Creative Retreats

Get more out of your holiday by booking into these creative retreats that offer amazing experiences from printing to flower arranging and bread baking in beautiful locations:

Block Printing with Molly Mahon at Old Lands, Wales

Join Molly Mahon for an immersive weekend of nature-inspired printing. Get outdoors into the beautiful Old Lands estate in rural Monmouthshire armed with a sketchbook and pencil. Gather inspiration with which to create your designs and then carve out your blocks, before printing a metre of natural linen cloth in whatever colour you choose. Dine on delicious local produce, much of which is grown in the garden – and enjoy a candlelit dinner under the starry skies on the Saturday evening. 21-23 June 2019, £900-£1200 per person. old-lands.co.uk

Decorative Painting with Cressida Bell at Chateau Dumas, France

Spend the week with Cressida Bell artist, designer and descendant of the Bloomsbury Group at the beautiful Chateau Dumas in the South of France. Her distinctive style and flair for pattern and colour set the tone; decorate a pair of conical 10″ lampshades and make a small wooden tray using any source of inspiration that you choose. Bring along postcards, pictures and favourite fabrics from which to sketch out your ideas and designs, before transferring these using tracing and templates and then adding colour by creating your own palette using dyes and paints. 10-17 August 2019, from €1950 per person for 7 nights, chateaudumas.net

BLAND Badger at Villa Pia, Italy

Scour for antique treasures at the flea market, see one of Pierro della Francesca’s most famous frescoes, eat and photograph an olive farm that’s been in the same family for 600 years, hand stitch your own leather-bound book…expect the luxury of a boutique hotel and the atmosphere of a creative house party at this week-long retreat in the autumn. Run by Charlotte Bland – a photographer specialises in shooting interiors, food and travel on film and Ros Badger, designer and craftswoman. 5 – 12 October 2019, from £950 per person,  blandbadger.com

Flowers and Flour with Rebel Rebel and The Dusty Knuckle Bakery at Villa Buonvisi, Italy

Rebel Rebel have been running their wonderful flower weeks in Tuscany for years, but new for 2019 comes a special course in collaboration with Dalston’s Dusty Knuckle Bakery. As well as gathering foliage in the wild and arranging flowers, during the week you’ll also learn all about baking bread. Held at the spectacular Villa Buonvisi, just outside Lucca in Tuscany. 6 – 10 August 2019, £3,000 per person per room, £2500 per person shared room – includes accommodation for six nights, all tools, materials, breakfast, lunch and final night feast. rebelrebel.co.uk

Cookery and Wellness Retreats at The River Cottage

Escape to the Devon-Dorset border and spend four nights at the beautiful River Cottage farmhouse made famous by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. New this year, the Wellness Retreats aim to encourage a more holistic approach to life. Spend two days in the cookery school with nutritionalist Naomi Devlin, practise daily yoga with Barbara Mella and mindfulness with wellness tutor Beth Kempton. Relax and recharge with walks on the Jurassic Coast and lunch served on the beach, curl up at night by a roaring log fire. 17 – 21 June, from £1600 per person, rivercottage.net

Itha108 Yoga Retreat with Zephyr Wildman, Ithaca, Greece

Join London’s sought-after yogi Zephyr Wildman for this week-long retreat at one of the smallest and most beautiful of the Ionian islands in Greece. There will be 2 hours of yoga in the morning and 2 in the evening before dinner. The rest of the time is yours to spend exploring secret coves, swimming in the sea and walking through the olive groves. 29 June – 6 July 2019, yurts from £1150 per person, rooms from £1350 per person, zephyryoga.com

Creative Workshops at Villa Lena 

Villa Lena run a residency programme for artists and creatives working in a variety of disciplines. This summer these include French performance artist Paul Maheke, Japanese ceramicist Urara Tschuchiya, American florist Kristen Usui, Korean textile artists Soojin Kiang and British poet Max Wallis. Each stays for a six-week residency, during which time hotel guests can join in with classes and workshops with the artists – think wild flower foraging and art therapy and meditation. The setting couldn’t be more picturesque; set within 500 hectares of Tuscan woodlands amongst olive groves and vineyards. Opens 1 May 2019, from €149 for a double room, villa-lena.it

— Daisy Allsup
20th February 2019