relive your youth
Home The summer camp is given an adult-focused reboot in North Wales in July. The Good Life Society is running four consecutive long-weekend “micro festivals” on the Hawarden Estate at which days will be spent learning woodland crafts and survival skills and evenings will be spent around the campfire after a delicious dinner. Some of the tutors and cooks attending will include Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Thomasina Miers. Tickets from £312.50pp, thegoodlifesociety.co.uk/events/summer-camp-2023
Away Reignite a passion for video-game classics in California. Opening on 17 February at Universal Studios Hollywood, Super Nintendo World will feature a Mario Kart ride, Bowser’s Castle and interactive gameplay (universalstudioshollywood.com).
Celebrity Cruises hosts several themed voyages, including an Ultimate Disco cruise between Florida and Mexico in late February, with performances by Kool & the Gang, Billy Ocean and Sister Sledge. One week from $1,749pp, excluding flights, ultimatediscocruise.com
Home Plan a solo reading retreat in a remote, off-grid cabin. Pack your bags and books and settle in for days of page-turning, interspersed with walks and maybe the odd bike ride. On the Isle of Wight, Tiny Homes are dinky A-frame timber lodges next to ancient woodland (from £95 a night for up to four). Smaller still are the Apex Cabins in North Yorkshire (from £120 per night for two, kiphideaways.com).
Away America’s Deep South – including Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee – may be most popular among UK holidaymakers for their musical heritage. However, the literary talent of these states is equally rich. From the Alabama town of Monroeville that inspired Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird to the Mississippi Literary Trail that features William Faulkner, Richard Wright and Eudora Welty, a tour of the southern states will add a fresh stack of books to your bedside table. 14-night Literary Trail of the South tour from £1,794pp, including flights, accommodation and car hire, americaasyoulikeit.com
Home Forgo the gruel of a marathon and test your stamina on a British countryside challenge. Much Better Adventures offers a weekend in Wales during which you will hike, swim and stand-up paddleboard through Snowdonia. Kayaking Scotland’s west coast and winter climbs are among other options. From £375.25pp, April to September, muchbetteradventures.com
Away Already familiar with endurance events? Then ramp up extremes of temperature, miles and terrain on a “Bucket List” trip with Rat Race. Choose your (life-affirming) poison: traverse Mongolia’s 100-mile frozen Lake Khovsgol; bike, run and walk up to 300km (186 miles) in the Namibian desert or tackle jungle humidity on a coast-to-coast trek in Panama. Iceland, Patagonia, the Arctic Circle, Andes and Guatemala also provide backdrops among 10 options that will test your resolve. From £2,950pp, excluding flights, ratracebucketlist.com