An educational or learning holiday will offer an opportunity to experience something different, challenge yourself and give you a holiday to remember. What's more, skilling-up when you’ve downed tools and switched off the laptop can work wonders for your CV and LinkedIn profile.
Research suggests that lifelong learning – be it a new language or hobby – increases your mental wellbeing, self-confidence, and overall happiness. Trying something new is one of mental health charity Mind Cymru's ‘Five ways to wellbeing’, along with staying connected, being active, giving and taking notice. So challenging ourselves to learn new things on holiday contributes positively to our mental health too!
Does beekeeping or biosphere reserves grab your attention? Or perhaps spoon carving or storytelling is more your thing? If so then read on…
What is an educational or learning holiday?
It’s a way of combining learning with leisure via a paid-for or pre-booked course or workshop. The possibilities are endless, and opportunities typically cover themes such as heritage, arts and culture, wildlife and the countryside, eco/sustainability and outdoor skills and pastimes.
Attractions across Wales offer opportunities for visitors to get stuck in and learn during their trip; giving you the chance to develop new skills, make new friends and find new hobbies during your visit! Here are some of the experiences on offer:
Green designs and green fingers
The Centre of Alternative Technology in Mid Wales offers a variety of courses, ranging from how to make your home or office more energy-efficient by eco-refurbishing it, to gardening courses, giving insights into how to help wildlife thrive in your garden. Other courses include how to protect and care for bees, how to rethink your household's energy provision and how to build natural and healthy homes.
Located at the foot of Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park near Machynlleth, some of the courses offer you the opportunity to stay onsite in CAT’s inspirational eco-accommodation, and learn from the experts on how to make your home, office or garden cost-effective and greener. Information on the short courses available can be found on the CAT website.
Carving out your next career
Fall in love all over again with art and crafting at Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales. Their seven museums are located in some of the most unique spots in Wales, providing perfect locations to try something new. The short courses are inspired by the objects and stories from the Museum collections and include blacksmithing, spoon carving and leatherwork, as well as basket and mat weaving. Full details can be found on the Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales website.
Create your own crafts
Nestled in the beautiful scenery of Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park, the Corris Craft Centre provides a wonderful sensory experience across nine unique working craft studios. Submerge yourself in a variety of workshops including candle dipping, furniture building, pottery painting and chocolate making, all hosted by individual designer-makers. Experiment with your creative flair and have fun with the whole family. Further information on these activities can be found on the Corris Craft Centre website.
Get crafty with a massive selection of traditional and contemporary courses at Wernog Wood, near Ruthin in North Wales. Here, you can try all sorts of traditional crafts including blacksmithing, leather tooling, woodwork and furniture making. There are some lovely creative courses as well - you can try your hand at different painting styles, making botanical beauty products, creating a dazzling stained glass window or fire a Raku pot. Some courses run over a weekend, many are one-day, but whichever you chose to do, you'll come home with a beautiful piece of your own craftwork.
Pen your own bestseller
If you dream of becoming a writer one day, pack your creativity and imagination and book a course at Tŷ Newydd in Llanystymdwy, North Wales. It may be the perfect way to start the next chapter of your literary journey.
Housed in an historic, Grade II-listed building and run by Literature Wales, Tŷ Newydd provides a culturally rich and inspiring environment to indulge in some much needed peace and quiet on your writing holiday.
Spend anything from one day to a whole week in beautiful surroundings overlooking Cardigan Bay. There are a variety of bilingual courses ranging from poetry to how to thrill, scare and surprise your reader. You’ll also enjoy inspirational readings from professional writers who will be on hand to guide your learning through workshops and one-to-ones. And if you want to be alone, the Retreat Cottage provides the ideal hide-away.
Read more: Creating a masterpiece at Tŷ Newydd
Croeso i Gymru
Enrol on one of Nant Gwrtheyrn's language courses and brush up on your Welsh whilst enjoying the beautiful coastlines of the Llŷn Peninsula. There are numerous online options to learn - but visitors choosing an educational holiday at Nant Gwrtheyrn get to stay on the site of an old quarry in historic Victorian cottages. The accommodation is furnished to a high standard, with traditional Welsh wooden furniture and blankets; catering for wheelchair users where necessary.
Courses vary in duration and style, but emphasise speaking Welsh and aim to build your confidence as a visitor to Wales. Expert teachers will be on hand to tailor things to your individual or group needs, so you’ll get lots of one-to-one support.
At one with nature
Getting back to nature is not only physically and mentally therapeutic, but it can equip you with some surprisingly useful skills and to top it off, you can be rewarded with a hearty feast too! Learn to forage sustainably and responsibly along one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world with Fishing and Foraging Wales, where chef Matt Powell offers a unique guided foraging and fine-dining experience.