Sketching & Painting in Gardens Holiday in Exmoor
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Hills & moorland
Gardens have been a great inspiration for many artists from Brueghal and Gainsborough to Monet and Patrick Heron. For this sketching and painting holiday, we are lucky to have many beautiful and varied gardens to visit and we will go to different gardens each day to sketch and paint. Your leader will guide you in choosing a composition and recreating the colours and shapes you see. In some gardens there will be opportunities to paint reflections of the lakes.
Suitable for all levels of experience.
- Learn colour, composition and technique
- Share inspiration and exchange ideas
- Gain knowledge to continue painting at home
- High quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our Country House
- Tuition from our knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, to ensure you get the most from your holiday
- Loan of wooden A3 art boards
- All gardens admissions costs (please note this does not include entrance to stately homes/houses, for which there is a separate admission fee)
- All transport to and from gardens on your holiday
- Small groups of up to 15 guests
As a historic National Trust property, Holnicote House is full of charm and character. Located on the extensive Holnicote Estate, at the foot of Exmoor, it is well suited to a relaxing holiday.
Holnicote House has 32 newly refurbished bedrooms. Some are located in the main house, with others in the thatched cottages, called Butlers and Guns, in the grounds.
These rooms are all ensuite and furnished to a good standard. They include:
These rooms are slightly larger and/or have a better view. They include:
Only an extra £15 per person per night
These rooms truly are the best in the house for extra luxury during your stay. They include:
Only an extra £20 per person per night
Choose Your Room: Our new “Choose Your Room” service is available at our UK country houses, providing the option to choose and confirm a specific room for an extra £30 per room. Supplements to upgrade to 'Better' or 'Best' rooms still apply. The choice of room number must be of the same room type as originally booked and is subject to availability.
At the house
|All holidays at our Country Houses are full board accommodation including evening meal on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure. 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.
- Fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued
- Mobile phone reception is generally good from the main building
- Assistance dogs accompanying visually or hearing impaired guests are welcome; dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
- Information can be provided in large print
- Staff have received disability awareness training
- Special diets can be catered for. Specialist food can be obtained with prior notice
- Fridge for medication can be supplied
You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (better rooms from 1pm). Please join us for afternoon tea. All guests are invited – we’ll introduce your leader and welcome you to your holiday.
After a hearty breakfast, we'll head out to a variety of gardens where we can sketch and paint the lovely vistas they offer. We'll have a tasty picnic lunch together, so we can spend as much time as possible doing what we love best, creating personal works of art using the wonderful colours and shapes that greet us. Your leader will take you around the gardens to sketch and paint different subjects - there are some hills and steps and you’ll be carrying your equipment, but if you prefer to stay in one place for the day that’s fine (though you will still need to walk to the garden from the coach).
The sub tropical gardens around Dunster Castle are set along the river and on castle hill, providing a great variety of subjects including wide views, exotic plants and palm trees, small bridges and woodland and a working watermill. We will start the day with a discussion on approaches to sketching and ways of achieving good compositions
This wonderful garden offers a variety of subjects from historic buildings to colourful flowers, lakes and reflections and the highest fountain in England. The kitchen garden is a firm favourite and there are lots of interesting arches and doorways.
Our Discovery Points help you make the most out of your free day. There’s plenty of maps and a selection of the best local walking routes, as well as weather forecasts and public transport options – plus details about other places to visit.
This is a famous Edwardian garden designed by Lutyens and Jekyll along with lakes, temples and woodland walks designed in the 1750s by the owner, himself an amateur artist.
There is plenty more inspiration at this beautiful National Trust property, with formal gardens, sculpted hedges and a water lily pond, and wide views of the surrounding hills. There is a walled kitchen garden and a picturesque stable block. We will spend the day here and you will be encouraged to try a few different subjects if you would like to.
After a scenic drive along the north Devon coast we will spend the day at Marwood Hill, gardens created in a lush Devon valley in the 1950s. There are lakes, formal gardens and views across the valley; statues, reflections and colourful planting give us plenty of inspiration on our last day.
There will be a chance to exhibit your work in the evening if you would like to.
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
- sketchbooks – good cartridge paper (e.g.150gm), A4 or 8” square and/or A5 or 6” square (spiral bound or hard back)
- 2B & 4B pencils and a watersoluble graphite pencil
- craft blade for sharpening pencils
- putty rubber
- bulldog clips or large elastic bands
- a sketching pen
- blank slide mount or small cardboard mount for view finder (e.g. postcard or smaller)
- Optional – a set of Caran D’Ache Neocolour water-soluble pastels, or a set of water-soluble crayons (e.g.Derwent Inktense)
- Optional – a water brush
- Some watercolours, brushes and water pot if you want to paint, or other lightweight materials you like to use
- A rucksack to carry the materials
- A foam seat pad or lightweight stool that you can easily carry
- Protection against weather & insects – waterproofs, umbrella, sunblock & sunhat, insect repellent, long trousers & long sleeved shirt
- A camera
- Good shoes – preferably waterproof
We will be walking around the gardens so try to keep it simple!
If you would like to try watercolours & need suggestions for colours to bring, the following is a good selection:
French Ultramarine blue Prussian blue
Cadmium Yellow Lemon yellow
Cadmium red Alizarin crimson
Viridian green Burnt umber
Burnt sienna Raw sienna
You could either get half pans or tubes with a separate palette. If you're buying watercolour brushes a size 8 & 12 round would be a good start. And a watercolour pad (about A4, minimum 140lbs or 300gsm), or a sketchbook with thick paper. Your art leader is happy to discuss any of the above if you need more information.
Lightweight wooden A3 painting boards are available at the country house for guest loan.
During your stay at Holnicote House you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest, either in your free time, or on your journey to and from Selworthy:
Less than a mile from Holnicote House is Selworthy village. At first glance the thatched cottages seem typical of many ancient settlements in this area. However, Selworthy is not as old as it looks, having been rebuilt in 1828 by Sir Thomas Acland. Sir Thomas was a philanthropist and designed the 'model' village himself to provide housing for the aged and infirm of the estate. He used traditional designs and materials to create a deliberately old-fashioned village.
West Somerset Railway
Travel on Britain’s longest steam railway from Minehead to Bishops Lydyard. Now lovingly restored by volunteers, the line recreates a classic Great Western Railway branch line with steam trains operating daily from April to October. Minehead station is 10 minutes' drive from Selworthy, or can be reached on the number 300 bus. www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk
An historic castle transformed into a comfortable stately home for the Luttrell family. Some highlights include the 'modern' 1950s kitchen and the snooker room. Dunster Castle sits in extensive gardens, complete with its working watermill. The adjacent town of Dunster is full of character and also well worth a visit. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunster-castle
Lynton & Lynmouth
The quaint Victorian town of Lynton sits high on a hill, overlooking the coast and Lynmouth harbour. The two settlements are connected by the historic cliff railway. The short walk from Lynton to the Valley of Rocks is highly recommended.
The poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) and his wife Sara lived in the village of Nether Stowey, about 45 minutes' drive from Selworthy, from 1796 to 1799. In 1909 it was acquired by the National Trust, and later restored and opened to the public. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/coleridge-cottage
Hestercombe Gardens, around an hour's drive away near Taunton, were constructed in three periods - a landscape garden from the 1750s, a Victorian terrace and shrubbery from the 1870s, and Edwardian gardens of 1904-1908 designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll. www.hestercombe.com
Arlington Court, about an hour's drive away near Barnstaple is a fine Regency house set in an extensive estate. The grounds include a formal Victorian garden whilst the stables house the National Trust’s carriage collection of over fifty horse-drawn vehicles. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/arlington-court
Travel to Holnicote House
Our address is: Holnicote House, Selworthy, Minehead, Somerset TA24 8TJ
The nearest railway station is at Taunton. For train times and route planning by train visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or phone 03457 48 49 50.
The 29 mile journey from Taunton railway station takes approximately 50 minutes. Pre-booked taxis cost approx £56 per taxi. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. The taxi company will arrange shared taxis wherever possible. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Holnicote House Manager.
The number 28 bus operates between Taunton station and Minehead. At Minehead change for the number 10 bus that will take you to the Selworthy turn (which is at the end of Holnicote House drive). A 2 minute walk along the drive will bring you to the house. Alternatively pre-book a taxi from Minehead; the 4½ mile journey will cost you approx £10 from our recommended taxi provider. For bus times see www.traveline.info
From Bridgewater take the A39 though the southern outskirts of Minehead towards Porlock. Holnicote House is on the left about 4½ miles out of Minehead, and about ¾ mile after the signpost to Luccombe (do not follow the signs to Selworthy). After the Selworthy Village sign look out for our sign 500 yards further on, on the left. Free car parking is available in the grounds.
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 Taunton. Its a relatively straightforward journey - allow 2½ hours. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
Bristol Airport may also be convenient for some guests. Take the train to Taunton
From Taunton you can travel on to Selworthy by bus or taxi (see above).
Helen is an experienced artist and tutor whose enthusiasm for her subject is infectious; her patient and encouraging way of teaching gives every student the chance to progress without feeling inhibited, whatever their standard. She studied painting with professional artists in the UK and USA, gained a BA Hons in Fine Art at Hertfordshire University and a post-graduate diploma in printmaking. She appeared on Channel 4’s Watercolour Challenge and has worked with the sculptor Andy Goldsworthy. She has taken part in many solo and group exhibitions in London and the South-East and also a touring exhibition in Scandinavia. She has achieved awards in several national art competitions and has work in both public and private collections.
You can visit Helen's website at www.helenhalliday.com
Very knowledgeable about the area as well as about painting. Hard-working and constantly checking that all group members were happily occupied. Very impressive all round.