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Learn a new skill with Pride of Britain Hotels

25th October 2012 Print

Combine photography, fishing, sailing and Christmas cooking with a stay at one of these luxury and boutique hotels.

Think of luxury hotels, and sumptuous cotton bedding, hearty breakfasts, excellent hospitality and the odd Michelin-starred restaurant may come to mind. Stay at one of the Pride of Britain Hotels and you’ll find all this, but many give you the chance to experience something different, too.

Pick up new skills, indulge in your hobbies and learn some tricks of the trade whilst relaxing for a night or two and enjoying one of these varied experiences.

Snap-happy in the Lakes – from £400 pp at Holbeck Ghyll

Whatever the weather – from atmospheric misty mornings to crisp, blue-sky days – the Lake District offers endless opportunities for photographers and has been a source of inspiration for many an artist and author over the years. Base yourself at Holbeck Ghyll – an Arts & Crafts hotel overlooking Lake Windermere – which runs special photography weekends led by mountain photographer Bill Birkett. Spend Saturday snapping away whilst Bill advises on ways to improve technique then, on Sunday, there’s time for further tuition in and around the hotel gardens. Taking place 16-18 November 2012 and 22-24 March 2013, the Photography Weekend costs from £400 pp (two sharing) including two nights’ half-board accommodation, a packed lunch and transportation on the Saturday and one-and-a-half days of photography tuition. The hotel is also running a two-night Walking Weekend (2-4 November and 29-31 March) from £400 pp and a two-night Gourmet Weekend (23-25 November and 15-17 March) from £440 pp to celebrate the hotel retaining its Michelin Star for the 13th year.

Fishing at your fingertips – from £265 pp at the Lake Country House and Spa

With 50 acres of lush, green grounds – including a well-stocked trout lake – Lake Country House and Spa, in south Wales, is a haven for anglers. While the three-acre lake will appeal to fishermen of varying standards, more experienced anglers will enjoy testing their skills on four miles of the River Irfon – a tributary of the Wye – which runs through the hotel grounds and is also popular with herons, dippers and kingfishers. Here, guests can fish for trout, grayling and salmon. There’s plenty for non-fishing fans too, with pretty riverside walks, rhododendron-lined pathways and facilities which include an indoor pool, gym, a nine-hole golf course and a tennis court. There’s also the pampering Kingfisher Spa to enjoy. A Fishing and Spa Break with two nights’ full-board accommodation costs from £265 pp (two sharing) including two days’ fishing and a spa treatment (worth up to £50).

Pick up trade secrets in the kitchen – from £155 pp at Judges Country House Hotel

If you’ve been inspired by MasterChef and The Great British Bake Off, then a stay at Judges Country House Hotel might be just the thing. Set on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors, shadow chefs in the hotel’s 3 AA-rosette-winning restaurant with the ‘Chef for the Day’ experience. Two people at a time can don chef’s whites and become part of the kitchen team, gaining one-to-one experience in all areas of food preparation, cooking and presentation. The hotel’s 22 acres of immaculate gardens, sunny terraces and woodland walkways also make a wonderful place to wander. The ‘Chef for the Day’ package costs from £155 pp (two sharing) including a night’s half-board accommodation, as well as a working lunch and afternoon tea. Available Monday to Thursday.

Sail the coastline on a Cornish Crabber – from £193 pp at The Nare

Overlooking Carne beach on Cornwall’s south coast and surrounded by National Trust land, The Nare enjoys an impressive position. Make the most of the water-front setting and explore the Cornish coastline with a trip aboard Maggie O’Nare, the hotel’s own yacht – a beautiful gaff-rigged boat. Up to four guests at a time can sail on the 22-foot boat which, skippered by hotel proprietor Toby Ashworth, could take you across to Falmouth, up the Helford River to Frenchman’s Creek (of Daphne du Maurier fame) or to anchor in a bay for a refreshing dip. Trips can be a half-day jaunt with elevenses or afternoon cream tea, or encompass a full day including a picnic lunch and drinks. Back at the hotel, there are both indoor and outdoor pools, plus a choice of restaurants serving delicious fresh, local seafood. A night’s stay costs from £135 pp (two sharing) including breakfast, and a half day’s sailing is £230 for a party of four guests (or £58 pp).

Prepare for a culinary Christmas – from £134 pp at The Swan at Lavenham

Get ahead of Christmas with a festive culinary master class at the 15th century Swan at Lavenham in Suffolk. Pick up tips and new skills from head chef Justin Kett, who’ll ensure that this year’s yuletide is stress-free. Learn to make the perfect stuffing, get expert turkey tips and whip up delicious spiced-apple chutney and Cumberland sauce. There’s also a session on how to cook the best Brussels sprouts and the morning ends with making mulled wine and poached pears. After a Q&A session offering the chance to ask all those niggling cookery questions, sit down to a two-course lunch with wine in the hotel’s impressive timbered-ceiling restaurant. Browse medieval Lavenham’s independent shops after lunch, picking up some presents. Taking place on 29 November 2012, ‘Get ahead of Christmas’ costs £35.95 pp including workshops, tastings, lunch and morning coffee. A night’s stay costs from £97.50 pp (two sharing) including breakfast.

Pride of Britain Hotels’ website provides a constantly updated list of late booking availability and special offers. To book an overnight stay and an experience, visit

Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Pride of Britain Hotels is also the official hotel partner to the National Trust, with many of the hotels located near to one or more National Trust properties.