If the past year has been a slog, these breaks focusing on yoga and mindfulness can help restore balance, health and creativity
Last modified on Mon 28 Jun 2021 12.31 BST
On historic Dartington estate in the South Hams, Schumacher College offers a range of short retreats aimed at helping people deepen their relationship with nature. Gardening as a Spiritual Practice, in July, is led by Emma Clark, an expert in Islamic garden design, and the college’s co-founder, Satish Kumar, a former monk. In workshops and garden time, participants explore the relationship between gardens, civilisation and the soul. There’s also daily qigong and veggie meals. Small, single rooms have shared bathrooms.
8-11 July, from £625pp for 3 nights all-inclusive, schumachercollege.org.uk
Yoga on a Shoestring now offers relaxing breaks at Blyth Rise Stays, which has wooden huts and lodges – both with colourful interiors – around a lake and wildflower meadow near the village of Laxfield. There’s twice-daily yoga on the outdoor wooden platform or lakeside, meals are served in a tipi, and in between guests can take walks in the countryside and visit nearby beaches. There’s plenty of time to do nothing, and there are also two saunas. Runs 30 August-3 September with yoga teacher Sunita Devi, or 3-6 September with yoga teacher Tania Brown.
From £725pp for 3 nights all-inclusive, yogaonashoestring.com
Wonderment offers an inclusive, family-friendly wellness festival in September in a woodland glade on the Wasing Park Estate near Aldermaston. A programme of wellbeing activities by day turns into a festival at night, with music, cabaret and DJs. Whether you’re dancing, drumming, doing yoga or wild swimming in the lake, it’s all designed to inspire reflection, connection and creativity. Camp, stay in a bell tent or enjoy the luxury of a cottage in the grounds. Everything is optional, and there’s a forest school for kids. Wonderment is also running a new LGBT-focused wellness festival, Soul Pride, from 8-12 July.
16-19 September, from £350pp, 7-18 years £90, under-6 free, wondermentretreats.com
A calming boutique retreat at Hartwith near Harrogate, Acorn Wellness is a not-for-profit business that uses its funds to support cancer patients. But anyone looking for deep rest and downtime can come for day retreats, pop-up events and overnight retreats. Views over the rolling fields of Nidderdale are postcard-pretty, and all guests have the use of a sauna and steam room and can book massages. Healing Day Retreats run regularly and include yoga, visualisations and gong baths, as well as use of the spa.
£155pp for a day retreat, including lunch and refreshments , acornwellness.co.uk
In the countryside near Biddenden, Stede Court private fitness retreat offers solo and private bubble retreats created by A-list personal trainer Kathryn Freeland. Billed as ideal for anyone who needs to recharge and remotivate, each retreat is bespoke and can include Hiit sessions, yoga and meditation, sauna sessions, dips in the swimming pond and oodles of rest. Meals are healthy and accommodation is in the characterful Grade-II listed house.
From £500 for up to 6 people for a full-day retreat,stedecourtprivatefitnessretreat.co.uk
The new ReEmerge Retreat at Middle Piccadilly, a rural haven near Sherborne, uses shamanic practices and other healing activities to help bring guests back into balance and heal any trauma, grief, stress, illness or relationship issues that might have come to the surface during the pandemic. Other post-lockdown packages are available. The retreat is held in a 17th-century thatched cottage with five simple, calming bedrooms, and all meals are vegetarian. Book dates to suit.
From £500pp for 3 nights, middlepiccadilly.com
A Walking Your Promise retreat, in the forest and open grassland near 305-metre May Hill, proposes a deep dive into nature. Leader Danny Shmulevitch draws on his experiences growing up in the Sinai desert and living with the semi-nomadic Sawad tribe, and aims to teach guests how to connect to themselves by learning how to “think” through the heart rather than “over-think” with the brain. Stays pivot on a day of fasting and quiet contemplation, and accommodation is in a private, candlelit den that looks out on to the forest on one side, and is closed for privacy on the other. Two- or three-day retreats can be taken alone or in a closed bubble.
From £295pp for two days all-inclusive, dannyshmulevitch.com
Cleanse and relax year round at Homefield Grange, a wellness retreat in a converted dairy and sheep farm near Kettering. Come to learn about your body, diet and nutrition and establish a lifestyle or behavioural change. There are various packages to choose from, including the Weekend Body Detox, with rasul mud therapy and massage, and the Mind Body Restorer, designed to help build resilience against stress and anxiety while boosting the immune system. Hypnotherapy, neuro-linguistic programming, wellness and lifestyle coaching, and nutritional consultations are all available, too.
From £649pp for the two-night Weekend Body Detox, with either a juice cleanse or plant-based meals, homefieldgrangeretreat.co.uk
Improving health and happiness through making art is the ethos behind the remarkable Curious House, which offers a range of one- and two-day creative retreats with inspirational teachers at a boutique pub, The Bell in Ticehurst. Hone your skills and build confidence without judgment on courses in everything from oil painting, collage and mixed-media to sculpting with wire and painting lampshades. There’s good food, like-minded company and time to yourself, too.
Next course, 5-6 July, is Printing and Collage, from £240pp B&B for a one-day course, curioushouse.net
Celebrate newfound freedom in the great outdoors, but still be super-comfortable, on a new Yoga and Wilderness Weekend in the Highlands. Featuring daily Jivamukti yoga, plant-based food and nights around the campfire sharing stories, it also includes time for wild swims in lochs and a four-hour guided hike in the Cairngorms. Sleep in peaceful riverside cottages and enjoy the outdoor hot tub and sauna. Massages can be booked, too.
27-30 August, from £675 for 3 nights all-inclusive, reclaimyourself.co.uk
Caroline Sylger Jones is a journalist and founder of Queen of Retreats