@ewanatkinson -what is your goal? or goals? Are you just wanting to broaden your web-programming skills, or is there something specific you are working towards?
If you want a good basic understanding of how databases work (and I usually do not like promoting proprietary software) Filemaker Pro is an excellent piece of software for this. They have some graphical tools in place that allow for composing a complete database. The interface is intuitive for beginners and also has many advanced features as well.
Once you have a grasp on Filemaker, you can connect it to a MySQL database, and use your MySQL DB as the database engine (back-end) and use Filemaker as the Front-end.
Then, after you have that working, you can then just write your php or other apps to connect to the same MySQL database.