We finally made it back to the Emma Bridgewater Decorating Studio!
It felt lovely to be able to book a slot and paint a pot. We really do love the decorating studio. For years George and I have been visiting as part of our half term adventures, it’s our Mummy and Son activity that always makes us smile. And with missing out over the February and Easter holidays due to closure we were really looking forward to this visit. The last time we managed to visit was in October 2020. And whilst the Covid restrictions meant that on our last trip it wasn’t as enjoyable as previous sessions I am so pleased to say that the team really have worked on their visitor experience this time round and got it just right this time.
As always it’s as simple as book your slot, pick your piece of pottery, paint your own wonderful design before picking it up a week or two later. It’s the perfect personalised gift for a loved one or like us, just to enjoy for ourselves. I have been coming here with George since he was 4 years old, we have an array of designs in the cupboard which are all perfectly imperfect. Such a gorgeous keepsake. George declared on this visit that we made our best yet! We cannot wait to see it fired, all bright, full of colour and ready for some pasta!
This time we went for a pasta bowl, perfect for George as he LOVES pasta. We’ve also decorated the 8″ and 10″ plates as well as cereal bowls. I think George is building his own dining set so we have a few more additions before we are complete!
Painting pottery at Emma Bridgewater Factory
A few things have changed since the pandemic, which has impacted on the visitor experience. So, I thought I would share our thoughts with you. Some changes have negatively impacted the experience for me. On the whole we had a great afternoon. And I totally appreciate that it’s a fine balance and one I’m sure the team have tried their best to achieve. There were also some notable changes on our last trip from when we visited in October 2020. I am so pleased about that. You can read more about visiting the decorating studio in this post, it is pre-pandemic so do check up on a couple of the points if you are using it as a reference point.
So here’s what to expect when visiting the Emma Bridgewater Decorating Studio…
What’s changed since Covid-19?
1. Reduced capacity – it is essential that you book as far in advance as possible
2. They no longer serve food and drinks – we took our own water
3. Once seated you cannot leave your table unless visiting the bathroom
4. On each table you will find all equipment needed – previously you would collect your own paints, water bowls, paint trays, sponges and pottery (this is the biggest frustration for me)
5. Aprons were not offered
Do the changes affect your experience?
- The reduced capacity actually improves the experience, I really love the additional space. Previously the tables were far too close together. It was a little noisy and crowded
2. It’s a shame you can no longer buy food & drink, I do hope they bring this service back sometime soon
3. We both miss choosing our sponges from the big pots. Right now you are restricted to specific sponge collections – for example letters, numbers, dinosaurs etc. The choices are far too narrow in my opinion and we were advised it is one per painter. This really doesn’t lead to a good user experience. George got really upset as he always plans his designs before we arrive. It reduces your creative flare – lets face it we’re not all artists and the sponges help young designers.*
*(Back in October the staff were very strict and refused to give us any extra sponges. On this visit the staff were very helpful and gave us some additional sponges to help with George’s design.)
Things to consider when visiting the decorating studio
1. There is a new entrance opposite the new car park, you can no longer walk alongside the factory
2. Don’t forget to book your slot and for the café if you are are lunching as well
3. Don’t forget to visit the seconds shop, there are some great bargains
4. You cannot take your pottery away, it takes roughly two weeks to be fired
5. Take your own apron or a change of clothing
And that’s our little update on what it’s like Painting Pottery at Emma Bridgewater Factory in May 2021. The perfect half term activity. We really enjoyed our visit and cannot wait to pick up our masterpiece. If you have any questions do pop them in the comments and I’ll do my best to help you out in your planning.