The 4 Nations Needlework Tour

The grandeur of England, the charm of Ireland, the prettiness of Wales, and the romance of Scotland in one grand needlework tour

Tour Overview

Led by a duo of internationally renowned needlework specialists, this 17-day retreat travels through breathtaking countryside to discover hidden gems of Britain’s textile heritage in castles and country houses in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Stay in five beautiful luxury hotels and take time to explore our favourite historic villages and towns. Relax and enjoy extended hours of needlework tuition with your tour leaders Phillipa Turnbull and Meredith Willett, and benefit from additional workshops with two additional guest tutors.

Enjoy private access to textile collections and take time to chat with castle owners and museum curators about the historic context of their treasured possessions. Lectures and informal stitching sessions will take place each evening to underpin the historic context gained during our visits and your practical skill gained in class.

Travel across exquisite countryside by luxury coach and enjoy an experience of a lifetime with fellow needleworkers.


Price: £10,250

Price includes accommodation for 16 nights in five of our favourite luxury hotels, needlework tuition, 4 workshop designs, materials and instructions, loan of equipment (frame and magnifying light) lectures and excursions, travel by luxury coach and ferry crossings.

You will be directed to to complete your booking

The grandeur of England, the charm of Ireland, the prettiness of Wales, and the romance of Scotland in one grand needlework tour

Dates available:

15 September – 1 October 2021

1-17 August 2022

The Itinerary Day-by-Day

Scotland (Days 1-3)

Edinburgh, Traquair and National Museums Scotland Collection

We will begin our tour in the Scotland’s capital city with one full day of tuition to start your needlework projects.

The following day we will travel to Traquair House to meet Catherine Maxwell-Stuart, a descendent of the Stuart line of Monarchs, to study her superb embroidery collection dating back to the 16th Century.

Rosslyn Chapel

On our way back to Edinburgh we will visit the magical Rosslyn Chapel, a highly decorated, late medieval chapel located in the village of Rosslyn and featured and in the Da Vinci Code.

While in Edinburgh we will also visit the National Museums of Scotland to study important collections not currently on public display.

Ireland (Days 4-9)

County Monaghan & The Ulster Folk Park

After a ferry journey across the Irish Sea we will spend three nights in our first hotel on the ‘Emerald Isle’. Here we will enjoy more tuition and free time for informal stitching in the tranquillity of this idyllic location.

We will then spend a full day to enjoy the Ulster Folk Park, where we will study their definitive collection of Irish embroidery and costume with the curator.

Southern Ireland

We then head south across Ireland, taking the quiet country roads through quaint villages, stopping in the pretty town of Kilkenny en route, and finally arriving at our luxury hotel in the south-west of Ireland.

We will have a full day of tuition here followed by a day out in Waterford’s Medieval Quarter to see the gold and silk ecclesiastical vestments.

Wales (Days 10-13)

A Private Visit and Powis Castle

On day 10 we take the early morning ferry to the west coast of Wales where we will arrive in time for coffee and free time in the dainty harbour town of Tenby before travelling on to a private house with 17th and 18th Century embroidery.

After a day of calm tuition we will spend the day at Powis Castle, which is known for its extensive formal gardens, parkland, and deer park.

England (Days 13-17)

The Chatsworth Estate

Staying in the grounds of The Chatsworth House Estate at the family’s Devonshire Arms Hotel for our final four nights, we will enjoy workshops with two additional guest tutors.

We won’t miss the opportunity to explore the impressive Chatsworth House and relax in their elegant gardens.

Eyam Hall

The next day we will visit a absolute ‘Phillipa favourite’, Eyam Hall, in the heart of the village Eyam in Derbyshire. This Jacobean-style manor house was built in 1671 and time seems to have stood still right there in this remote village.

Eyam has been in the same family for nine generations and houses a unique 17th century needlework collection.

Haddon Hall

We then visit romantic Haddon Hall, one of the finest example of a fortified medieval manor house and the setting for many films – Jane Eyre, Elizabeth, Pride & Prejudice, and The Other Boleyn Girl.

Our final destination will be Manchester airport. There is also an option to return to Edinburgh if your travel itinerary requires it.

Please note the itinerary is in constant development and may be subject to change.

Your Tutors & Lecturers

Your Hosts - Phillipa Turnbull & Meredith Willett

Phillip and Meredith have hosted this retreat together for over ten years and they make a dream team. Their experience as top rate needlework tutors, their intimate knowledge of the embroidery collections, and their fun and relaxed natures add an unparalleled depth of quality to this retreat. 

Above all Phillipa and Meredith want to create an environment of learning and sharing in a world of embroidery, which fellow enthuiasts would not other wise have access to.

Tuition with 4 tutors

Tuition during the tour will take place at various times with Phillipa and Meredith. Each tutor will teach a new, exclusive design, which will reference a particular historic embroidery that we will see at one of the castles or country houses.

Joining us during the Irish leg of the tour to teach a two-day workshop each, will be Jenny Adin-Christie and Nicola Jarvis. These two superb tutors have taught many times on our retreats and we always enjoy welcoming them back.

Lecturers and other experts

Many other tutors and experts will be dropping in to the tour as we travel around the British Isles. Notably Nicola Jarvis and Jenny Adin-Christie will join us in Ireland to teach a two-day class each. Lynn Hulse and Fiona McKelvie will also be joining us to leature on their specialist topics. We will also enjoy the company of Alexis Bernstorff, the daughter of Countess Bernstorff, ahead of our private visit to her home to learn about her work on the Ross Tapestry the following day.

Important Information

What happens if Coronovirus affects this event?

We are monitoring the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and the potential affect on this event. If it becomes obvious that the event should not go ahead, we will reschedule and transfer your booking in its entirety. If this is not a suitable option, a full refund will be offered.

In the meantime, we will continue to follow the advice of our travel body, the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) and the guidance UK Government.

What is included in the tour?
  • Accommodation for 16 nights with breakfast and dinner (lunches are included as per the programme)
  • Travel by luxury coach for stated duration of the tour
  • Ferry crossings
  • Tuition and all materials needed to complete your chosen designs
  • Loan of frame and magnifying light
  • Lectures
  • Refreshments during class
  • All entry fees for castles, country houses, museums, and other special excursions
  • A goody bag, which you will receive at the beginning of the retreat
  • A small pre-retreat embroidery project, which will be sent in the months before the retreat for you to enjoy and practice with if you wish


What are the key dates and times?

This tour begins at the The Glasshouse in Edinburgh at 2pm on the first day and ends in Manchester by 5pm on the final day.

International travellers

If you are travelling from abroad, the recommended arrival airport is Edinburgh Airport and departure Manchester Airport. We will provide a transfer by car from Edinburgh Airport to our first hotel. On the final day we will take you to Manchester Airport by coach, arriving no earlier than 5pm on the final day.

We recommend adding an extra day to your travel at either end to make your journey more comfortable and so that you may rest before and after the tour.

UK travellers

For those arriving by domestic routes, you may either drive directly to Edinburgh and leave your car at the hotel for the duration of the tour. Or you can travel by train to Edinburgh Waverley Station where we will collect you and transfer you to the first hotel. For your departure, you may return to Edinburgh with us by coach to collect your car or we can drop you at a mainline train station near to Manchester.

Is this trip suitable for novice stitchers?

Yes. The designs featured in our retreats are meant to be challenging, however all are developed with both beginner and advanced embroiderers in mind. Our small class sizes mean that each student will receive ample one-on-one time with the tutor and will have the time and space to go at their own pace.

The retreats are a great place to develop a community of like-minded embroiderers and are a chance for everyone to learn from questions asked by novice through to the more experienced embroiderers in the group.

Can you tell me more about the needlework projects we will be working on?

The designs for this retreat are currently in development. We will send updates as soon as we have more information. Two main projects and two smaller projects will be taught during this tour.

What are the payment requirements?

The tour price is £10,250. On booking a deposit of £500 will be requested. Two equal payments will then be due 6 months and one year ahead of the tour date, as follows:

Sept 2021 tour: 30 August 2020 & 28 February 2021

March 2022 tour: 30 March 2021 & 30 Sept 2021

August 2022 tour: 30 May 2021 & 30 November 2021

Do you offer any alternative payment plans?

Yes, this is possible. Once your deposit has been received, as standard, 50% instalments will be requested at 12 months and 6 months ahead of the retreat. However, we are flexible to changes within reason so if you would like to make a payment at a time other than your instalment schedule, please get in touch with us below.

Request an alternative payment plan

What is your cancellation policy (outside of Covid-19)?

You, or any member of your party, may cancel your place at any time. Written notification from the person who made the booking or your travel agent must be received at our offices by email. Since we incur costs in cancelling your place, refunds are applied as follows:

  • Less than six months before event date – no refund
  • Six months to 1 year prior to event date – 50% of the price of your booking
  • More than one year prior to holiday – 100% refund (minus deposit)

Note: If the reason for your cancellation is covered under the terms of your insurance policy, you may be able to reclaim these charges.

What if your cancellation policy (related to Covid-19)?

We are monitoring the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and the potential affect on this event. If it becomes obvious that the event should not go ahead, we will reschedule and transfer your booking in its entirety. If this is not a suitable option, a full refund will be offered.

In the meantime, we will continue to follow the advice of our travel body, the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) and the guidance UK Government and further guidelines on this matter will be updated as soon as we have further information.

I have a health or dietary restriction, will you be able to accommodate me?

Yes. We have dealt with a wide range of health and dietary concerns over the years and have no issue with handling this for you. When filling in your registration form, you will be able to provide details of what we need to be aware of. However not all of our retreats are suitable for some disabilities. If you have concerns in this regard and wish to speak with us, please get in touch here.

Can my partner join me on the retreat?

Unfortunately this retreat is strictly for participants only.

We don’t allow any non-stitching partners to attend simply because it disrupts the ambience within the group that develops over the trip. We would be absolutely thrilled however if your partner is a stitcher and wishes to attend classes.

Can I extend my stay?

Arriving early, or staying on after a retreat, can be a great way to extend your holiday and many people choose to do this, especially at the beginning of the retreat as it means you can start your classes well rested and in the right frame of mind. Edinburgh is a particularly pleasant place to spend a few extra days so we would highly recommend it.

If you would like to do this, please let us know and we will send details of how to book.

Will there be any free time to shop, rest or explore?

All our retreats are comfortably paced to allow you to rest and experience the various locations during the tour. However, many stitchers arrive early or stay extra days afterwards to really enjoy the first and last hotel and immerse themselves in the area. There will be time to rest and shop during the tour however this will naturally be limited.


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Pembroke House, Appleby-in-Westmorland CA16 6TS, UK

Phillipa Turnbull Events Ltd is registered in England and Wales with registered No. 08578711 and VAT No. 187837253. Registered Head Office: Pembroke House, 1 Clifford Street, Appleby in Westmorland, CA16 6TS

We are a member of the UK travel regulator ABTA. Membership number Y6352