CraftCourses digital marketer, Fran, became inspired when writing a meet the maker blog all about the incredible venue of Gartmore House. The team at Gartmore were thrilled with the response to the blog and got in touch with Fran and asked if she would like to visit the venue and enjoy a craft retreat weekend of her very own, so she could truly appreciate what this exceptional location had to offer.
As you can imagine Fran absolutely leapt at the chance of visiting the phenomenal Gartmore House, and despite a 10-hour drive from her Pembrokeshire base to Stirlingshire in Scotland, Fran was fizzing with excitement for the weekend ahead.
To check out the meet the maker blog that inspired Fran's journey click here.
Here’s Fran to tell you all about her adventure:
When the marketer at Gartmore House, Alison, offered me the chance to visit them in the flesh I couldn't believe my luck! We agreed I would visit for one of their 2-night weekend retreats, and I was given a choice of three fabulous craft workshops to take part in: photography, lace making or eco-printing and indigo dyeing. I have a lifelong passion for textiles and being able to use natural techniques and materials in my art so eco-printing and indigo dyeing sounded just up my street.
"GET ME TO GARTMORE" can anyone sense Fran's excitement here?
The communication from the team at Gartmore was impeccable, I received arrival information that got me excited about my trip and prepared me for what I would need to pack. (I never pack light) I then had personal contact from the course tutor, Liz, who gave me a lowdown of what we would be learning and a warning that ‘things could get messy’ so to wear some old clothes, (as a messy creative this was music to my ears.)
The drive to Stirlingshire was quite incredible, through the mountains of mid-Wales and then through the rugged landscape of the Yorkshire Moors and finally over the border into the idyllic backdrop of Scotland. As I arrived at the post code for the venue, I couldn’t believe my eyes, there was a gatehouse at the entrance and a long landscaped driveway, I felt like royalty.
As I pulled into the drive, I was astounded by the beauty of Gartmore House, the building and its surroundings were absolutely jaw dropping. I checked-in with the reception team, they gave me the warmest welcome, a fantastic introduction about my stay and helped me with my heavy bags to my room.
Imagine my pure joy when I unlocked the door to my room to find I had been given the most stunning suite for my weekend retreat. I was astounded by the view, the finish of the room and the quality of the fittings. I had to pinch myself to make sure it was all real.
“I feel like I’m starring in an episode of Downton Abbey, like I’ve travelled back in time, and I am a royal guest from a foreign land.” I think the other guests thought I was a little over dramatic, having only travelled from Wales.
I had arrived on the Friday afternoon and after a warm, group introduction we were provided with a gorgeous meal and dessert prepared by a fantastic chef. The whole trip was catered with stunning meals prepared for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and traditional bakes and coffee in between- I have never eaten so well! All of the staff at Gartmore were friendly, helpful and enthusiastic about providing the best experience to their guests.
I explored the grounds on the Friday evening and felt like I was the lady of the manor parading the lawn. The grounds were landscaped beautifully and there was a secret walled garden that I was eager to explore.
I was also incredibly fortunate to arrive on a weekend where the team were selling off some of the surplus furnishings from the grand house, let's just say I filled my car for future craft projects!!
The next two days were jam-packed with creativity as tutor, Liz, inspired us with natural botanical printing and creating our own vat of indigo dye. We made prints on paper, dyed cotton fabric with intricate designs and made two delicate silk scarves with a botanical theme. We all achieved incredible results and felt we had learned a new skill for life.
I left my weekend at Gartmore feeling refreshed, motivated and inspired to try-out my new-found skill. I had met like-minded people, who were equally obsessed with crafting, and I am sure I will book another stay at Gartmore soon, as their range of workshops is fantastic!! THANK YOU GARTMORE!
Does this sound like your dream staycation? We have included a selection of the other workshops available at Gartmore:
Surely we are all ready by now to get into the festive spirit! This weekend break would be the perfect way to start your Christmas season and come away with some Christmas decorations and gift ideas made by your own fair hands!
You couldn't ask for a better location to learn about bird identification. Gartmore is set in 75 acres of superb woodland and pastures and you will be guided to identify all the birds that you see during your stay and what features to look for.