Coach trips: 10 winning destinations

Catch a wave, brush up your backhand or putt with a professional instructor. Ian McCurrach picks holidays for the energetic
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The Independent Travel

1. Surfing in Brazil

Brazil is the new surfing hot-spot, in particular Praia do Rosa beach in Florianopolis, an area south of Rio de Janeiro. The Vida Sol e Mar resort and school offers weekly courses throughout the year where you can progress from novice to surfing dude in seven days. Based at Vida Sol e Mar's pousada, perched on dunes overlooking the beach and a short stroll from the main break, the school offers a two-hour morning class each day with a maximum of four students per instructor. All equipment is provided, from the longer, softer beginners' boards to wetsuits. After an on-beach training session, covering safety, right-of-way, surf etiquette and stand-up techniques, you are ready to hit the water. Florianopolis is a short flight south of Rio, in a stunning landscape where huge tracts of well-preserved Atlantic rainforest tumble on to deserted beaches.

Last Frontiers (01296 653000; offers a seven-night, half-board break in the three/four-star Pousada Vida from £993, based on two sharing, from August to December (the best time for waves), including flights, transfers, tuition and all equipment.

2. Tennis in Florida

Wannabe Roger Federers should head for the Saddlebrook Resort, a specialist tennis and golf complex just north of Tampa on Florida's Gulf coast. The Saddlebrook has 45 courts covering every major tournament surface, including red clay, Rebound Ace and Wimbledon-style grass. Experienced staff can arrange lessons, clinics and tournaments for individuals and groups of all sizes. Established by the former Australian champion Harry Hopman, the Saddlebrook Tennis Academy caters to children, adult beginners and professionals. Individuals benefit from five hours of instruction each day, grouped with others of similar ability. Hopman's techniques encourage stamina, endurance, speed and agility. Many instructors are former pros, teaching a maximum of four players at a time. Week-long and weekend courses or single days are available.

The Saddlebrook Resort (001 813 973 1111; offers a two-night b&b package in a deluxe suite from £248 per person, based on two sharing, including five hours of tennis coaching per day. British Airways (0870-850 9850; flies from Gatwick to Tampa from £440 return.

3. Swimming in Lanzarote

Swim in the sun and improve your technique with the former Olympic swimming champion Robin Brew and his team of professional coaches at Club La Santa. This is a great location for families and individuals looking for a relaxed break and the opportunity to boost their swimming skills. The week-long Robin Brew Masters Swim Courses includes two, daily, coached, training sessions in six ability groups along with stretching routines, gym work and classroom coaching during which you learn from the pros and see yourself swim on video. Coaches are Amateur Swimming Association trained and have taught swimmers such as Sharron Davies and Mark Foster.

Club La Santa (0161-790 9890; offers Robin Brew Masters Swim Courses on 6 October and 3 November from £750 per person, based on three sharing a self-catering apartment. The price includes flights, transfers and tuition. For details call Liz Brew (01822 840067;

4. Cycle Camp in California

Join the former professional cyclist Kevin Livingston for a week of training tips and great riding in Solvang and Santa Barbara in California. Training in the same place as Lance Armstrong's Discovery Pro Cycling Team, spend a week practising skills and riding some of the area's biggest climbs, including Gibraltar mountain, which has long been a favourite of the USPS and now Discovery Team riders. The training camp starts in Santa Barbara on a Sunday morning, taking in some of the stunning scenery along the Pacific coast, and ends six days later back in Santa Barbara. Feel like a pro on a Trek Madone 5.2 bicycle, while the camp provides support from two Trek Travel guides, daily rides from 40 to 80 miles, daily training sessions with coach Kevin Livingston, three morning yoga sessions, two afternoon massages, luxury accommodation and most meals.

Trek Travel (001 920 478 4672; offers the Kevin Livingston Santa Barbara Cycle Camp from £1,470 per person, based on two sharing, including five nights' b&b, all other meals except one dinner and lunch, bicycle hire and all tuition. British Airways (0870-850 9850; offers returns to Los Angeles from £402.

5. Bobsleigh in Norway

Speed junkies can spend a weekend learning the basics of bobsleighing and skeleton riding at the Lillehammer Olympic Park in Norway, under the expert instruction of a member of the GB bobsleigh team. Safety is paramount and the instructors are trained to the highest standards. The rigorous training includes a video demonstration, track walk and safety briefing, which culminates in a bob-raft run, a slower descent of the actual run in the safety of a padded box. Skeleton riding itself, which involves lying face-down on the sled facing forwards, is one of the most thrilling of all high-adrenalin sports. You can expect to reach speeds of up to 80mph and to pull up to five Gs on the sharpest curves, so it is not a trip for the faint-hearted. Riders receive a certificate and membership of the 5G Club, allowing future visits to Lillehammer's Olympic bob-run.

Original Travel (020-7978 7333; offers a two-night bobsleigh half-board break from £780 per person, based on two sharing, including flights with SAS to Oslo, all transfers, and bobsleigh and skeleton activities.

For more information on the Lillehammer Olympic Park visit (

6. Martial arts in South Korea

Perfect your taekwondo techniques in Korea, where this bare-handed military art form and sport has its ancient roots. Taekwondo, in which both body and mind are trained, is a descendent of the traditional martial art taekkyeon, which can be traced back to tribal times in Korea. The Korea Tourism Organisation and Unimaster Travel have teamed up to offer enthusiasts the chance to visit Korea as well as take part in taekwando training in locations in and around Seoul. Highlights of the seven-day tour, which can be tailor-made depending on the interests and ability of the group or individual, include a sightseeing tour of Seoul as well as an overnight stay in a Buddhist temple. Visitors can experience the life of the monks first-hand and join in prayers, chanting and simple meals of rice and vegetables. Tournaments with local taekwondo clubs can be arranged.

Unimaster Travel (020-7402 0077) offers seven-night trips from £635 per person, based on two sharing, including half-board, transfers and guides. Flights can be arranged from around £600. For more information about Korea, contact The Korea Tourism Organisation (020-7321 2535;

7. Golf academy in Scotland

The Colin Montgomerie Golf Academy at the five-star Westin Turnberry Resort in Scotland is well known for its world-class tuition and state-of-the-art teaching facilities. The academy provides a range of programmes designed to suit every golfer, from scratch player to first-timer. Players can view their swing in the audio-visual theatre and take home a video analysing their swing as a memento of their lesson with Turnberry's new system called Gasp. There is also a recording of your lesson at the academy to take home. Each Turnberry PGA professional has worked closely with Montgomerie and is trained in the "Monty method".

The Westin Turnberry Resort (01655 331000; offers a seven-night b&b break from £995 per person, based on two sharing, including full use of the spa and leisure facilities. Golf Academy programmes cost from £50 for Monty's 45-minute links lesson to a three-day course from £545 per person, based on two sharing. This includes three days' tuition, full board, a personalised tuition CD, Turnberry bag tag and personally signed copy of 'How to Play Links Golf with Colin Montgomerie'.

8. Nascar racing in North Carolina

Are you a speed merchant? Then head to North Carolina to see one of the world's most exciting races and to improve your motor-racing skills in a "stock car" – a standard car prepared for racing. Nascar racing was made famous by the movie that starred Tom Cruise, Days of Thunder, and motorsport enthusiasts travel far and wide to its home town of North Carolina and Lowes Motor Speedway in Charlotte. The Fast Track High Performance Driving School offers great days out racing to satisfy the speed demon within on one of the tracks at Lowes Motor Speedway. Courses range from a three-lap track ride for $90 (£49), during which you will experience the sheer exhilaration of racing with the safety of a fast track instructor, or a three-day Oval Course for $2,800 (£1,540), the ultimate challenge in manoeuvres and speed.

America As You Like It (020-8742 8299; offers a seven-night room-only break at the Holiday Inn Center City in Charlotte from £685 per person, based on two sharing, including flights and seven days' economy car hire. For further information about courses contact Lowes Motor Speedway (00 1 704 455 3200;, Fast Track High Performance Driving School (001 704 455 1700; For more information about the area contact North Carolina Tourist Information (020-7202 6366;

9. Learn to sail in Croatia

Croatia's Dalmatian coastline is becoming a favourite place to sail with good steady breezes and more than a thousand islands and enchanting hidden coves to explore. On Neilson's two-week Villa Flotilla holiday you spend the first week on the island of Korcula (reputedly the birthplace of Marco Polo), taking the Royal Yacht Association's Introduction to Yachting course, which equips you to skipper your own yacht. Days are crammed with basic navigation, manoeuvring, docking and anchoring plus all safety aspects. You skipper your own yacht during the second week on the flotilla. The lead crew of experts brief you each morning and are always within radio contact for help or advice. For safety on the flotilla, at least two people aboard each yacht must be suitably trained.

Neilson (0870 909 9099; offers a two-week Villa Flotilla break from £595 per person, based on four people sharing a yacht in the second week, and departing on 5 or 12 July. The price includes return flights from Gatwick, return airport transfers, b&b in the first week, yacht charter, marine insurance and lead boat crew support in the second week. The Introduction to Yachting course costs an extra £105.

10. Polo in Argentina

La Escondida is a working ranch or estancia surrounded by 7,000 acres of pancake-flat pampas, five hours' drive from Buenos Aires. The ranch is best known for polo, especially the rearing and training of its polo ponies, which are exported worldwide. Polo tuition is offered at all levels, with riding lessons and stick and ball training in the morning, chukkas in the afternoon. Even those who have never played before can enjoy a game under the expert guidance of brothers Diego and Enrique Avendano, who run the estancia with their mother, Carolina. Riding in the surrounding countryside isled by a member of the family or agaucho and usually followed by a traditional Argentine barbecue, known as an asado. Matches are held daily.

Journey Latin America (020-8747 8315; offers a three-night polo package at La Escondida from £514 per person, based on two sharing, including road transfers from Buenos Aires, three nights' full-board and all polo tuition. The tailor-made package can be combined with other Argentine highlights such as Buenos Aires, Iguassu Falls, Patagonia, Mendoza or Salta.