Blog posts

Virtual International Flower Festival - Meet the Designers

We knew there were lots of fabulously talented floral designers out there, but we were still amazed by the response we had to the launch of our first ever virtual International Flower Festival! Flower lovers from Cornwall to Manchester, Ireland to Italy, Australia, Barbados and Canada sent us images of their designs, all them beautiful and with a story to tell. We asked five of them to tell us about their entries.

New Floral Trends

As our virtual flower festival opens for submissions and the Flower Council of Holland launch their ‘Fill the Distance with Beauty’ campaign, we caught up with Chanel de Kock, the FCH’s UK Country Manager to talk about the hottest floral trends for 2021 and spreading the joy of flowers.


Quilt Festival Meet the Makers

We knew there were very many wonderfully creative quilters out there, but we were still amazed by the response we had to the launch of our first ever virtual International Quilt Festival! Quilters from Aberdeen to Exeter, Australia, Kenya, Germany, France, Italy, The Netherlands and the United States sent us images of wall hangings, cushions, bed covers and bags, all of them beautiful and all them with a story to tell. We asked four of the makers to tell us about their entries. 

Celebrating the flora & fauna of New Zealand

New Zealand's many hours of sunshine and high rainfall give the country a lush and diverse flora, about 75% of which is unique. Read on to discover our top 10.



Quilting across Continents

Meet the Japanese quilt artist whose quilt of Bath took first prize at the International Quilt Festival, Houston 2019




Block Printing in Bagru

This small village, 30km from Jaipur, has been associated with the art of block printing for over 400 years.



Michael Bowyer Travels

Fresh from his hugely successful tour to WAFA India earlier this year, NAFAS President-elect Michael Bowyer MBE has teamed up with us once again, this time on a tour to discover the glorious gardens of Ireland in Springtime. We caught up with on the phone from his home in Salisbury to discover more.

Looking after you & looking ahead

In this week's blog, our very own CEO Theresa McDermott writes about how we are looking after our customers in the current situation and looks towards a brighter future.



5 reasons to visit Floralia Brussels Floristry Tours

Floralia Brussels is a spectacular annual exhibition of spring flowers set in a park surrounding the 17th century Castle of Groot-Bijgaarden, a few kilometres outside the Belgian capital. As we look ahead to next Spring, we bring you five reasons why everyone should visit. 


Art from the Sofa

As the actual doors to the world's greatest cultural institutions closed, the virtual ones opened, allowing everyone with a WiFi connection to access their treasures. We visited two gems in the Netherlands. 



Celebrating WAFA 2020

We may not be able to explore our beautiful and exciting world in person at the moment, but we can conjure memories of past adventures and dream of those to come through shared pictures. Here are some of our favourites from WAFA India 2020. Enjoy!



Inside IQF

The second edition of the India Quilt Festival will open in January 2021. We spoke to Varsha Sundararajan, one of the three founders, about the festival’s origins, India’s age-old quilting tradition and what we can look forward to.



Wieliczka Salt Mine

Deep under the earth, 14km south of Krakow, the Wieliczka salt mine is one of the wonders of Poland. Dating back to the Middle Ages, this subterranean labyrinth of tunnels and chambers has morphed from an industrial plant at the heart of the Polish economy into a world-famous tourist attraction, event location and a health resort. Read on to discover 10 fascinating facts about this UNESCO World heritage site.

5 minutes with quilter Sarah Payne

Sarah Payne is a freelance quilting teacher, designer and TV demonstrator. We caught up with her while she was prepping samples for her next show to talk about her passion for fabric and the lure of the quilt festival.


Joy of Flowers

Tutor and award-winning floral designer Jo Smith spends her days “spreading the joy of flowers.” We caught up with her at Blooms of Borrowdale to talk inspiration, seasonality and workshopping with Belgian designers.

Great British Quilter

When Sarah Ashford isn't making quilts, she is writing, Instagramming and podcasting about them. We met up with her to find out more.



India Quilt Festival Chitra Mandanna

Textile artist Chitra Mandanna scooped five awards at the India Quilt Festival 2019. Ahead of our tour to the 2021 edition, we caught up with her to find out more about her work and how it all began.


Jewel Changi Airport Singapore

Singapore's extraordinary Jewel Changi Airport was designed by a consortium of internationally renowned architects, including world-class global engineering and consultancy practice BuroHappold. We caught up with Karl Lyndon, Global Aviation Sector Leader based at the company’s Bath office, to find out more.

5 Minutes with Moniek Vanden Berghe

Belgian floral designer Moniek Vanden Berghe's spectacular natural floral displays have brought her international acclaim, while her workshops attract aspiring arrangers from all over the world. Ahead of her latest workshop with us, we asked her to tell us why she likes teaching, how she got started and to explain her love of weeds....

Christmas Baubles in Krakow Christmas Markets

Nothing says ‘Christmas’ quite like a glass bauble and there’s no place better to find them than Krakow



Magical Christmas markets in Alsace

Dotted with ancient, candy coloured towns that seem to have sprung straight from the pages of a children’s story, Alsace was made for Christmas. Small wonder then that this northeastern region of France is home to some of the best Christmas markets in Europe. Our  Christmas Markets in Alsace holiday takes you to five of them.

Innsbruck's Christmas Markets

Innsbruck was made for Christmas. In the historic Old Town, tree lights sparkle against the glistening tiles of the Golden Roof, the air is filled with the aroma of freshly made “Kiachln” (piping hot doughnuts laced with Sauerkaut) and the town’s pretty streets bustle with festive markets.  Here are our top three.

Glamour in Zagreb

The Esplanade Zagreb Hotel is one of the Croatian capital’s most famous and elegant buildings. First opened in April 1925, this 5* hotel has a fascinating - and rather glamorous -history.


5 Minutes with Atsushi Taniguchi

Internationally acclaimed floral artist Atsushi Taniguchi fell in love with flowers as a child. We caught up with him at his beautifully scented store in Paris to talk roses, workshops and the beauty of nature


Street Hawker Food

Singapore is famous for its street food - think the spicy noodle soup known as laksa, chicken rice and, of course, char kway teow, the smoky noodle stir fry that’s pretty much a national staple. Today these cheap and tasty dishes can be found in Hawker centres across the city, but hawker food has its roots in the itinerant food vendors of colonial Singapore.

Singapore's Shophouses

Singapore's shophouses are architectural icons reflecting Singapore's multi-cultural influences



Celebrating Quilts in Houston

As our Tour Manager Steve Hartnell prepared to fly home from the 45th edition of the Houston International Quilt Festival, we asked him to send us a few pictures of his favourite artworks 

5 minutes with Grace Meijer

Grace Meijer is one of the textile artists exhibiting work at the Quilt Festival Noord Groningen next June. As she prepares, we asked her to tell us a bit about her work and why this festival is a must see

A Workshop with Annick Mertens

"I do teach lots of technical tricks and tips in my workshops," says Fleur Creatif designer Annick Mertens, "but they are also a time to for people to unwind surrounded by beautiful flowers, laugh together, work together and finally return home with a feeling of deep satisfaction." As you can see from the photographs, our group did all of that and more.

Secret Garden 1 Utama

Malaysian garden writer and award-winning blogger Elaine Yim will be giving a guided tour of Kuala Lumpur’s Secret Garden 1-Utama as part of our Singapore Garden Festival & Malaysia tour with Liz Bishop. We asked her to tell us why she loves this hidden green gem.

Fabulous Fleuramour

Sara-Marie Andrews from the Academy of Floristry took a group to Alden Biesen to experience the spectacular floral extravaganza that is Fleuramour.  We caught up with her to find out what she thought.

Glass Houses

Home to rare varieties of palm, azaleas and geraniums, The Royal Greenhouses at Laeken are a plant lovers delight, but they should be on every architectural fan’s bucket list too.

Orchids in Singapore

Reputed to be the largest display of tropical orchids in the world, Singapore’s National Orchid Garden is home to over 60,000 orchid species and more than 2,000 hybrids. 


The Art of Kutch

If you are interested in embroidery, then the Kutch region of North Western India is the place for you



Inside Fleur Creatif

As we launch our 2020 Fleur Créatif workshop adventures, we caught up with Lieven Hemschoote, Managing Director of the magazine’s publisher Rekad, to find out more about this fabulous floral publication

Private Workshops & People's Prizes

Eleanor Griffiths is a NAFAS member from Frodsham & District Evening Flower Club in Cheshire, an area judge and teacher of flower arranging. She has had a successful and inspiring summer, as we found out.

WAFA2020 The Countdown Begins

With only six months to go until WAFA2020, and with just days until registration closes, we caught up with the show’s President Kavita Poddar to find out more about the Grand Floral Affair

Like Shopping? Love Nantes!

If you like shopping, then you will love Nantes. Here are some top spots.


Shopping in Jaipur

Last month, the historic walled city of Jaipur was named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As well as recognising Jaipur’s extraordinary architectural heritage, the UNESCO office in New Delhi also cited the city’s status as ‘an exceptional example of a late medieval trade town’ and associations ‘with living traditions in the form of crafts that have national and international recognition.’ All of which means that the Pink City is a shopper’s paradise! Here are four must-visit stores:

Meet Hilde van Schaardenburg

The Quiltfestival Noord Groningen will celebrate its sixth – and largest – edition in 2020. We talked to one of the exhibitors, textile artist and coach Hilde van Schaardenburg, about her work, nature and what makes this festival so special.


EPM blog

The 2019 edition of the European Patchwork Meeting is only weeks away. We asked one of its biggest fans, our Tour Manager Adge Secker, to give us five reasons why this festival should be on everyone’s bucket list.


Yoga in Bali

Sarah Matthews has just returned from several weeks as a guest yoga teacher at the Spa Village Resort, Tembok.  We sat down with her to find out how she shares her love of yoga and why this tranquil 5* resort makes the perfect yoga space.

Rose Romance in Singapore

The Flower Dome at Singapore's Gardens by the Bay is the largest glass greenhouse in the world, and this month it's full of roses. 





Tales from a Floral Workshop Adventure

Linda Smith, NAFAS Area Demonstrator and independent teacher, has just come back from our Fleur Creatif Workshop Adventure. She talked to us about working with test tubes and the lure of European floral design.




Singapore's Supetrees

In 2006, international landscape architecture consultancy Grant Associates was appointed to masterplan the first, and largest, of the three gardens at Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay. A fusion of nature and technology, the garden is home to two giant conservatories, spectacular horticultural gardens and, of course, the iconic Supertree Grove. We caught up with Founding Director Andrew Grant at the firm’s Bath office and find out more about these extraordinary structures.

Floralien Ghent 2020

The history of Floraliën Ghent stretches back over 200 years. The 2020 edition promises to be a 10 day floral festival for all the senses. General Manager Pieter Toebaert tells us more.




Herma de Ruiter

We caught up with quilter Herma de Ruiter ahead of next year’s Quilt Festival Noord Groningen to talk about workshops, windmills and the sheer joy of making


Natural Singapore

The city of Singapore may be a global financial centre, but it is also filled with lush green spaces. Discover our top three



Horti blog

Assistant gardener and horticultural student Shaun Ward has just come home from a trip to the Netherlands. He talked to us about planting schemes, production lines and miles and miles of tulips....


Nantes blog

Quiltmania's renowned showcase of all things patchworked, quilted, embroidered and knitted is an ECT favourite, and the 2019 tour was a treat from start to finish. Here's a flavour of the tour in pictures:


Recharging in Bali Blog

There's something special about Bali, a gentle spirituality and a barely perceptible shift in time that takes you back to a more tranquil time. No wonder then that we’ve chosen it as the location for our luxurious new wellness breaks.  

All Aboard the Himalayan Toy Train

Winding through 96km of breath taking landscape from India’s northern plains up to the hill town of Shimla, the Himalayan Toy Train is one of the world’s greatest train journeys.

Spring Quilting, A Tour Manager's View

Our tour manager Steve Hartnell led two of our recent Spring textile programmes and discovered that extraordinary quilts are just the beginning

Natural Asia

Our new Singapore Gardens and Malaysia tour gives you the chance to commune with nature in three of Asia’s greenest locations


Houstons Must Visit Museums

Houston’s Museum District is one of America’s cultural highlights. There are 19 different institutions to choose from, all of which are worth visiting, but here are our top three:  

The Countdown Begins

With less than a year to go, and registration about to open, preparations for WAFA India 2020 are entering their final phase. Michael Bowyer MBE and Tom Hodge travelled to India last week to meet the team and get a taste of our wonderful WAFA tour programme first hand. As he headed for the Diggi Palace, Michael sent back this report.

Jaipur Patterns

Jaipur is a city of patterns. Here local resident, pattern book creator, architect, town planner and clothing brand founder Renu Bhagwat talks to us about her work, her city and her love of print and pattern

Dazzling Diamond Celebrations

Derek Armstrong is the Event Designer for NAFAS’ Diamond Anniversary celebrations. He took five minutes out of his very busy schedule to give us a taste of the festivities to come


Happy Birthday NAFAS

As NAFAS turns 60, we caught up with the current Chairman Jan Law, whose own relationship with NAFAS began in 1963, for a quick history lesson


Jana Sterbova blog

Contemporary quilt artist Jana Štěrbová is Managing Director of the Prague Patchwork Meeting, the international textile exhibition she helped to found in 2005. We caught up with her ahead of this year’s show.


EPM banner

2019 marks the 25th anniversary of the European Patchwork Meeting.  Our tour guide – and keen quilter - Graham Parker explains why he’s a fan.


Annick Mertens' Floral Workshop Adventure

Annick Mertens is one of the inspirational Fleur Créatif designers we’ve teamed up with on our Autumn Workshop Adventure. We asked her to tell us how she got started and why workshops are so important to her practice.

A Christmas Market Adventure in Austria

Natacha travelled with us on our Austrian Christmas Markets tour – and arrived home full of festive cheer. We caught up with her to ask why she went and what she loved.


New Treats for Curious Travellers Blog

You may have noticed some exciting new tour categories have arrived on our Home page...


Inspired by Constance

At 15, Susie Edwards received an invitation to travel to Australia with Constance Spry. We asked her to tell us how it came about and led her to spend a life in flowers

Five Minutes with Blue Mountain Daisy

Fresh back from the Houston International Quilt Festival, and ahead of Pour L'Amour du Fil, we caught up with Rachael 'Blue Mountain' Daisy to talk quilts, flowers her new book


Singapore Garden Festival

Established in 2006, the bi-annual Singapore Garden Festival has become one of the most important flower and garden festivals in the world. We asked Festival judge and editor of Fusion Flowers Alison Bradley why a visit here should be on every flower fan’s bucket list.

Fleuramour Alden Biesen

Fleuramour is one of Europe’s most prestigious floral events and has been a highlight of our tour programme for many years. We asked Fleur Créatif's UK Editorial Advisor Judith Blacklock to explain what makes this Belgian show so special.


Floral artist Liz Bishop of Junglebloom accompanied our 2018 tour to the Singapore Garden Festival and Malaysia.We asked her to share her highlights.


Celebrating Constance

Florist and floral designer Mig Kimpton has spent over thirty years working in theatre and was behind the production of ‘Storm in a Flower Vase, an adaptation based on the life and times of Constance Spry. We caught up with him ahead of his talk about this florist’s extraordinary life to find out why she captured his imagination.

Pat Cherrett blog banner

Pat Cherrett has recently returned from a bespoke group tour to Ireland. We asked her to share her highlights.



5 minutes with astrid van den berg

Florist Astrid van den Berg has been running creative workshops as part of ECT's tours to the Netherlands for over a decade. We caught up with her to ask her how she got started and why she still loves teaching.

A Lesson in Floral Design

Our tour manager Ifor Griffith has just come back from a Beautifully British floral adventure in Lincolnshire with floral designer Jonathan Moseley. Here he tells us about taking part in his first floral workshop.

Flowers at Frans Hals Museum

Every Spring Haalem's Frans Hals Museum opens its galleries to leading floral designers - with spectacular results. We caught up with the Monique van Royen to find out more.

For the Love of Quilts Quilting Tours Quilter's Guild

Graham Parker is not only one of our most experienced tour managers, he is a keen quilter too – an interest that gives his tours a unique flavour. We caught up with him in his garden (complete with quilt!) to ask how he got started and why he loves quilt travel.

impressions of jaipur WAFA

Our CEO Theresa McDermott travelled to India on a research trip ahead of our incredible programme celebrating WAFA 2020. She was entranced by the historic,vibrant culture, beautiful sites and gracious hospitality.

Floral banner

Young Florist of the Year Kay Willis shares her impressions of her floral adventure in the Netherlands travelling with ECT; seeing live flower auctions, visiting Dutch flower growers and enjoying a floral workshop.

Simon Smith blog

What makes a good tour great? Tour organiser Simon Smith gives his top tips.

Magic at Swarovski Crystal Worlds

Magic awaits all who arrive at Swarovski Crystal Worlds. Rather than a revolving door, you enter through a giant’s head and immediately find yourself inside the Chambers of Wonder. Designed by a roster of internationally acclaimed artists, designers and architects, these are places of sparkling fantasy, guaranteed to amaze and enchant.

Kanchipuram, an ancient city is southern India's Tamil state, is famous for the production of hand-loomed silk. Textile expert and hand-loom advocate Sabita Radhakrishna gave us a quick history lesson....