Creative Breaks

Creative Breaks

The location offers peace and quiet for both working and relaxing at all times of the year.

The landscape here is very atmospheric and changes dramatically with changes in the weather.

For artists and photographers, and indeed anyone seeking inspiration from the landscape, the North Pennine hills and dales are at their most interesting in Spring, Autumn and Winter. The atmospheric effects are greatest and the changing light most dramatic as contrasting long shafts of low sunlight and turbulent clouds sweep across the landscape in these seasons.

If you want to study wild flowers, you will find a profusion of colourful blooms and blossoms in the hedgerows and hay-meadows from late May to July.

Alston is a largely unspoilt historic small town, with a steep cobbled main street and market square surrounded by buildings dating from the seventeenth and eighteenth century. If old buildings inspire you, you will love exploring the town centre and its back-lanes. Here you will find houses built of local stone, many with stone roofs, and many with interesting features you may want to sketch or photograph.

There are plenty of opportunities to study the colour and textures of rocks and the play of light on water with the many little burns and gills running into the South Tyne River.  For a truly inspirational experience visit Ashgill Force near Garrigill and walk behind the waterfall. Look through the sparkling water and listen to the thunder of the water as it rushes past you into the pools below.

We provide a small selection of artists' materials for people to use if they wish to during their stay, please ask for details if you want to take advantage of this opportunity, but if you are coming with the specific purpose of taking a painting holiday, then we advise you to bring your own materials.

You may also find out about short courses, exhibitions and open studio events at the following links:

Places to see local art and crafts include the Hive at Nenthead which holds art exhibitions throughout the year and sells local crafts, and just a few miles away in Allendale, The Forge sells work by local artists and crafts people. There are also many artists and craftworkers in the local area whose work is available in local shops and hotels, and in some cases you can contact them as their workshops and studios although they aren't always open to the public, eg the Cane Workshop in a corner of the Market Square in Alston, and textile workers at The Brewhouse.