Lots of hostels have ideal locations for organised retreats; quiet, remote and in stunning scenery.
A few other very special places provide an atmosphere where sole travellers can take time out to focus among like-minded new people or simply enjoy being alone.
Often these hostels will be close to religious sites or pilgrimage routes and some are run on ethical ground by religious organisations.
Whether you join an organised retreat or visit an awe inspiring place alone, a retreat gives you the chance to take a break from your everyday life.
Lots of hostels have ideal locations for organised retreats; quiet, remote, and in stunning scenery. A few very special places provide accommodation with an atmosphere where sole travelers can take time out to focus among new people or simply enjoy being alone. Self catering facilities and communal meals at these places provide opportunities to focus on new relationships. Often these hostels will be close to religious sites or pilgrimage routes. Many are run on ethical grounds by religious organisations.
Retreats in Scotland
At the end of the pilgrim route on Mull, just a short ferry ride away from the Isle of Iona. Ross of Mull Rooms at Achaban House provides comfortable accommodation with a tranquil atmosphere. They are set in a natural environment surrounded by wildlife. And just a few minutes walk from Fionnphort, where the ferry leaves for Iona. A much-loved place by guests looking for peace, simple companionship, and an easy daily pilgrimage to the monastic isle.
Iona Abbey was started by St Columba in the 6th century and is now home to the Iona Community. A contemporary take on pilgrimage is ‘transformational journeying’ and Iona has been a desired destination for pilgrims for many years. Iona is described as a ‘thin place’ between the physical and spiritual and travellers come from around the world to experience its unique quality and astonishing beauty. Transformation needn’t be big and momentous but can be gentle and warm, like sitting outside the Inn at Fionnphor, looking out to Iona and watching the sun sink quietly over the Western Isles.
Knoydart Bunkhouse is on a remote peninsula on the west coast of Scotland. It is accessible only by boat or a long hike which gives an otherworldly feeling. People who reach Knoydart, jutting out on the Atlantic coast say “just to be there is good for the soul”. Surrounded by sea and rugged, mountainous terrain and a National Scenic Area of mountains, glens, and coast, Knoydart is a haven for wildlife. Bring walking boots and binoculars and you’re set for a retreat to remember!
Badralloch Bothy is home to the EarthMind Fellowship, which runs nature-oriented workshops for health and wellness. This social enterprise organises workshops for exploring nature. They incorporate herbal medicine and nutrition, health and wellness, stress-management, HeartMath, Wilderness Therapy, and creative approaches such as dance, music, art, and writing.
Retreats in England
The Old Red Lion in Norfolk enjoys the special atmosphere of Castle Acre village. Once a medieval walled town, which lies within the outer bailey of an 11th-century castle. It is on the Peddars Way ancient trail, the Old Red Lion carries on the tradition of serving travellers who seek refreshment and repose. There are quiet areas for reading and meeting and the flint and timber-walled pub. The cellar and garden room are used for regular yoga classes and organised retreats.
Hebden Bridge is an old mill town reclaimed by artists, writers, and green & New Age practitioners of alternative therapies. Hebden Bridge Hostel reflects its host town and is often used by yoga and zen groups for retreats and workshops.
Monkton Wyld Court in Dorset has a history of well-being education. It is run by an eco-community that promotes self-sufficiency in an idyllic setting.
Ninebanks hostel in the North Pennines host retreats organised by Buddhists, artists, and well-being coaches. Organisers find the friendly feel of the building, the social atmosphere of the living space, the peaceful rural location, and the wonderful view all combine to engender a feeling of fulfillment.
Retreats in Wales
The Penquoit Centre in rural Pembrokeshire is close to the peaceful Cresswell River Estuary. The unique blend of artistic conversion and ancient buildings makes the Penquoit Centre ideal for group retreats. There is shared dining on large wooden tables and an event room with plenty of space for group activities. The centre is surrounded by wildlife and there is easy access to the large courtyard from all the buildings. From the mid-1980s the Penquoit Centre has been host to many retreats and creative courses.
Llanfyllin Workhouse, home to ‘the Bunkhouse at the Workhouse’ is owned and run by the local community. It uses a holistic and sustainable approach to provide valuable learning experiences for all ages including green crafts, gardening, creative arts, and performance skills.
Corris hostel is a renowned haven from the stresses of the outside world; with its homely atmosphere, friendly staff, inspirational library, and cosy wood fires. The hostel has a holistic focus and an interest in the ‘healing arts’. The garden is terraced up the hillside with a range of ‘nature-scaped’ themes and places of meditation and solitude beyond the boundary. There is a deciduous tree forest continuing up the mountain and is accessible. This retreat has a great ’spirit of place‘ and connection to nature.
Skiddaw House, one of the UK’s remotest hostels, has hosted laid-back weekends of walking and talking with like-minded adventurers. Called ‘Mind Over Mountains’ these weekends promote the benefits of UK mountains for mental and physical health. By climbing mountains, and sleeping on the side of one at Skiddaw House you can escape from modern life and make time for your mental and physical well-being.
Yealand Hostel and Airton Barn have peaceful locations and a Quaker connection. Yealand is close to three very small villages with little through traffic and good transport links.
Whether you join an organised retreat or visit an awe-inspiring place on your own, a retreat gives you the chance to take a break from your everyday.