10 of the best meditation retreats in the UK and Europe

Learning holidays[1]

10 of the best meditation retreats in the UK and Europe

We pick mindfulness and meditation holidays in beautiful surroundings – many combined with other activities like walking, singing and tai chi
More retreat top 10s: yoga | creative | by readers[2][3][4]




Mind the view … a Sharpham Trust retreat near Totnes

Back to nature, Devon

In the Dart valley near Totnes, the Sharpham Trust meditation centre offers mindfulness retreats of different lengths throughout the year, including walking and singing breaks. Some are held in the estate’s mansion, others in the Barn Retreat nearby. For full immersion in the natural world, its Nature Connection retreat has accommodation in bell tents in the woods, with guided meditation and mindfulness activities, foraging and feasting on wild food.
o Three-night meditation retreats from GBP145 full-board.

Three-night Nature Connection retreat, 25 July, GBP335 full-board, sharphamtrust.org[5]

Meditation and singing, UK, various


10 of the best meditation retreats in the UK and Europe

Wild Voice retreats combine meditation, singing, nature and adventure. The singing includes vocal workshops and outdoor choir sessions – participants don’t need to read music and no one has to sing a solo (phew!). Works range from classical pieces to pop songs, and everyone takes home a live recording.

Mornings begin with meditation, yoga and tai chi, and outdoor activities might be kayaking, guided nature walks and campfire singsongs. There are three locations: a mansion in the Scottish Borders, a castle in Gloucestershire and a country estate near Stratford-upon-Avon. The first Wild Voice festival will take place this year in Northamptonshire (from GBP149, 31 May to 2 June).
o Three days full-board GBP399, four days GBP499, next retreat 26-29 April, wildvoiceadventures.com[8][6][7]

Peace and love, Devon


10 of the best meditation retreats in the UK and Europe

One of the largest residential meditation centres in Europe, Gaia House, near Denbury, offers silent retreats in the Buddhist tradition (though all faiths and none are welcome).

Group retreats range from two to nine nights – with titles like A Path of Peace and Kindness and Awakening and Liberating the Heart – and are led by different teachers, with accommodation mostly in shared rooms in the lovely old country house. Three daily vegetarian or vegan meals are included. The grounds and countryside are good for peaceful strolls, with views over Dartmoor.
o Practising Samadhi (meditation) retreat, 2-4 March, from GBP128 full-board, plus voluntary donation for the teacher, gaiahouse.co.uk[9]

Introduction to meditation, Suffolk


10 of the best meditation retreats in the UK and Europe

Photograph: Dennis Gilbert/View

Leave the outside world behind on a retreat at the brand new Vajrasana centre in the Suffolk countryside east of Bury St Edmunds.

Courses are run by the London Buddhist Centre, but you don’t need to be Buddhist to attend. Besides meditation instruction, there are workshops and talks as well as periods of silence – digital detox is encouraged, with no mobile phones or laptops. Accommodation is in shared rooms and vegan meals are eaten together.

There are also yoga weekends, regulars’ weekends and longer retreats.
o Two-night weekends run eight times a year, next one 25 January, GBP195 full-board, return coach transfers from London, GBP42, lbc.org.uk[10]

Solo summer retreat, Lefkada, Greece

10 of the best meditation retreats in the UK and Europe

Aimed at the solo traveller, Serenity retreats, held in May, June and September on the Ionian island of Lefkada, offer a proper Discount Holidays © holiday with time on the beach or pottering in the village alongside meditation. Self-catering apartments (for one) are right on the sea, and daily guided meditation, mindful walks through olive groves and mindful movement sessions are included – led by down-to-earth zen meditation teacher Kim Bennett. There are various optional wellbeing courses (such as the art of self-compassion, donation based) as well as a choice of on-site treatments.
o From GBP509 for a week, with accommodation and instruction, meals and flights extra, serenityretreat.co.uk[11]

A place ‘to be’, Dordogne, France


10 of the best meditation retreats in the UK and Europe

The Moulin de Chaves riverside meditation centre near Cubjac was once a Zen monastery and makes an idyllic place to retreat from the world.

Guests stay in the beautiful main house or pre-erected tents in the grounds with beds and bedding provided (camping is also sometimes possible). The programme for 2019 includes a week of mindful yoga and meditation (15-20 July) led by Moulin founder Martin Aylward and his wife Gail and conducted mostly in silence. A new yoga hall built of local oak with hemp walls opens this year.
o From EUR300 full-board in a shared tent or EUR325 in a room, plus voluntary donation for teaching, moulindechaves.org[12]

Saintly retreat, Assisi, Italy


10 of the best meditation retreats in the UK and Europe

Based in a family-run hotel in the ancient hilltop town of Assisi in Umbria, non-profit organisation Simply Peace runs retreats combining meditation with daily walks to local sacred sites (many associated with St Francis, who was born here).

No experience is necessary for the heart-centred meditation practised, and one-to-one guidance is included. There’s plenty of free time in the afternoon to explore the town and surrounding countryside too.
o Five-night retreat from EUR995 half-board, assisiretreats.org[13]

Mindful feasting, Wicklow, Ireland


10 of the best meditation retreats in the UK and Europe

Ocean view from Passaddhi meditation centre, Ireland.

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Photograph: PR

Learn mindful cooking, eating and walking on a five-day silent meditation retreat at the coastal Bobbio Centre, 45 miles south of Dublin, in County Wicklow. Paola Vais, who trained at the Ballymaloe cookery school, leads vegan and vegetarian cooking classes. Mindful meditation, walking and eating sessions are run by Marjo Oosterhoff, owner of the Passaddhi Retreat centre in County Cork.

There’s plenty of time for beach strolls and local exploring too. No experience needed.
o 19-23 June, EUR300 for food and accommodation, guidance on a donation basis, passaddhi.com[14]

Silent walking, Northern Spain


10 of the best meditation retreats in the UK and Europe

Delve deep into the forests and mountains of Somiedo parque natural in Asturias on a week-long mindfulness and walking retreat led by UK-based therapist and trainer Frankie Sikes. Accommodation is in rustic self-catering apartments in La Pinietsa, a traditional stone farmhouse, and the mindful, silent walks are gentle and slow (practised as a type of meditation), with packed lunches provided (and phones and cameras left behind).

The area is stunningly beautiful and there’s a free day to explore towns such as Oviedo or take a bear-watching trip.
o Seven-day retreat GBP650, including transfers, breakfast and some lunches, various dates, walkinginspirit.co.uk[15]

Tai chi, Canary Islands


10 of the best meditation retreats in the UK and Europe

This retreat at Villa Azul in northern Fuertaventura combines mthe ancient movement and meditation arts of meditative tai chi and qigong, taught by founder Paco Borges, with Taoist yoga. The setting, with views over the Atlantic, adds to the sense of peace, and some sessions are held on the outdoor deck. Healthy brunches, smoothies and four evening meals are included, as well as massages and transfers to the beach.

Open all year, with retreats starting any day, it’s flexible, too.
o From EUR665 a week, taichifuerteventura.com[16]

Topics

References

  1. ^ Learning holidays (www.theguardian.com)
  2. ^ yoga (www.theguardian.com)
  3. ^ creative (www.theguardian.com)
  4. ^ by readers (www.theguardian.com)
  5. ^ sharphamtrust.org (www.sharphamtrust.org)
  6. ^ Wild Voice (www.wildvoiceadventures.com)
  7. ^ festival (www.wildvoiceadventures.com)
  8. ^ wildvoiceadventures.com (www.wildvoiceadventures.com)
  9. ^ gaiahouse.co.uk (gaiahouse.co.uk)
  10. ^ lbc.org.uk (www.lbc.org.uk)
  11. ^ serenityretreat.co.uk (www.serenityretreat.co.uk)
  12. ^ moulindechaves.org (www.moulindechaves.org)
  13. ^ assisiretreats.org (www.assisiretreats.org)
  14. ^ passaddhi.com (passaddhi.com)
  15. ^ walkinginspirit.co.uk (walkinginspirit.co.uk)
  16. ^ taichifuerteventura.com (taichifuerteventura.com)
  17. ^ Learning holidays (www.theguardian.com)
  18. ^ Health and fitness holidays (www.theguardian.com)
  19. ^ Rest and relaxation (www.theguardian.com)
  20. ^ United Kingdom holidays (www.theguardian.com)
  21. ^ Europe holidays (www.theguardian.com)
  22. ^ Top 10s (www.theguardian.com)
  23. ^ Meditation (www.theguardian.com)
  24. ^ features (www.theguardian.com)
  25. ^ Facebook (www.facebook.com)
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