Abbey Dore Painting Holiday

Painting Holiday at Abbey Dore Court Herefordshire with the Dulwich Art Group

1st-8th September 2018

Landscape painting workshops lead by Clare Haward

Beautiful scenery, a stately home, excellent food, open fires and the good company of other artists.

Our annual painting holiday will be hosted by Simon and Alison with Clare Haward showing us how to tackle landscapes like a pro. As before we’ll take a life model with us to draw in the mornings and as an insurance policy for poor weather. The huge drawing room at Abbey Dore makes an excellent studio and the beautiful countryside is an ongoing inspiration.

Accommodation is either in the main house or in a local bed and breakfast.

The venue


Abbey Dore Court is a small stately home beside the River Dore near Hereford. It started life as an 18th Century hospitality inn for the nearby Abbey and was subsequently added to by the Victorians to create a space for gracious living. It has genuine charm and importantly for us, generous space for artistic activities.

Accommodation for those staying on site is in luxurious traditional rooms, many with ensuite and all with access to dedicated bathrooms. For those sleeping off site you are welcome to the use of the house at all other times and to take meals together.

There is a parlour with open fire for retreating to and a substantial drawing room which we will use as our studio. It also has an open a wood fire to keep the goosebumps off the model and a Bechstein grand piano for any musicians amongst us. There are plenty of spots around the house to find privacy or settle for a chat and a rather grand dining room where we will take our meals.

Outside the house is a secluded lawn, where we may place a model if the weather is clement and a small stream that begs to be painted. The garden itself may be a bit blowsy by early September but as it’s well planned will have floral interest. There are two Sequoiadendron Giganteum (Giant Redwoods for the non gardeners amongst us) at the end to add strong verticals and tonal contrast to any work undertaken there.

The house has been on TV and had some media attention around it’s recent renovation

Here are some photographs to give you an idea

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Around and about

Herefordshire has the reputation for being the most rural of English counties, rolling green countryside peppered with ancient villages and market towns, it is very easy on the eye.

Dore Abbey above the meadow in morning light

The nearby Abbey Church and remains of Dore Abbey are highly picturesque and a short stroll down a footpath. They may well be the location for a formal painting trip or a good spot to bash out a watercolour on a free afternoon. Here’s a  link to a couple who blogged a walk here.

A footpath follows the River Dore past the house as part of the Herefordshire trail and for keener walkers the Offas Dyke path is a short drive away wending it’s way through the mournful Black Mountains.

Up early to catch the atmospherics

Symonds Yat is one of those ridiculously beautiful places that is irresistible to paint, we may find ourselves up there

Ludmilla painting the view from Symonds Yat

The Wye Valley is an ‘area of outstanding natural beauty’ (that’s official)  and it’s on our doorstep.

Hereford is a delightful medieval town with all the shops you’d expect for a regional centre and plenty to occupy partners who don’t wish to paint. It has a cathedral, it’s on the River Wye and it’s soaked in history.

The Dore river, quite literally on our doorstep, is brimming with brown trout and grayling – fishing can be arranged

Here’s an extensive list of Things to do around Hereford

And here’s part of a drive Richard Wilson undertook for the BBC through the Wye Valley: Youtube link

The Programme


We’ll meet on the evening of the 1st September and discuss the week and what we all hope to achieve. Clare will offer a structured approach with step by step tuition for those who want it and friendly support for those who are happy to just get on with painting. Depending upon the weather we may choose to paint our life model indoors or in the garden instead of landscape painting.

Painting at Symonds Yat – staggering views make the paint go on easy.

A typical day

8.30am Breakfast in the dining room
9.30am Life drawing in the drawing room or
9.30am Landscape painting with Clare Haward
1.00pm Lunch in the dining room or picnic on location
4.30pm Tea and cakes on the lawn
7.30pm Aperitifs in the drawing room
8.00pm Dinner in the dining room
10.00pm Nightcap in the drawing room
10.30pm bed.

In line with our general approach there will always be flexibility. Some of us are dead keen and want to give every moment to our art whilst others are more relaxed and may wish to forego a life drawing session to go on a cider tasting for example. The aspiration for the week is that not only will we have some good work completed but also that we are refreshed and renewed, it is after all a painting holiday.

Tea time discussions about the pose with model Liv in the kitchen

Equipment, what you need to bring

You can work in any medium you want. We will make sure that we have plenty of kit and supplies for oil painters, drawing boards and paper. We are sure that more experienced painters will want to bring their own kit but it’s good to know that if you run out of something we’ll probably have it. It’s best to have a chat with us in any event just to make sure that we all have what we need. Absolute beginners can see our recommended Plein Air Kit List here



Setting the table for a light lunch

We are running this as a house party where we will take all meals together, including those staying off site. You may of course decide to dash off and spend the evening in a Michelin starred restaurant, that is up to you, but we will be providing full board to a high standard.

Chef Isabel Hood will be in charge of the kitchen producing delicious meals from locally sourced produce. Isabel is an expert in nutrition so if you’re tummy is sensitive she’ll not only be able to provide appropriate food she might even help you restructure your diet. Breakfasts will be full English or continental served in the dining room. Lunches will be less formal and may include a packed lunch if we’re out painting landscape or soup and cheese if we’re in the house. Dinner will again be served in the dining room and will consist of three courses with vegetarian options.

We will have an optional wine fund for those who enjoy a glass with their meals and may buy a couple of cases of the local Broadfield Court Estate. We tend to have drinks in the drawing room before supper and sometimes a little nightcap afterwards, there’s so much to talk about.

Negronis were the favourite aperitif last year


  • £655 for artists in a shared room
  • £495 for a non painting partner sharing a room
  • £1150 for artists with single room supplement
  • Master bedroom £1500 (it’s huge and accommodates a whole family)

Payment terms: You can pay the above prices upon booking or a non refundable deposit of £200 followed by the balance before July 31st. There will be a full refund in the unlikely event of cancellation.

We also accept  staged payments if you prefer – talk to us.

Arrival is after 3.00pm on Saturday the 1st September. Tea and cakes followed by an orientation session with Alison, Simon. Then Dinner and Bed. Departure is after breakfast and before 10.00am on Saturday the 8th September.


For those not travelling by car (Herefordshire is a delight to drive around by the way) we can arrange pick-ups at Hereford station or Abergavenny. Please coordinate your arrival time with us. If you are willing to offer a place in your car in exchange for a contribution to fuel expenses please let us know.

We do hope you can join us on this adventure, we enjoy these weeks away, concentrating on painting and drawing,  and fully intend to have a splendid time and to come home with some good work and lifted spirits

If you’d like to talk this through with us do give us a ring:

Alison: 07968 063523
Simon: 0770 4450 169

You can book your place by registering here (opens a new tab – no payment taken at this stage)