Holidaying alone may sound intimidating, but dedicating time to yourself can help you relax, be more creative and even boost your self-esteem. Here are 9 unique ways to find happiness for one.
Travelling alone might not be everyone’s idea of fun but taking the plunge every now and again may well be worth it. The ability to enjoy spending time alone could help us feel less stressed and more satisfied with our lives, according to psychotherapist Amy Morin, author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.
It’s no surprise that more of us are packing our bags and flying solo – Lonely Planet reported a 14% rise in solo holidays last year, with women over 50 leading the charge for solo travel in the UK.
Time to plan your own mini trip? Try one of these solo experiences close to home…
1. Channel your inner yogi
If you want to escape the daily grind, book into the Lime Wood hotel’s A Taste of Kamalaya retreat. Each day begins with an early morning yoga session and a healthy breakfast. With the peaceful New Forest as your backdrop, it’s the perfect place for inner reflection and to learn new things – from the ancient art of meditation to mindful cooking.
Book it: To book a 2-night retreat, visit Mr & Mrs Smith
2. Spend time learning a new craft
Learning a new skill, believe it or not, is the perfect solitary activity. If you’ve always wanted to learn floristry, drawing or even weaving but never found the time, gift yourself a weekend at Daylesford Organic Farm in Gloucestershire. They host unique and crafty workshops all through the year and there’s an impressive organic farm shop to peruse after.
Book it: Visit Daylesford Organic Farm’s events page to book your place
3. Cycle away to the Scottish Isles
Blow away the cobwebs with a self-guided bike tour in the highlands. Solo travel specialist Hooked on Cycling provide your route instructions and maps, giving you the freedom to set your own pace, start times and pit stops. The route is beautifully remote, so remember to carry spares and tools and keep someone informed of your rough itinerary. Once you’ve covered the basics, the only thing left to do is to take in the views.
Book it: 7-day self-guided Scottish Island Hopping tour from £660
Photo: Visit Scotland
4. Take yourself on a city break
If you’re not ready to stay overnight, try a solo day trip to a cultural city. Leeds is home to some of the best modern art galleries such as the White Cloth Gallery, plus it’s possible to explore on foot. Pack your camera and follow the public art trail from the train station or watch an arthouse film in the Grade II-listed Hyde Park Picture House with its original ticket booth. Try not to follow a set route and let yourself explore – this allows your brain a chance to wander and recharge, too.
5. Try farm-to-table cooking
The Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland is set on a 300-acre organic farm that grows everything from artichokes and sea kale to lemon grass and juicy figs. If you’re used to a chaotic kitchen filled with family or housemates, the short cookery courses will be a welcome break. From foraging to fermentation (in the fermenting shed, of course) you can meet like-minded foodies and learn plenty of new kitchen tricks without having to worry about the washing up.
Book it: Half-day classes start from £105
6. Challenge yourself to a healthy fitness break
Whether you’re working on a training goal or want to kickstart your regime, Champneys fitness boot camps will help you feel inspired. Take part in woodland running trails, intensive HIIT sessions and even hula hooping classes. The resident health experts are also on hand to answer any questions. Even better, the social dining room and healthy buffet make solo dining a very relaxing experience.
Book it: 2-night boot camps at Champneys start from £459
7. Help others in the great outdoors
The National Trust offers a variety of ‘working holidays’ where you can help out with essential conservation work in exchange for affordable, full board accommodation. You can opt for an archaeological dig experience or get stuck in planting new trees, either way you’ll be helping rangers tend to the land and get the opportunity to learn about the nearby National Trust properties. Use it as a chance to leave technology behind for a few days and you’ll come back feeling reenergised.
Book it: National Trust working holidays start from £90 for 2 nights
©National Trust Images / John Millar
8. Learn to surf the waves
The little-known Rest Bay in South Wales is an ideal spot for solo surfers, as the beach boasts some of the best rideable waves in the UK and it’s easily reachable from Cardiff station. You won’t be out on the water alone – there are two surf schools to choose from and lessons start from as little as £30. When you need to re-fuel, head up to one of the friendly B&Bs for tea and cake.
Book it: Porthcawl Surf School offers one week surf courses or 2-hour lessons
9. Treat yourself to a self-care staycation
You don’t need to travel to spend time by yourself. Try turning your home into a staycation haven and plan a day of relaxation. If you can, choose a day when everyone else is out and disconnect any tech so you can fully focus on you. Start by making yourself a healthy breakfast or having a long bath, then clear the day for things that will make you unashamedly relaxed, whether it’s reading, freshening up your space or getting stuck into a project you usually don’t have time for.
Is stress ruling your day? Meditation can help us feel happier and less anxious – check out our 5 best meditation apps to get started.
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