Take three.... creative escapes for autumn

Painting course in Tuscany
Calling all creative types! Here's a top idea for an autumn break: combine a sightseeing trip to Florence with a painting or writing course in Tuscany.

Professional artists and authors are on hand at The Watermill at Posara, a beautifully restored 17th century grain, chestnut and olive mill (below) in the heart of the Tuscan countryside. Book in for a week on one of their courses for lots of one-to-one tuition and top tips in a peaceful environment, then opt for a three-day trip to see beautiful Florence.

The Watermill, Tuscany
Prices start at £1,116 per person with an extra £585 for a Florence extension. Your stay at the Watermill includes seven nights' accommodation, pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals (including lunches and dinner with wine both at The Watermill and at charming local restaurants), local travel, transfers and a midweek sightseeing tour to either Lucca or the Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera.
If you choose the Florence add-on, you'll have the personal service of a guide who'll show you the city's secret corners and hidden gems and 'must-see' sights. She will also organise entrance to free evening music concerts and reveal beautiful private gardens that are typically off-limits to the general public.


Budding artists should also check out some of the new painting holidays organised by Authentic Adventures, which offers courses all over the world, from Volcanic Sicily to Cuba, while photographers hoping to hone their skills will love the eight-day adventure in Essauira, Morocco, this October run by Creative Escapes.

Inspired? Check out our gallery below for more ideas to set your imagination free!

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<b>Ten of the best creative getaways</b>
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Take three.... creative escapes for autumn
If you've always wanted to learn how to take holiday photos like a professional, Iceland is a great place to do it with Wild Photography Holidays, where you can choose from four different courses – Southern Contrasts - Glaciers, Volcanoes and Waterfalls, Flowers and Landscapes of the Eastern Fjords, Highland Exposure and Trails of the Deserted Fjords. The holidays allow you to explore Iceland's beautiful landscape while learning the art of photography and relaxing in some of the country's most famous attractions, like the Blue Lagoon or the Mývatn Nature Bath. Holidays from £1,935 for eight nights.
Take to the Scottish Highlands where you can learn the traditional art of felt making with Responsible Travel. You'll get to meet local herds of sheep and be introduced to sheep shearing, spinning and collect plants for natural dying, which will later be transformed into dye for the fleece. The creative break includes a trip to Glen Affric and walking along the Loch Affric shore through ancient Caledonian woodland. When it comes to sleeping, you can choose to wild camp in the woods or choose from some local B&Bs for your accommodation. Holidays from £140 for a weekend or £650 for eight days.

For a real adventure holiday where you can get productive too, take to the River Klarälven in West Sweden with Nature Travels, where you canyou're your hand at timber rafting. The area, with its long history as a logging route, was used for the practice up until 1991 and you can keep up the tradition by learning to construct and pilot your own timber raft using just logs and rope. Once you've built your raft, you'll float down the river from Branäsäng to Björkebo and camp wild each night along the river bank. You may even come across some beavers while experiencing rural Värmland and the tiny villages of the Klarälven valley. It's a real outdoorsy escape that's great for the kids too. Holidays from £250 for five nights for adults; £125 for children.
For a true cultural experience, GoLearnTo offers a carpet weaving holiday in Turkey where you'll stay in a peaceful Nomadic village on the Aegean Coast and learn the traditional techniques of carpet weaving from its local women. There'll also be plenty of time to enjoy Turkish food, explore the city of Bodrum and relax on the beach and in the gardens. At the end of the week you would have created your own carpet, which you can take home. Holiday from £563 for seven nights.
What better place to learn how to write than in a country rich with literature - right here in England? Ways With Words offers writing holidays in some of England's most beautiful locations. In May, its memoir writing course takes place in Dittisham, Devon, where you'll stay at the picturesque writers haunt, Fingals. Over a week you'll enjoy book discussions with your tutor, writer Helena Drydale, go on a day trip to Greenway, the former home of Agatha Christie, as well as have the chance to explore the idyllic valley and find inspiration for your writing. Holiday from £655 for five days.
Get crafty with with Waunifor Crafty Breaks in Carmarthenshire where you can learn the art of pottery in the beautiful rural surroundings of Wales. You'll stay in a charming cottage and be taught in fully-equipped studios, with ceramic sessions covering an introduction to pottery and coil and slab techniques. If you stay for a whole week, what you make can be fired and glazed in time for you to take home and bespoke breaks can be created for you to travel in a group of two to 12 people. Holidays from £351 per week plus £120 for a day's pottery course, based on four people sharing a cottage.
Head to the beautiful Loire Valley and add some French country style to your home with Atelier Cannepaille in Villaines-les-Rochers. You'll be taught everything, from simple basket-weaving to home décor using cane and wickerwork techniques, and you'll even get to practice restoring some antique furniture. If you love great wine, food and countryside, you'll find plenty to do with vineyards to visit, great places for cycling and the medieval Azay-le-Rideau Castle to see. Book a room at the nearby Hotel de Biencourt, which is close to the castle in the historic town of Azay-le-Rideau, with double rooms from £50 per night. You can travel with SeaFrance, which operates up to 30 daily ferry crossings on the Dover-Calais route. Wickerwork course is £360 for five days.
Whether you're a beginner or experienced painter, Palazzo Rinaldi is an artists' residence where you can learn to paint with the beautiful backdrop of the Pollino National Park in Basilicata. The hilly surroundings allow you to go on morning walks for inspiration and the residence has a panoramic terrace for you to reflect and meditate before taking to the canvas. Book a place on the Open Air Landscape Painting Workshop that will be held this summer, for expert painting tuition and to discover the best of the region's food and culture. Painting enthusiasts can book a stay any time of the year, with spacious bedrooms, studios and a colourful landscape for the ideal painting getaway.
Try the art of mosaic making in the beautiful Algarve with Art in the Algarve. You'll be taught the techniques of cutting, breaking, adhesion, tile layout and grouting before making your own mosaic. When you're not learning creating your own masterpiece, you'll explore stunning birds and flowers on the island of Armonia, visit a large outdoor market and discover the cuisine of the local restaurants. Holiday costs £650 for six days.
Over eight days you can learn the amazing art of printmaking and enjoy the surroundings of woods, fields and hills in southern Austria with the Dekkle Intaglio Workshop. The course takes place at the Kunstdruck Printmaking Studio, which allows you to get to know the process of etching and visit Vienna and its surrounding countryside. Local B&Bs can be recommended to you, as well as other attractions for you to visit and some great places to eat. Course only is £350 for four days of tuition spread over eight days.
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