Alison’s first painting retreat will combine her expert tuition and expressive, experimental style of painting with luxury hospitality in the peace and quiet of rural Somerset.

Friday 12th - Sunday 14th June, 2020



Alison is hosting her first residential painting retreat in the beautiful Regency country house, Hurds Hill. Spend the weekend surrounded by glorious rural Somerset and enjoy Alison’s expert, informal tuition and luxurious fine dining and hospitality.

The weekend will include en plein air painting sessions, demonstrations by Alison, and one-to-one advice and support. The group number will be kept small to ensure everyone has the time and space to enjoy the tuition and location. A comprehensive range of mixed media with watercolour techniques will be covered and participants will focus on developing their own loose and expressive style of painting, with guidance from Alison.

“No great work has ever been produced except after a long interval of stillness and musing meditation.” – Walter Bagehot, previous owner of Hurds Hill. Journalist, businessman and essayist

£696 payable in two instalments. The first instalment will book your place and the second instalment will secure it. You will need to pay the second instalment by Wednesday 13th May, 2020 or risk losing your place.



Friday 12th June

  • 10am: Arrive at Hurds Hill

  • Guided tour of house and gardens

  • Lunch

  • Sketching and collecting inspiration

  • Tea

  • Demonstration by Alison

  • Dinner

  • Time to relax and enjoy your surroundings - You could take this opportunity to explore the library or continue sketching in the gardens

Saturday 13th June

  • Breakfast

  • En plein air guided tuition in the house and gardens

  • Lunch

  • Continuation of guided tuition and personal projects

  • Tea

  • Informal round table - An opportunity to share knowledge, inspiration and ask Alison questions

  • Dinner

  • Time to relax and enjoy your surroundings

Sunday 14th June

  • Breakfast

  • Continuation of guided tuition and personal projects

  • Lunch

  • Informal critique and mini exhibition

  • Prepare for check-out

  • Tea

  • 5pm: Depart from Hurds Hill

All materials will be provided and are covered in the cost of the retreat. Participants will be given a personal painting kit for the duration of the retreat, and a goody bag of materials and equipment they can use and keep.


Venue and Accommodation

Accommodation at Hurds Hill is included in the retreat fee and the venue will be exclusively for Alison’s retreat; no other guests will be staying in the house. There are 15 individually designed bedrooms, all en suite and themed to house the owners’ eclectic collection of furniture, pictures and books.

Hurds Hill is a Regency country house with Victorian and later additions, set in five acres of private and peaceful grounds with far-reaching views over the Somerset Levels.

It was the home of Langport’s most famous resident, Walter Bagehot, who is regarded as one of the 19th century’s most influential writers on government, the constitution, banking and finance. He was editor of the Economist for 16 years from 1860 to 1876. 

The present owners acquired the property in 2011 and have spent two years renovating the house.

Hurds Hill has limited wheelchair access but has a ground-floor bathroom arranged for disabled visitors.


Breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner will be provided, dependant on your arrival and departure times, and are covered in the retreat fee. Participants will enjoy their delicious, freshly-prepared meals in the beautifully restored dining room or in the vibrant, private gardens. A complimentary glass of wine will be served with each dinner, and you can purchase additional drinks from the bar.

Tea, coffee and other light refreshments will be available throughout the day and drinks-making facilities will be available in your room.

Food and Drink

If you are travelling by train, the nearest train stations are Taunton or Castle Cary and transportation to and from the station can be arranged at no extra cost.


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