Sketching & Painting in Gardens Holiday in Northumberland
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Food & drink
Meadows & hills
Come and sketch and paint the gardens of Northumberland.
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.
Suitable for all levels of experience.
- Learn colour, composition and technique
- See and explore Northumberland
- 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
Nether Grange has undeniable history and gorgeous landscapes that surrounds the Alnmouth coastline. It's a perfect mixture of sea and landscape that provides a more settled terrain for everyone who enjoys walking in all of nature's beauty.
Nether Grange has 35 bedrooms, a number of which enjoy views across the links golf course to the sea.
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
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. Supplement to upgrade to 'Better' 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.
Just relax and take it easy, or if you'd like to continue to chat with our guides and fellow guests then why not grab a drink or take part in one of our optional evening activities.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
Due to the age and the layout of the house, Nether Grange is not recommended for wheelchair users or guests with restricted mobility.
Although one bedroom has wheelchair access, the access to the main house has some steps and the public rooms in the main building are over 2 floors with no lift available.
- 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).
Wallington is a large country estate with impressive gardens surrounding the house. The main attraction is a beautiful walled garden and summerhouse situated away from the house itself. We will start with a discussion on approaches to sketching and ways of achieving good compositions, then we will walk around the gardens to find the best subjects. We might be lucky enough to spot a red squirrel!
Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens
Today we head for Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens. The stone for the house was quarried on site, leaving ravines which were transformed into a Grade I Quarry Garden, planted with exotic species, fabulous painting subjects! There's also the medieval castle and Grand Grecian Hall if you prefer architecture.
Today our destination is Howick Hall, the home of Earl Grey tea. This is a fascinating garden with 60 acres to explore and a collection of over 11,000 trees.
A free day for you to explore the local area or to relax in the Country House. 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.
Cragside is a large Victorian estate created by the great industrialist and inventor Lord William Armstrong, who planted over seven million trees and shrubs. It is set on a hillside near Rothbury in the heart of Northumberland, surrounded by moorland.’
For many people, the visit to the wonderful Alnwick Garden will be the highlight of the week. The centrepiece is the vast Grand Cascade, the largest water feature of its kind in the country. There will be a chance to exhibit your work before dinner 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.
Nether Grange sits right at the heart of the historic coastal village of Alnmouth. Located right on the North Sea coast there is a sweeping sandy beach and a small tidal harbour. Facilities include a handful of small shops, pubs and cafés.
A wider range of facilities, including shops, supermarkets, banks and chemists can be found in Alnwick, the nearest town. Alnwick is about four miles inland and is connected to Alnmouth by regular buses.
During your visit to the Nether Grange you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest:
Alnwick Castle & gardens
The huge Alnwick Castle is a big attraction in its own right and has gained a younger audience since being used as ‘Hogwarts Castle’ in the Harry Potter films. The gardens have undergone extensive rebuilding and are now the main draw for many visitors. Alnwick is just 10 to 15 minutes' drive from Alnmouth, and can also be reached using the hourly X18 bus. www.alnwickcastle.com or www.alnwickgarden.com
Owned by the Armstrong family since the 1750s, Bamburgh Castle occupies a splendid position above the sweeping sands of the North Sea coast. Bamburgh is 35 minutes' drive from Alnmouth, and can also be reached using the 501 local bus which runs every other hour. www.bamburghcastle.com
Take a boat trip (weather permitting) from Seahouses to the Farne Islands; one of the best places in Britain to view seals and puffins. Seahouses is around 45 minutes' drive from Alnmouth, and can also be reached using the 501 bus. www.farne-islands.com
English Christianity was born in 7th century Northumberland and Lindisfarne Priory, is its oldest major site, dating from 635AD. It is located on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, cut off by the tides twice a day (make sure that you check the tide times before you visit). The Heritage Centre tells the stories of St Aidan, St Cuthbert and St Bede and displays the 8th century Lindisfarne Gospels in electronic form. Linisfarne is just under an hour's drive from Alnmouth. www.english-heritage.org.uk/lindisfarne-priory
Warkworth Castle, a few miles to the south of Alnmouth, towers over a bend in the River Coquet and the picturesque town of Warkworth. Warkworth is just 10 minutes' drive from Alnmouth, and can also be reached using the 518 bus. www.english-heritage.org.uk/warkworth-castle
Built by Victorian industrial magnate William Armstrong, Cragside House was hugely innovative and was the first house in Britain to be lit by electric light. Now managed by the National Trust, the house and gardens are a fascinating visit. Cragside is around 40 minutes' drive from Alnmouth. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cragside
Seaton Delaval Hall
Seaton Delaval Hall is a fine stately home, designed by John Vambrugh and completed in 1728. Following an extensive fundraising appeal it has recently been purchased by the National Trust. The hall is around 40 minutes' drive from Alnmouth. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/seaton-delaval-hall
The vibrant city of Newcastle is always bustling with activity and is famed for its shopping and lively nightlife. The new Baltic arts centre and Sage Gallery are well worth a visit. Newcastle is just under an hour's drive from Alnmouth, and can also be reached by hourly local bus.
Around 1½ hours drive from Nether Grange, Hadrian’s Wall remains a powerful symbol of the Roman Empire. The most dramatic section is from Once Brewed to Housteads Roman Fort and a walk here enables you to see some of the best preserved sections at close quarters. Two museums of note are the Roman Army Museum near Walltown you can gain an insight into the daily lives of Roman soldiers, and Vindolanda Roman Fort with its collection of rare Roman artefacts. www.visithadrianswall.co.uk
Edinburgh is very accessible for a day trip. Catch the train from nearby Alnmouth station for the scenic 1 hour journey to the Scottish capital. You'll arrive in the heart of the city centre with numerous museums, shops and galleries, plus the famous castle all within easy walking distance.
Alnmouth Village Golf Club
This links course if located right in front of Nether Grange. www.alnmouthvillagegolfclub.co.uk
Barter Books has been dubbed the British Library of secondhand bookshops and is located in a handsome old Victorian railway station in Alnwick.
Cragside House image © National Trust/Graeme Peacock, Seaton Delaval Hall image ©National Trust Images/John Hammond
Travel to Alnmouth
Our address is: Nether Grange, Alnmouth, Alnwick, Northumberland NE66 2RZ
Nether Grange sits on a headland and only has access to limited roadside parking. We advise our guests to use rail travel where possible. Nether Grange is a 5 minute taxi ride from Alnmouth train station
The nearest railway station is Alnmouth, on the main line between Newcastle and Edinburgh. For train times and route planning by train visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or phone 03457 48 49 50
The 1 1/2 mile journey from Alnmouth railway station takes approximately 5 minutes. Pre-booked taxis cost approx £6 per 4 seat taxi. 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 Nether Grange Manager.
Take the A1 to Alnwick. Exit on the A1068 heading towards Alnwick. At the roundabout turn right (not well signed) and follow the A1068 towards Alnmouth. After 2¾ miles go straight ahead at the first roundabout then left at the second roundabout onto the B1338. Cross a bridge as you approach Alnmouth, turning right at the next roundabout, then almost immediatley left into The Wynd. Follow the one way system into Marine Road, passing the golf clubhouse on the left, and round into Northumberland Street. After 100yds turn right into the narrow Pease’s Lane. Nether Grange is on the left. Please note that Nether Grange does not have a car park, there is very limited on-street parking available on a first come basis. You can park in available slots on Marine Road, Pease's Lane and elsewhere in town. There is a pay and display car park at the end of Marine Road.
Travelling from overseas
The nearest airport is at Newcastle which is served by European flights, and UK regional flights from London. From here take the metro to Newcastle Central station, then on by train to Alnmouth - a straightforward journey taking just over 1 hour.
Manchester Airport has a much wider range of long-haul flights. There are trains every hour from the airport to Alnmouth with one change at Newcastle. Allow 3½ hours to Alnmouth - see www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
Flying to London Heathrow airport is another option, but has a longer onward train journey - allow 5 hours to reach Alnmouth. From Heathrow first take the Piccadilly line Underground train to London Kings Cross station. From here take a train to Alnmouth - see www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
Edinburgh Airport is also a possibility.
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.