Road Scholar : Home
Digital Photography in the South West: Somerset and Cornwall

Program Number: 21227RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/20/2014 - 9/30/2014;
Duration: 10 nights
Location: England, UK:England
Price starting at: $3,344.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Photography
Meals: 26; 9 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 9 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt; Gluten Free    

Creating memorable digital photographs of natural and manmade landscapes is a true test of a photographer’s skill. Join noted photographer Jan Chipps amid the varied landscapes of Somerset and Cornwall to learn how to use your digital camera to make enduring, personal images. The tiny hamlets and picturesque villages, soaring cliffs and rugged coastlines, towering castles and ancient churches of Somerset and Cornwall provide your dramatic inspiration. For photographers of all levels, there is much to be learned to enhance your final images. Workshops on landscape photography help you make the most of two beautiful but contrasting areas of England’s idyllic South West.


• Improve your photographic skills in workshops and the field with Jan Chipps, professional photographer.
• Explore the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Jurassic Coast and two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the coastline of the Penwith Peninsula and Dartmoor National Park.
• Enjoy traditions of the South West including Morris Dancing, a Cornish cream tea and three dinners in spectacular locations.

Activity Particulars

Walk 2-3 miles on uneven surfaces; climb a few flights of stairs.

Each participant supplies personal digital camera and accessories. Full list of required items in preparatory materials.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival London, coach to Ilminster in Somerset, 3 nights; coach to Penzance in Cornwall, 5 nights; coach to London, 1 night; departure.

Overnight flight from the U.S.
1 night
Arrival Ilminster
3 nights

Your journey begins at the magnificent mansion and estate of Dillington House, former home to Prime Minister Lord North. The charming, quiet country town of Ilminster is set in the rolling countryside of South West Somerset. Here your digital photography experience kicks off with an interactive workshop on how to use exposure, shutter speed, focus and different types of lenses and filters to capture superior images, before you explore the beautiful grounds and put your photography skills to the test. Visit the delightful village of Hinton St. George and its 13th Century church and take in the idyllic surroundings of Cothay Manor, a 15th Century medieval manor surrounded by twelve acres of magical gardens. See a performance from a traditional English Morris Dancing side and capture some fantastic night shots of Dillington House.

Coach to Pezance
5 nights
Coach to London
1 night

Continue to Penzance, a bustling resort with sandy beaches and views of St. Michael’s Mount. En route, cross Dartmoor National Park where hut circles harken back to Stone Age man. Explore artist’s haven St. Ives and take in the incredible landscape at Godrevy Point and perfect your sunset shots at Sennen Cove. Make your way to the charming fishing village of Mousehole and visit the Minack Theatre, carved into the imposing coastline of Cornwall, before paying a visit to St. Michael’s Mount lit up against the night sky. In North Cornwall, visit and photograph the ruins of Tintagel Castle, home of the legendary King Arthur, on a dramatic headland overlooking the sea. Enjoy a traditional Cornish cream tea, then travel South to the very end of mainland Britain – Lizard Point.


It was the seat of an empire on which the sun never set. It has been Merry, Dickensian and Victorian. It has given us common law, Shakespeare, tennis, the Rolls-Royce and the Beatles. England and its people have played an outsize role in shaping world history. It is a country whose past, politics, culture and characters never cease to captivate.

Ilminster: Dillington House, a 16th-century estate converted to a conference center with state-of-the-art facilities. Penzance: Three-star hotel overlooking Mount’s Bay. London: Four-star hotel close to Heathrow.
Meals and Lodgings
   Dillington House
  Ilminster, UK:England 3 nights
   Queens Hotel
  Penzance., UK:England 5 nights
   Radisson Blu Heathrow Hotel.
  London Heathrow Airport, UK:England 1 night
 Dillington House
Type: Conference Center
  Description: A stately home now a residential conference centre for professional development, adult education and the arts founded in 1949. The Main House, set in beautiful parkland and gardens, dates back from the 16th Century. Formerly the Somerset home of George III's Prime Minister, Lord North, the countryside setting is glorious and the award winning Hyde Buidling with views over the Somerset Levels mixes contemporary with historic. In the early nineteenth century, the Main House was remodelled in the so-called Jacobethan style. The Mews building was constructed in 1875, while 2009 saw the opening of The Hyde - a spectacular example of contemporary architecture, overlooking the surrounding countryside. Dillington House has been awarded Five Stars by VisitBritain.
  Contact info: Ilminster
Somerset,  TA19 9DT UK:England
phone: +44 1460 52427
  Room amenities: All rooms include a flat-screen television, a clock radio, complimentary toiletries and tea- and coffee-making facilities. Direct dial telephones. Most rooms have study desks.
  Facility amenities: Conference and meeting rooms including a fully equipped theatre. Free WiFi throughout. Sun Terrace and fountain with outside lighting, croquet lawn
  Smoking allowed: No
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Queens Hotel
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: The Queens Hotel has been welcoming visitors to the far west of Cornwall since 1862
  Contact info: The Promenade
Penzance, Cornwall,  TR18 3AE UK:England
phone: +44 1736 362371
  Room amenities: Tea and coffee facilities, TV and Free WiFi
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar and lounge
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Radisson Blu Heathrow Hotel.
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Close to Heathrow Airport.
  Contact info: 140 Bath Road.
Hayes, Middlesex.,  UB3 5AW UK:England
phone: +44 20 8759 6311
  Room amenities: Air-conditioning. Direct dial telephone with personal number and voicemail, satllite TV and pay movies, in room safe. In room bar, iron and ironing board, tea and coffee making facilities.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant and bar. Complimentary wireless internet access, business centre, newsagents, health spa and fitness centre.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: TBC. For additional pre and post program accommodations, please contact Road Scholar Travel Services at (800) 241-1404 or via email to
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
You will be greeted at Heathrow Airport and transferred to the Radisson Blu Heathrow Airport for lunch . At 1:30pm the coach will depart for Dillington House. You will be staying at Dillington House that night.
  End of Program:
After breakfast on departure day. Breakfast ends at 10:00am and check out is by 11:00am. You will be staying at Radisson Blu Heathrow Hotel. the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. N/A.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: On departure.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Ilminster
  Nearest city or town:  Ilminster.
  Nearest airport:  Bristol.
  Transportation to site: Hoppa buses available from Heathrow terminals to the Radisson Blu Heathrow. Taxis also available. We do not recommend trying to reach Dillington House by public transport as there is no train station nearby.
  From End of Program
  Location:  London Heathrow Airport
  Transportation from site: Hoppa buses depart the hotel for Heathrow Airport.
Equipment Requirements: Digital Camera (Preferably S.L.R) Selection of Lenses to include.a wide angle ( circa 15mm ). Camera Manuals. Camera Leads to connect to computer (USB comes in this category). A Laptop computer, useful if available. Memory card/ flash card/ etc . Portable storage ie memory stick etc. U.S.B connection. Tripod (portable but solid). Filters: U.V. Filter, Polarising filter, Graduated Neutral density filters in differing densities if possible.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1:
(Saturday, September 20)
 Depart From: Overnight flight from North America.

Day 2: Arrival day.
(Sunday, September 21)
 Arrive To: London Heathrow.
 Lunch: A light lunch is served in the Radisson Blu Heathrow hotel.
 Afternoon: 1:30pm the coach departs for Ilminster in Somerset. Enjoy your first views of historic Dillington House-formerly the Somerset home of George III's Prime Minister, Lord North, in stunning countryside. Simon Jenkins, architectural historian, has named it as one of the 1000 best houses in Britain. Welcome meeting at Dillington House with Jan Chipps and your group leader at 5:00pm.
 Dinner: In Dillington House.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Dillington House
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Photographic techniques workshop. Medieval villages.
(Monday, September 22)
 Breakfast: Full English breakfast served in the dining room of Dillington House
 Morning: Morning interactive workshop in one of Dillington's state of the art, award winning meeting rooms. Landscape Photography Techniques and Camera Workshop. "Controlling the light" Core techniques for successful landscape photography : Exposure / Shutter speeds / Focus / Lenses / File types / H.D.R. High Dynamic Range / Filters. Maximise your camera knowledge and take it to the next level.
 Lunch: Three course buffet lunch in Dillington House, featuring mostly local seasonal produce.
 Afternoon: In the field practice shooting interiors: The importance of shutter speed and angle of view. Field trip for these local photo opportunities in the ancient and picturesque village of Lopen, pre-dating the 11th century Domesday Book. Visit the 12th century thatched church with an introduction from a local guide. Continue to Stoke sub-hamden Medieval Priory and neighbouring medieval villages en route to Ham Hill for stunning views of the Somerset "Levels", a sparsely populated coastal plain and wetland area of central Somerset, South West England, running south from the Mendip Hills to the Blackdown Hills.
 Dinner: Table service dinner in Dillington House
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Dillington House
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Lyme Regis.
(Tuesday, September 23)
 Breakfast: Full English breakfast served in the dining room of Dillington House
 Morning: Today we review photographs. Today's exercise- Coastal Landscape and Seascapes: Composition and capturing movement in the landscape. Depart Dillington to the village of Crewkerne en route to Lyme Regis. Explore the Crewkerne Museum. Note: Storm damage to the Jurassic Coastline makes visiting dangerous and has been dropped.
 Lunch: Packed lunch taken en route.
 Afternoon: Lyme Regis boasts breathtaking scenery and a special mystique, making it a unique seaside resort. Its historic Cobb and harbour are iconic features, set against moody blue cliffs yielding fossilised evidence of life on earth millions of years ago. The Cobb and harbour are famously depicted in the film version of John Fowles' The French Lieutenant's Woman and Jane Austen's Persuasion. An ancient town featured in the Domesday Book, Lyme Regis is home to a number of historical landmarks and educational attractions. From the watermill, which dates all the way back to the 14th century, to the beautiful St Michael’s Church and the fascinating Lepers Well, the picturesque and tranquil Lyme Regis is the backdrop for a fascinating field trip.
 Dinner: In Dillington House.
 Evening: Welcome the traditional Crewkerne "Morris Men" folk dancers.
Accommodations: Dillington House
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Dartmoor National Park.
(Wednesday, September 24)
 Breakfast: Full English breakfast in Dillngton.
 Morning: Transfer to Cornwall crossing Southern England's greatest expanse of wilderness, the Dartmoor National Park-an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with its’ echoes of stone- age man in hut circles and scattered settlements. Use your len's choice creatively for emphasis and drama, capture the atmosphere of this magical place. Lectre on the coach: Introduction to Cornwall.
 Lunch: Taken in The Rugglestone Inn- a unique, unspoilt Dartmoor inn delightfully located in the picturesque village of Widecombe in the Moor. Originally a cottage the grade II listed building was converted to an inn back in 1832 and named after a local logan stone. It is surrounded by peaceful moorland, adjacent to a pretty stream and just a few minutes walk from the centre of the village Widemombe-in-the-Moor.
 Afternoon: The transfer continues. Arrival and check in at the hotel in Penzance.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: After dinner midweek review/Problem solving workshop.
Accommodations: Queens Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Artistic St Ives, tin-mining Penwith heritage coast.
(Thursday, September 25)
 Breakfast: Full English breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Today focus is on shooting vistas and panoramas. Depart for the town of St. Ives, set on its own bay, long popular with artists for the astounding quality of its light. St Ives provides inspiration in its galleries and craft shops and is an international arts centre. Explore the cobbled streets, full of history, legend and tradition winding between pretty fisherman's cottages or the golden beaches and recognise beauty in all its simplicity. Here we have free time to explore and perhaps visit the Tate Gallery, the Cornish arm of this world famous London Gallery.
 Lunch: Excluded so that you can discover and make the most of the special qualities of St Ives.
 Afternoon: Continue to the 18th and 19th century tin-mining landscape around the Penwith Heritage coast and marvel at the impossible location of the mines which extended out, deep under the sea.
 Dinner: Taken out in the award winning restaurant, The Beach overlooking the beach at Sennen Cove. This west facing restaurant with its exceptional architectural design boasts a large terrace on which you can photograph and enjoy stunning sunsets over this rugged and unspoilt bay.
 Evening: Looking west we hope to capture a beautiful sunset. Perfect your sunset shots.
Accommodations: Queens Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7: Penwith Peninsula and fishing villages. Megalithic tombs. Performance at the World famous Minack Theatre.
(Friday, September 26)
 Breakfast: Full English breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Review of photographs. Exercise: Looking for subjects and details that characterise "place". Close ups/details/patterns/High Dynamic Range (H.D.R.) Depart for the Penwith peninsula and fishing villages of Newlyn and Mousehole with its narrow winding streets and pretty harbour. Mousehole (pronounced Mowzel) is a stunningly attractive hamlet of lichened stonework cottages and houses huddled around the edges of the harbour. Dylan Thomas described it as the "prettiest village in England" (1930) and has changed little over the years.
 Lunch: Taken out in Mousehole.
 Afternoon: Continue on to the standing stone circle and Megalithic tomb of the peninsula to Porthcurno, a designated costal Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Porthcurno Beach is located some three miles east-southeast of Land`s End, as the crow flies. A beautiful southeast facing beach in the western corner of lovely Porthcurno Bay; bordered by the Minack Theatre to the west; and Green Bay, Pednvounder Beach and the famous Logan Rock to the east.
 Dinner: Taken in the 400 year old Logan Rock Inn. Situated in the small picturesque village of Treen, the inn is named after the remarkable Logan Rock which stands on the cliffs within a short walk of the village. This huge granite boulder was famous for its ability to rock back and forth without falling, balanced as it was by nature on the surrounding rocks, a touch from a hand could set it rocking
 Evening: Enjoy a performance of Dracula at the world famous Minack Theatre, dramatically carved out of the cliffs overlooking the sea. (Wrap up warm it is open air!).
Accommodations: Queens Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: King Arthur's Kingdom, Tintagel Castle and smugglers' Boscastle.
(Saturday, September 27)

Note: Tintagel Castle-Wheelchair access is quite limited due to the geography of the site. Wheelchair access is available to viewing points and the visitors centre. Surfaces in the castle include grass, gravel, cobbles and flagstones. Many of the surfaces are uneven and include changes of level. No elevator.

 Breakfast: Full English breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Depart for a full day's field trip to King Arthur's Kingdom’ in North Cornwall with a visit to the ruins of Tintagel Castle, home of the legendary Arthur and still shrouded in mystery and legend. Photograph the setting of the dramatic headland overlooking the sea. Exercise: Find unusual and striking angles to tell the "story" and "legend" of this mysterious place and its impossible setting. Use of focal point and sense of scale. This is a magical day out in Cornwall, with Tintagel Castle's wonderful location, set high on the rugged North Cornwall coast, dramatic views, and fascinating ruins. Tintagel Castle is steeped in legend and mystery; said to be the birthplace of King Arthur, you can still visit the nearby Merlin's Cave. The castle also features in the tale of Tristan and Isolde. Capture a history stretching as far back as the Romans.
 Lunch: Packed lunch.
 Afternoon: Continue to the Smugglers village of Boscastle where we have a famous Cornish cream tea before returning to Penzance. Boscastle nestles in a scenic rocky inlet on the dramatic north coast of Cornwall. Boscastle is a conservation area set amongst some of the most beautiful countryside within the British Isles, and is one of the few remaining unspoilt harbour villages in Cornwall. Photograph the Area of Outstanding Beauty, which the National Trust own and care for. Practice your shots of the beautiful medieval harbour and surrounding coastline.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: Venture out to a local pub to hear some music (optional).
Accommodations: Queens Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Penzance and St Michael's Mount.
(Sunday, September 28)
 Breakfast: Full English breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Free morning to explore the town and harbour of Penzance. The ancient market town of Penzance is the Capital of the far west of Cornwall and is set in beautiful Mounts Bay - a body of water dominated by the grandeur of St. Michael's Mount. Located just 10 miles from Land's End, an area of Celtic culture and outstanding natural beauty surrounds the town. Named "Pen Sans" in the ancient Cornish language, meaning "Holy Headland", referring to the headland to the western side of the harbour on which a chapel was established by early Christians well over 1000 years ago, the town received Royal Charters for its harbour in 1512, for markets and fairs in 1592 and was formally incorporated by Royal Charter in 1614. This market town is home to several Georgian and Regency historic houses and eleven museums. Notable amongst these is the Penlee House Gallery & Museum in the centre of Penzance which has extensive displays of local archaeological artifacts and a range of exhibits illustrating the life and social history of West Cornwall. In the gallery are examples of the work of the Newlyn School of Painting as represented by Stanhope Forbes, Walter Langley, Elizabeth Armstrong, Edwin Harris and Norman Garstin. Later works of the 20th century include paintings by Lamorna Birch, Charles Simpson, Harold Harvey and Dod and Ernest Procter. In its strictest sense, the term 'Newlyn School' describes the group of artists, based in this small Cornish fishing village in the late 19th century, who had a united ethos, similar painting style and shared subjects. They were primarily concerned with capturing the real lives of the fishing and farming communities in this remote part of Britain. Late morning will be a final review of photographs with Jan Chipps - an opportunity to look back at the scenes and moments you have captured during your time in the South West.
 Lunch: In the hotel.
 Afternoon: Depart for St Michael's Mount, the medieval castle situated on a tidal island with over a thousand years of history, the Cornish counterpart of Mont St. Michel in France. Today's exercises: Shooting for reflection, creative exposure and use of filters. Explore the amazing island world of St Michael’s Mount and discover legend, myth and over a thousand years of incredible history. Stroll across the causeway where a legendary giant once walked. Follow the footsteps of pilgrims. Boat hop to an island where modern life meets layers of history. Discover a medieval castle, a sub-tropical paradise and a close-knit island community. Delve into the history of a fortress, a priory, a harbour and a home.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Queens Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Transfer to London.
(Monday, September 29)
 Breakfast: Full English breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer by coach to London Heathrow Radisson Blu (previously Radisson Edwardian).
 Lunch: Packed lunch.
 Afternoon: The transfer continues.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Radisson Blu Heathrow Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Departure day.
(Tuesday, September 30)
 Breakfast: Full English breakfast in the hotel (served from 7-10am.) Transfer by Hoppa bus--the group leader will give you the GBP6 for the bus which will take you to all Heathrow terminals.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  London Heathrow Airport Central London
There are endless possibilities for an evening in London: The theater, a walk along the South Bank, guided walks, historic pubs, trend-setting restaurants, a stroll through SoHo. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A Cornish Anthology

Author: A.L. Rowse



Author: Craig Weatherhill


Cornwall's Archaeological Heritage

Author: Cornwall Archaeological Union

Cornwall's Maritime Heritage

Author: A. Kitteridge

King Arthur in Legend and History

Author: Richard Barber


Myths and Legends of Cornwall

Author: Weatherhill and Devereux


You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.

As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.

Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:

© Road Scholar 2016 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768