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Craftsman's holidays; Whynotputyourholidaytogoodusebylearninganew skill?Whether it'spainting,cookeryorboat-building, therearecoursesaroundthecountry.Hereare sevenofour favourites...

1 CREATIVE BREAKS, WORCESTERSHIRE from PS85pp/pn B&B CREATIVE Breaks ( runs a variety of courses, from basket weaving to batik dyeing. It offers two-day rug-making courses with Jenni Stuart-Anderson at Stanton Guildhouse in Stanton Broadway, Worcestershire. THE DEAL: PS50 per day (bring fabrics to recycle). B&B available from PS35 per night.

2 FISHING AND COOKING, DORSET from PS125pp per night THE Christchurch Harbour Hotel in Christchurch, Dorset, runs fishing trips out of Mudeford Harbour. Chef Alex Aitken will teach you how to fish for mackerel and bream. Then, back on land, he will show you how to make the most of your fresh catch by demonstrating some of his seasonal recipes.

THE DEAL: A two-night stay starts at PS250 per person including breakfast. Dinner is included on one night and there is a PS30 allowance on the other. Price includes the use of the Harbour spa and a fishing trip plus cooking session.

3 GREEN CRAFTS, CORNWALL From PS157pp for three nights LITTLE White Alice is a group of luxurious eco-friendly cottages in Carnmenellis, Cornwall. There is an artist's studio where you can learn art and craft activities with an emphasis on sustainable and traditional crafts.

Courses include a day's basket making using willows grown on the site's plantation, mosaic making, silk painting and felt making. The cottages themselves are built with sustainable methods - their interiors are crafted from wood, willow and hand-woven fabrics.

Set in 25 acres where you'll also find a nature reserve, veg patch, a coppicing wood, an orchard and a willow plantation, facilities include a wood-burning hot tub and a sunken sheltered fire pit.

THE DEAL: A three-night stay for two in Alder House costs from PS214. Tuition costs PS50pp plus materials.

4 CORACLE MAKING, SOUTH WALES from PS256pp for three nights THE coracle is a small ancient boat design which has been used for thousands of years. Learn to make one on a course run by the Cwm Tawel community in Bridgend. They are held on various dates between October and April.

THE DEAL: A three-night course with yurt accommodation starts at PS256pp (based on four sharing) including lunch.

5 PAINT FESTIVE PICTURES, SOUTH DOWNS from PS313pp for two nights HOUSED in a Grade II-listed flint-faced mansion surrounded by the South Downs National Park, West Dean College, Chichester, has a wide range of courses.

For aspiring artists who want to get in the Christmas spirit there is a seasonal botanical painting weekend. From December 6 to 8, it will focus on holly, berries and ivy - a great way to create pictures to use to make your Christmas cards.

THE DEAL: Course costs PS218 including lunch. Two nights half-board accommodation costs from PS95pp.

6 CHRISTMAS CRAFTS, OXFORDSHIRE FOUNDED by the National Federation of Women's Institutes (NFWI) in 1948, Denman College in Marcham, offers a wealth of opportunities to learn new skills on day schools and short residential courses.

In November events include Plan Ahead for Christmas with Mary Berry (sold out) and Christmas Flowers Day School.

THE DEAL: Christmas Flowers, November 23, a day course in making festive decorations, PS94.

7 SMOKE SALMON, THE LAKES PS346pp for two nights IMPRESS your friends and family by producing your own smoked salmon for Christmas.

The four-star Wild Boar Inn, Grill and Smokehouse near Lake Windermere has a one-day course run by experts Smoky Jo's.

Guests learn to cold smoke foods such as fish, chicken and cheese using the inn's smokehouse. They will also learn how to smoke food at home using a barbecue - or even a cleverly converted filing cabinet.

THE DEAL: Two-night break from PS365pp including full-board stay and all tuition.

3 Weave baskets in Cornwall


1 Rug-making in Worcestershire

2 Learn how to fish and cook in Dorset

4 Creating coracles in South Wales

5 Get festive in the South Downs

Receive business tips in Oxfordshire 6

Take up smoking on a trip to The Lakes 7
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 10, 2013
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