Have the past few months left you with a bigger urge than ever to 'carpe diem'? Perhaps, then, you might be interested in three creative courses now taking bookings for 2021.
We've found three distinctly different opportunities for you to flex your creative muscles, in three completely different corners of the UK and Ireland. Why not plan a longer break around your course and make it a
1. WRITE AT MONIACK MANOR
A few miles out from Inverness sits Moniack Mhor, a cosy farmstead of croft cottages and barns turned literary school. As far as settings for creative workshops go, few are as inspiring as this. The mountains and woodland of the Scottish Highlands loom in the distance, and the remains of early civilisations stretch out as far as the eye can see.
Courses vary from workshops on picture books, poetry and short stories to retreats to help writers develop personal projects and recharge creative batteries. Classes have been taught by names such as Carol Ann Duffy, and all come with the kindly warmth of highlands hospitality.
To book, visit moniackmhor.org.uk
2. COOK AT BALLYMALOE COOKERY SCHOOL
Irish chef and food writer Darina Allen’s celebrated culinary school in East Cork is recognised as one of the most prestigious in its field. Students can learn everything from the art of foraging to how to churn their own butter.
Technical credentials aside, Ballymaloe – which is also home to a hotel and restaurant – is a handsome example of a 19th-century Georgian house, set in fine gardens and surrounded by largely untouched countryside.
Our pick of courses? The garden workshops, sushi made simple and for those with a sweet tooth, secrets of the Ballymaloe sweet trolley
To book, visit cookingisfun.ie
3. TRY FLORISTRY AT MCQUEENS FLOWER SCHOOL
Next year will mark its 30th anniversary, and in that time feted florist McQueens has provided displays for events as varied as Wimbledon and the Vanity Fair Oscar Party. Its London flower school is the place to head for a comprehensive, from-the-ground-up approach to botanical arranging.
Guided by the principles of style, simplicity and skill, students can take courses on everything from seasonal bouquets and the history of flowers to ambitious installations.
Currently on offer are half and whole day vouchers, redeemable at a later date for one of the school’s masterclass experiences
To book, visit mcqueens.co.uk