Smart Breaks: 10 of the UK’s Best Creative Learning Holidays | To travel


Birch, Hertfordshire

Opened last year, Birch was striking with the times by placing pottery, painting and macrame classes at the center of its offerings. Today he’s hosting a festive wreath-making class on December 15 to get you in the Christmas mood. There are also three restaurants and 140 minimalist, thousand-year-old rooms that stretch from the original Victorian mansion.
Courses from £ 25, double rooms from £ 120, room only £ 120 as part of a three night weekend booking, £ 140 for a single midweek booking, birchcommunity.com

Inshriach Estate, Aviemore

Whittle away: a cabin at Inshriach Estate. Photography: Sarah Afiqah Rodgers

There are 200 acres of forest surrounding Wooden Tom’s workshop on this Cairngorm estate and he can help you carve party balls, mugs, and spoons while on vacation. There are four off-grid huts, each surrounded by more raw material in the form of wood.
Classes start at £ 70, cabins at £ 110 with Canopy & Stars, canopéeandstars.co.uk

The Barrel Store, Cirencester

Take a look: Linocut class at the Barrel Store.
Take a Look: Linocut Class at the Barrel Store

One of Britain’s best looking hostels opened in 2016 and is part of the New Brewery Arts complex. There are 14 double and family rooms, filled with locally made furniture. The craft center offers more than 200 different courses. The new year brings sessions of enamelling, engraving and linocut, as well as portrait and jewelry. Some courses are suitable for families and almost all welcome beginners. The Barrel Store has its own tasteful kitchen, but there’s also an on-site cafe.
Courses from £ 50, doubles from £ 55, room only, thebarrelstore.co.uk

Tiny Homes Holidays, Isle of Wight

Sustainable craftsmanship is the order of the day at this Isle of Wight boutique retreat. Classes are taught by local artisans with materials from nearby hedges and the coast. Starting in January, you can learn how to make a skep (an old straw beehive) or create sea glass jewelry. Guests stay in a collection of very individual and eco-friendly chalets near Cowes, with a wood-fired hot tub and barbecues.
Sessions start from £ 45, stays from £ 110, minimaisons.com

Dean of the West, Sussex

All That Glitters: Hannah Mansfield, West Dean Goldsmith Lobster.
All That Glitters: Hannah Mansfield Goldwork Lobster, West Dean

Britain’s largest craft education smörgÃ¥sbord takes place at this college near Chichester. Short courses include calligraphy, jewelry making, and glass engraving. Housed in a 19th century mansion, participants can also stay at the West Dean.
Classes start at £ 138. Accommodation from £ 75 per person including breakfast and dinner if not included in course fees, westdean.org.uk

Huntlands Farm, Worcester

Complete the two-day upholstery course, led by Lucy Brodie, at Huntlands Farm, and you’ll return home with a newly salvaged chair or headboard, along with useful skills in minor repairs. Classes are held in a dedicated barn next to the 15th-century family farmhouse, while Lucy’s husband Stephen cooks using farm produce. Accommodation is in self-catering apartments and guest rooms on the farm.
A two-day course costs £ 200, with bed and breakfast starting at £ 60 per person, huntlandsfarm.co.uk

The Farmer’s Arms, Cumbria

Local artisans: works exhibited at Grizedale Arts.
Local artisans: works exhibited at Grizedale Arts. Photography: Rachel Hayton / Grizedale Arts

After being empty for two years, this Lakeland pub at the top of the beautiful Crake Valley, on the edge of the Lake District National Park, is now part of Grizedale Arts, mixing courtyards and exhibition space with accommodation. The Farmer’s Loft sleeps six and is full of local craftsmanship. The pub – parts of which were built in the 14th century – is also operational again; Grizedale Arts’ Lawson Park Estate provides much of the menu ingredients and the bar offers local beers and spirits.
Three nights from £ 550, no board, lakedistrictfarmersarms.com

Woodland Competence Center, Denbighshire

In a clearing near Bodfari, 20 km south of Rhyl and the coast, this center offers courses in everything from bushcraft to beekeeping, but carpentry is at the heart. Here, budding carpenters can learn how to create chairs and stools, use a chainsaw safely, and – until next summer – make their own bouncer. There is a free campsite for those taking a course with access to showers, cooking facilities and a library; there are also lodges nearby.
Classes start at £ 60, woodlandskillscentre.uk/accommodation

Vinegar Mill Pottery, Hampshire

On Fire: Raku Class at Vinegar Hill.
On Fire: Raku Class at Vinegar Hill

Dave and Lucy Rogers have their popular pottery lessons in the pretty village of Milford-on-Sea. One-day classes include the use of a wheel, while three-day classes provide spouts, handles, raku fires, and glazing. Vinegar Hill offers accommodation ranging from a wagon that offers a comfortable sleeper for two, to a large and comfortable house near the waterfront that can accommodate up to 12 people.
Day courses start at £ 125 including lunch. Accommodation from £ 90 in the wagon including breakfast, poterie-vinaigre.co.uk

Archipelago Folk School, Mull

A new canoe: learn to build a boat at the archipelago folk school.
A New Canoe: Learn to Build a Boat at Archipelago Folk School

Build your own plywood and fiberglass kayak on the Isle of Mull. There are also canoe routes for two people – each takes around 50 hours of work. A car is essential, partly because participants stay in cabins nearby, but also because they need to be able to bring their kayaks home.
Classes start at £ 1,600 including material and tuition fees but not accommodation, archipelagofolkschool.org/kayak-building


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