From staycation to vacation, Margaret Hussey rounds up some of the best activity getaways on offer. Whether you want to get back to basics and try out your survival skills or want to brush up on your Caribbean cooking, here are some of Margaret’s top ideas for those that want more than just to fly and flop.
Rambling in Richmond
Making the most of its stunning location, Richmond Harbour Hotel & Spa offers complimentary bikes to explore the local area. Or you can spend hours rambling and spotting the deer around the 2,500-acre Richmond Park just minutes from the hotel. They will provide a gourmet picnic hamper too. They also have guided meditation walks and running sessions. Or you can wander down to Richmond Village and pace yourself around the shops. Back at the hotel there are Les Mills fitness classes and the chance to swim in the hotel’s 20-metre heated swimming pool. And you can soothe those tired muscles in the sauna, steam room and outdoor Scandinavian hot tubs.
Rooms from £140 per night www.harbourhotels.co.uk
Cycling in Cyprus
Get back into pedal power at the Almyra hotel in Paphos. It’s launched the Athlos Cycling Club offering keen cyclists the chance to explore the Cypriot countryside. Meeting every Wednesday at the Athlos Bike Hub, professional cyclists will take you along well-loved trails to previously inaccessible corners of the country. The complimentary rides vary in difficulty and focus on a different theme each week from hill climbing to road cycling. All Cycling Club members are provided with all of the required kit to get them on the road – including a cycling jersey and water bottle. And you get complimentary access to the Almyra spa for a post-ride wind down.
Rooms from 216 euros (approx. £184) www.almyra.com
Survival skills at Sani
Luxury holiday destination Sani Resort has launched its Bear Grylls Survival Academy for all the family. Children over eight and teenagers are encouraged to push themselves and learn new skills on the resort’s 1,000-acre ecological reserve in Halkidiki, Greece. You can learn how to build shelters and fires, navigating and signalling, to astro navigation on a night walk through the woodlands. Other activities include spear making, stalking and tracking, raft making and catching wild food of your own. You can then build your own shelter and campfire before settling down for the night.
The Bear Grylls Survival Academy costs 40 euros per day per person. Rooms start from 129 euros. www.saniresort.gr
Sailing in Switzerland
It’s not all about snow in the Swiss Alps when it comes to activities. In the beautiful Upper Engadine Valley you can pack in the adventure with Suvretta House’s Fit and Fun activities. The hotel is just minutes from Lake Silvaplana, the largest natural lake in the Alps spanning over 1,000 metres. Suvretta House can arrange professional sailing instructors to take guests out. There’s also 580km of hiking trails on the hotel’s doorsteps, not to mention Goat Trekking, which includes hiking in the mountains with Heidi the goat guide. You couldn’t get more Swiss than that.
Rooms from CHF 430 (approx £339) www.suvrettahouse.ch/en/
Cooking in the Caribbean
At Rosewood Little Dix Bay, in the British Virgin Islands, chef Francisco Sanabria offers cooking classes for groups or families. Using fresh ingredients grown in its own organic garden the Spanish chef will show you how to rustle up tapas-style food with West Indian influences. They also offer a Caribbean Gastronomy Tour, which begins with a tasting at the Rum Room discovering the flavours of rums from around the world – they serve over 100 types here – followed by a tasting menu at Reef House in a private alcove overlooking the ocean. Price is $140 per head. www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/little-dix-bay-virgin-gorda