A Winter's Tale


Fancy a winter holiday, along with the chance to focus on your artistic skills? Join us December 9th – 16th for an art and photography break in Thomas Hardy country in Southwest England. This area is so thoroughly steeped in history, literature and art, it seems cloaked in magic and mystery.


We hope you’ll be inspired to create your own “Winter’s Tale” during our time together. You will have the opportunity to learn new skills or expand existing ones with British artist and educator James Budden. We will visit James’s private studio and watch him demonstrate a live portrait painting. You’ll also meet other local artists and discuss their unique creative process(es).


This event welcomes participants with all levels of experience to join in creating art. In our comprehensive approach, you’ll learn some tricks, techniques and methods that artists use every day, as well as secrets to making simple, quick portraits. We will explore the fun of sketchbook and personal journal drawings, to capture the essence of the place or experience.

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Photo of Sherborne, Dorset viewed from the rooftop of Sherborne Abbey.


If a camera is your preferred mode of expression, documentary photographer Tara Bradford  will show you ways to enhance your photos with light and shadow. We will work on framing a stark panorama such as Stonehenge, as well as ways to compose striking landscapes and shoot impromptu portraits.

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Stonehenge, photo by Jack B./unsplash.com


While utilizing our art and photography skills, we’ll be based at the Eastbury in the market town of Sherborne. The Eastbury is a charming townhouse manor, featuring the highly-regarded Seasons restaurant. Guests also can enjoy the hotel’s vibrant gardens and the myriad temptations of its new health spa.


In Sherborne, we’ll be just a stone’s throw away from historic places, including the remarkable 14th-century Sherborne Abbey and the ruins of Sherborne Old Castle.


We’ll visit a small church once owned by Sir Walter Raleigh, where scenes from Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd were filmed. We’ll dine in restaurants praised for their fresh ingredients and innovative cuisine and maybe down a couple of pints at a local pub. We’ll be treated to a live jazz performance - and a lovely surprise or two.


Just a week before Winter Solstice, we’ll wander among the stones at the World Heritage site Stonehenge and learn more about our Neolithic ancestors. The stones long have been associated with mysticism and magic, with many a Pagan celebration or wedding at the site. James will guide you in making sketches of these ancient wonders, while Tara will offer landscape photography challenges.

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Chesil Beach


Weather permitting, we’ll witness the breathtaking natural beauty of Chesil Beach on the Jurassic Coast, the namesake of Ian McEwan’s novel and 2017 film.


We’ll view intriguing artworks at the Holburn Museum and a National Trust country house and gardens in Kingston Lacy, featuring a superb private art collection. We’ll visit the latest art exhibitions at Hauser & Wirth in Somerset, followed by lunch at their farm-style café.


We’ll admire the unique characteristics of the Georgian town of Bath, including its natural Roman springs and spa. We’ll see the Royal Crescent, renowned for its architecture. We’ll also shop Bath's Christmas market, with more than 150 little chalets selling vintage or handcrafted items. Or maybe you’d like to learn to blow aqua glass in the Artisan Quarter. Later, we’ll relax with cream tea or perhaps a glass of champagne.


Our aim is by the time you return to London, you will have indulged in many of Dorset’s unique charms. And you’ll be carrying your own art and photographs preserving your memories, plus new skills to accompany you on future journeys!


We look forward to welcoming you to our favourite corner of England!

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Sherborne Old Castle.


Hosts: Tara Bradford and James Budden


Fee: 2900 GBP per person


Space limited to ten persons


Benefits include:

Five nights’ accommodation in the Eastbury Hotel, a lovely period-listed townhouse

Freshly-made breakfasts

Art instruction; 16 x 20 canvas panels and art supplies, including brushes, palettes and your choice of oil or acrylic paints

Photography tips and tricks

Private transport to and from sites and area attractions

Admission fees at events and attractions


Please note costs of meals (other than breakfast) and train fares from London Waterloo to Sherborne (and return to London) are not included in the price. We will provide detailed instructions for easy transportation via train and/or tube from Heathrow or Gatwick airports to Waterloo Station in London. Southwest Trains take just over two hours from London to reach Sherborne. You will be met upon arrival and escorted to our lovely accommodations.


Cancellation policy: Due to transport arrangements and hotel cancellation policies, a non-refundable deposit of 1500 GBP is payable upon registration. You are asked to provide proof of valid travel insurance before embarking on the trip.


Should you have questions or specific requests, please email [email protected]. We gladly will help facilitate your journey and strive to accommodate any special needs.




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