About us

Who are Creative Retreats and Holidays?

Creative Retreats and Holidays are a microenterprise in the medieval village of Chilham, Kent, running relaxing short breaks, creative day courses, retreats and regular weekly classes in stained glass, glass fusing and glass appliqué (a form of glass mosaic).

Mattt set up the company in 2014 following redundancy. She’s had a passion for glass since she was a toddler and loves few things more than sharing her passion for glass with other people.

Where are we?

Our creative studio is in the beautiful village of Chilham, nestled in the Kent Downs area of outstanding natural beauty. Most of our courses are taught here, though we occasionally run courses elsewhere, mainly in retreat centres in the south of England.

You’ll find our studio at:

Tollgate Cottage,
Maidstone Road,
Chilham,
Canterbury,
Kent. CT4 8DD.

We’re on Google Maps…

…and can be reached by car, by bus (1, 1a, 1×652 or 667) from Ashford or Canterbury as well as by train – the London to Ramsgate service. If taking the high speed train from London St Pancras, change at Ashford. We’re just under one mile from Chilham station.

Where to stay?

Being in a beautiful part of the Garden of England means that we’re blessed with plenty of B&Bs as well as hotels and self catering options.

Bed and Breakfast

The following are within walking distance of our studio:

Bagham Cross House

Bagham Lane,
Chilham,
Canterbury,
Kent. CT4 8DU.

Website
01227 738022

Bagham Farmhouse

Canterbury Road,
Chilham,
Canterbury,
Kent. CT4 8DX.

Website
01227 730306

(Note that Bagham Farmhouse don’t accept payment cards.)

The Old Alma

Canterbury Road,
Chilham,
Canterbury,
Kent. CT4 8DX.

Website
01227 731913

Light sleepers might prefer the rooms at the rear, as this property is on the main road. It’s very handy for the railway station.

The Woolpack

The Street,
Chilham,
Canterbury,
Kent. CT4 8DL.

Website
01227 730351

Self Catering

Orion’s Cottage

Taylors Hill,
Chilham,
Canterbury,
Kent. CT4 8BY

Website

This is within walking distance of the studio and the two pubs in the village which serve evening meals.

Orchard Cottage Holidays

Shottenden Road,
Shottenden,
Canterbury,
Kent. CT4 8JA

Website
01227 730230

A couple of mobile homes a short drive up the road.

Mulberry Cottages

Several locations

Website

Airbnb

Several locations

Website

Hotels

While we’ve not checked them out ourselves, there are lots of hotels in Canterbury, a few in Ashford (Kent!) and a couple in Faversham, all of which are within easy driving distance of Chilham.

What to wear

Closed in shoes are ESSENTIAL; dropped pieces of glass only ever head downwards. If you arrive in sandals or open toed shoes, it’s a good 15 mile round trip to buy another pair.

You’ll probably be standing up to cut your glass (it’s easier if you put your body weight into it), so do leave your Jimmy Choo stiletto heels at home.

If you’ve got long hair (shoulder length or longer), you’ll need a hair tie or clip to tie it back with, to keep it away from the grinder. Hair tangled in the grinder isn’t very nice for you or for the grinder!

Glass appliqué and stained glass courses aren’t the cleanest in the world, so it’s best to wear clothes that you’re not too precious about & that will go through the washing machine when you get home.

Finally, if you need glasses, don’t forget to BRING THEM!!! We have safety specs and goggles, but not your prescription!

Two happy students show off their copper foiled stained glass panels made on a two day stained glass course in Kent

FAQs

What time does the course start and finish?

Courses running for one or more whole days will start at 10am and finish at around 5pm unless we specifically arrange a different start time for you.

What should I wear?

We’d suggest clothes that you’re not too precious about, together with closed-in shoes (NOT SANDALS) that are comfortable to stand in for several hours.  If you’re doing stained glass or glass appliqué and have long hair, you’ll also need a hair tie or clip.

What do I need to bring with me?

Please do bring your prescription glasses if you need them.

It’s also worth bringing some pictures of things that inspire you, whether your pet rabbit, landscapes, patterns etc. You’ll be creating your own design, so things like this can be helpful.

I’ve never cut glass before. Does it matter?

No, not at all (unless you’ve booked onto an advanced course, in which case please give us a ring). We’ve lots of experience at introducing complete beginners to the wonderful world of glass art.

I’ve got my own glass cutter. Can I bring it with me?

Yes, of course.  You’re welcome to bring any equipment that you like (though electrical equipment will need to have a current PAT certificate).

Do I need gloves?

You don’t need to bring any with you. We have disposable nitrile gloves that you can wear if working with patina, lead light cement or etching fluid. Apart from that they won’t be necessary.

Will the kiln be hot?

Not while you’re putting your glass into it. We don’t open the kiln while it’s above 50 ºC.

What’s the difference between glass fusing, glass appliqué and stained glass?
I might be pregnant. Does it matter?

If you’re booked onto a stained glass class, yes. Because of the lead in solder, lead came and lead light cement, we don’t recommend stained glass classes for pregnant or breastfeeding mums. Do come for a glass appliqué or glass fusing class instead.

How old do I have to be / can I bring my children?

Glass fusing and glass appliqué can be enjoyed by any child mature enough to work safely with sharp pieces of glass. Under 18s should be accompanied by a responsible adult please.
We don’t offer stained glass classes to under 18s as, although the risk may be low, it’s not wise for them to work with lead. Safety legislation for exposure to lead at this age makes it impractical and your safety is a priority for us.

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