Take on this treat of a retreat to wonderful Switzerland, spending three and a half days at the Bernina Creative Centre in workshops creating an incredibly meaningful quilt representing your time in Switzerland, alongside our fantastic expert, Janet Clare! Enjoy fabulous excursions, including a full-day trip to the largest Swiss city, Zurich (the home of Lindt chocolate!), a visit to the historical centre of the textile industry in Switzerland, St. Gallen, with its amazing UNESCO World Heritage sites, and see the charmingly quaint and medieval town of Stein am Rhein.
Meet Janet Clare and your tour manager at London Heathrow for our flight to Zurich. We will be met by our coach and driver and transfer to our hotel. We will dine together in the hotel this evening.
Enjoy two full days of quilting workshops with Janet at Bernina Creative Centre with use of Bernina B590 sewing machines. Lunch and morning and afternoon refreshments are provided on both days.
Take a break from the sewing room today as we enjoy a full day excursion to Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland and once home to Einstein, James Joyce and Wagner. With our local guide, we will take a walking tour of the Old Town, learning about the city’s past as we stroll its hidden alleyways and picturesque squares.
After some free time for lunch and exploring, we will take a short boat ride on Lake Zurich to Kilchberg, home of the chocolate maker Lindt. Here, at their new chocolate museum, we will learn about the journey of the cocoa bean, from its growing region all the way to Europe, and how cocoa pods are processed into the finest chocolate. We'll see how chocolate conquered the world during its 5,000-year history, and how Switzerland became the chocolate capital of the world. In their chocolate factory, we will see how their small chocolate bars are produced and taste some samples.
Today is a full day quilting workshop with Janet at Bernina Creative Centre with use of Bernina B590 sewing machines. Lunch and morning and afternoon refreshments are provided.
This morning, we will travel to the charming small town of Stein am Rhein where you will enjoy time at leisure to explore. It’s known for its half-timbered medieval houses that cluster around the Rathausplatz in the old town and Hohenklingen Castle, which was built high above the town in 1225.
After, we will be transferred to the Bernina Creative Centre where we will enjoy lunch before our afternoon quilting workshop with Janet.
Today we will explore the history of the textile trade in Switzerland, which was concentrated in the eastern part of the country. Our first stop is the Textile Museum in Sorntal, set up to preserve the history of the textile industry in the region. Based in a former spinning mill dating back to 1850, the museum displays working textile machinery from the early days of industrialisation through to more recent times along with tools for flax processing, hand embroidery, knitting, fabric printing, and weaving. After our guided visit, we will enjoy some refreshments before continuing to St. Gallen.
St. Gallen used to be a major textile centre known for its high-quality linen, cotton weaving and intricate lace and embroidery. At the beginning of the 20th century, the town's embroidery accounted for over 50 per cent of the world's production. When the town was founded, the monks grew the only crops that could thrive in the altitude (flax and hemp) and started weaving linen. In the 1700s, the weavers in St. Gallen were inspired by how Turkish women embroidered silks and, by the end of decade, the town had nearly 40,000 embroiderers. In the 1860s, Swiss craftsmen invented a loom with a shuttle: the Schiffli machine. With the onset of the Industrial Revolution, hand embroidery machines were built, but handcrafted lace continued to be templates for inspiration. We will take a tour of St. Gallen, where the history of the textile industry whispers from every corner. Rich textile merchants poured their wealth into building flamboyant Art Nouveau mansions with beautiful bay windows and frescoes which still stand today. We will also visit the Abbey of Saint Gall and its renowned library, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
After some free time for lunch, we will have a guided visit of the Textile Museum in St. Gallen. The vast museum, with over 30,000 objects, showcases handmade lace, decorated Renaissance gowns, antique fabrics from around the world, and historical costumes. After the visit, we will have some free time for shopping and personal sightseeing before returning to the hotel. We will dine together this evening at the hotel.
Transfer to Zurich airport for our return flight to London Heathrow.
Tour Notes: You will need to have a reasonable level of fitness to get the most out of this holiday. On excursion days you will need to walk a short distance from the hotel to the coach and you should be able to board the coach unaided. On arrival at the excursion destination, you should be able to alight the coach unaided and there may be a walk between the coach drop off point and the excursion venue. By their nature, walking tours, museum visits etc involve being on your feet for a significant amount of time. Whilst our excursions are taken at a leisurely pace, for the enjoyment of everyone in the group you should be able to keep up with your fellow travellers.
You will stay for seven nights at the 3-star See & Park Hotel Feldbach.