Escape To The Country: 5 Of The Best Creative Retreats In The UK
If you’re seeking a sense of calm, newfound friendships, and the opportunity to get creative, there’s nothing better than combining a staycation with the chance to pick up new skills. And after a turbulent year, that is just the respite we need. We’ve toured the UK’s most creative retreats, from low-energy campsites where you can try your hand at carpentry to picturesque spots in the countryside with pottery studios and art workshops; if you’re looking for a weekend escape, these are the places worth a visit.
This is a wholesome, earthy retreat located just outside of Bath. With cabins and bell tents nestled in the woodlands or on a farm, this is the perfect spot to get some downtime. With a range of courses to choose from, you can try your hand at foraging, woodcarving, yoga, and fitness classes, as well as booking a relaxing massage. This off-grid eco-camp was created to inspire people to live more balanced and simple lives – so escape the bustle of the city with your friends or take a break solo to rejuvenate.
Fforest, Cardigan, Wales
This rustic setup in Wales is leading the way for a new style of modern glamping retreats. Set yourself up in a dome, a “Garden Shac”, an extensive farmhouse or welcoming cabin; each is completed with distinct furnishings and design-led fixtures. For those who want to explore, the National Wool Museum and Llanerchaeron are close by. Otherwise, you can venture to nearby bays on kayaks or try foraging for the first time. There’s also a two-week festival held every year for the crafty and curious, with classes in sewing, ceramics, flower crowns, and more.
The Newt, Somerset
A getaway for creatives and foodies alike, The Newt is a working estate with acres of gardens, woodland, farmland, and orchards to explore. Inspired by the land and traditions of Somerset, it offers a seasonal selection of workshops and programmes to get stuck into. Turn your focus to cider-making, learn about honey-making from the in-house beekeeper or simply book yourself in at one of the restaurants to refuel on locally sourced food – what more could you want from a weekend away?
Welsh Academy of Art, Cwmdu, Wales
If you’re a painter seeking a fresh surge of inspiration, book onto a class at the Welsh Academy of Art. A retreat based in the hamlet of Cwmdu where you can take classes in oil painting, anatomy, portraiture, and more, all taught by professional artists both in the studio and out in the countryside. You can choose to stay locally and just drop in for classes, or there are also rooms available in the farmhouse – each finished with a unique and homely feel.
Birch Community, Hertfordshire
Set among 55 acres just north of London, The Birch is fast becoming the go-to spot for frazzled urbanites looking to catch a break, and it is a personal favourite of ours. It has all the amenities you’d want from a five-star hotel and then some. Aside from the obvious – a sprawling gym, restaurants to suit all palates, and bars to match – you’ll find a pottery studio, an interactive bakery, a music room, and art studios, along with a schedule of classes to try out.