English Language Holidays for Over 60s

Last month I gave a private* English conversation holiday to a lady over 60.

With her, there was no English urgency. No job change or looming interview.

She’s 2 years from retirement and wanted a language holiday to get her English ready to ENJOY.

M. is fit, but she wasn’t keen on being mixed with younger people for a week.

She wanted a language holiday designed for her to feel comfortable speaking English: a language holiday for over 60s.

As part of the itinerary, she met with friends, contacts and members of the public of a similar age.

At Blue Noun, we believe that great English happens when you step outside your comfort zone, but not by being uncomfortable.

For her, choosing a week exploring Scotland while speaking English was the right amount of risk.

She didn’t want the additional pressure of being the eldest in a group.

english language holiday for over 60s in Scotland - visiting plant sale
M. at a charity plant sale

Bespoke English Coaching

M. has great vocabulary, fluency and confidence, but really muddled her tenses for someone of her otherwise high level.

That became our one clear language goal* for the week: untangling the Past and Present Perfect (the biggest thing holding her back from a high level of accurate self-expression).

About Error Correction

*This means that as a coach, I as we explored Scotland together I would always correct this mistake. I let other errors slide in favour of fluency/confidence**.

**You may think you want constant error correction, but really, it’s an art to balance and know when it’s useful and when it will overwhelm/confuse.

Building confidence, fluency and self-expression are all more important.

what is language immersion climate cafe
M. talking at a Climate Cafe event

English Learning – Differently!

About Learning English

At one point, I asked how she has been learning English.

She said that for the last year, she had been part of an online course.

It was worksheet based, which was tricky because she could only access a printer with her husband, in his office, when he was free.

The whole process of logging in and printing worksheets took about half an hour.

I goggled.

That’s a TERRIBLE way!

Innerpeffray Library in Perthshire for English Language holiday for over 60s.

Great English Begins with Feeling Comfortable

Language practice isn’t a punishment. At every level, it’s an opportunity to express yourself, discover new cultures and play with new sounds.

ESPECIALLY at your level!

You’ve done so much hard work.

It’s time to enjoy the results!


I goggled.

That’s a TERRIBLE way!”


M. exploring Perthshire’s beautiful rivers

Forced Learning Doesn’t Get Results

In fact, the last year’s worth of struggling with clunky technology had only served to ingrain stress, muddle her grammar and ingrain any feelings of not being good enough.

And the fact of having to enter her husband’s space to help herself! Well, that doesn’t work for me at all!

It’s a testament to her character that she persevered for so long!

what is language immersion station cat pottery

Open Your Mind to What Learning Can Be!

So why did M. opt to learn this way? It wasn’t so much a choice as an assumption and one that many people make.

Language learning has evolved enormously in the last 20 years. Without an overview of what’s possible, if you think that’s what language learning looks like, you seek it.

It’s why at Blue Noun, we have an Online English Needs Analysis Service to help you find the RIGHT online English course/teacher.

 A New Plan

The second language goal of her week became designing a sustainable plan for M. to keep practising English on her return.

Together, we looked at the best* free/low-cost resources she can use with the technology she owns/feels comfortable with, and how she can use them to maintain interest and build good learning habits.

*Immediate, independent and much, MUCH more fun.

walking in the scottish landscape Perthshire
M. and Elena on a hike in Griffin Forest, Perthshire

English Language Holiday for Over 60s | The Results


Not bad results for a holiday?

Especially when you consider M. also enjoyed of exploring the Scottish landscape daily, as well as culture, food and drink.


M. had an amazing holiday full of intimate conversations and exploration of Scottish culture, all accompanied by her personal English language coach and holiday planner (me).

Together, we attended live music events, a crafts workshop, a climate action café conversation, and visited artist studios.

We went on walks that explored lochs and rivers, picnicked in the shade of a castle, and on the one day she needed to take things more slowly, we just cooked a meal in our language school kitchen (and invited my friend’s family to share it).

M. got 8+ hours of English practice a day, but through activities designed for her. She didn’t have to adapt to us; we adapted to her.

Our ‘hub’ continues to be about bringing people together to share stories, knowledge, and ideas using English.

However, we’ve decided to make it clear that if you are a senior, you can choose private language coaching instead of being in a mixed-age group – for the same price.

Everyone has unique learning needs; our mission is to learn them and build a holiday around them.

Dunkeld Folk Night