Rambles with a Sketchbook in the Cotswolds
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Meadows & hills
Create your own artistic impressions as we walk through some of Britains' most inspirational landscapes. We’ll walk up to 4 miles (6.5km) each day, sketching scenes along our journey. Your sketches may be the finished result or used as a source for further painting or drawing. Some of the rambles will include stiles and cover rough and uneven ground so you will need to bring good walking boots and have a reasonable level of fitness. Be aware that you will be spending a fair amount of time on your feet as you ramble between sketching spots!
- Gentle rambles of up to 4 miles with plenty of stops for sketching
- A variety of inspirational landscapes from the green rolling hills to the golden stone villages
- Our professional artist leader will guide and encourage
- Enjoy the sociable atmosphere of sketching in a group
Great reasons to join us
- Great value: all prices include Full Board en-suite accommodation, transport for the rambles and tuition from our expert leader
- Accommodation: enjoy high quality accommodation and excellent food at our Country Houses
- Expert leaders: all our leaders are expert in their field and will ensure that you get the most from your holiday
- Sociability: spend time with like-minded people in a relaxed and friendly environment
Dating from the Tudor period, and of, considerable historic interest, Harrington House mirrors the mellow architectural style of the Cotswolds. Its peaceful atmosphere and proximity to the charming centre of Bourton-on-the-Water make it ideal for those who prefer a less active holiday.
Harrington House has 29 bedrooms. Most are located in the main house, with others in the adjacent cottages.
Choose your room
• Comfortable accommodation
• En-suite bathroom with bath or shower
• Tea and coffee making facilities
• Single rooms are available at no extra charge
• Enjoy extra space or exceptional views
• Toweling robe Complimentary slippers
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Available from an extra £10 per person per night
• 3 or 4 beds
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Full sized twin or double beds for adults and bunk or occasional beds for children
|• Excellent boot and drying rooms
• Main house there is a lounge, dining room and a bar
• At the very top of the house is the observatory
• Free WiFi in public rooms
|• Range of board games and books
• At the rear of the house there is an attractive walled garden with a large croquet lawn
|All holidays at our Country Houses are full board with breakfast, picnic lunch and evening meal. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
√ Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
Monday: Arrival day
You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards. Please join us for afternoon tea at 4pm. All guests are invited – we’ll introduce your leader and welcome you to your holiday.
Tuesday: Tracing the Windrush
Your tutor, Irene Sanderson, will give an overview of sketching techniques and hints on how your observations can enhance memories and be springboards to creativity. Today’s ramble follows the beautiful Windrush River upstream through the picturesque villages of Bourton-on-the-Water, Lower Slaughter and Upper Slaughter, all three acknowledged as jewels of rural architecture set in the picturesque Cotswolds. There is also an excellent tea shop on the way. A feast for all the senses!
Wednesday: Time to blossom
Through the rolling farmlands of the Cotswold to the two iconic gardens of Hidcote and Kiftsgate Court. Hidcote is a National Trust property laid out in a series of aspects each with a particular theme. Kiftsgate Court, clinging to an escarpment, is a family estate landscaped by three generations of women. There is an entrance fee for both these gardens so don't forget your National Trust membership card if you have one. Those who wish can stay all day basking in the peak of Spring blossoming, but there is also a ramble to take you down through pretty hamlets to the intriguing church at Mickeldon and then up a steady climb through primrose-lined woodland. You’ll enjoy great views over the Vale of Evesham before returning to the gardens for the tearooms and shops. A day for making studies of this very special season.
Thursday: Harmony with nature
Today has the theme of harmony with nature following the Jubilee Way through a nature reserve to the neighbouring village of Wyck Rissington. Gustav Holst was the church organist here and the ancient building is a fine subject. Magnificent country houses in golden stone line the broadway. Once back at the Country House, we'll take time for final sketches of Bourton ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’ where the parade by the flowing Windrush river gives boundless opportunities for the observation of people interacting with water and ducks.
Friday: Depart after a leisurely breakfast.
Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way.
What to bring
You may of course have your own preferences for your own materials – oil or pastel perhaps - but here is a list of the essentials that Irene takes out sketching:
- A hardbacked sketchbook with good thick cartridge paper, preferably 150gm weight - A4 (I prefer landscape format) and / or a 6” or 8” square sketchbook
- A5 notebook for quick note taking
- 2B and 4B pencils and if possible, a water-soluble graphite pencil
- Feel free to bring any other lightweight materials too, such as watercolours, crayons, a set of water soluble pastels or water-soluble crayons
- Craft blade or Stanley knife for sharpening pencils
- Eraser/putty rubber
- Brush / Waterbrush pen (a plastic brush with a water reservoir useful for spreading your watercolour crayons)
- Pen(s) for sketching: most easy to use are fibre-tipped (such as Edding 1800) but you may like your nib pen with waterproof ink (cartridge or bottle)
- Lightweight bottle for your water (and for you to drink and/or use during sketching)
- Water beaker
- Bull Dog clip or large elastic bands
- Small rucksack or shoulder bag for carrying your materials and money
- Wide-brimmed hat or a plastic eye shade to eliminate glare.
- Cushion, garden kneeler or plastic seat pad.
- Remember that sitting still can make you chillier than you would expect, so bring some extra layers of warm, waterproof clothing, a hat and a thin pair of stretchy gloves
- Carrier bags for protecting your work and our materials inside your rucksack when the weather is wet
- Strong, comfortable footwear with a good tread
Discover the Cotswolds
Bourton-on-the-Water is situated at the heart of the Cotswolds, a beautiful area of rolling green hills and attractive stone towns and villages.
Harrington House is located in a quiet street, just 100 metres from the centre of Bourton. This is one of the most popular villages in the Cotswolds, frequently busy with visitors. The River Windrush winds its way through the central village green and is crossed by a series of attractive stone bridges.
Bourton-on-the-Water is a popular destination in its own right with its specialist shops and attractive village green. Local attractions include the motor museum, model village and Birdland wildlife park, all within easy walking distance.
The village has a good range of facilities including a small supermarket, post office, newsagent, pubs and bank.
During your stay at Harrington House you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest:
The mellow market town of Chipping Campden, about 30 minutes' drive north of Bourton-on-the-Water, is one of the most visited towns in the Cotswolds.
Hidcote Manor Gardens
Owned by the National Trust, Hidcote is a small manor house with an exceptional garden designed in the Arts and Crafts style. Around 35 minutes' north from Bourton-on-the-Water. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hidcote
Considered as one of the most beautiful villages in Britain it is easy to see why so many visitors are attracted to Broadway. Don’t let this put you off; Broadway is still worth a visit. To get away from the crowds, consider a walk to Broadway Tower for stunning views of the Vale of Evesham. Around 30 minutes' drive from Bourton.
Famous for its Shakespeare connections, Stratford is an attractive town spanning the River Avon. Of particular interest are the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the Shakespeare Birthplace Museum. Around 40 minutes' drive from Bourton. www.rsc.org.uk or www.shakespeare.org.uk
Blenheim Palace is one of the grandest and best-known stately homes in Britain. It sits in extensive parkland and is also famous as the ancestral home of Winston Churchill. www.blenheimpalace.com
The fine Regency spa town of Cheltenham has an excellent range of shops and facilities. Cheltenham is around 25 minutes' drive from Bourton, and can also be reached by an hourly local bus.
The Cathedral city of Gloucester is about 35 minutes' drive to the west of Bourton. The fine Norman cathedral is well worth visiting, as is the National Waterways Museum. www.gloucestercathedral.org.uk or www.canalrivertrust.org.uk
Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway
Ride the steam railway through attractive Cotswold countryside from Cheltenham to Toddington about 30 minutes' drive from Bourton. Now restored, this was once the Great Western main line to Birmingham. www.gwsr.com
The famous university city of Oxford is about an hour’s drive from Bourton-on-the-Water. You may wish to stroll through the historic colleges or visit the Ashmolean Museum. www.ashmolean.org
Hidcote Gardens image ©National Trust Images/Jonathan Buckley
Travel to Bourton-on-the-Water
Our address is: Harrington House, Sherborne Street, Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, GL54 2BY
The nearest railway station is Moreton-in-Marsh. However, the nearest mainline station is at Cheltenham Spa which may be more convenient. For train times and general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).
From Moreton-in-Marsh station a taxi takes approximately 20 minutes and costs £21 if pre-booked. From Cheltenham Spa station a taxi takes around 30 minutes and costs £42 if pre-booked. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Harrington House Manager.
From Moreton-in-Marsh station catch the 801 bus to Bourton-on-the-Water,from where it is a short walk to our Country House. Alight next to the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Shop. Cross the road to the war memorial and continue across the bridge. Follow this road for 150 metres until the road forks. Harrington House is on the left.
From the A429 take the road into the centre of Bourton-on-the-Water. At the war memorial by the village green, turn into Sherborne Street. Follow this road for 150yds, crossing the river and passing the motor museum until the road forks. Harrington House is on the left before the fork. Look out for our sign. A car park is available in the grounds with free parking.
Travelling from overseas
For most guests, travelling to London Heathrow airport is the most convenient option.
From Heathrow first take the train to London Paddington station. From here there are direct trains to Moreton-in-Marsh. It's a relatively straightforward journey - just over 2 hours. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
From Moreton-in-Marsh you can travel on to Bourton-on-the-Water by bus or taxi (see above).
Irene is an artist whose work is based on observation and drawing. She uses a variety of media including watercolour, oil, acrylic and pastel as well as the techniques and methods of Chinese brush painting.
At the heart of her teaching is the encouragement of art appreciation, with group discussions as well as up-to-the-minute overviews of contemporary and international trends.
Dates & Prices
We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.
Prices are per person
- Premium single room: £15 per night
- Premium twin/double room: £10 per person per night
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person