Summer Retreats

From upping your cookery game in the the Médoc to building bouquets-on-legs in Barga, these creative retreats all offer inspiring teaching in enticing locations. If you’re considering a holiday alone, or looking to get more from your summer break, these could be for you:

Summer Abundance Cookery Workshop in the Médoc with Mimi Thorisson

Impossibly chic cook, Mimi Thorisson and her super-cool Icelandic husband have turned a chateau in the Médoc into an idyllic family home for their seven children and fourteen(!) dogs. As well as pouring over the pictures and recipes in her cookbook, Manger, and scrolling longingly through her instagram feed, you can now step into the scene yourself with a 3-day workshop. The Summer Abundance Workshop is a tribute to the glories of summer – peaches, apricots, cherries and barbecues. Expect a lot of decadent al fresco feasts, tables charged with pork roasts and duck breasts, creamy cakes, mountains of fruits and magnums of wine.

3-day workshop, June 20-22 2018, €2000 euros per person

Secret Yoga Club x Zephyr Wildman in Tuscany

Credit: Natasha Marshall

The Secret Yoga Club pops up all over London at locations from Frank’s rooftop to the Royal Academy. The hugely popular classes have expanded to include bespoke events and residential yoga retreats like this summer’s week-long workshop in Tuscany. Run by London-based yogi, Zephyr Wildman (a recent guest on Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place podcast) whose cult classes are always fully-booked at The Life Centre in Notting Hill, the retreat is for those who already have an established practise and are interested in furthering their yogic knowledge. Villa Lena’s artists’ in residence will run creative workshops to compliment the yoga practise. Free time is yours to wander through the olive groves or to drink organic wine in the sun.

7 nights including activities, full-board, £1300 (shared twin room), £1800 (single room)

Rebel Rebel Flower Workshops in Tuscany 

East London florists Rebel Rebel run evening workshops in Hackney, Beijing and now a week-long Summer School near Lucca in Italy. A single winding track train ride from the walled city takes you to a small hamlet near Barga in an area of outstanding beauty called Garfagnana. Daily flower workshops involve foraging in the woods and fields, buying from the local flower market and then arranging with your selection of peonies, roses, sweet peas, snapdragons, stocks and more fragrant summer flowers. What’s more, you’ll stay in a large Tuscan farmhouse with gardens, olive groves, a swimming pool and yoga platform, and be looked after by the resident cook.

14-18 May 2018 and 3-7 September 2018. 6-nights £1650 per person per room, or £1350 for a shared room. Flights not included

Pattern in Textiles Workshop Week with Sarah Campbell and Selvedge Magazine at Chateau Dumas


Chateau Dumas run a whole summer of week-long creative retreats from millinery to basket weaving and printing led by leading artists and crafters. The residential courses are held within two studios at Chateau Dumas, an hour north of Toulouse and set within a private 22-acre estate with a large pool. In this pattern week, textile designer Sarah Campbell will encourage you to explore, experience and understand the process of making pattern on textiles. By the end of the week you’ll have a deeper understanding as well as body of fabric samples to take a way and a visual diary of your discoveries.

11-18 August 2018. From €1950, €975 non-participating partner.

Residential Summer Retreats
— Daisy Allsup
19th April 2018