Tan Hill in February

I was at a Language Fair a few years ago and had a poster of Fleetham Lodge in the snow. A lady looked at it (she was Italian I think) and said that to her it didn’t look very inviting. I actually thought that it was a really beautiful photo (I happen to like the winter) but it made me think about whether winter would indeed be a good time for students to come to North Yorkshire 🙂

The truth is, in fact, that days like the one here with my daughter Imogen and IELTS student Sophia from Germany are really very rare in this area. We have a micro-climate which sees most snow, ice and even rain blow itself out over the moors and dales and snow is so unusual that we get very excited when we see it!! (this is true for much of the UK – snow sends us all into a tiswas).

One of our Christmas trees

So, with that ‘health-warning’, I can tell you that there is something quite magical and enigmatic about a visit to Fleetham Lodge in the winter and I am not just talking about Christmas which, of course, has it’s own special magic in the western hemisphere. It’s more of a transportation to a foregone era, I’m thinking about Miss Marple, Poirot or even Downton Abbey (although we are not as grand :-)) but something more oldie-worldie. Let me explain:

It’s more about a landscape that probably hasn’t changed in centuries, a kitchen that looks like it did 50 or 60 years ago and open, roaring fires that evoke an earlier time. These things come into their own in the winter. To walk inside from a cold, blustery day to the smell of wood-smoke and the warmth of a  welcoming fire is something that no other season brings. Or it may be a visit to one of our many – we Brits really do love nostalgia! – Stately Homes all dressed up for Christmas as they may have looked two or three hundred years ago is a magical experience and none does this better than Castle Howard.


But Christmas is very special and no discussion of the winter season can ignore it. For us here at

Carol Singers Photo: christmasfanclub.com

Fleetham Lodge it all starts at the beginning of November when we make our Christmas cakes and puddings. For me this is one of the best parts of Christmas as there is the anticipation of the festival without any of the real pressures. Then as December begins there are Christmas Fayres, concerts, our annual carol signing in the village (we go around the village in a shooting brake and stop at various points to sing traditional carols joined by local householders – it’s a charity event) and finally Christmas itself is usually spent with family. We have many traditions from giving cards and presents, to the religious services to the food we eat and the games we play. Light plays a big part so there are always lots of candles and fairy lights both inside and out.

If you want to experience these traditions and find out more about Christmas in the UK then our Quintessentially English Christmas course does just that. It’s a feast of Christmas events, food and traditions which combine English in a ‘hands-on’ way rather than in formal lessons. It is a unique experience and we know that you will simply love it.

Business student Michael on a snowy walk

And after New Year? In fact January and February have been the most popular months for Business Class Immersion courses.The New Year is a fantastic time for renewal and resolutions so it makes sense to really work on those English skills once and for all! The same applies to IELTS, if you are going to do it then what better time to dive in and make January the month to pass the exam! There are few distractions. The weather is not very inviting, the festivities of Christmas and New Year are over and it can be a time when people feel a bit ‘low’ so perfect for really focusing on study and setting yourself up with fantastic language skills for the rest of the year.


Check out the video for more of our Winter students.

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