Fed up with seeing the likes of Kate Moss and Simon Cowell sunning themselves on their yachts in the Mediterranean? So are we! But believe it or not, sailing holidays are not just for millionaires or expert sailors - and you don't need a super yacht to make the most of the sea.
We're dreaming about hitting the warm waters of the Mediterranean on a sailing holiday. Flotilla sailing is the perfect answer for beginners who want to sail independently with friends, family or as a couple while being part of a group of yachts sailing together. Plus there's the option of having a private skipper for support if you need it, and most importantly flotilla holidays don't cost you the earth!
With clear waters, reliable winds and gorgeous bays, the bays around Greece and Turkey are the perfect spots for giving it a go.
The Greek Ionian Sea is one of the most popular spots for cruising and Sunvil Sailing offers a range of options including a late season, live-aboard accommodation only deal with optional tuition from £200 per person per week throughout September 2012 based on two people sharing a cabin. It's ideal for beginners to learn new sailing skills with a qualified instructor, while experienced sailors can crew their own yachts.
Alternatively, you could explore Turkey's ancient history, picturesque bays and relaxed sailing in the Fethiye Gulf with Sunsail on a seven-night flotilla break starting from £649 per person based on five people sharing a Sunsail 36i, including flights from London Gatwick, transfers, snorkelling equipment, first morning breakfast, Flotilla punch party, end of week regatta and support of the Sunsail Lead Crew.
Other companies offering similar treats include Nautilus Yachting, which has a Greek Ionian flotilla break for up to six people (three double cabins) from 23 to 30 September for £1,270. Flights are an additional £395 per person from Gatwick or Manchester.
Have you ever been on a flotilla sailing holiday or dream of going on one? Maybe you have a dream holiday of your own? Leave a comment and let us know...
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- The Archers
Where better to try your hand at archery than in the heart of 1066 country? Self catering holiday village, Crowhurst Park in East Sussex has teamed up with an archery company to offer both Field Archery (in which archers move from target to target through wooded terrain, shooting 3D foam prey, including bears, deer and er, giant mosquitoes) and Target Archery (one of the Olympic sports).<br />
Weekend breaks in a small lodge from £99, <a href="http://www.crowhurstpark.co.uk">www.crowhurstpark.co.uk</a></p>
- Wild water
You could try your hand at kayaking the man made rapids at the brand new Lee Valley White Water Centre (where the Olympic kayaking events are being held), but for a chance to paddle alongside porpoises, seals and even whales, head up to the Outer Hebrides for five days kayaking and camping among uninhabited islands and skerries.<br />
Five day sea kayaking trip costs £725. NB, not for beginners. <a href="//www.responsibletravel.com/holiday/2243/sea-kayaking-holiday-in-scotland">//www.responsibletravel.com/holiday/2243/sea-kayaking-holiday-in-scotland</a>.</p>
- Tour de Wales
While the Olympic cyclists whizz round and round the London velodrome, enjoy a rather more scenic view from your saddle on a Welsh biking holiday. The seven day 'Snowdonia Beano', cycling around Snowdonia National Park and the Lleyn Peninsula in July costs from £640 per person, which includes accommodation and yummy vegetarian meals. For more details on this and other cycling holidays, visit <a href="http://www.bicycle-beano.co.uk">www.bicycle-beano.co.uk</a>.</p>
- Row your boat
Stage your own mini Olympics at Siblyback Lake Campsite, on the edge of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall, which offers three Olympic watersports - kayaking, sailing and canoeing. Instructors are on hand to help train your junior athletes - perhaps for the 2020 Games?<br />
Pitches from £11 per night. <a href="http://www.pitchup.com">www.pitchup.com</a></p>
- Ticket to ride
Make like a minor royal and buff up your riding skills at Lucknam Park's outstanding equestrian centre, which includes 500 acres of parkland, an all weather arena, cross country course and riding clinics with equestrian experts Stephen Hadley and Richard Waygood. Non-riders can make the most of the hotel's Michelin-starred food and lush spa.<br />
Rooms from £330 per night. <a href="http://www.Lucknampark.com">www.lucknampark.com</a></p>
- On your marks...
Spend a day clay pigeon shooting in scenic fields, gullies and among the trees with local farmer Jonty and his sons on a farm on the outskirts of the Lake District. Then retire to the cozy Plough Inn opposite for a soak in the freestanding bath, followed by local ale and lamb for dinner. Clay pigeon shooting available on Wednesdays and Saturdays, from £135 per room per night (beginners package from £150), <a href="http://www.theploughatlupton.co.uk ">www.theploughatlupton.co.uk </a></p>
- Anyone for tennis?
What with Wimbledon and the Olympics, its easy to get carried away by Pimms-fuelled fantasies about tennis whites and volleying. Indulge the dream at the Four Seasons' grand Georgian pile in Hampshire, which has two outdoor, all-weather, floodlit tennis courts and tennis pros on hand to polish up your backhand. Doubles from £258, <a href="http://www.four seasons.com/Hampshire">www.four seasons.com/Hampshire</a></p>
- Beach volleyball for beginners
Find out for yourself why beach volleyball is the most popular Olympic spectator sport (nothing to do with the barely there bikinis the ladies play in, obv) on Brighton's answer to Copacabana, Yellowave Beach Sports Venue. (<a href="http://www.yellowave.co.uk">www.yellowave.co.uk</a>). After a hard day on the beach, retire to the supremely classy surroundings of the Kemp Townhouse boutique b&b. Doubles from £95, <a href="http://www.kemptownhousebrighton.com">www.kemptownhousebrighton.com</a></p>
- Dive in
Crawling up and down an Olympic size swimming pool's all very well, but there's nothing like swimming in the wild to make you feel truly alive. Based at the snazzy Scarlet hotel, guests can enjoy a wild swimming tour of Cornwall's water, with professional instructors equipped with towels, rescue boards - and hot toddies! A 2-night package costs from £515 per person, including a private Wild Sea Swimming Lesson, with instructor and all equipment (including heated wetsuits!) and a ‘Short Journey’ in the Ayurvedic Spa. <a href="http://www.scarlethotel.co.uk">www.scarlethotel.co.uk</a></p>
- Scilly sailing
Learn to tell a flying jib from a gaff topsail on board the beautiful traditional wooden pilot cutter, Eve of St Mawes. A 6 day hands-on, island hopping voyage in the Isles of Scilly, departing from St Mawes, Cornwall, costs £720 per person. For details of this and other voyages, visit <a href="http://www.classic-sailing.co.uk">www.classic-sailing.co.uk</a>.</p>
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