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If you've been inspired by the recent plethora of cooking and baking shows on the TV then perhaps you might be considering expanding your own cooking horizons. With the likes of the wonderful Great British Bake Off, Lorraine Pascale and Nigella gracing our screens this autumn, it's little wonder that cooking is becoming more and more trendy. If you don't want to make the journey to an exotic location to brush up on your skills then the good news is that there are plenty of great breaks available without the need to jump on a plane. Here's our round up of some of the best.

Cook Away in Herefordshire

Based on a farm in Herefordshire, the Cookaway residential cookery school offers short courses in traditional British cuisine. The emphasis here is on the use of good locally sourced ingredients.

Baking in the Scilly Isles

The stunning surroundings of the Scilly Isles are certain to inspire you in your baking. St Martin's Bakery on, you guessed it, St Martin's, runs baking breaks several times a year on an all-inclusive basis. Though we said you didn't need to get on a plane, to get here you do arrive in style on. You'll be picked up by helicopter from Penzance and transported to your destination. You'll learn all the basics of baking from a highly skilled baker.

Learn from a Michelin Star winner

You'll certainly impress your friends when you tell them you are about to learn cooking at the Raymond Blanc Cookery School. This school, based in Oxford in Le Manoir aux Quat' Seasons, is set in Blanc's stunning hotel so you can expect your accommodation to be luxurious. The school itself offers a selection of courses from one to four days and you can choose from a selection of themes including an adult and child course for a wonderful bonding experience.

Learn to Cook with a Lady

When we say a lady, we mean a Lady. Lady Claire Macdonald, an award-winning cook and food writer, based on the beautiful Isle of Skye, runs residential cooking courses from her hotel, Kinloch Lodge. The three-day courses are suitable for kitchen-phobes or practiced chefs alike and alongside learning some fantastic techniques from Scotland's best known cook, you'll have ample time to enjoy the luxurious surroundings and views.

These are just a handful of the eclectic mix of residential cookery courses that are on offer in the United Kingdom these days. There are many, many more to discover and, if you're feeling more adventurous, many hundreds more across the world. Whether you aspire to be Delia Smith or not, activity breaks like these are a great way to meet new friends.


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