Food and accommodation


There have been so many positive comments about all the Durham courses and food has always been high on the list of compliments. Excellent choice and quality is a recurring theme with the "Fair Trade" cookies actually elicited an 11/10 from one participant. The coffee even meets with approval from the Canadian contingent.  A decent cup of coffee is as  rare in the UK as a decent cup of tea is in North America. (Blatant plug ..... see to find the U.K.'s most amazing and excellent coffee!).

Van Mildert College offers the Maggini Summer School excellent accommodation in single or double en-suite rooms. We will be using the Deerness and Tunstall blocks.  Playing rooms are generously spacious. We have the whole of Elvet Hill House to ourselves and the use of large rooms in the main college building. other. There are lifts between floors so lugging equipment about is easy. Dining is self serve with plenty of  choice for all palates and dietary requirements .... and here's the view as you dine.

View from the Dining Hall

Durham University, England's third oldest, was founded by the Second Earl Grey (after whom Grey College and Earl Grey tea is named) and William Van Mildert, (Prince-Bishop of Durham from 1826 to 1836 and a leading figure in the University's 1832 foundation)

Van Mildert College was established in 1965 and occupies eight acres (32,000 m²) of grounds alongside South Road and is centred on a small lake. It's just across the road from Collingwood College and therefore a pleasant walk away from the Botanical Gardens. There is a sense of being in an idyllic rural area even thought it is only a 15 minute walk into historic Durham City Centre. There is a regular bus service from South Road to and from the city. Whilst all our course activities and accommodations are within the College there is no reason to spend all your time indoors.

Mildert Map

The central focus of the course will obviously be the playing. The opening and closing concerts, the open rehearsals and coaching will all be fitted in around meals. While food and sleep are self-evident necessities the social aspect of the course is a joy worthy of proper attention. Mildert offers us spacious social spaces including a fine large bar. Wine will be available for purchase with meals in the dining room as it has been on previous courses.

Mildert Bar

Bedrooms for our course are all en-suite with single and double rooms available. The move to Van Mildert means that there is a greater opportunity for non-playing partners to join us. All rooms are well equipped (radio alarm, internet access, hospitality tray etc.) and are serviced daily. Deerness has lift access to all floors. Each floor has a lounge area and a kitchenette. There are also laundry facilities available on the ground floor.

Deerness kitchen

Those of you who have attended previous  courses will testify to the quality and variety of the food provided. There are extensive options sure to please most palates and the only complaint we ever heard was that just when you thought you were really quite replete an overwhelmingly tempting dessert would be on offer.

The grounds of the college are tranquil and the nearby Botanical Gardens offer breathing room in a busy week

Botanic Gardens

A visit to the city is a must. The designation "World Heritage site" may sound rather grand but Durham Cathedral and Castle and all that surrounds it more than lives up to such a title. For a taste of Durham and the University background start here

Cathedral and Castle


The cost of the course is £759 fully inclusive of meals and accommodation, all tuition and the Maggini concert on the first night.. It is also possible to attend as a non-resident or accompanying  non-participant. Please contact us for price details.
If you would like  wine with your meals it will be available for purchase in the dining room. There is a splendid bar available to us in the evenings conveniently located across from the dining room.

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What to bring with you

As well as your instrument(s) you should remember spare strings and other accessories. You will need a music stand as well as your music including, most importantly, scores. Pencils, sharpeners etc. and a sense of humour are the other all important ingredients.

I suppose I should add a reference to pills, potions and other medications along with a spare pair of spectacles if you need any of these items. Those of you who enjoy some exercise to start the day should keep in mind the possibility of joining in the morning swim and bring your costumes with you. Most people go home tired but in much better spirits and we always seem to find a way around the odd item that gets overlooked when packing.

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