Madeira Embroidery Retreat

Prices from £1,599


13 Mar 2020 - 20 Mar 2020
Duration: 7 nights
Ref: 20016
With: Helen McCook


Prices from £1,599
Single Supplement: £249
Deposit: £250

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We'd like to invite you to join us for our first embroidery retreat on the beautiful island of Madeira. Spend an incredible week at the 4-star Hotel Baia Azul on a half board basis with a welcome dinner in the hotel and farewell dinner in a traditional folklore restaurant.

Expand your embroidery skills with 3 full day and 1 half day workshop with expert, Helen McCook, and enjoy the company of your fellow crafters as you explore the island and capital city of Funchal on two included excursions - one of which features a visit to the renown local embroidery museum and factory. An experienced tour manager will be on hand to ensure all goes well and you make the most of your break.

Your Expert - Helen McCook

Helen McCook is an international textile artist, lecturer, tutor and author of the Royal School of Needlework’s Essential Stitch Guide to Gold Work. She is a member of the Guild of Master Craftsmen and was recently named the 2019 Embroidery Designer of the Year at the National Needlecraft Awards. She runs her own embroidery school; Traditional Textiles School and works commercially under Helen McCook Embroidery.

Helen originally trained in printed & dyed textiles with art history before graduating from the Royal School of Needlework apprenticeship in traditional hand embroidery at Hampton Court Palace. She has worked commercially & taught/lectured nationally & internationally since 2000. She was honoured to be part of the RSN team who helped create the embroidery for the wedding dress, veil & shoes for Katherine Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge’s marriage to HRH Prince William. She was the first artist in residence for the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and her work is in private collections worldwide.


You will have a choice of two projects to work on during this holiday, with the option of purchasing a second kit to take home if you would like to.

Broderie Anglaise and Richelieu
This kit will introduce you to the beautiful whitework techniques of Broderie Anglaise and Richelieu. You will learn how to create circular and shaped eyelets, Satin stitch blocks, smooth trailing, stem stitch, cutwork with overcast bare, buttonhole bars and picots.

Metal Thread Work and Surface Stitches
This kit will introduce you to basic metal thread work padding, couching, cutwork, chips, spangles, long and short, herringbone.


Meet Helen and your Tour Manager at London Gatwick airport for your British Airways flight to Funchal. Transfer by coach to the Hotel Baia Azul. Once you have checked into the hotel the rest of the afternoon is free for you to relax, explore the local area or make use of the many facilities available at the hotel. Late afternoon we will enjoy a welcome talk and drink at the hotel with our local Madeira representative.


Enjoy a panoramic guided island tour to both the east and west of the island. Travel through scenic countryside to Ribeiro Frio, a natural park filled with endemic flowers and home to a trout hatchery. We continue to Santana, famous for its brightly coloured A-framed houses with thatched rooves and lovely gardens. A scenic drive takes us to Sao Vicente and along the north coast, dotted with waterfalls, to the village of Morto Moniz, famous for its rock pools. We end the day up on the plateau, at Paul da Serra before descending to the villages of the sunny southwest of Madeira before returning to Funchal through the most magnificent landscapes.


Today will be spent in workshop with Helen.


This morning we enjoy an introductory guided tour of Funchal and the surrounding area. Discover this fantastic city and the most important places of interest. We'll visit the renown embroidery factory and museum and the local food and craft market. We continue to the village of Monte, situated high above the city. The village is famous for its beautiful church and gardens. The tour concludes with a visit to a traditional wine lodge for a tasting of the famous Madeira wine.

After free time for lunch in Funchal, we’ll enjoy a workshop with the ladies at the local embroidery factory.


This morning will be spent in workshop with Helen. This afternoon is free for you to relax, explore the local area or make use of the many facilities available at the hotel.


Today will be spent in workshop with Helen, although there will be the option (payable locally) of joining an easy guided levada walk (1hr) to take in the views, flowers, valleys and countryside of the village of Gaula. The walk finishes with afternoon tea at one of the villagers' houses; an opportunity to sample sweet potato bread, sandwiches, cakes, biscuits, fruit and dessert.


Today is spent in workshop with Helen. For our final evening we will be taken, by coach, to a traditional restaurant located high above Funchal. Here we'll enjoy Espetada; marinated beef cooked over an open fire on a laurel skewer with Milho Frito, delicious fried maize and homemade bread with garlic butter accompanied by a green salad and fries. Wine, water and soft drinks are included this evening. Whilst we are eating, we will be entertained by a local folklore group.


Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before transferring, by coach, to the airport for your flight home.


Twin/Double Room: £1599 per person
Single Supplement: £249
Sea View Supplement (On Request): £79 per person


  • Return British Airways economy flight London Gatwick to Funchal with 1 piece of hold luggage
  • Airport transfers
  • 7 nights accommodation at the Hotel Baia Azul, breakfast and dinner included each day
  • Welcome drink on arrival day
  • Three full day and 1 half-day workshop with Helen, kit included
  • Tea/coffee each morning and afternoon during workshop sessions
  • Half day guided tour of Funchal
  • Workshop and visit to the embroidery factory and museum
  • Full day guided panoramic tour of the island
  • Farewell dinner in a traditional restaurant with live entertainment, drinks included
  • The services of an experienced tour manager who will accompany the tour throughout
  • Gratuities for driver and local guide


Meals and drinks other than those specified, optional excursions, travel insurance and items of a personal nature, i.e. telephone calls, laundry etc.


Why not bring a non-crafting partner with you?
If a non-crafting family member or friend wishes to accompany you on any of our holidays, and is sharing a room with you, then the following reductions will apply to the price the non-crafter pays:
Europe - £50


Stitchtopia Holidays are designed with all crafters in mind, wherever you live in the world! If you would like to make your own flight arrangements and meet us at our first hotel, please let us know - we would love to tell you more about our “meet us there” holiday discounts.


For single travellers who are interested in our trips, but don’t have a friend able to come with them why not join our "Stitch Together" programme to help with the costs of a single occupancy room? We have designed a way for you to find someone to share a room with on any of our Stitchtopia Holidays.

Find out more about our "Stitch Together" programme >>

Hotel Baia Azul****

This fabulous 4-star hotel is located in the west of the capital, Funchal, on Madeira’s southern coastline. Bedrooms are decorated in white, champagne and blue, colours inspired by the sea, and come with a balcony, air conditioning, hair dryer and television. Hotel facilities include two outdoor heated swimming pools, free wireless internet, spa with treatments rooms, yoga room, gym, indoor heated swimming pool, Turkish bath and sauna.