Frequently Asked Questions

Primarily, they’re all about the skills associated with railway modelling – acquiring them, polishing them, developing them, demonstrating them, expanding them, passing them on. Different skills apply to everything we do, and without them we’ll struggle. Learning how to solder, how to use an airbrush, how to programme a DCC locomotive, how to build scenery, how to wire up your track – these are the essentials of railway modelling. Whatever level you’re aiming for, our courses are designed to equip you with the skills necessary for taking an active and enjoyable interest in the hobby.

As well as covering the basics, our policy is to offer courses based around the latest developments in the hobby, such as laser cutting, CSBs, servo control, the latest materials and techniques in areas such as weathering and structures and especially the growing impact of digital technology. We also recognize that even experienced modellers sometimes need a refresher course, or want to explore aspects of modelling they’ve never previously dabbled in.

wagons_3475Almost any you’d care to name. Most of our courses – such as Weathering, or Scenics, or Electronics – aren’t scale-specific, but reflect the general popularity of the different scales and gauges. While 4mm and 7mm naturally predominate, we also have modellers working in 2mm, 3mm, HO, S scale and their narrow-gauge equivalents. Our bias is definitely finescale but we have one regular who builds locomotives for his Hornby Dublo three-rail layout, and of late we’re seeing growing interest from 16mm scale modellers.

Not in the least. Our meetings have the warm, intimate, informal atmosphere of a club and indeed we have many people who come along year after year, session after session. But there’s no club as such, merely a loose-knit association of people who enjoy coming to the Abbey (and coming back time and again) to improve their skills and enjoy the company of like-minded individuals and learn from our experienced tutors.

We do not have a regular arrangement for paying by instalments for the Weekends but there is a system for the Summer Retreat, details of which are available on request. If you have problems paying all at once for a Weekend, have a word with the Course Organiser (use our Contact Us)

fingerpost_T7745Not a bit of it. Missenden is just a few miles south of Aylesbury on the A413. It’s about 20 minutes from J18 on the M25. Couldn’t be easier to reach by car or train – we have one regular who travels by bus and for visitors from abroad Heathrow is close at hand (not that you’d notice it amid these wooded Chiltern hills) . . . Have a look at the Location page.

Very good. The Facilities are as good as many equivalent hotels – as you’d expect from a management college. But please be sure to book early as we have only a finite number of rooms available at the Abbey. We can always take late bookings but it may require you to find your own B&B elsewhere in Great Missenden or the surrounding area.

The Catering at Missenden is very good. A full breakfast is available each day, lunches are usually a lighter meal, with salads often available. Three course evening meals are always provided. All meals are served buffet-style with plenty of choice. The Abbey staff are very happy to accommodate particular dietary needs. Do use the Contact page if you have any queries. In addition there is a mid morning coffee break and an afternoon break with cakes, pastries or biscuits provided.

house_T5395Yes of course. The fee is adjusted accordingly. When making your booking, please be sure to specify that you don’t require accommodation at the Abbey.

costume_T2804Of course. And don’t forget that ours is just one of many courses available at the Abbey – have a look at to see  if other courses are running at the same time. We often have husbands doing the Railway Modelling courses while their wives do something more useful and/or socially acceptable. The Abbey Website has many ideas about what to in the local area

In principle, the sooner you let us know exactly what you’d like to do, the faster we can allocate you to a particular group. The initial booking page does ask you to select the group you want to join. In practice, you book for the weekend you want and then, 4-6 weeks ahead of time, you’ll normally receive an email  asking you to state which particular course you want to do. Our tutors are happy to discuss any aspect of your proposed course and they’ll do all they can to deliver exactly what you want providing you let us know in good time.

modernWe like to stay abreast of developments in the hobby at the same time as we ring the changes with the courses. Nothing stays the same for very long. Five years ago, for instance, we could see that weathering was very much the coming thing so we brought in a tutor specifically to run a weathering group. It’s now one of the most popular courses we offer. The electronics courses are always cutting-edge and new technology is a regular feature of our Autumn gathering.
If you want to be kept up to date, let us know via the Contact Us page

Missenden is mainly aimed at modellers who have already gained some experience and is primarily about acquiring and developing the skills necessary for building or improving railway models to finescale standards, usually from kits. The typical Missenden railway modeller already has basic experience of the hands-on aspects of the hobby, may have already built a model railway and wants to take things further.

The information you need to start in the hobby is readily available in a number of ways such as in the Railway Modelling magazines stocked by many newsagents, at a local model railway club or at model railway exhibitions. If in doubt, please contact us


We’ve not yet had to cancel a course due to lack of numbers but we recognize that one day this may happen, and we reserve the right to do so. In the future we may offer some courses.

track_gang_T1868Usually in single figures to allow the maximum amount of one-on-one tuition. In larger groups such as 4mm and 7mm loco-building, a lot of people will be working on their own projects at their own pace but the tutors will always have time for the individual.


Our courses aren’t designed for outright beginners, but we can certainly help if you’re planning to move on from using models straight out of the box, or if you’re returning to the hobby after years devoted to work, families, gardening, DIY etc. Our approach is all about creating an enjoyable environment where we provide an opportunity to learn and develop the skills necessary for making progress as a railway modeller, at whatever level you choose.
The information you need to start in the hobby is readily available in a number of ways such as in the Railway Modelling magazines stocked by many newsagents, at a local model railway club or at model railway exhibitions. If in doubt, please contact us.

This usually only happens if you’re late making your booking. Even so we will do all we can to fit you in but in some instances it may be necessary to offer you an alternative. Use the contact page to discuss this with us directly.

BR_1614Missenden Abbey is unique. Although we know of two or three places that provide tuition, we don’t think anyone else can offer residential courses in such high-quality accommodation with some of the best tutors in the hobby. Nor will you find such a range of course options running concurrently, with the opportunity for looking at what modellers in other groups and disciplines are doing.

Definitely. If there’s something you’d like us to cover – either as a new course or as part of an exisiting one – we’d love to hear from you. Let us know through the Contact Us page.

Please contact the organisers as soon as you get a positive result so that we may know you are not going to be able to attend. A refund will be given in these circumstances.

Category: Covid

Yes you can buy one of our courses as a Christmas or Birthday present for that Railway Modeller in your life. We suggest when you book you use your contact details, but then contact us via the website to let us know the details of the person attending as we will need to contact them prior to arrival for the registration process.