Travel

Wellness retreats in the UK and Ireland to help you reconnect to yourself

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Megan Murray
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Take a weekend away from it all at one of these wonderfully wholesome wellbeing retreats in the UK and Ireland. 

A holiday change is a-coming. Instead of fast-paced city breaks to the likes of Paris (cover your ears City of Lights, we still love you) or Rome, travel trends are predicting more and more that when we take a break, we want exactly that – a break. 

Think time and space alone to breath in clean air and gaze dreamily into the sunset. Or, a break of dawn yoga session that allows you to work on your practice and start your day right. Even trying activities that shock you out of your comfort zone and feel a million miles away from the office, like wild swimming or sharp-intake-of-breath cold surfing sessions. As we become continually more aware of every aspect of our wellbeing, focus on our mental health and the amount of female solo travelers continues to rise, we’ve noticed that retreats that cater for all of these things are also flourishing. 

Whether you want to recentre yourself and feel you need to be alone to do that, would love to make some new friends or have a friendship that needs nurturing, you don’t need to go far, the UK and Ireland have some amazing female-focused options. 

If it’s a luxurious weekend of pampering and unwinding that you’re craving, head to Clivedon House in Berkshire and let the rest of the world slip away. While Elmley Nature Reserve in Kent concentrates on creative expression and foraging the sea front for hidden gems, before you sleep under the stars.

We’ve picked out three retreats in the UK and Ireland that would make for a great escape from everyday life, nurturing your mental and physical health in the company of like-minded women.

To The Sea weekend retreat at Elmley Nature Reserve, Kent 

Elmley Nature Reserve yoga retreat

Elmley Nature Reserve is a gorgeous 3,200 acre estate based on an island in the Thames, just an hour away from the hustle and bustle of London. An aesthetic beauty, this special place plays host to vast wilderness, sandy shores and spanning views out to the sea, so it’s a no brainer that as well as a working farm, wedding venue and staycation spot, it also makes a great place for a wellness retreat. 

It’s worth noting, though, that if you did want to just stay for the weekend to enjoy its charms and wiles, you can rent the quaint Kingshill cottage, a room in the farmhouse or one of the chic hunts and trailers.

But back to the retreat, this year so far Elmley has one retreat planned that will be a mixture of creative expression, wild swimming, yoga and nourishing feasts. Running from 31 May to the 2 June, it has been named To The Sea as a nod to the beautiful beaches just close by. All are welcome, whether you’re looking to spend some time alone or enjoy the experience with a friend or a partner, the itinerary is full of activities that help you unwind from normal life, nourish your soul and express yourself creatively. 

Over the weekend, guests will sleep in stylish tents and shepherd’s huts, rising every morning to do yoga and meditation and eat from a plant-based menu in nature, under the stars and on the seashore. Activities include wild swimming, learning about nature and the sea shore, a creative sea styling session from things found on the beach and time to be alone. 

A one night stay is priced at £350, with two nights starting at £550, although you can also book massage and Reiki treatments at an extra cost.

Rise Fierce: The Women’s Retreat at Cliffs of Moher Retreat, County Clare 

The Cliffs of Moher wellness retreat

The Cliffs of Moher Retreat is home to a variety of retreats and yoga holidays, with a programme of both day and all weekend events running throughout the whole year. 

The purpose built house feels cute and cosy, with exposed stone work and snuggly sofas, while providing all the contemporary luxuries you’d expect. Sitting in the middle of open countryside, the views of fields and faraway hills look beautiful, but the shoreline is the real showstopper. It’s a peaceful setting that makes the ideal background for a yoga session, which is why the glass-fronted, south-facing yoga studio looks out to the spanning Atlantic Ocean. Pure bliss. There’s a mixture of dwellings including three buildings with 14 bedrooms (accommodating 30 people) and a mix of communal spaces, so you can choose to spend time chilling on your own or make some new friends.

Retreats can be searched by duration of time, type (like yoga, meditation or food focused) or teacher, and include weekends dedicated to hiking and reconnecting with nature or resting and relaxing. Some of the lovely things you’ll find on the itinerary of the latter for example, include candlelit yoga, a silent cliff walk and guided meditation. 

One of the retreats we think sounds most up our street, though, is the Rise Fierce female-focused retreat which aims to encourage women to build their confidence, flourish and participate by creating a gender specific space. All those who identify as female are welcome. As well as thrilling surfing lessons and women’s circle discussion, there’ll be plenty of time to just be, too.

This retreat is priced from €950, but all retreats vary in price. 

Bodhimaya one-to-one retreats at Cliveden House, Berkshire 

Clivedon House wellness retreat

If you’re looking for a retreat experience that feels akin to a spa weekend, but concentrates on the inside as well as the outside, the luxurious Cliveden House is the place for you. 

This grand country house is about as lavish as they come, acting as a plush hotel, restaurant and visitor site all year round. But Cliveden (which has hosted celebrities, politicians and royalty in its time) also has a dedicated wellness centre with spa, indoor and outdoor pools, gym and health restaurant. It is here that award-winning luxury wellness retreat Bodhimaya provides weekend mind and body resets, to help you deal with the stress of your hectic life. 

Depending on what you need, you can book in for a one-to-one consultation with an expert on how to harness healthy food and get personalised nutrition advice and partake in meditation, yoga and walks to get your body moving. There are also stress and burnout focused retreats which specialise in mindfulness and other techniques to release tension, stress and anxiety. Or, if you need to work on your meditation specifically, you can book in for a mindfulness-focused retreat, too. 

Each retreat is personal and organised on a one-to-one basis, so you will need to speak to the venue directly about booking one. Your length of stay is also flexible, whether you want to stay for one night or eight, it’s all possible. Prices are from £675 per night. 

Images: Courtesy of venues 

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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