Founder of Queen of Retreats Caroline Sylger Jones gives us the lowdown on affordable retreats in our green and pleasant land…
Feeling the pinch as Christmas approaches, or fancy buying your loved one an affordable but decent retreat for a present? You don’t have to spend a fortune to get some pampering and peace, you know. Here are just a few of my favourite choices for affordable retreats in the UK for 2014…
1. Tilton House, Sussex
Tilton House is a large and lovely white-painted Georgian house set at the foot of the South Downs National Park. It offers a range of yoga and creative breaks on the weekends, and relaxing B&B and self catering during the week from March. It’s the former home of economist John Maynard Keynes and his Russian ballerina wife, Lydia Lopokova, who apparently liked to dance on its lawns by moonlight, and remains a discreet and carefree place to stay thanks to the super hosts, film-makers Polly and Shaun. The next retreat is 3-5 January 2014, a Wellness & Restore weekend with Suzy Draw, for £320 per person. Read more, or book here.
2. Reclaim Your Self, Somerset
Reclaim Your Self offer healthy holidays that combine yoga, healthy eating and holistic therapies in cleverly-picked locations around the world. Their next UK retreat is in Glastonbury in July 2014, where they have put together a refreshing summer yoga weekend which combines daily yoga, meditation, countryside walks and healthy food in a unique, sustainable architect designed house surrounded by beautiful western cedar decking with 360° panoramic views of the countryside. Your yoga teacher is Kent-based Lara Chandler, whose classes combine Vinyasa flow with a focus on correct body alignment. From £350 per person if coming with a friend or £475 for a room alone. Read more or book here.
3. Satvada Retreats, Suffolk
Satvada Retreats is a small healthy holiday company that offers breaks that focus on yoga, mindfulness meditation, relaxation techniques and other activities aimed at anyone who needs to de-stress. They are run by the down to earth and kindly yoga teacher and writer Lucia Cockcroft, who first studied yoga at the Sivananda school in Northern California and is passionate about yoga’s ability to transform on many levels. Their next UK retreat is 2-4 May 2014, an Art of Relaxation weekend in Suffolk that aims to help you find breathing space and teach you tools to help you combat stress in everyday life. It costs £435 per person in a room alone or £365 per person in a shared room for three nights with all meals and classes. Read more or book here.
4. Split Farthing Hall, Yorkshire
A renovated farmhouse which instantly makes you feel at home, Split Farthing Hall runs a range of beautifully put together holistic health retreats especially for women, combining yoga, meditation, exercise and life coaching with fabulously tasty raw food meals. A short drive from the picturesque village of Thirsk, the retreat is run by Claire Maguire, an intuitive coach and yoga and meditation teacher who is also a whizz in the kitchen, devising and preparing the meals and snacks. Private retreats can be arranged throughout the year, and cost from £295 for a 2-night retreat sharing a room. Read more or book here.
5. Littleton Mill, Wiltshire
This beautifully renovated, wooden-floored 17th century water mill is the eco-friendly family home of Melissa Kendall, an expert on nutrition and sustainability who runs healthy holiday company Jiva Healing. Come for juice fasts, healthy eating breaks, yoga weekends, fitness breaks and other breaks, or book your own private retreat for your family or friends in a group of four or more. Their next group retreat runs 11-13 April 2014 – a Conscious cooking, creative eating & yoga weekend. It costs from £250 to £375 per person for a 2 night break including accommodation, food and classes. Read more or book here.
Queen of Retreats offers a free advisory service for people looking for a spa, retreat or healthy holiday, a booking service for retreats we would hand-on-heart recommend and honest, independent reviews by journalists with a critical eye. More at www.queenofretreats.com
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