With the New Year approaching, now is the time to make a change or learn something new, if you’re planning to try a new challenge in the coming year, Devon is the perfect location – with a host of activity centres and the chance to learn everything from traditional crafts to surfing, there is no end to the activities on offer here.

Devon is known for being mother nature’s playground, so it isn’t surprising that people flock here all year around to learn new skills, brush up on old ones or to challenge themselves – so if you would like to try something new in 2023, check out some of the activities on offer that can help you learn a new skill.

With the UK’s first surf reserve being located in North Devon and it being a haven for watersports, the county is a great place to visit if you want to get into surfing, paddleboarding or wake boarding next year. Wherever you are in Devon, there will be organisations offering tuition and equipment hire, particularly in the North of Devon and on the English Riviera. If you want to test out your skills in a more controlled environment before heading out on the waves, book a couple of sessions at the North Devon Wake Park  in Bideford. At North Devon Wake Park, you don’t need any prior experience to get involved with a host of fun watersports activities including wakeboarding and paddleboarding.

Alternatively of course, you can find various surf schools here if you want to just get out there and give it a go.

Another thing that Devon is known for is its natural larder. The quality of food and drink in the region is second to none, so for the coming year, why not learn how to cook by visiting a Devon cookery school? You don’t have to commit to anything long term, there are plenty of workshops and day sessions on offer and you’ll have the chance to work with some of the finest, seasonal ingredients.

It isn’t just delightful dinners you can learn to prepare either, there is also the chance to learn how to distil your own gin using the traditional recipes favoured by Plymouth Gin.

women learning how to distill gin
Image: Plymouth Gin

As the oldest working distillery in England that has been using the same recipe since the 1790s, these guys know what they are doing and as part of their regular tours, you can learn how to make your own unique blend and even take it home with you! Of course, you won’t be able to create anything quite on the same scale without the equipment they have, but it will certainly help with a rewarding new hobby for 2023.

If your New Year’s Resolution is to be a bit more active in the coming year, then there are lots of new skills and challenges for you to choose from in Devon. Why not learn rock climbing or hone your orienteering skills with Crag 2 Mountain? With their inclusive Dartmoor based sessions, everyone can get involved no matter what your age or ability. They offer a selection of different adventure activities including climbing, mountaineering, and caving, so you can find plenty to learn here.  

people climbing on dartmoor
Image: Crag 2 Mountain

Or if you’re not sure what you want to learn, just that you want to do something new, book a visit to Roadford Lake. Located between Okehampton and Launceston, Roadford Lake is a great destination for the whole family and offers everything from sailing to archery. Another fun challenge for 2023 would be axe throwing. Though we can’t imagine why you would need the skill in every day life, it is certainly fun and you never know, it might be exactly the hobby you have always looked for. In Exeter, the Celtic Tossers are on hand to make sure that you get the very best axe throwing experience. Their expert instructors guide you through each session so by the end, you too are a pro!

For a more chill experience, you could always take up fishing. It’s a very calm sport that really gives you a chance to relax and immerse yourself in nature and there are several places across Devon that can give you the guidance you need to go out confidently. At the Arundell, they offer fly fishing lessons and support from beginners all the way to experts. The Arundell is one of the leading fly fishing hotels in England and can be found at the confluence of five rivers, offering you 22 miles of private fishing, so not only can you learn something new, but you can also combine it with a comfortable stay in stunning surroundings.

Being located in the West Country means that Devon is the ideal place to learn some traditional skills and crafts that really help you understand the region’s heritage. You can find a host of workshops throughout the year teaching you traditional crafts at places like the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter. Similarly Dartington Hall offers a wide range of courses and workshops where you can learn about traditional and seasonal crafts, including wine making, woodcraft and gardening.

person painting
Image: Dartington Hall

If being creative appeals to you, don’t forget to also check out China Blue in nearby Totnes. This unique venue offers creativity, shopping and delicious food and drink – there are regular sessions where you and your family can join in with pottery classes where you can make and decorate your own pottery – if you aren’t staying in the area, they can even post your creations out to you!

With so many options to learn something new in Devon, there can be no end to your New Year’s Resolutions. Will you be challenging yourself to surfing, climbing or pottery creation in 2023? Make sure to let us know of your progress!