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Planning Retirement Online

Let's Party!


By LaterLife features editor, Sally Smith 


September 2011 

Let's party in later life article series...

This series looks at some of the more unusual ideas to help you celebrate with style and panache – at affordable price levels, of course!

To see the full list of articles see the main Celebrating in Later Life page

This month – Learn something new in a special weekend away

Special celebrations are all very well but not everyone likes to party. Also, sad as it is, some of us have been with our partner for so long that conversation can pall a bit when we go out for a romantic dinner or even a weekend away.

Let's party

Why not celebrate in an unusual fashion – by booking a learning weekend away? By having a specific theme for the weekend, you can gear a whole celebration around that theme to create something very special and truly memorable. If you want to make it a bit of a party, four or six or more of you could all go together; giving you all something new and interesting to talk about at a special celebration dinner during the weekend and also for many months after.

Of course it is important to pick something that might be of real interest to everyone involved, but today that is not difficult as almost every possible activity is covered with short weekend breaks.

A themed food weekend away is always a safe bet as we all have to eat and drink. Many hotels offer cookery weekends where you can join in preparing a celebratory meal; but instead why not go one step further and find something really different. For instance, a weekend lobster hunting in Cornwall could be unusual enough to make a dramatically different celebration. The Lugger Hotel, at the beautiful Portloe Harbour in Cornwall, offers an opportunity to join a local fisherman to check out the lobster pots out at sea and to cast lures for bass, mackerel and pollack.

If drinking is on the agenda, why not look for a weekend tasting. Numerous hotels offer wine tasting weekends but for something different, why not explore the famous Scottish Speyside with its heralded malt whisky trails. Even if you are not normally a whisky drinker, finding out about the extraordinary heritage and modern distilling methods of the acclaimed whisky brands such as Glenlivet and Glenfiddich can be fascinating, and they are all available on one set out malt whisky trail in Speyside which takes in glorious scenery and views. There are a variety of hotels in the area many of which could offer the perfect location for a celebratory weekend away.

Chocolate is a safe bet for most people, so a weekend away which takes in a special chocolate event could make a great celebration. Red Letter Days offer chocolate workshops at various locations around the UK where you can learn all about chocolate from an experienced chocolatier. Then comes the fun bit – you can make your own chocolates, experiment with decorations - and come away not only with a much better understanding of chocolate but also with 40 to 50 Belgian chocolates. That must be a good way to mark a special celebration!

Warner Leisure Hotels are always a good idea when you want to learn something new as they offer short breaks just for adults at a range of stunning hotels across the UK. The range of weekend courses and activities they offer is exceptional, everything from antiques, bird watching and bridge to photography, poker, dancing, even learning the ukulele. Again you can arrange a group booking for that special celebration party weekend.

Big celebrations can be murder! Yes, why not – it would certainly be a different way to celebrate that special birthday or anniversary. There are several organisations that offer very professional weekends away where a murder is committed. Along with excellent food you will experience a ghastly murder, often with shots, blood curdling screams and lots of reality acting. Clues are set and the fun often continues well into the night and sometimes the following day. Everything is very intelligently done so that if you really work at it, you can solve the mystery.

The more you explore weekends away, the more you find there are courses and experiences to suit every age group and every taste. Some are very affordable and can probably work out cheaper than organising a big party at home.

With a bit of planning, that celebration really could be a truly memorable and fun event.

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