Overdue some time out? You don’t have to travel to India for a meditation retreat – there are plenty of opportunities for uninterrupted zen here in the UK. From luxury farmhouse getaways to walking weekends in Devon, these are the best meditation retreats in the UK…
Best Wellness Retreats UK
West Sussex: Forest Bathing at The Spread Eagle
In the medieval market town of Midhurst, idyllic hotel The Spread Eagle is offering a wellness retreat centred around one of this year’s biggest wellness trends: forest bathing. A Japanese practice, forest bathing simply means to slow down and immerse yourself in the forest atmosphere. The Spread Eagle’s retreat is led by Swedish-born Helena Skoog – who has spent the past four years living off-grid in ancient forestry in Sussex. She will guide guests through a series of sensory experiences, encouraging them to connect with the natural surroundings and reap the therapeutic benefits.
When? 11 November 2019
Where? The Spread Eagle, West Sussex
BOOK: Stays at The Spread Eagle Hotel & Spa are from £119 per night, based on two sharing a Standard Room, mid-week, on a B&B basis. The Forest Bathing Experience costs £25; hshotels.co.uk
Isles of Scilly: Adventure Scilly Reboot and Revitalise Retreat Adventure
October is a great time to explore the beautiful Isles of Scilly, when a programme of events focuses on outdoor pursuits such as wild swimming, coastal walking and trail running, beach meditation, sunrise yoga and swimming with seals. From the 25-28 October, a four-day (three night) all-inclusive retreat allows visitors to explore the raw beauty of Scilly, and refresh mind, body and soul. Open to just 10 people, the retreat features guided walks with stunning views, restorative & wild yoga sessions, trail runs, invigorating dips in the sea, tasty food and local gin.
When? 25-28 October 2019
Where? Mincarlo Guest House, Isles of Scilly
BOOK: Prices start at £495 per person based on two people sharing (depending on room choice). The Re-boot and Revitalising Break includes accommodation (with en-suite shower room) at Mincarlo, all meals (from evening of arrival to morning of departure) including the alfresco picnic or one main course and drink at the pub; gin tasting and all the hosted activities. Flights and transfers are not included; visitislesofscilly.com
Somerset: Our Retreat
A luxury farmhouse in Somerset surrounded by 42 acres of ancient forest, Our Retreat offers the perfect setting for switching off. Across the long weekend guests will take part in mindful yoga classes, sound baths, guided walks, educational talks and workshops on topics like self-care and nutrition. Private chefs will be on hand to cook nourishing yet indulgent meals alongside daily healthy protein shakes and teas, and there’s plenty of leisure time for guests to relax on the lawn with a book.
When? 15-18 November 2019 (Yoga, Pilates & Meditation Retreat)
BOOK: From £550; ourretreat.co.uk
Go off-grid at EcoYoga, a wellness retreat in the Scottish Highlands surrounded by forests, lochs and rolling hills. From here founders Nick and Rachel run a variety of yoga retreats, including beginners, Ashtanga and Iyengar, with classes taking place to the sound of waterfalls in the lovely glazed studio overlooking the gorge of the River Liever. Inspired by the Japanese tradition of ‘Sento’ (public bath houses), there are also a number of bathing areas dotted around, including natural wooden hot tubs under a dome. Hence the name, the space is an eco-hub, powered by a hydro turbine and large bank of solar panels.
When? The next retreat runs from 29 December 2019 – 3 January 2020
Where? ecoYoga Centre, West Scotland
BOOK: From £575; ecoyoga.org
London: A Place to Heal by Arrigo
If you’re looking for a retreat which doesn’t require you to stay overnight, check out A Place to Heal in London’s Holland Park. They run both one day and 28-day retreats, which both involve one-to-one consultations, meditation sessions and crystal light therapy treatment. The 28-day option offers a greater number of sessions over a longer period, including private consultations with founder Fiona Arrigo, a biodynamic medicine workshop with Mary Molloy, and a breath work session with Julie Ann Horrox.
When? Contact [email protected] to discuss availability
Where? Holland Park, London
BOOK: £860 for the One Day Weekend Retreat, £1,895 for the 28-day Non-Residential Retreat; aplacetoheal.co.uk
Norfolk: Mindfulness for Wellbeing Weekend
Unlike some wellness retreats, at Norfolk’s Mindfulness for Wellbeing Weekend guests can choose to do as much or as little as they want. Activities include gentle yoga classes, mindful movement, and breathwork, accompanied by lots of wholesome vegetarian food. Retreaters are encouraged to turn off their mobile phones and technology during their stay, and there are limited periods of silence, designed to create space in the mind.
When? November 22-25 2019
Where? West Lexham Estate, Norfolk
BOOK: From £499; satvada-retreats.co.uk
Devon: Sharpham House’s Walking Retreats
Located on the banks of the River Dart, Sharpham House’s walking retreats will take you on long, meditative walks around the beautiful Devon countryside. A more active trip, the retreat involves daily 7-8 mile walks, many of which are very hilly, so organisers specify you’ll need good fitness levels. With breathtaking scenery and periods of silence, these walks help develop appreciation and respect for the natural world, and encourage guests to explore their creativity. There are also guided meditations and relaxation sessions throughout the retreat, and you’ll be treated to delicious vegetarian food, all sourced locally and sustainably.
When? To view the upcoming retreats schedule visit sharphamtrust.org
Where? Sharpham House, Totnes, Devon
BOOK: From £385 for four nights; sharphamtrust.org
Norfolk: Your Ideal Fit Pilates Retreat
Plant-based chef Lauren Lovatt of the Plant Academy heads up the next wellness retreat from Your Ideal Fit, taking place at the lovely West Lexham Estate in Norfolk. A typical day involves pilates classes, guided walks and mindful movement workshops, punctuated by nutritious vegan meals. West Lexham Estate is a very pleasant place to stay, with large bedroom suites which look out onto a sun-drenched courtyard.
When? For the latest news on upcoming retreats, sign up to the Your Ideal Fit newsletter here
Where? West Lexham Estate, Norfolk
BOOK: From £499pp; youridealfit.com
Devon: Gaia House
If you’re looking to reduce the noise in your mind, Gaia House is your best bet. One of the largest meditation centers in Europe, it offers silent meditation retreats in the Buddhist tradition, but all faiths are welcome. Set in the peaceful South Devon countryside, retreats range in length from two to seven nights, with different names such as Pathways to Happiness and The Heart of Wisdom and Kindness. Though guests are asked to refrain from engaging in all forms of verbal and written communication throughout the retreat, you can speak with the teachers when appropriate. During your stay you can enjoy picturesque strolls around the grounds, and vegan/vegetarian meals throughout.
When? Retreats are frequent, check out the schedule here
Where? Gaia House, South Devon
BOOK: From £128 for two nights; gaiahouse.co.uk
Devon: River Cottage
A beautiful 100-acre farm situated on the Devon-Dorset border, River Cottage is the perfect escape from city life. They have been running health and wellbeing courses in their cooking school for years, but have recently expanded their repertoire by introducing a dedicated wellness retreat. Guests are invited to spend four nights in the English countryside, with activities including daily yoga, inner wellness sessions, healthy cooking and mindful eating classes, kitchen garden foraging, Lyme Regis walks, herbal workshops and nutritional discussions. Choose to stay in one of the newly refurbished farmhouse bedrooms or embrace the natural world and snuggle up in a bespoke LoveaBell tent in the wildflower meadow.
When? Register here to be the first to hear when retreat dates are announced
Where? River Cottage HQ, Axminster, Devon
BOOK: From £1600; rivercottage.net
Suffolk: Roger Frampton at Retreat East
Private members club and spa Retreat East will play host to movement coach Roger Frampton, who will be running a series of wellness retreats throughout the summer. Guests are invited to spend three days in the Suffolk countryside, where they will experience Roger’s training technique first-hand, The Frampton Method. This requires no gym membership, no weights and no equipment: classes are instead based around flexibility, bodyweight, gymnastics and yoga.
When? 11-13 November 2019
Where? Retreat East, Suffolk
BOOK: From £700; eventbrite.co.uk
Kent: Ageing Gracefully
Sophie Benge’s retreat is for women over 40, focused around the art of ‘ageing gracefully.’ Over a three-day period, guests will learn about health and hormones before and after the menopause, take part in movement classes, sound sessions and outdoor activities, enjoy spa treatments and get advice from five dedicated wellness experts. The retreat takes place at Goodnestone Park, a beautiful stately home once frequented by Jane Austen, boasting elegant interiors, sumptuous bedrooms and picturesque gardens.
When? 28 November-1 December 2019
Where? Goodnestone Park, Kent
BOOK: From £1100; sophiebenge.com
Glass House Retreat, Essex
After years of visiting retreats, passionate advocate for healthy living Joy Jarvis noticed many were pushed for space, and decided it was time to create something new. Enter Glass House Retreat, a purpose-built spa, detox and weight-loss centre set in the heart of the luscious Essex countryside. Packages range from two to seven days long, all offering spa and gym access, plant-based cuisine and various different wellness treatments. A typical day here involves a morning walk, two fitness classes and a raw food lunch, followed by a cookery demonstration from Head Chef Miguel Gouveia. Afternoons, meanwhile, are spent exploring the retreat’s spa facilities – which include a salt block sauna, cryotherapy chamber and heated pool – and enjoying relaxing treatments. Less than an hour’s drive from London, it’s perfectly located for city dwellers looking to escape from the city and invest in a little R&R.
When? Glass House Retreat is now open for bookings, click here for information on their packages.
BOOK: Two-day package from £416pp; glasshouseretreat.co.uk
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