Crafty breaks: 10 of the UK’s best creative learning holidays

Birch, Hertfordshire

Opened last year, Birch was hitting the zeitgeist when it put pottery, painting and macramé classes at the centre of its offerings. Now it is hosting a festive wreath-making class on 15 December to get you in the mood for Christmas. There are also three restaurants and 140 minimalist, millennial-minded rooms that spread out from the original Victorian mansion.
Classes from £25, double rooms from £120, room only £120 as part of a three-night weekend booking, £140 as a single midweek booking,

Inshriach Estate, Aviemore

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

There are 200 acres of woodland surrounding Wooden Tom’s workshop on this estate in the Cairngorms and he can help you whittle festive baubles, cups and spoons on your holiday. There are four off-grid cabins, each surrounded by more raw material in the form of woods.
Courses start at £70, cabins start at £110 with Canopy & Stars,

The Barrel Store, Cirencester

Have a gander: linocut classes at the Barrel Store.
Have a gander: linocut classes at the Barrel Store

One of Britain’s most aesthetically pleasing hostel opened in 2016 and is part of the New Brewery Arts complex. There are 14 double and family rooms, packed with locally made furniture. The craft centre has more than 200 different courses. The new year brings sessions in enamelling, blockprinting and linocuts, plus portraiture and jewellery. Some courses are family-friendly, and nearly all welcome beginners. The Barrel Store has its own tasteful kitchen but there’s also a café on site.
Courses from £50, doubles from £55, room only,

Tiny Homes Holidays, Isle of Wight

Sustainable crafts are the order of the day at this boutique retreat on the Isle of Wight. Classes are taught by local craftspeople with materials foraged from nearby hedgerows and the coastline. From January onwards you can learn how to make a skep (an ancient beehive made from straw) or create jewellery from sea glass. Guests stay in a collection of highly individual and environmentally friendly cabins near Cowes, with a wood-fired hot tub and barbecues.
Sessions start from £45, stays start from £110,

West Dean, Sussex

All that glitters: Hannah Mansfield goldwork lobster, West Dean.
All that glitters: Hannah Mansfield goldwork lobster, West Dean

Britain’s greatest smörgåsbord of craft teaching takes place at this college near Chichester. Short courses include calligraphy, jewellery-making and glass-engraving. Housed in a 19th-century mansion, participants can also stay at West Dean.
Courses start at £138. Accommodation from £75pp including breakfast and dinner if not included in the course fees,

Huntlands Farm, Worcester

Complete the two-day upholstery course, run by Lucy Brodie, at Huntlands Farm and you’ll head home with a newly recovered chair or headboard – as well as useful skills in minor repairs. Courses take place in a dedicated barn next to the family’s 15th century farmhouse, while Lucy’s husband Stephen does the cooking using produce from the farm. Accommodation is in self-catering apartments and B&B rooms on the farm.
A two-day course costs £200, with B&B rooms from £60pp,

The Farmer’s Arms, Cumbria

Crafty locals: work on display at Grizedale Arts.
Crafty locals: work on display at Grizedale Arts. Photograph: Rachel Hayton/Grizedale Arts

After being empty for two years, this Lakeland pub on the top of beautiful Crake Valley, on the edge of the Lake District national park, has become part of Grizedale Arts, blending classes and exhibition space with accommodation. The Farmer’s Loft sleeps six people and is filled with work by local craftspeople. The pub – parts of which were built in the 14th century – is back up and running too; Grizedale Arts’ Lawson Park estate provides much of the ingredients for the food menu and the bar stocks local beers and spirits.
Three nights from £550, self-catering,

Woodland Skills Centre, Denbighshire

In a clearing near Bodfari, 12 miles south of Rhyl and the coast, this centre has courses in everything from bushcraft to bee-keeping but woodwork is at its heart. Here, aspiring carpenters can learn how to create chairs and stools, how to use a chainsaw safely and – nicely anticipating next summer – how to make their own deckchair. There’s free camping for anyone taking a course with access to showers, cooking facilities and library; there’s also self-catering nearby.
Courses start at £60,

Vinegar Mill Pottery, Hampshire

Fired up: raku classes at Vinegar Hill.
Fired up: raku classes at Vinegar Hill

Dave and Lucy Rogers run their popular pottery courses in the pretty village of Milford-on-Sea. Single day courses include using a wheel, while three-day courses bring in spouts, handles, raku firings and glazing. Vinegar Hill has accommodation ranging from a wagon that offers a cosy berth for two, to a large and comfortable house near the seafront that sleeps up to 12.
Day courses start at £125, including lunch. Accommodation from £90 in the wagon, including breakfast,

Archipelago Folk School, Mull

A new canoe: learn how to build a boat at Archipelago Folk School.
A new canoe: learn how to build a boat at Archipelago Folk School

Build your own plywood and fibreglass kayak on the island of Mull. There are also courses in two-person canoes – each takes about 50 hours of work to complete. A car is essential, partly because participants stay in nearby cottages but also because they need to be able to take their kayak home.
Courses start at £1,600 including materials and tuition but not accommodation,

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