Craft workshops for adults on Windermere
Brockhole on Windermere is known for its outdoor activities, and a great place for the kids to literally ‘hang out’ of the trees in the treetop trek and nets, and mess about on the waters of Windermere, writes Karen Morley-Chesworth. However, this beautiful Arts and Crafts villa, set in the stunning gardens that lead down to the shores of Windermere, is also a place for adults to be inspired and learn new skills.
The original ethos of the Arts and Crafts movement, which was the inspiration for William Gaddum and his wife Edith to have Brockhole house built is now at the heart of the new creative workshops.
And the season of arts and craft sessions is also linked into the other jewel in the crown of Brockhole – the Gaddium Restaurant.
This is the perfect experience day – passionate artisans sharing their knowledge with you, and a refined dining experience in the Gaddium Restaurant. And at the end of the afternoon, when you can sit back and take pride in the handcrafted item you have made, and take in the view across the grounds and Windermere from the sheltered balcony, a traditional English afternoon cream tea is served.
It sounds like heaven and it doesn’t disappoint. We were fortunate to be invited to join the first of Brockholes Experience Days – with expert couture milliner, Tracey Wells, who taught us the art of silk rose making.
My daughter and blogger Katie May joined me for this creative day, and we met our fellow students for coffee in the little snug area, with its original Arts & Crafts fireplace and panelling, with William Morris wallpaper. It was the perfect location for the class of six to meet their tutor for the day.
Tracy showed us images of her latest creations. She told us about the amazing hats she has just made for her exclusive clients for Ascot Races. As Tracy is making bespoke hats for celebrities including Housewives of Cheshire stars, her hats snapped by the paparazzi and seen in the magazines and newspapers covering the glamorous event. However you don’t have to be a celebrity to wear unique hat, created for you by Tracy. From her emporium in Ulverston, she creates stunning hats for weddings and other celebrations.
When we move into our studio for the day, on the first floor of Brockhole House, the view of Windermere, Langdale Pikes, Pike of Stickle and Harrison Stickle beyond is amazing. And our workstations laid out with everything we would need to create a silk rose.
Tracy patiently takes us through the process, with one-to-one time to help us create individual petals, after selecting our silks from a range of colours, and using her templates to carefully cut out each part of the rose-to-be.
With all our petals prepared we take our lunch downstairs in The Gaddium – with another amazing view through the wisteria, into the gardens, with the rhododendrons in full bloom.
This is such a calm dining room, which has been recently renovated and restored to its former Arts and Crafts style, with a grapevine growing around the adjacent orangery room.
The artisan bread selection was amazing – warm seeded bread and beetroot flavoured choices.
We had a choice of our main course for lunch from one of four tempting dishes: Cumbrian Shin of Beef with confit carrots, braise cabbage savoy and Romanesco broccoli, Gressingham Duck Breast with carrot and squash puree and wild mushrooms, Baked Beetroot with a trio of beetroot, coconut cloud, superfood salad and balsamic coral or Monkfish Ballotine which is the option Katie May and I opted for.
As you can see, this is a fine dining experience, to savour. The meaty Monkfish was cooked to perfection, wrapped in pancetta with a bisque froth and herb oil. The bed of sweet, soft buttered leeks the fish was served upon were the perfect flavour and texture to complement and not overpower the fish. Devine.
When we returned to our petals, we switched on our tiny irons to turn the flat silk shapes into delicate petals – each as individual as you would find on a living bloom.
Tracy showed us how to twist the florist wire and wooden bead together to create the heart of the flower, and carefully place and wrap the first tiny petals to start building up our roses. Petal by petal we build up our roses and had enough material to make a bud to add to the design.
By the time afternoon tea arrived, we were letting our roses settle, and admiring our work.
With a tea and coffee menu to choose from, and gluten, vegan and dairy-free cake options, you could create your afternoon tea to your own taste.
This was the perfect way to end our Experience Day at Brockhole. Thank you to the team at Brockhole and Tracy for the perfect creative day.
Further experience days are scheduled for May, June and July, including learning to loom weave, creating mini textile landscapes and interlocking crochet – and more are planned for the autumn.
And if you want to concentrate on the crafting there is also a series of Arts & Craft Classes at Brockhole throughout the summer, including linocut printmaking, felt and wire floral sculpture, Terracotta clay plant pots making, hand-printed tote bags and mosaic making classes. These sessions on weekdays can also have an added ‘Crafternoon Tea’ (I would recommend this!)
Brockhole is the perfect setting for these creative workshops – ideal for a gift, a pre-wedding experience for the bride and her friends or just to spoil yourself.
- Workshop run from 10 am-4 pm and costs £75 including lunch and afternoon tea
- For more details on the Experience ys and Arts & Crafts Classes at Brockhole, visit their website brockhole.co.uk/creativeworkshops
Katie May and I previusly had a full afternoon tea at The Gaddium, check out our expereince here.
Blog written by Karen Morley-Chesworth