TOP 10 CRAFTY BREAKS; Why Not Put Your Holiday to Good Use by Learning a New Skill? Whether You Fancy Yourself as a Painter, a Chef or a Boat-Builder, There Are Courses around the Country. Here Are 10 of Our Favourites

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1 FISHING AND COOKING, DORSET from PS125pp per night

The Christchurch Harbour Hotel in Christchurch, Dorset, runs fishing trips out to Mudeford Harbour. Chef Alex Aitken will teach you how to fish for mackerel and bream. Then, back on land, he will show you how to make the most of your fresh catch by demonstrating some of his seasonal recipes.

THE DEAL: A two-night stay starts at PS250 per person including breakfast. Dinner is included on one night and there is a PS30 allowance on the other. Price includes the use of the Harbour spa and a fishing trip plus cooking session.

2 GREEN CRAFTS, CORNWALL From PS157pp for three nights

Little White Alice is a group of luxurious eco-friendly cottages in Carnmenellis, Cornwall. There is an artist's studio where you can learn art and craft activities with an emphasis on sustainable and traditional crafts.

Courses include a day's basket making using willows grown on the site's plantation, mosaic making, silk painting and felt making. The cottages themselves are built with sustainable methods - their interiors are crafted from wood, willow and hand-woven fabrics. Set in 25 acres where you'll also find a nature reserve, veg patch, a coppicing wood, an orchard and a willow plantation, facilities include a wood-burning hot tub and a sunken sheltered fire pit.

THE DEAL: A three-night stay for two in Alder House costs from PS214.

Tuition costs PS50pp plus materials.


Creative Breaks ( uk) runs a variety of courses, from basket weaving to batik dyeing. It offers two-day rug-making courses with Jenni Stuart-Anderson at Stanton Guildhouse in Stanton Broadway, Worcestershire. The next one is on October 30.

THE DEAL: PS50 per day (bring fabrics to recycle). B&B available from PS35 per night.

4 PAINT FESTIVE PICTURES, SOUTH DOWNS from PS313pp for two nights

Housed in a Grade II-listed flint-faced mansion surrounded by the South Downs National Park, West Dean College, Chichester, has a wide range of courses. For aspiring artists who want to get in the Christmas spirit there is a seasonal botanical painting weekend. From December 6 to 8, it will focus on holly, berries and ivy - a great way to create pictures to use to make your Christmas cards.

THE DEAL: Course costs PS218 including lunch. Two nights half-board accommodation costs from PS95pp.


Learn woodcraft skills in the forest at Canopy and Stars' site near Lyme Regis, Dorset. Each camping area has a whittling kit with instructions and you can also learn the art of green woodworking, spoon and bowl carving or lathe turning. Then head to the sauna yurt to be pampered at the end of a long woodland day.

THE DEAL: From PS70 per night in a shepherd's hut, yurt, tent or tepee sleeping two. Tuition starts at PS35pp.


HF Holidays runs painting and drawing breaks led by professional tutors at its country houses. …